God had finished His work of creation, He'd made the grass and trees, the birds and animals and the insects and fish. But most important of all, he'd made people, the first man Adam, and the first woman Eve.
Adam & Eve’s job was to look after the world that God had made. It was all so good and perfect, everyday God Himself would come and walk and talk with Adam and Eve in a garden that He'd planted for them - the Garden of Eden. And when they heard Him in the garden they’d run to be with Him. And they loved to be with God and talk with Him about all that they were doing. Everything was perfect, everything was just how it was supposed to be (P) but it wasn't going to last.
In the Garden of Eden, God had planted a tree, called 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil'. And He told Adam and Eve that if they ate the fruit from that tree they would - die!
It seemed strange to them, the 'tree of the knowledge of good and evil' was fine to look at and it's fruit was as good as any other, and yet they were forbidden to even try it?
And anyway, what was - death? Adam and his wife couldn't really understand properly - because there was no death in the world. They just knew it wasn’t what God wanted and so - they left it alone. Anyway, there were plenty of other trees in the garden, apples and pears, bananas and oranges to name just a few - so it wasn't hard to leave the tree alone. If God had said not to touch it, He must have a good reason (P) they may not understand but they knew they could trust God. (PAUSE)
God had put that tree in the garden because He wanted to know if the man and the woman really loved Him. (P) If they obeyed Him by not eating the forbidden fruit then He would know that they did love Him. But, if they disobeyed Him and ate the fruit, then He'd know that He wasn't as important to them as He should be.
It was all so simple. Leave the fruit alone and all would be well. (P) But temptation often comes when you know something's wrong!
Now, into the Garden of Eden, where the man and the women were living and working, there came an enemy of God. And disguising himself as a snake, he hid by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, whose fruit Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat. The enemy of God hated God and wanted to destroy all the good works God had done. He wanted to spoil God’s perfect creation, and had planned just how to do it! (PAUSE)
God knew what the enemy wanted to do, but He didn't stop him being near the tree. He didn't even stop the enemy from talking to the man and woman, because He wanted the man and woman to love Him by choosing to obey His simple command and not eat the fruit - no matter what anybody said to them! (P) All heaven waited to see what the man and woman would do. (PAUSE)
One day, as they worked in the garden, Adam and Eve came near to the place where the enemy, disguised as a snake, was waiting. As the woman was nearest to it, the snake started talking to her.
'Hello,' he said.
'Hello,' she replied.
'This is a very beautiful garden you live in,' continued the snake.
'Thank you,' replied the woman, 'God planted it for us and asked us to look after it.'
Then the crafty snake asked a question that started to twist what God had said. 'Tell me, did God really say that you aren't allowed to eat any of the fruit in the garden?'
'Of course we can eat it,' replied the woman. Then she pointed to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 'It's only the fruit from that tree that we aren't allowed to eat. God said that we shouldn't eat it, or even touch it, or else we will - die!'
'You won't die,' lied the snake. 'God said you weren't allowed to eat that fruit because He knows that when you do you'll be able to understand everything and become as wise and as powerful as He is.'
'Ooh', said the woman. And as she looked up at the glistening fruit hanging temptingly on the tree, she saw how ripe it looked and thought how good it must be to eat. And as she stared at it, a longing came up inside her, and she could see herself, wise like God, powerful and majestic. Almost without noticing she was touching the fruit - and then she decided. She wanted to be like God. She wanted wisdom and power. And she was going to have it. The fruit pulled easily from the branch, she lifted it to her mouth and deliberately bit deeply into the ripe flesh. And then, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, a cold triumphant look on her face, she walked over to where her husband, Adam, had been watching.
Why hadn't he stopped her? Why hadn't he just taken her by the hand and led her away, or reminded her once again of what God had told them?
But now it was too late for the woman, there she stood before him, with an expression on her face that he’d never seen before. In her hand she held the fruit, and her lips where stained from the juices. Adam watched wide-eyed as she raised her hand to him, offering him the remainder of the stolen fruit.
If only he'd said no! If only he'd been stronger. If only he'd remembered what God had said and - and - just run away. But like a fool, he took the ripe fruit and without hesitation bit deeply into it, dreaming of how he too might become wise and powerful, majestic and mighty like God Himself. (P)
At that very moment their minds and their hearts were changed. Up until then everything had been simple, but now, things were somehow different. The enemy disguised as a snake was laughing at them. How easy it had been to trick them, and now they would no longer be God's friends, but his slaves!
And now, everything seemed complicated! They were naked! Why hadn't that bothered them before? How could they possibly face God naked! How embarrassing! In a hurry they found some leaves and tried to make something to cover themselves up with, but before they’d managed to make it work properly, and to their horror, they heard God walking in the garden. What were they going to do? How could they face God now?
In their fear and confusion Adam and Eve hid themselves amongst the trees of the garden, unwilling to go near the one they'd always previously longed to be with. Instead of running to greet Him at the sound of His voice, they ran away in their shame - and hid! Oh how things had changed! (PAUSE)
So God called out to the man and woman, 'Where are you?'
The man called back, 'I heard you in the garden, and ... and ... well ... I'm naked! I can't come to you like this, it's so embarrassing and you might be angry with me!'
'Who told you that you were naked?' asked God. 'Have you eaten the fruit from the tree I told you not to eat from?'
'Yes,' admitted the man as they slowly came out from their hiding places. 'But it wasn't really my fault,' he lied. 'It was her fault,' He pointed at the woman. 'She gave it to me.'
God looked at the woman. 'How could you do such a thing after I told you not to?'
'It's not really my fault,' she lied. 'The snake tricked me into eating it.' (PAUSE)
Adam and Eve regretted that day for the rest of their lives, wishing that they'd listened to God and never disobeyed Him. But it was too late now, death had come into the world and it couldn't be undone by anyone!
So what was the point in continuing? Why didn't God end it all then? His own creation had chosen to reject Him. (P) But even before He'd made the world, He’d known that Adam and Eve would disobey Him. But He still loved them - that's why He called out to them instead of destroying them. And, He was already working on His own plan, a plan made before the world had begun, that one day He would destroy the power of the enemy - death itself - so we could not only be His friends again, but His children.