Every great story is a redemption story.
The Bible is at heart, a rescue story. It is the story of God’s redemptive activity on our behalf. In short, it is a Story of salvation.
But before we can talk about the “Good News” of God we find in Jesus, we must first acknowledge the “Bad News”. On this point, the Bible is brutally honest.
This is the story of Genesis 3, the beginning of the “Bad News”. Adam and Eve succumb to the temptation to be like God. Rather than being content with bearing God’s image, they stretch too far, overstepping the boundaries of the created, longing instead to become Creator.
It was one simple command: do not eat of this fruit. But that which is forbidden is often the most difficult to ignore. Desire festers and when the opportunity is ripe, the tempter approaches.
“Did God really say…?” The seductive question lingers in the air, working its dark magic. “Perhaps God is holding out on you,” the serpent whispers. “Don’t you want to be like Him? Did He really say you’d die when you eat of this fruit?” Playing on their pride, the serpent plants the seed of doubt in Adam and Eve’s heart.
By taking the fruit, Adam and Eve implicitly say to God, “I don’t care what You’ve said. I’m doing this my way.” This simple act of disobedience sets in motion a chain of events: first recognition, then shame, then vulnerability, and finally blame. Sin enters the world like cancer entering the bloodstream, working systemically to corrupt God’s good creation.
And so Genesis 3 is a game changer, the story of a world broken, a world gone bad.
What transpired in that garden so many ages ago is played out even today across the world. Look at our news headlines today:
- Trouble in the Middle East.
- Terrorism and violence, hostages held against their will as pawns in some madman’s cruel game.
- Sports heroes fabricating relationships and lying for years about their use of performance-enhancing drugs.
- Murder, infidelity, corporate scandal and abuse.
But really, we need look no further than our own lives for proof of “Bad News”, for sin and disobedience lead to the same deep death in you and me.
The world is broken, yes.
But we are broken also.
Adam & Eve’s rebellion is ours, too. Each time we sin, we willfully separate ourselves from God, choosing a false sense of autonomy over communion with the Creator God. And God acquiesces to this desire for autonomy: He casts Adam and Eve out of the garden of provision into a world of their own choosing, a world of pain and toil, strife and grief. And we would do well to see sin in much the same light, a “less than” existence that pales in comparison to the riches of life with God.
But even here, amid all this tragedy and rebellion, we find promise. To the serpent, God says:
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. — Gen. 3:15
Some have called this the protoevangelium, the first reference to a coming Redeemer. The “Bad News” has already been established: Eden has been lost, and with it, humanity’s relationship with God. But here we also find hope, a promise that God will not easily give up His creation.
Evil does not get the final word.
God will choose to engage, to enter the fray, on behalf of His good creation.
And this brings to mind another garden, many years later.
A garden where another choice was hanging in the balance.
Only this time, the response amounted to a complete reversal of Adam & Eve’s garden experience.
Rather than saying, “We’re doing this my way,” He prayed, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22)
Rather than reaching out for forbidden fruit, He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped (Phil. 2).
And in this second garden, God set out to put the world back together, to repair that which was broken — in creation, but even more, in me, in you.
And even in the midst of all of this “Bad News”…
God saw fit to counter with a word of “Good News”.
His name is Jesus.