Genesis 3:1-7 No Independence for You!

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So 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 also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened,and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Estranged

No Independence for You!

I was raised in a family where everyone was encouraged to be independent.  With sun streaming in Aunty Jackie and Uncle Den’s picture window, we talked with a view of ships setting sail from Plymouth Sound to various destinations around the world.  My cousin Tim left for Bath University at 18 and graduated in mechanical engineering.  Not satisfied to work domestically on British Rail, he worked for the Egyptian and Ethiopian railways.  His sister, Sally, went to live in Hong Kong and set up textile lines for famous fashion houses in China.  I went to Japan and Pakistan and taught in schools.  I first lived in Gujranwala for a year when I was 18.  I was only back in England long enough to get my degree, but soon I was being independent again and flying far from home.

As parents we want our children to grow up and be independent of us.  We wrestle with teenagers who want freedom from the rules of home at the same time as expecting the use of the family car and a well-stocked fridge.  However, at age 18 we classify the children as adults and if they haven’t left the fold by age twenty we start having ‘failure-to-launch’ conversations.  However, in this life, the desire is not to be free from EVERYTHING.  The freedom we seek in this life is never actually freedom to do ANYTHING.  Our freedom is always limited.  We are never truly independent.  Those who are most independent of others are the most isolated.

It is the myth of self-determination and the illusion of independence that leads mankind astray.  Of course, we should be self-starters and we should not be codependent.  But God is not like our earthly parents.  He does not raise us to be less dependent and finally leave him.  He raises us to be more aware of who he is and more consciously dependent upon him.  We are dependent on him for air, water, food and clothing.  Independence from God means death.  We are also dependent on him for emotional well-being, laws for a healthy society, and the salvation that he provides in his Son.  Independence from God in these ways is equally lethal.  Dependence on God actually brings life, liberty, and the pursuit of godliness.  Independence from God brings a false dependence on humanity, self, and lies.  We are never independent.  The real choice is, what will bring us most freedom?

In the Garden, the delusion of the serpent is that God has limited freedom.  The grass is greener when I choose to wander where I will.  The pastures are better beyond the horizons of home.  The only part of my boundaries that I am truly grateful for is the exit door.  We leave God.  We leave marriages.  We leave friendships.  We leave countries.  We leave neighbourhoods.  Our belief is that we will find hope elsewhere.  Our belief is that we will find the freedom that the serpent has promised.  Then we sit in silence in the darkness of our own depravity.  We blame others.  We blame God.  We become angry, depressed and anxious as we journey East of Eden.  However, wherever we go we take our own heart with us – a heart that is broken.

Prayer

May I accept that independence is not the goal.  May I accept that my life was given to me to be dependent upon You.  May I find freedom where I am rather than believe the myth that freedom is always elsewhere.  May I choose you over myself.  Please silence the serpent.

Questions

  1. What is the accuser/adversary asking in the passage?
  2. What is Eve’s reply?
  3. What is Adam’s role?
  4. How do your adversaries (spiritual and physical) oppose your dependence on God and his people?
  5. How do you combat the myth of total freedom and independence?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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15 Responses to Genesis 3:1-7 No Independence for You!

  1. Megumi says:

    1.”Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
    2.“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
    3. Adam is silent, but likely present at the temptation. In any case, he listened to his wife and partook equally of the forbidden fruit.
    4.They promote overconfidence in my abilities and doubt in the reliability of others.
    5.Practice collaboration and submit to authorities.

  2. Emmy R says:

    1. Did God actually say??
    2. They may eat of all the trees except for the one in the midst of the garden.
    3. Adam took the fruit from Eve, and also participated in the sin.
    4. They distract me from the truth, and leave me more self-focused than God-focused.
    5. Just like I do any myth, with God’s Word and through His strength.

  3. Christina W. says:

    1. Did God really say that you should not eat of any tree in the garden?
    2. Eve replies by telling the serpent that God said they could eat of any tree except for the one in the middle of the garden. She also said that God told them that if they were to touch it, they would surely die.
    3. Adam stood by silently and then took the fruit that Eve offered to him.
    4. They tell me that I can do it on my own and that I do not need to be dependent on others.
    5. I combat this myth by reminding myself regularly that I am unable to do things in my own strength and that it is only through the Lord Jesus Christ that I can do or accomplish anything.

  4. Jung Kim says:

    1.What is the accuser/adversary asking in the passage? “Did God actually say? You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
    2.What is Eve’s reply? “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
    3.What is Adam’s role? Adam took the fruit in silence. He was passive.
    4.How do your adversaries (spiritual and physical) oppose your dependence on God and his people?They tell me I am the only one who struggles and is left to fight the battle apart from God.
    5.How do you combat the myth of total freedom and independence? By reminding myself that this is not a battle that I can do on my own strength or desire; “I can do everything THROUGH Him who gives me strength” (Phil.4:13), “My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:2).

  5. Maelynn says:

    1. I think I will focus on the 5th question. I think it is important because we all struggle with it. My initial answer is reading God’s word. This allows us to see the reality that God is sovereign and the one in control. The Bible also reveals to us how finite we are as human beings. Without this perspective, people will believe that they are independent and have complete control over their lives. I also think we need to realize how illogical it for us to think we are in control when all is going well, but then cry out to God as soon as something goes wrong. We cannot have two masters-we cannot serve both God and ourselves. This is not to say we cannot be confident or independent. It is possible to be an adult and independent in God’s will and calling for our lives.

  6. Kimberly W. says:

    {Brief Reflections on Freedom and Independence}
    In my Systematic Theology class we discussed freedom frequently. So often our concept of freedom is doing whatever we want whenever we want. That is not the biblical definition of freedom, though. Even God lives within the boundaries He has created. My professor proposed that true freedom is in doing what we were created to do. As I read this passage, I think of that definition of freedom. As a human being, there are many things God has created me to do. As Kimberly, what are the specific things God has created me to do? I am most free when I follow Him, although that is not an easy path to follow.

  7. Michael McCardle says:

    What is the accuser/adversary asking in the passage?
    Did God actually say?
    What is Eve’s reply?
    That we can eat from all the trees but the one in the middle. Even if we touch it we will die.
    What is Adam’s role?
    The bystander who falls into peer pressure.
    How do your adversaries (spiritual and physical) oppose your dependence on God and his people?
    That I am not good enough for God and that I have to earn my salvation and approval from him. This leads to isolation because I then view myself as “not good enough” for anyone.
    How do you combat the myth of total freedom and independence?
    A wise man said in class today, “We are meant to be free but we are made to be dependent on God relying on him for all things”. While we have free will as humans, we still need the Lord in out lives.

  8. Maria T. says:

    I have been thinking about independence from God a lot lately. I had been operating under the wrong impression that maturity meant less of a need for Him, feeling that He was only waiting until I no longer needed His love and protection. In my wrong perception of Him, I tried to break away in many respects so that I could give Him what I thought He wanted, which was freedom from having to deal with me. I don’t know if I can describe the kind of freedom that I have felt in the last week as I have confessed this to the Lord and been met with love that He delights to give. He gave me the need for Himself. Why would He ever ask me to leave His presence since I am His daughter in Christ? Rather than becoming more independent as I mature, I am coming to realize more and more how dependent on Him I actually am.

  9. Nate Silvieus says:

    I sometimes find it difficult to think that absolute dependence on God for my entire life is the best choice I could make. A complete dependence on God means taking him at his word in the scriptures-submitting to and obeying it. The thought that I usually face without even knowing that I am thinking it is that God is withholding something better from me- that submitting to him is going to prevent me from experiencing something that will make me happier. My prayer is that I will rest in character of God and his promises, that I would know that to be dependent on him and all he requires is the absolute best path for my life. Everything else is rubbish and will lead me to despair.

  10. Christa says:

    1. What is the accuser/adversary asking in the passage? If God had actually said “you shall not eat of any tree in the garden”
    2. What is Eve’s reply? Eve said that they were able to eat of the trees in the garden but not the tree in the middle oft the garden and that they also could not touch it or they would die
    3. What is Adam’s role? Adam’s role was to guide Eve and share the knowledge that God had given him, but instead he also consumed the fruit with Eve
    4. How do your adversaries (spiritual and physical) oppose your dependence on God and his people? By fostering the doubt that is already in my mind and heart through their questions and pressures
    5. How do you combat the myth of total freedom and independence? By recognizing my own insufficiencies and my desperate need to rely fully on Christ

  11. 1. Did God actually say?
    2. She says that they may eat from any of the trees throughout the garden with the exception of that one tree.
    3. He was passive. He ate of the fruit because she did.
    4. They make it seem that it is important for me to be strong or to make others proud in ways that are not healthy. I want to show God I can do something, that I can handle it, because that is how I have perceived I am to act in relationships whether my relationship with God or people.
    5. I remember the identity of my Savior and think about my weaknesses on my own.

  12. Andrew Moore says:

    When thinking about freedom and independence it makes me think of this song called Surrender by a group called Beautiful Eulogy. It talks about how all of us have learned a false view of freedom, and how we can never truly be independent. One line that I really like from the song is this: “Either way, all of us are slaves. One kills, one saves.”

  13. 1. He is having Adam and Eve question whether or not God really said something.
    2. Eve said that God said they may not eat from the tree in the middle of the garden, for surely they will die.
    3. Adam was passive and didn’t stop Eve.
    4. They make me question God just as the serpent caused Eve to question God.
    5. I combat this by reminding myself that I am helpless on my own and that I need to rely on Jesus for life.

  14. The accuser is having Adam and Eve think about whether or not God said something. Eve said that God told them to not eat from the tree in the middle of the garden or they will surely die. Adam didn’t stop Eve from eating the apple. My adversaries cause me to doubt Christianity and it’s truths. I combat the myth of total freedom by reminding myself of how desperately I need God.

  15. It’s very interesting to notice that even though God has given us some kind of law or commandment, we want to question everything. “But why God?” We want to know the reason, and we can’t just accept God Word at face value.
    I think it all started back in that day in the Garden if Eden. Both Adam and Eve for one moment believed a lie that they might have some reason to doubt what God has said.

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