QUESTION: Why is the Adam and Eve story significant to me?
Aside from the anthropological implications of the Adam and Eve story, there is a great deal to be gained from it. The Adam and Eve story explains God’s intentions for humanity, the nature of Satan, mankind’s reaction to temptation, and why there is so much turmoil in this world. The Adam and Eve story can be read starting in Genesis 2:4.
First, we see God’s intentions for humanity. God did not intend for us to be living in this amoral, fallen world. God intended for us to abide by His commandments, and if we chose to live in His will, we would not be afflicted with evil. The Adam and Eve story demonstrates the type of world we would have lived in if we did not choose sin.
Satan’s nature is revealed in the Adam and Eve story. God tells us that Adam and Eve would die if they disobeyed His one commandment. Satan lied to Eve and told her that she would not die. Even today God shows his true intentions for us in Romans 6:23, “For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard.” Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. Satan will lie to us today saying, “surely you shall not die” as he has from the beginning of creation and convince us that disobeying God is the right course of action.
Mankind’s reaction to temptation has been revealed to us in the Adam and Eve story. Adam and Eve failed to obey God. Satan tempts us today; he tempts us to lie, to take something that isn’t ours, to hate, and to commit various other sins. Sadly, we fall to temptation and give in to these sinful urges just as Adam and Eve disobeyed God.
There are two ramifications of our sinful choices that result in turmoil. The first is obvious. God gives us commandments because without them we would be hurt. For example, He commands us to abstain from sexual immorality because there are emotional consequences, and now with sexually transmitted diseases there are also physical consequences. We are commanded not to steal because it results in a victim. When we disobey these commands there are consequences, and this results in the presence of evil in our lives.
The other ramification is God’s delivery of justice, which results in turmoil. God warned of the judgment He would cast onto Adam and Eve if they disobeyed Him; similarly He warns us of the judgment He will cast onto us. We willingly choose to invoke His wrath by our decision to disobey Him.
The Adam and Eve story is very significant to us because it demonstrates God’s original plan for our existence, and the effect of surrendering to Satan. The story has amazing explanatory power and offers clarity concerning our fallen world. However the story is also significant in that it amplifies the story of Jesus. Even though Adam and Eve rejected God, He did not reject them, but offered redemption. Through Christ’s sacrifice, God again offered redemption to a world who had rejected him. The penalty of sin is death, but that penalty has already been paid. We do not have to face God’s judgment; we can accept the payment for that judgment.