Genesis 3 Ra (Evil)

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’?” 2And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3but 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.’” 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6So 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. 7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

8And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14The LORD God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

16To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

17And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

20The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

22Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Ra (Evil)

As Church of the Open Door continued its summer series on Tov (Good) it came to the story of Genesis 3.  In this context Good was defined as God’s blessing or flourishing that flows through Creation because of its connection with God.  Evil is defined as the breaking of connection with God and his goodness.  The result is a withering on the vine.  Those who do not connect with God instantly lose their connection with life.  The life of God ceases to flow freely through God’s agents into the creation and that which could have endured for ever shows its inability to sustain itself.

The marriage union between Adam and Eve is not destroyed but it is dying.  God in his grace maintains a connection of sorts, but the intimacy of sunset walks in the Garden of Eden is lost forever.  A life of innocence, fulfilling work and playful joy is now marked with shame and fear.  Community life is replaced by community shame and blame.

Evil is not an essence in and of itself.  Evil is not a thing created by mankind.  Mankind takes the perfect life that is created by God and makes it its own.  In taking of a perfect and good thing by God we make it something less.  Sometimes we are proud of our work, but if we see the reality as God sees it we are left living a horror and an abomination.  The only solution is to pluck it out, kill it and start over.  More efforts by mankind to make an evil thing good only leads to more ugliness.  I am reminded of my son when he broke one of his more expensive toy cars.  He knew that I, his father, would be disappointed so he raided the drawers for glue, scotch tape, or anything else that looked like it would help.  The wheel still lay detached from the broken car, but the car itself now looked like more of a mess than it ever had before.  Rather than make more attempts to fix the car, I took it and replaced it with a new car that I purchased on line.  He had felt awful but now his face lit up as he learned a lesson about grace and its re-connection with what is good.

Marriage was created by God.  The union of a man and woman has a perfection to it which is good.  We have tried to improve on marriage through the years.  We have used it to pursue our own goals rather than God’s.  We have used it as a selfish source of pleasures.  We have looked on spouses like property and shown them off with all the pride that we would a new set of clothes or an ear-ring.  We have dealt with male domination and we have discarded marriages in divorce because our hearts were weak.  All our modifications of marriage increase evil.  To move forward well, we have to look back.  We have to see the ancient truths that were designed by God in the harmony of the Garden.

Evil Eagle Eye

Prayer

Deliver us from evil.

Questions

  1. What is the knowledge of good and evil?
  2. What is evil?
  3. How does the fall of man relate to the reverence of evil?
  4. What evil do you see in the world?
  5. What evil are you fighting against?
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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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17 Responses to Genesis 3 Ra (Evil)

  1. Emmy R says:

    I cannot wait for the day when the Lord returns and conquers sin and evil once and for all. Our world is a place that is filled with evil thoughts, evil actions, and evil people. Turn on the news, and it is obvious that sin is present. Shootings, bombings, sex trafficking, must I continue? We are fighting against the evil of this world, and the power of sin, but we serve a God who is more powerful and who WILL win the battle.

  2. Sometimes I feel as though I cannot go on physically, emotionally and otherwise because of the evil that I see. It’s so disheartening and sometimes paralyzing and I can’t figure how God will give me the strength to minister to hurting children. But, I believe that because I am so sensitive to children being hurt, it’s something God will not let grow into callousness, for his glory and to keep my heart soft, just as his heart is soft to hurting people and the evil that exist. He is also holy in is anger which he allows blame to be as well. It’s difficulty but it’s a blessing to be able to see evil as it really is. For once our eyes were blind, but now we see, and have been redeemed to be able to know right from wrong, and also have the strength from God’s Spirit to overcome!

  3. Maria T. says:

    I think that the evil we see in the world is the same evil that was in the Garden. It is the rejection of God. Thus, the evil that I fight against in my own life is the tendency to wander away from my Creator. Yes, Lord, deliver us from evil and make us good in your righteousness. Keep our feet from wandering away from you and incline our hearts toward you, because we cannot even desire you apart from your work in our hearts. Thank you that you choose to cleanse us from evil and make us pure. We love you.

  4. Michael McCardle says:

    What evil are you fighting against?
    I feel as if I am fighting against the evil that makes a man numb and oblivious to the evil around him. What I mean by this is that it is so easy to look away fro injustice and horrible things that happen in the world around us. It is so easy to get comfortable here at MBI. There is so much heart break and injustice. It is so easy for me to just turn the news off or keep scrolling down my news feed when I see something terrible that has happened. Why do I do this? I think it is because I am afraid that the same thing will happen to me.

    My prayer is that God will melt my heart and move me to tears and to act justly whenever I see injustice in the world; no matter how big or small

  5. Olyn says:

    I found it interesting how you said that people discard marriages because their heart is weak, and that evil fights against us. I am praying that God would give me strength and fight evil. I am fighting against the evil of selfishness and allowing my fear to control me.

  6. Kimberly W. says:

    I see so much evil in the world and it is overwhelming. It breaks my heart. And I know I see only a part of the evil that God sees–and His heart is much more broken over it than mine. I think of the children I have nannied the past two summers who have FAS and RAD. Evil was done to them, even before they were born, and they forever live with the consequences of it. I think of the evil of human trafficking and the evil of children starving to death. The great evil of the Holocaust. I will not ever understand why God lets so much evil continue, but I take comfort that He suffers with us. Only the suffering God can help.

  7. Jung Kim says:

    “More efforts by mankind to make an evil thing good only leads to more ugliness.”
    After I read this statement, I immediately felt that this is what I struggle as well in my own life. Yes, it breaks my heart to see so much evil in the world. However, I could feel how much it would break my Dad’s heart when He sees I am being connected to the evil world and thoughts. But let us have hope in God who gives us NEW mercies every day.

  8. Maelynn says:

    2. Evil is a void. It is the absence of what is good and right and true.
    4. I see hate, pride, jealousy, gossip, and selfishness to name a few.

  9. Andrew Moore says:

    Thinking about the knowledge of good and evil is interesting to me. If Adam and Eve learned the difference between right and wrong when they ate the fruit, I guess it would be true that ignorance is bliss after all. Before the fall, Adam and Eve wouldn’t have had an idea of why eating from the fruit was wrong, they simply had to trust the Lord and his commandments.

  10. 1. I think it is an understanding of the realities of the distinctions between good and evil based on experience or evidence of what is around us. Adam and Eve would not have known evil if they had not chosen and experienced it themselves.
    2. Evil is a perversion of God’s perfect intentions. It twists or tries to recreate what God has done.
    4. It is all over. I see it especially in the perversion of God’s image in man. Things that distort, scar, or scramble this image are everywhere.

  11. Megumi says:

    2. Evil is the disobedient twisting of what God intended.
    4. Violence, idolatry, deception, greed, selfishness…the list goes on.
    5. Sin

  12. Christina W. says:

    How does the fall of man relate to the reverence of evil?
    The fall of man now causes us to see evil but it also causes us to try and cover up or make excuses for the evil that we see. I thought that the statement, “More efforts by mankind to make an evil thing good only leads to more ugliness,” was very fitting. We try so hard to make evil into something good or into something that is “not that bad.” However, in that process, we really do make a mess of the whole situation.

  13. I find myself consistently fighting against the evils that my parents have subjected me to. I was convinced from my early childhood that I wasn’t worthy of my father’s love and that I was disposable and easily replaced. This continues to be the biggest pain in my life. I don’t think my mother intends to hurt me, but she often does with her words and her anger. There are days when I don’t think I can bear the pain, but Christ gently reminds me that my value is found in Him and not in sinful people’s opinions.

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