18The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
Note once again the care that God shows for the man’s needs and the easy familiarity, the immediacy of their relationship. How we long to recapture this closeness with God!
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Here we have placed before us a clear boundary marker, reiterated by Jesus Christ Himself in the most literal possible manner: “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6) As we will see in the immediately following passage, the temptation to defy God’s boundaries can rest on what looks at the immediate moment like the best of motives. It is only with the unfolding of unforeseen consequences that we may realize the damage that has been done.
25The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Here, before the fall, their shamelessness towards nakedness conveys their general state of total innocence.
3 1Now 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’?”
The craftiness of the serpent as a case study in the art of temptation bears careful consideration. Although this dreadful event plays itself out in a matter of minutes, we should consider the likelihood that the serpent had been patiently observing and scheming for a considerable period prior to the actual attack.
Perhaps he had observed the woman glancing with desire at the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And in Adam, a growing desire to please his mate that had equaled or surpassed his desire to please God. Possibly in both he had detected a familiarity with the LORD God, in which they presumed too much on the benefits of their relationship, thus attenuating the fear of the LORD, which is the beginning of all wisdom.
Whatever the reasons, the serpent hit them at their greatest points of weakness. This is all too often the case for the temptations that come slithering into our lives. Whom of us in our mid-lives or later can’t look back with grief on the wreckage wrought by succumbing to temptations that should have been repulsed, but were allowed in because they hit at our weakest point?
2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but 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 surely 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.”
And so arrives the last moment of our innocence, in which it falls under the final hammer blows of temptation. In a single evil drenched sentence God’s motives are undermined and the ultimate delusional goal stimulates our own grasping pride – “you will be like God,” and then we fall.