I Woke up One Morning and I was Me!
(I did not write this post. It just appeared on my computer screen. It seems that Adam himself got into my computer without my knowledge. He seems to want to tell his story.)
Before go on with this post, let’s read a bit from the Book of Genesis. The first verse for the day is Genesis 1:26-28:
So, God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
The second verses I have been asked to read are from Genesis 2:15-23:
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So, the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adamno suitable helper was found. So, the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib[c]he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.’
LORD God, as we hear again the story of Adam and Eve, help us to make it our story as well as their story. This morning, we pray especially that what is said here will both glorify you and conform to your Word.
The Glory of our Humanity
I really cannot tell you how it happened. I woke up one morning, and I was Me. That is to say, I woke up and I existed. God had created me—and I knew who I was. I was different from everything and everyone around me, for I was made in the image of God. I could think. I could reflect. I could choose. I had a will. I could create. Best of all, I was aware of all of this. I was me. Not just a part of the created order. I was part of the created order, but I was also part of the invisible, spiritual order of God’s mind and spirit.  I was not just another animal which God had created but I was me. I was capable of intimately knowing God the Creator. I understood his presence with me. We had unbroken communion with one another.
Theologians talk a lot about what it means to be created in the image of God. Actually, I never thought about it at all until God inspired the writer of Genesis wrote the words on the screen: “God created the human race in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:26). What I know now, and what I knew then, was that there was something different about me. I was not just one of the animals. In an incredible way, God had breathed something of his own spirit into me, and I was, like God aware, conscious, able to think and to plan and to will and to do.
There was something else I knew, something that came from the fact that I had been made in the image of God. God intended me to be his steward over his creation. I was supposed to love God’s creation in just the way God loved his creation. The writer of Genesis put it in the form of “dominion or rule”. None of the other animals could really “tend God’s creation” and make it better or worse. They just did whatever came naturally. But, I was different. I could look at a little stream and think to myself, “Wouldn’t it be better if I dug it out so that it would pass closer to that little grove of flowers?” And once I got started I found that I could look at a stick and say, “This would be easier if I did this with that stick instead of with my hands.” I could invent new things, just like God.
That first morning, I woke up and I looked around and I thought to myself, “What a lovely creation I inhabit!” I lived in the garden of nature. Scholars argue as to where the garden was. To tell you the truth, I have been gone so long that I have forgotten its exact location. Scripture indicates that it was somewhere between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers.  All I know is that it was lovely. There was every kind of plant and animal you can imagine. There was nothing I could want or need that I did not find in that garden.
For a long time, I just traveled around my garden eating and drinking and enjoying life. God showed me all the other animals, and I gave them names. I noticed that once I gave them a name, I could remember easily what they were like and which ones were good to eat and how to capture them. The same thing was true of the plants. Once I gave them a name, I could easily remember what they were like, and what they were good for. Amazingly, this act of naming made it possible for me to know a lot more about the garden than the other animals could know, because I was capable of remembering details and information by attaching it to a name. 
Over time, I noticed that, in the animal kingdom, there were male animals and female animals. Every animal was male or female. I did not for a long time (or so it seemed to me) have a partner. I was lonely. I asked God for a mate like the other animals. I knew God is a god of relationships, and I wanted someone to have a relationship with too. This leads me to my second awakening.
One morning, I awoke from a deep sleep and right there before me was a woman. I took one look at her and said to myself, “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (Gen. 2:23). I knew in that first glance that this was the one who would be my helpmate and whose helpmate I would be. Over time, I learned that Eve, as I called her because I knew she would be the giver of life to our children, was just like me. She too was conscious. She too was able to think, to plan, to will and to create. Yet, I also learned that she was different. In some ways, she completed what was lacking in me, and I like to think I completed what was lacking in her.  We complimented each other in important ways. For a time, unfortunately a short time, everything was idyllic.
The Tragedy of Our Fall
As I said, the garden was lovely, and our life was in perfect unity with God and nature’s God. Eve and I were happy. However, because we were made in God’s image, we had the potential to separate ourselves from God, from Nature, and from each other. Although we lived in this garden, and this garden was our home, although we enjoyed a kind of fellowship with God that human beings have not enjoyed since, we did have the capacity to disobey God.
There were in our garden two trees. The first tree was the Tree of Life—the Tree from which we gain that Wisdom and Divine Life that creates in us the Image of God. The Second Tree was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is this Tree that was the source of our Fall. Because Eve and I were free creatures in the image of God, we had the capacity to choose. And, one of the things we could choose was to disobey God. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represents our capacity to choose sin and evil, and sin and evil preeminently are disobedience to God. God asked us not to eat of that Tree.
Eve and I also knew, as you know, that we could be tempted to disobey God. Both inside of us and outside of us there are temptations. One of the temptations Eve and I faced was the temptation to cease being the stewards of God’s creation and to try to be the rulers of God’s Creation. We could also be tempted by our desires. One of those desires was to have things God did not want us to have.
One day, Eve was walking in the Garden alone. As she was walking in that Garden, she passed the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There, wound around that tree, just where you would expect him to be, was the Tempter in the form of a Serpent. Eve heard the Serpent say “Did God really say to you, ‘You must not eat of any tree in the garden?’” (Gen. 3:1). Eve was thus drawn into a response where she admitted that we were only forbidden to eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 3:3). The question itself is ridiculous. Of course, a holy and righteous God would not want his creatures to participate in or know anything about Evil. Eve and I knew that.
Eve knew the correct answer and gave the correct answer, but the Tempter continued to badger her. Eventually, she looked at the Tree, and what seemed to be such lovely fruit and ate (Gen. 3:4-6). Later, she gave some to me, and I ate (Gen. 3:6). I want to stop here and correct a kind of misunderstanding. Some people think that it is significant that the woman ate of the fruit first, as if somehow women are the source of the Fall. I have had many, many years to think about this since that day, and I think I can assure you that if I had been the one at the tree that day, I would have eaten of the fruit myself.
The Harshness of Our Judgment
In your Bible there is a verse that reads, “When the eyes of both of them were opened, they realized they were naked” (Gen. 3:7). Once again, there are those who think that the first sin involved sex and that is why this verse is in Scripture. It is true that Eve and I fell from innocence in our sexual identity that day. But, the reality is, for the first time we realized how vulnerable we were and are. Our nakedness and our need for clothing was almost a symbol or a symptom of our realization that we were frail, naked creatures, vulnerable to disease and violence and death. We had become separated from nature and no longer understood and appreciated our Garden as we once had. We were fearful of the future for the first time in our lives.
We knew about death; we had seen other creatures die. But we never feared death because of our relationship with God. We believed and knew that we would always be with God in a life everlasting. Now, we knew we had disobeyed God. We also knew that the penalty for that disobedience was death. We thought it was a physical death we would experience. But, the truth is, we were already dead—dead spiritually. We were now alienated from God, from Creation, and as we soon learned, from each other. 
That evening, Eve and I became aware that God was walking in our garden. Before, we enjoyed a kind of uninterrupted fellowship with God. When we sensed his presence, we ran to find Him. We opened our hearts to receive Him. On this day, for the first time we hid from him. I want you to think about that—what would have made us believe we could hide from a God who is everywhere and knows everything? I think in our hearts we knew He already knew of our Fall and its consequences. But you see, we were already separated from God.
Eventually, God called to us, and we went into his presence. We admitted what we had done. Before this moment, we did not know a thing about God’s justice. All we had ever experienced was his Wisdom and Love. But now, now that we had violated his commands we learned that God is just, and we would suffer consequences for our disobedience. If God was angry at us, he was even angrier at the Snake, that Tempter who caused us to Fall. We did not know it at the time, but it turns out that the Tempter was a fallen angel who was deliberately causing trouble in Paradise—something he still does (See, Revelation 12:9; 20:2).
I don’t want to get too deeply into the details of the curse today. But our judgment was a terrible one. The happy relationship between Eve and me was forever disturbed by her wish that I would not try to dominate her and my will to dominate. God’s creation would no longer be a place of blessing, but we would have to work hard and resent that work. Having children would be a hardship and painful. Worst of all, we were cast out of our Garden, never to return (Genesis 3:23). Now, we would make our way in a dangerous and violent world. The Tree of Life, our assurance of Eternal Blessedness with God and of God’s Divine Life within us was barred from us forever. We would die and return to the dust with no assurance of an eternal life with our Creator. It has been that way ever since.
In the end, because of our failure to resist sin and alienation from God, we lost the most important thing of all, our relationship with God, with Creation and with each other. That is a harsh judgment indeed.
The Hope of our Intended Savior
Those of you who saw the movie,The Passion of the Christ, by Mel Gibson may remember a scene in the movie what was not in the Bible.  In the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was praying to the Father that the Cup he was about to drink would be taken from him there was a snake which Jesus finally crushed under his feet. That scene was put in the movie because of a prophecy made to the Tempter by God. God let the Tempter know that throughout all of human history, the snake of sin and its consequences would strike at the human race, but eventually, God would raise up a son of Adam who would crush the snake (Gen. 3:15). Jesus was that someone.
When we left the Garden, we had children—two boys who we hoped would be our saviors so that we would be able to return to the Garden, or at least the curse we had brought upon ourselves would not continue. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case. But, Eve and I continued to hold onto that hope, the hope of a Savior. God’s people, the Jews held onto that hope for generations and generations. Until one day God came in human form, in the form of Jesus of Nazareth. It is in his life, death and resurrection you believe and I believe that our road back to the Tree of Life may be found. He is the one who trampled the serpent under his feet and it is because of him we have the hope that we will experience that redemption ourselves (Romans 16:20).
Copyright 2018, G. Christopher Scruggs, All Rights Reserved
 This post does not take sides on the issue of in what sense is the Genesisnarrative concerning the creation of the human race is true. It assumes that the narrative is a true picture of the human condition. The point is, however God created the human race in his image, immediately or as part of a process of evolution, human beings are conscious beings with unique intellectual, moral and personal abilities.
 Although the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are known to us, the other two rivers are not. Therefore, it is impossible to locate the garden on the basis of Genesis. The description may, as Sib Towner suggests, simply be a way of saying the entire then known world (“then” meaning when the story was first recounted.) See, W. Sibley Towner, “Genesis” in The Westminster Bible Companion(Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001), 35. Dr. Towner was one of my professors. He says much with which I agree—and much with which I do not.
 The story of naming in the Garden points to the uniqueness of the human being and our powers of observation. The naming in the Garden is the beginning of our intellectual capacity to examine, identify, and seek a deeper understanding of nature.
 In Genesis, God announces that it is not good for the man to be alone; a “helper” is needed for him (Genesis 2:18). The word for “helper” is one which means “one who completes what is lacking”. Another equally good translation might have been “helper as partner, which would have further underscored the fundamental equality of both sexes. See, Bill T. Arnold, “Genesis” in The New Cambridge Bible Commentary(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 62. In Genesis 1, “man” and “woman” are both created “man,” or “human”. There is no distinction in innate humanity or human capacity and rulership is given to both. Similarly, before the Fall and the introduction of sin into the world, there was no indication of inequality of any kind. Close attention to the narrative discloses that Genesis 2 does not state that the fundamental equality has been altered. Sin has simply created a new and sinful situation.
 Genesisspeaks only of the serpent. In Revelation 19:9, Satan is revealed as “that ancient serpent who leads to whole world astray.” Serpents are universally feared because of their stealthy movements, speed, and sometimes poisonous bite. Whether the legend recorded in Genesis is mythological or based upon an actual event, it reflects the truth we all know concerning temptation: (1) it comes upon us stealthily by a subtle temptation from outside of us; (2) it often is accompanied by a kind of rationalization by which we convince ourselves that what is actually evil will turn out for the good; (3) the ultimate pain and poison of its bite are to be feared for the pain and suffering it ultimately can cause. Thus, the story is true, whatever its origin.
 Emil Brunner helpfully speaks of sin as rebellion (violation of God’s order), as apostasy (disobedience and distrust of God), as total (involving the entire human being, and as universal (infecting all human beings). See, Emil Brunner, The Christian Doctrine of Creation and RedemptionDogmatics vol. 2 (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1952), 89-100.
 Benedict Fitzgerald & Mel Gibson, The Passion of the Christ dir. Mel Gibson (Icon Productions, 2004).