Community. God wants us to live in community, to love one another as he first loved us. The picture of the Garden of Eden is one of perfection that was marred by temptation, by listening to the voice of the great deceiver. God’s plan was for man and woman to live together in harmony. When sin entered into the equation, the plan changed.
Satan enters the story in Genesis 3, early in the account of creation, setting the stage forever. The great deceiver begins by luring Eve into a conversation, “Did God really say…” Eve’s response is interesting because it seems that she adds a provision we don’t see in Genesis 2:16-17, “…you must not touch it…” Of course, God could have given them a list of rules and we only see the summary in 16-17, but here’s the reality: Eve and Satan are having a conversation, worse: Eve is listening to the serpent. That cannot end well.
Adam is complicit as well. Eve offers him the fruit and he eats it even though he knows the simple command that God provided. Peer pressure to the extreme, perhaps, but Adam knew (“who was with her”) and he disobeyed, “and he ate it.”
At this moment God could have simply cleaned the slate and started over, but that was not his reaction. Mankind is forever changed, but with a desire for restoration, not termination.
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
The word enmity is not something I hear in conversation, so I looked it up: Webster’s provides this simple definition: “a very deep unfriendly feeling.” Dictionary.com is stronger, “a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism” and Google shows, “the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” It looks like Webster is trying not to offend people (seriously!). When I insert one of these definitions into the verse, it helps me understand a bit more:
And I will put [the state of being actively opposed] between [Satan] and [women]…
Ultimately woman will give birth to Jesus who will crush Satan forever and erase this curse as Paul describes at the end of Romans (Romans 16:20), “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
There is a lot to consider with these few verses. The introduction of sin into our world is a heavy subject, one that is hard to discuss with those who have been raised without God in their lives. We need to wrestle with this concept because as we begin to understand how sin entered the world we will see how the Bible provides the narrative to tell the story of God’s relentless desire to restore our relationship. This gives us the knowledge to explain how Christ came to relinquish sin (pain and suffering) and restore God’s creation. As we grow in this knowledge we prepare ourselves to give an answer to everyone who asks us for the reason we have hope (1 Peter 3:15) — the hope of the world — Jesus Christ.