Sunday May 5, 2002 | Greg Boyd
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' “
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Today’s sermon addressed the question, “What went wrong?” by taking us back to Genesis 3.
In the previous three sermons Greg has been focusing on the centrality of love for the Christian life. At every moment we are truly loved by God. It is this love that we are to abide in. It is this same love that we can pass on to others so that they will know that God is real and Christ was true. Even though this is what we were created for, anyone can see that it is not what is most true about Christians or the Church today.
Today’s sermon addresses the question of “What went wrong?” by taking us back to Genesis 3. Our role in the beginning was to be loved by God, to walk in that love with God, and share it with the rest of creation. All “judging” was to be God’s job, in fact, we were not even to know good from evil! We were to know only God, God’s love and God’s gracious providence for us. The serpent in the garden began the process of accusations and judgments of “good and evil” by suggesting to Eve that God was not telling the truth about the tree in the middle of the garden—the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” Greg emphasized that this false picture of God, one that is untrustworthy, is at the root of our inability to love and serve God effectively. Once we view God as untrustworthy, we stop getting life (Love) from God and seek it from other sources. But there is no other worthy source. The serpent accused God, Eve believed the accusation, and began to distrust God. We’ve gone so far down this road that many of us actually believe that our job is to judge ourselves and others rather than to love. We cannot give what we do not receive. This means that the central problem of the “fall” is that we now have a mistrustful eye toward God that prevents us from being who we were intended to be, recipients of God’s love. The solution is to be reconciled to God in Christ. This restores the connection that we are intended to have to our Source.