Genesis 3:12-13, Deception and Fear: A Recipe for Disaster
“Did you eat from the tree which I commanded you, ‘you will not eat from it?’” and the man said, “the woman which you gave with me – she gave it to me from the Tree… then I ate.” Then YHVH Elohim said to the woman, “What is this you did?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, then I ate.”
Before delving into the judgments of these three players (the man, the woman, and the serpent), it’s important to underscore the reaction of Adam and Chava (Eve). Isn’t it interesting that right after “their eyes were opened” they – in a united team effort – made ratty-tatty aprons and hid in the woods together? As went the one, so went the other.
It seems that fear is a by-product of the Tree-of-Knowledge. As soon as we know something, we fear it! This fear seems to make us do some crazy stunts – like making hole-y (not holy) clothes and hiding in the woods for example! This was a result of them immediately fearing judgment, the unknown, nakedness, etc.
And from that time, our fears still motivate us, for better or worse. Some fears are healthy. We work jobs we hate because we fear that our kids will go hungry, or we fear disappointing and/or disobeying God. However, most fears are unhealthy. Most of us trudge through life succumbing to unnecessary fears, not just psychotic phobias but fears of failure, rejection, the unknown… in some cases we even fear success!
We place humans on pedestals for acts of heroism and courage – which is a good thing – but we may not realize its implications. Every time we reward an Audie Murphy or Molly Pitcher, we passively accept that bravery is an exception to the rule, and far from the norm. There’s a reason the Bible is filled with phrases like “do not fear”, “take courage” or “be strong”. There’s a reason that Israel and the rest of the nations are often depicted as having “no spirit left in them” and totally paralyzed with fear.
Speaking of fear, I hesitate to address the elephant in the room but am nevertheless going to acknowledge the truth: women are more susceptible targets of deception. It’s a faux pas to mention in the present, but it is in the eternal, God-inspired Book:
…For Adam was formed first, then Havah. Adam wasn’t deceived, but the woman, being deceived, had fallen into disobedience… (1 Timothy 2:13-14)
Rav Shaul (Paul) is not excusing men from deception! God never said nor implied anything to the contrary. What the Scriptures DO say was that Adam was made first, but he was deceived… second. On the other hand, Chavah was made second, but was first deceived. The lesson is that men are susceptible to deception because they are easily stirred up by their loved ones. That’s why the Bible exhorts men over and over again to choose an Esther, not a Jezebel.
So from Creation, it would seem that men are susceptible to women, and women are susceptible to deception. It was bad enough that these inherent handicaps existed before the Fall, but afterwards, fear is mixed into the equation. It’s a recipe for disaster and still is to this day.
Therefore, we needed help. YHVH had to judge the situation to bring us focus and perhaps more importantly, a remedy. The enveloping judgments should actually be read with a mindset that God is actually beginning us on a road to recovery from a life of ‘ running around half-naked in the woods’, which is a parable of life without God – hiding from Him, totally naked, sabotaging our relationship with Him.