We are learning about some really amazing facts from the early pages of the Bible. We are made in God’s Image, made to bring glory to God, and made for the purpose of stewarding the earth. These are building blocks for understanding a very important duality to our nature. We are both valuable to God and subordinate to God. Our culture encourages us to see our value. Most of us have no problem with that!
Subordination, on the other hand, is a topic we don’t really like! We like to plot our own course, make our own choices and determine what is good for ourselves. At our core, we rebel against rules, strive against authority and we like to be graded on a curve. If we hare honest, we realize we have a very disobedient nature. Ever wonder why we are like this? To learn more, we will need to look at Genesis 3.
Bringing the Bible to Life for Mom
We Inherited a Rebellious Heart
How is it that the choice Eve and Adam made to disobey God affects all of us? You understand that we inherit physical qualities like the color of our eyes, the shape of our nose or how tall or short we are from our parents. These physical traits are passed down to us through generations. Sometimes we can see a resemblance between our photos and those of even our grandparents!
Well, we have also inherited one really big spiritual trait, a rebellious heart! We can trace this rebellion all the way back to the decision that Eve and Adam made in the garden of Eden. Once they made the decision to disobey God, all of the children they would have for generations to come would inherit that same disobedient spiritual heart. Just like we have DNA passed down through generations, we have a problem with our will that has also been passed down from our earliest ancestors. We call this the sin nature. And it’s confirmed in scripture in Romans 5:12, sin entered the world because of one man, Adam.
Universal Nature of Sin
There is a universal nature to sin. When children are born, we don’t have to teach them to lie, be selfish or fight. That just seems to come naturally! In Psalm 51:5, even David admits that he was sinful from birth. Have you ever tried to count how many times you’ve disobeyed God just in one day?! You might be surprised to find that your heart is darker that you ever realized! The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 7:20 and Romans 3:9-12 that everyone has sinned. We simply can’t get away from that fact in scripture or in reality. Romans 3:23 tells us that no human measures up to God’s glory.
Sin is not graded on a curve!
Often times we are tempted to justify our sin by thinking that our sin isn’t quite as bad as the next guy’s sin. Ever done that? I sure have! But that’s simply not the way it works. Your teachers might grade on a curve to adjust your grade as it compares to the rest of the class, but God, because he is holy and just, simply can’t do that. And we rely on God’s holiness and justice to be pure, because when we are affected by the sin of others, we want some kind of retribution. You might think it’s not fair that God sees your gossip as sin, UNTIL the gossip of someone else hurts you. God is so completely even in the way he sees sin. All sin is reprehensible to him, He never gives a little “wink and nod” at our sin.
Rules Protect Us
Here’s an interesting tidbit from Genesis 3. How many rules did God initially give to Adam and Eve to follow? One hundred? Ten? No, just one! One little rule. And Adam and Eve had a hard time following just one. When God gave that one rule, sin had not yet entered the hearts of Adam and Eve, so they didn’t need a bunch of rules. They only needed one rule and it was a rule that protected them.
We see rules as restrictive, not protective! Again, this is part of our sin nature. We want to be able to define good and evil for ourselves. This is a critical concept to understand. And it goes back to the foundational truth that we are subordinate to God. When we decide what is good and evil for ourselves, we place ourselves above God. We are saying that we know more than God. But wait a minute! If God created us and the entire universe, doesn’t he know more that we do?! Yes, he does! Think about this, with that one initial act of rebellion, one rule turned into over 600 rules! Even so, each rule is designed with our best interest at heart, to protect us.
God Made a Way to Forgive
Now, you might think this is bad news. And to some extent it is. Genesis 3 was a major turning point for humanity. Our perfect relationship with God was broken. Spiritual and physical death entered the world. Mankind was expelled from the perfect garden to face a life filled with thorns and toil. But even with all of those negative consequences to sin, God is still very interested in mankind and loved us enough to provide a way for our sin to be forgiven and our relationship with him to be restored!
Look closely at God’s words in Genesis 3:15. God tells Satan, the very one who tempted Eve to disobey, that one day, a descendant of Eve would crush Satan’s head. That’s the promise of Jesus, right there in Genesis 3! 1 John 3:5 tells us that Jesus came to take away our sins. And what qualified him to do that was the fact that he himself never sinned. He was able to pay the penalty for our sin, taking our place, because he had never sinned himself. This is the one and only pathway that God made for our restoration.
Bringing the Bible to Life for Kids
Read Genesis 2:8-17, preferably in the NIrV translation. Your children will find this translation more understandable.
Now ask: What one rule did God give to Adam and Eve? God said, “Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Just One Rule!
In these verses we see that God gave the fruit from the trees in the garden for Adam and Eve to eat. Well, all the fruit except one. God did not want people to know evil. They already knew good, because they knew God. But they did not yet know what evil was and God wanted to protect them from evil. That’s why he set up that ONE rule.
Rules are Good
Read Genesis 3. Next ask your child: Why did Eve disobey God’s rule? Eve didn’t trust that God knew best.
Eve decided to disobey God because she wanted to be wise, like God. That might seem ok, to be wise. But Eve failed to understand that she could never actually be wise just like God. God wanted her to TRUST Him, not BE Him. When you disobey God, we call that sin. God gave one rule in order to protect Eve and Adam from knowing evil. God’s rules protect us. That’s why it’s important to obey God, because his rules help protect us.
Sin is Sticky!
Ask: What changed for Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God? Adam and Eve suddenly knew fear and shame and hid from God.
Genesis 3:7 – 10 tells us that Adam and Eve felt shame, and fear and hid from God. Their wonderful relationship with God was now broken. That’s what happens when we disobey God. We become fearful of God. We try to hide from God and we feel shame. Sin can be sticky!
A Fun Activity
Squirt some chocolate syrup (or honey, molasses, peanut butter or anything skicky) into palm of your child’s hand. This sticky substance represents sin in our lives. Sin is messy!
Pick up a cup with your sticky hand. What happened? Did the cup stay clean? Your sticky hand affected the cup, just like our sin can impact other people.
Now, ask your mom if she will just pretend your hands aren’t sticky. Ask if she will let you shake her hand. You and your mom might shake hands, but there is no pretending! That sticky mess will transfer to her hand. In the same way, sin never goes away by pretending it’s not there! We need to agree with God that we have sinned so that he will forgive us for our sins. This is what we call repentance, agreeing with God about our sin and turning from that sin.
Next, try to wipe off the stickiness without using anything else (no water, no towel, and not your clothes!). Were you able to clean off all of the mess by yourself? What happened to the sticky? Did it spread? Just like you couldn’t get all of the stickiness off without some outside help, we can’t really do anything to clean the sin from our hearts. Only God is able to do that. And our sin, left in our hearts, just spreads.
Now wash your hands with soap and water. How does it feel to have that sticky mess cleaned up? I’ll bet your hands feel clean. It’s the same with our sin. When we let Jesus wash away our sin, we are clean.
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I can’t wait to do this with my grandchildren. Thank you!
Let us know how it goes!