Mankind was created in God’s image to rule over creation under his headship. Given mankind’s place of authority in the union of creation (all things), Adam’s union could not self-destruct in isolation. In Genesis 3 the Bible describes how the unity of creation fractured under the rebellion of man (against God).

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And 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 midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely 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.

(Genesis 3:1-6, ESV)

The first indication that there was a problem with unity (in God) in the garden is the appearance of the serpent. There are three contextual pieces of information given about him (vs1):
• He was created by God,
• He is a beast of the field,
• He is more cunning than any other beast of the field.

Firstly, to say that the serpent was created by God places him under God’s authority and judgement. This means when God described the unity of creation as “very good”, the serpent was included. Secondly, saying that the serpent is a beast of the field places it firmly under the authority of man within the order of creation. Finally, the serpent is described as crafty. This could mean anything from being astute to scheming/calculating. No matter the exact meaning of the word, it soon becomes clear that the serpent is not to be trusted. The first thing he does when he opens his mouth to speak is question a decree given to man by God. It is clear he acting in conflict with the order (unity) of creation in three ways:
1. Questioning a human. the role of the serpent is to be in submission to the authority of mankind (abuse of power was not a worry at this time),
2. Questioning an order from God. This is worse than questioning a human decree. God is head of all things and as such demands complete obedience,
3. The decree not to eat did not even concern the serpent, so his questioning can only be seen as a successful attempt to sow discord between those with authority over him.

The correct response (to the serpent’s questioning) would have been to remind the serpent of his place, condemning him (standing in judgement as his head) for his divisive behaviour in questioning the good decrees of God-given to mankind. Instead of doing this Eve submits to his questioning entering into a discussion about the integrity of God (his headship). Therefore Eve accepted the judgement and conclusions of the serpent over God’s judgement and proven character.

After Eve submitted herself to the questioning and judgement of the serpent Adam silently submits to Eve’s judgment concerning the fruit (vs6). Therefore this means that all humanity (in Adam) became subject to a creature they were created to rule over (the serpent).

This represents a fundamental shift in mankind’s assessment of its place in the universe, away from God’s good order and judgements. This means that mankind’s distinctive roles within marriage and the universe were dismissed by humanity as “not good”. By ignoring the commands of God, who has authority over all things, mankind seeks to usurp his rule and replace his order with their own (or none at all).

By judging the fruit as “good” (opposed to “not good”) Adam and Eve took it upon themselves to determine right and wrong/good and bad in the universe. Therefore their subsequent shame in their flesh is a reassessment of the “goodness” of their nudity and a clear indication of their disunity with God and one another. Adam and Eve felt no shame in their naked bodies (Genesis 2:25) because God created them naked and judged it to be “good”. The flesh of Adam was given to mankind by God so that all humanity would be one (united).

After Adam and Eve had eaten they tried to conceal themselves from God to hide the shame of their broken union. When confronted by God Adam explains the situation, to which God asked “Who told you that you were naked?” (vs11). This is not because he didn’t know, rather he asks this to show that this knowledge/judgement didn’t come from him. This knowledge/judgement was not present in creation when God looked at all he had made (the whole order of creation) and declared it to be “very good”. It is God’s role as creator and head of all things to provide all good things for his creatures who he is responsible for (all creation). It is the role of mankind to use all the good things they receive from God for the good of creation, which God had placed in their care. For Adam and Eve to possess knowledge that God didn’t give them represents a break from the order of their union (all good things come from God).

God himself is unaffected by the sin and disunity of man because he is not part of creation, and as such isn’t subject to the headship of man. God is not subject to anything (except himself) yet all things are defined by their relationship to him (for or against). The relationship (unity) between man and God was broken and in response God stands in judgement over his creation once again. However this time he judges it to be “bad” (inconsistent with himself).


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