Don’t be a Fool Like Me!

Selections from I Samuel 25.

Once again, I did not write this. It just appeared on my computer screen. I must have some problem with my WordPress or computer!

Good morning. My name is Nabal, and I’ve been asked to tell you my story as it appears in First Samuel. I’m going to read a small portion of chapter 25 before I tell you the entire story. It might help to give you a little bit of background: The first king of Israel was named “Saul.” Saul started out well, but he disobeyed God. Therefore, God had David anointed to be king (I Samuel 16). David didn’t become king right away. It took a long time. David first came to public prominence when he killed the giant, Goliath of Gath (I Samuel 17). After David killed Goliath, he became a servant of Saul and sang to Saul when an evil spirit came upon him.

Over time, David was so successful as a soldier that Saul became jealous of him (I Samuel 18). Eventually, Saul tried to kill David (I Samuel 19). David fled, and for many years lived in the wilderness with a band of men (I Samuel 20ff). During those years, David lived as a kind of Robin Hood-like figure. During this time, on and off, Saul chased David around the countryside and tried to kill him. David spared Saul’s life on more than one occasion (I Samuel 24, 26). On one occasion, David lived near my home.

This is how the story is told by the writer of First Samuel:

Now Samuel died, and all Israel assembled and mourned for him; and they buried him at his home in Ramah. Then David moved down into the Desert of Paran.  A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel. His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite. While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep.So, he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name.Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!  “‘Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing.Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore, be favorable toward my men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.’” When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David’s name. Then they waited.  Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days.Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?”  David’s men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word. David said to his men, “Each of you strap on your sword!” (I Samuel 25:1-12).

Let us prayGod of Wisdom: Today, we ask that from this story and the words of Jesus we might become wise, not necessarily as this world defines wisdom, but in the true wisdom that comes from above.

Introducing Nabal

As I mentioned at the beginning, my name is “Nabal,” at least that’s the name that everyone knows me by (I Samuel 25:25). In my native language, Hebrew, Nabal means “Fool.” Since it’s unlikely that anyone would actually named their child “Fool,” I probably had another birth name. But, that was a long time ago. For most of my life, I was known as “Nabal the Fool,” and because of the story I am about to tell you, I am afraid I will have that name for all eternity. [1]

I lived around the year 1000 B.C. in the land you call “Israel.” [2]Our land was called Israel during my time too. A few years before I was born, my people entered the Land of Promise. My forbearers received an allotment of land near Mount Caramel, where the Prophet Elijah would eventually confront the priests of Baal (I Kings 18:20).  Over a few generations, we became wealthy. Your Bible remarks that I was so wealthy that I had 1,000 thousand goats and 3,000 sheep. That was a lot of sheep and goats in my day! I had a lovely home and a beautiful and intelligent wife. Unfortunately, I was ill-tempered and mistreated everyone around me.

During the reign of King Saul, the time of our judges was nearly over. In fact, the last judge, Samuel died right at the beginning of the end of my life story (I Samuel 25:1). For most of my life, Israel was attacked constantly under the leadership of the judges. That all changed when Saul became king. I was happy with Saul as king because I felt safer, and he was good for business.

In your day, you don’t study wisdom literature very much. [3]  But, in my day, we did. We had a whole class of people called “Wise Men.” Eventually, they would write the book of Proverbs in your Bible. In our culture, Wisdom was valued and respected. To the north of us, those who lived in the land of the Chaldeans also respected wisdom—that is where the Wise Men in your New Testament came from (Matthew 2:1-12). To the south of us, Egypt was renowned for its Proverbs. In fact, a portion of your book of proverbs is based upon wisdom written in Egypt! [4]

The reason I’m mentioning this is to let you know that I was without an excuse for my foolishness. I lived in a culture where people respected the wisdom of their elders and of the past. We believed that wisdom was a gift from God (Proverbs 1:7; 8:12-31; 9:10; 15:33). Therefore, I knew it was a mistake to speak harshly to my servants, and especially to someone like David! I knew that a soft answer turns away anger but a harsh answer causes anger (Proverbs 15:1).

Over the 3000 years since my death, I’ve had the opportunity to study wisdom literature. Over and over again, the Bible describes two ways of life: the way of life, characterized by wisdom, and the way of death, characterized by foolishness. Sometimes, the two ways are described as two women who fight for the souls of people (Proverbs 9). Unfortunately, I followed Lady Foolishness not Lady Wisdom—and I paid the price for my decision.

My Encounter with David

This is where we get to the heart of my story. As I said, I was a wealthy man. Some months before my encounter with David, David came to live in our area (I Samuel 25:4ff). He protected my people from outlaws and bandits and never once took any advantage of my herdsmen. I knew that he had guarded my herdsman when they were out in the fields protecting my flock.

This is important. In my culture, if a person did you a favor you owe them hospitality. This is still true in the Middle East today! It’s one of the best parts of Middle Eastern culture. When David sent his men to ask me to give them a little lamb meat for the holidays, not only did I owe this to him as an act of kindness, I owed it to him as an act of hospitality in the culture in which I lived (vv. 6-8).

Unfortunately, this is where the worst part of my personality ruined my life. Instead of giving a little food to David in response to his kindness to me, I sent away his messengers with harsh words (vv. 10-11). I’m afraid that my greed got the best of me. (I was a pretty greedy person at heart.) When David heard this, he became extremely angry and determined that he would kill me, my sons, and all my male servants (vv. 12-13). It would have been a disaster for our family. Worst of all, as I knew, David was perfectly capable of doing this. What was I thinking?

David’s Encounter with Abigail

One problem with having a bad temper and treating people harshly, especially when you are a leader, is that, eventually, people become scared of you. This was true of my servants (v. 17). Because they were afraid of me, one my servants went to see my wife Abigail (v. 14). As I mentioned earlier, I had a wonderful wife who I did not appreciate. Her name was “Abigail,” which means “joy of her father.”  Abigail’s father loved her, and I think he was probably was sorry she married me. Abigail was beautiful. More importantly, Abigail was gentle, smart and wise. If I had been a wiser man, I would have listened to my wife more than I did. [5]

When my servants went to see Abigail, they told her of David’s kindness to our shepherds, and the debt we owed him for his kindness (vv. 15-16). My wife immediately recognized the danger to our family (v. 18). Therefore, she made arrangements to go to David with a generous gift. She took 200 loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep, an entire bushel of grain, and 100 roasted cakes of raisin and 200 cakes of figs, which are sort of like your “Fig Newtons”  (v. 19).  It was a gift fit for a king, and it  shows just how wealthy I was. David was so impressed with my wife, and wise enough to listen to her good advice. Therefore, he did not kill me (vv. 22-35).

God’s Judgment on Me

Last week, you heard from my distant relative Adam. He was the first of our people to sin and act selfishly. You learned that sin has consequences that can harm your life. My story reveals that stupidity, ignorance, and foolishness also have consequences. In my case, the consequence was terrible. This is why Proverbs and wisdom literature generally calls the Way of Foolishness, the Path of Death. In my case, it was literally the path to my death.

I didn’t mention it earlier, but I had a bit of a drinking problem (vv. 36). At the very moment that my wife was saving the life of my family and servants, I was busy hosting a giant party for my friends. When she returned home, I had had too much to drink, so she did not tell me what had transpired. When she told me the next day, I had a heart attack! Ten days later I died.

God’s Blessing on Abigail

When she visited David, Abigail interceded on my behalf in the most diplomatic and wise way (vv. 26-31). She pointed out that it was beneath David, who would one day be King of Israel, to kill someone like me. David listened to Abigail, blessed her for the advice, and followed it (vv. 32-35). In so doing, he showed that he had a kind of wisdom not necessarily common among warriors and men of violence. Out in the wilderness, chased by Saul, God was molding David into the king he would one day be. When he heard that I had died, he recognized that God had judged me for treating him with contempt. (v. 40). [6]

In my culture, it would have been common for my wife Abigail to fall into poverty as a result of my death. David, of course, knew this. Therefore, he invited Abigail to become his wife, somewhat like Boaz, his great-grandfather, asked Ruth to become his wife years earlier (Ruth). Abigail agreed, and so she became a queen. She was not David’s favorite wife, Bathsheba was. However, my wife was his wisest and best wife (I think). She and David had a son named Daniel, perhaps a forbearer of the prophet my the same name! (II Samuel 3:3).

As a result of my behavior, my family disappeared from history. David, however, became a great king, the greatest of all of Israel’s kings. Abigail became the wife of the greatest king of Israel. Eventually, one of the children of David would become the messiah of Israel. You know him as Jesus.

Jesus and My Story

Jesus grew up in a Jewish household; and, of course, he probably knew my story. Later, when he was a man, he told a story of a man just like me. The story appears in Luke. It goes something like this: Once upon a time there was a rich man who was blessed with a large farm with fertile soil. One year, his land produced a wonderful crop. The crop was so large that he needed additional storage barns for the crop. This man decided to tear down his existing barns and build larger ones.

In these new storage barns, he intended to store all the grain he had produced. When this project was finished, decided that he would retire from farming and take life easy, because he had enough to last for many, many years. He said to himself that he would “eat, drink, and be merry” for the rest of his life. Unfortunately, that very night he died. Jesus said that this is exactly how it is for anyone who is rich in the things of this world but not rich in the things of God (Luke 12:13-21).

As I have reflected upon my life, and upon this story from the New Testament, I see that I was very much like the Rich Fool. I had everything a man could possibly have. I had good parents. They left me a good inheritance. I expanded on that inheritance. (Despite all of my faults, I was a good businessman). I had a wise and wonderful wife. She was more beautiful and smarter than the wives of any of my friends. She was a true “Proverbs 31 wife.” I had every earthly blessing a man could ask for.

Unfortunately, I had two character flaws: (1) I was greedy and (2) I did not know how to control my tongue, both of which are condemned by Scripture. [7] Perhaps in your day and time you would say I had a low self-image, and therefore created a False Self that was angry and defensive in the extreme. Or, you might just say that I was a jerk to everyone around me. My servants feared me. My friends called me a fool behind my back. My wife was constantly covering up my mistakes.

In the end, I wasted the gifts that God had given me. I never became the man God made me to be. I hope you won’t make the same mistake.


Copyright 2018, G. Christopher Scruggs, All Rights Reserved

[1]For more information, see Bill T. Arnold, “First and Second Samuel” in The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan 2003). This sermon was informed by this commentary’s treatment of the story.

[2] David’s kingdom was formed  around this time. Saul may have ruled from about 1050 to around 1025 B.C.

[3]For an introduction to Jewish Wisdom literature for Christians, see G. Christopher Scruggs, Path of Life: The Way of Wisdom for Christ-Followers (Eugene, OR: Wiph & Stock 2014).

[4]See, Derek Kidner, An Introduction to Wisdom Literature: The Wisdom of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes(Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 32 &44ff. 

[5] See, “Abigail” at, September 13, 2018).

[6]One feature of this story is the comparison between Nabal and David. David, though just as impulsive by nature as Nabal, stops when Abigail speaks to him, listens, and follows her advice. This is made more important by the fact that Abigail was a woman, and a person like David would not necessarily have followed her advice in that culture.

[7] This is the meaning of the Parable of the Rich Fool. See on greed: Psalms 10:3; Romans 1:29; I Corinthians 5:10; Mark 7:21-22; and Matthew 15:19-20. As to controlling the tongue, see:  Proverbs 10:19; 15:5; 12:6-7, 13-14, 18-19; 15:1-2, 28; 17:19; 18:1-8,  27-28;  21:23; Matthew 15:11, I Peter 3:10; Colossians 4:6; Ephesians 4:29; Titus 3:1-2; James 1:19-26.

I Woke up One Morning and I was Me!

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. [1] 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. [2] 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. [3]

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. [4] 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. [5]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. [6]

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. [7] 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

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

[4] 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.

[5] 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.

[6] 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.

[7] Benedict Fitzgerald & Mel Gibson, The Passion of the Christ dir. Mel Gibson (Icon Productions, 2004).