First Reading: Genesis 3:9-15


9 YHWH God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?"

10 The man said, "I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."

11 God said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

12 The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

13 YHWH God said to the woman, "What have you done?"

The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

14 YHWH God said to the serpent,

"Because you have done this,
you are cursed above all livestock,
and above every animal of the field.
You shall go on your belly
and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.
15 I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will bruise your head,
and you will bruise his heel."

Sometimes we just don't grow up.

What is freedom? For some, it's self-determination. For others, it's an environment to exist and be accepted one's self. For the immature, it's acting out for purely selfish reasons without consequences. For these people, freedom means "me first" and no responsibilities to others or for others.

The narrative of the Fall in Genesis 3 painted freedom in that light. The first people acted out of self-interest. They wanted to experience evil and be "like gods" without any responsibility to God. So, when these people were confronted by God over their egregious act, they did what every child would do when caught in the act: they shifted the blame. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the snake. So God addressed snake first, then Eve (Genesis 3:16) and, finally, Adam who ultimately bore the most responsibility (Genesis 3:17-19).

This passage focused on the curse of the snake. The devious serpent would slither on the dirt as the lowest of animals, eating dust every day of its life. The tempter would live out its existence as the enemy of humanity, subject to injury by men. It would remain the object of hatred forever because it represented the temptation of pure selfishness.

We all have the child within. And that child supplies us with the facility to wonder, laugh and love. But that child can cause us to falter, even fail, simply because of its belief in the lie that actions have no consequences, rights have no responsibilities. And when we fall to that temptation, we realize a simple fact about our human condition.

Sometimes we just don't grow up.

How have you fought off the urge for self-interest?