Experience silence in the midst of your busy day. Take some time to relax into a time to be with God.
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 (NRSV)
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 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 middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not 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 loincloths for themselves.
When I moved to beautiful East Tennessee to attend college, I was not entirely prepared for the amount of anti-Memphis sentiment I encountered, which was really just thinly veiled racism. Being from Memphis, I knew, or at least I thought I knew, that people disliked my city and were afraid to visit, but until I immersed myself in a new place where this sentiment was present (although certainly not dominant by any means), I did not truly know how different regions of the country viewed my city.
Usually we cannot fully understand something until we have experienced it, and it appears that Adam and Eve learned this lesson the hard way. When the serpent warned Eve and Adam (lest we forget Adam was with Eve during this conversation) that partaking of the fruit that God had forbidden would make them “like God, knowing good and evil,” I do not believe the serpent lied. Choosing to disobey God did, in fact, make them know evil when they had only known goodness. Until that moment, Eve and Adam had never experienced any kind of struggle or suffering, yet after the event, they experienced evil first hand through the repercussions of their actions.
The Hebrew word used in this passage that is translated as “know” is yada, which is the same word used in the Old Testament to indicate an intimate physical relationship between spouses. An integral component of knowing is experience, not just mental acknowledgment. That day, Eve and Adam began to know evil.
Evil has a way of making itself known in our lives today as well. Many of us don’t just read or hear about the atrocities of this world, but we experience them first hand. Although this particular passage does not contain the happy ending that we might want, I’m afraid I can’t conclude without a spoiler alert: Despite the evil that makes itself known in our lives, our God has a way of moving through and speaking into our lives in such a way that goodness, grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, and peace are also made intimately known to us. As we traverse this world where we know so much evil, let us open our eyes to the goodness of God at work in the world, and let us know God in new ways each day.
God of grace and mercy who knows us when we hardly know ourselves, pour your love into our lives. As Eve and Adam sought to know evil, inspire in us a desire to know goodness and the ability to alleviate evil whenever we are presented with an opportunity to do so. Bless us as we seek to know you better today than we did yesterday, and better tomorrow than we do today. We thank you, we love you, and we praise you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Go with God.