First Reading: Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7

The Fall

What do you see as the pride of the world? How does the world succumb to pride?

2:7 YHWH God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 8 YHWH God planted a garden eastward, in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 Out of the ground YHWH God made every tree to grow that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the middle of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which YHWH God had made. He said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’”

2 The woman said to the serpent, “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

4 The serpent said to the woman, “You won’t surely die, 5 for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit, and ate; and she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 The eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

World English Bible

These verses begin with the apex of the second creation story in Genesis, the creation of humanity. And, they end with the temptation and fall of the first humans.

The story is familiar. God formed the first human with mud of a misting spring. And God's breathe (his very Spirit) brought him life. God placed the human into the lush garden of Eden that had every fruit tree, including the "tree of knowledge." [2:7-9]

The missing verses described the beauty of the garden, the responsibility of humanity (to farm the lands), the humanity's cooperation in creation (naming of the animals), and the creation that distinguished the genders. (2:10-25) The author noted the first couple did not feel shame in their nakedness.

The first reading continued with the temptation. The evil serpent had a dialogue with the woman. He tempted her with not only with the illusion of desirable fruit, but with the possibility of elevated stature. The first humans would have God's status, for they would truly know good and evil. And they would never die.

Implicit in the temptation was the possibility that God lied to the couple. God insisted that eating the fruit would lead to death, because to truly know evil was to know death. But, how could one really know death (i.e., experience it) without dying? The serpent implied it was possible. God really lied. The first couple would become divine. They could control creation just like the Almighty. And they would not die. So, Eve ate the fruit and passed it to Adam. Adam ate. Then the couple felt shame in their nakedness. [3:1-7]

There have been many interpretations of the Fall. Only one could be mentioned at this point. The illusion of evil appealed to false pride. Such pride replaced God with the self. The inflated sense of importance overshadowed God and others. And made the person the center of creation.

The cycle of illusion and pride are at the root of all temptation. We are all afflicted with temptation. We all fall to its illusions and its false ego-boosts. We all sin.

The fall of Adam and Eve is a template for the sins we all commit. Yet in the cycle of temptation-sin lies a glimmer of hope. The possibility that the cycle can be broken. That someone, somewhere will see through the illusion, reject the ego-boost, and stop the cycle dead in its tracks. We Christians find that person in Jesus and that place in the desert, where Satan tested the Lord.

How have your walked in the footsteps of Adam? How does Christ walk with you now?