As a frequent browser of the internet in 2015, when I think of the Biblical account of the fall in Genesis 3, I envision a “You Had One Job” meme featuring Eve, the tree, and the fruit. In fact, when I run a google search for it, I find that I am not the first to think of this. Not totally surprising, as the woman literally had only one “thou shalt not” to comply with (Genesis 2:16-17). Honestly, what was she thinking?
It is so easy to read the Bible and wonder at the idiocy of the characters. Did God not just say to them not to do that? Did their entire nation not just complete their punishment for making that same mistake before? How could they think that this could possibly go well for them? We may shake our heads and wonder at their blindness.
In many of the Biblical accounts of people sinning, we are not given much insight into their inner monologue. Often, all that is spelled out in black and white for us is the setup, the responsive action, and the consequence. At best, these people seem like hopeless fools; at worst, they look like villains. However, if we would spend a little time imagining what might be going on in their minds, if we will only read between the lines a very little bit, we’ll likely come to find that we have much in common with these villains.
Much like Eve, who exaggerated the constraints put on her (Genesis 3:2-3) and was desirous of having more and being more (Genesis 3:6). I know what it is like to indulge in self-pity, desiring more and better for myself, and imagining my situation to be an uninspired disappointment.
Much like Cain, who refused to accept responsibility for his slack, and instead found fault with someone else (Genesis 4). Without actually committing murder, I have harbored jealousy toward others, often resulting in some pretty ridiculous behavior of my own.
Much like Haman, who desired the affirmation of others so greatly, who treasured power so highly that he reacted violently in response to rejection or perceived threat (Esther 3:5-6). No, I have not attempted to incite genocide; but I have felt sinful disdain for people who appear to reject me or threaten my image.
Much like the mob, who screamed for Pontius Pilate to crucify Him, being swayed and aroused by the emotions of the crowd surrounding them, neglecting the Perfect One standing before them. I have removed my eyes from the Savior that I know to be perfect, becoming distracted and even impassioned by other things. I have sinfully chosen other pursuits over Jesus.
Put in a similar situation, and given only the strength of our flesh, we would act and think in the same or very similar ways. The same heart issues of the broken nature of man are at the root of all acts of sin. Only through Christ are we given the strength and ability to act in righteousness, to be righteous.
Apart from Him we are as hopeless as Eve, as Cain, as Haman, as the mob at Jesus’ crucifixion. The gift of the gospel creates an equal impact on us all—we were dead, and now we are alive.