God had designed everything perfectly including the allowance of man to see good and evil, know good and evil and even to choose good and evil. It pleased God to create us with the ability to choose how we would live. We could follow His clear direction and His 'Way' or we could go in our own direction and our 'own way'.
Genesis 3 is the account of the first human choice that was our 'own way'. A few thoughts to ponder after you have read the text in your Bible:
1. Evil/Satan/Serpent - We are introduced to the enemy of God/Good and that is Satan/Evil. We are not told of His creation but only that He is present and at odds with the perfection God has created.
2. Alone - It appears that Satan and Eve are having a one-on-one conversation but the text says that Adam is with her (at least at some point). Eve makes the first choice to disobey God. We see the first failure of Community. Community should prevent us being alone and should prevent us from making lonely decisions with fatal consequences. Accountablity in this matter falls to both Adam and Eve for failing to hold up to the standards and protections that God had set for them.
3. Words/Precision - Satan comes onto the scene with a subtle trick that he still employs today. He takes God's perfection and God's Word and twists things just a bit to wreak havoc. Little decisions and little changes can have huge consequence. Satan will often cause us to doubt God's Word, God's Motive and our best interests. It happened with Adam/Eve and it can happen to you and me.
4. Shame/Guilt - Once Adam and Eve had chosen to go against the Way of God they were ashamed of themselves. They dealt with true guilt...they were guilty for following their own way instead of God's Way. However, shame can be an emotion that lasts much longer than guilt. Guilt can go away when we seek forgiveness for our actions. God grants forgiveness and bam - the guilt is gone forever. Shame is an emotion that can be used against us long after our guilt is pardoned. Why? Satan will use shame to remind us of what we did, who we were and how we fell.
5. Curse/Fall - Our actions carry consequences that can be both short term and long term. Short term, Adam and Eve lost their perfect standing with God in sinless community. Long term, they lost perfection and innocence that marred the existence of man for thousands of years (and counting). The curse of Sin was also the curse of choice. Why did God give us this fatal ability to choose? Because without it we would not have the ability to love Him/others as He desired us to...
6. Bad News/Good News - Good News always sounds best when it follows the bad. The bad is that man fell from God that day and that we are still fallen. The Good News is that this was no surprise for our Creator. Just as He gave us choice so that we could love, He planned the perfect rescue from our choice so that we could experience His love. Even in the Garden of God, our salvation was being prepared so that we might be brought back to perfect Community.
Do you suffer from guilt that is due to something you should change but haven't? Have you been held back by shame?
Do you have Community around you that can keep you from falling into temptation?