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A Journey through the book of Genesiswith Willow Creek Community Church

Read Genesis

Week 1/Day 3: The Divisive Effects of Sin

Willow Creek Community Church

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 

~ Genesis 3:8



Genesis is a book of beginnings. It describes for us the majestic and promise-filled beginning of the universe and the beginning of the nation of Israel. But it also describes for us unfortunate beginnings, like the beginning of sin and death. In Genesis 3, we read about how these things come to be as Adam and Eve sin against God and, as a result, come to experience death. On a philosophical level, this story serves to explain how evil and death found a place in God’s good world. They were the result of sin.

On a practical level, this story highlights why sin is such a problem and how its destructive nature divides relationships. Sin proves itself to be a divisive force in human relationships when Adam blames Eve (Genesis 3:12). Sin also divides the relationship between humans and creation, as we see Eve blaming the serpent (Genesis 3:13). Most significantly, sin separates us from God, destroying the very relationship that we were created to have. We see this when Adam hides himself from God, blames God, and is finally removed from God’s presence (Genesis 3:8, 12, 22-24).

If we pay close attention, we will see the common thread of sin’s divisive nature running through story after story in the book of Genesis. Sin causes sibling to turn against sibling, children against parents, and spouses against each other; sin’s divide is ever-present. This contributes to one of Genesis’ main points. We live in a world that is broken and desperately needs God’s blessing and restorative power. However, we should not miss how this thread weaves its way into the story of our own lives. If we are willing to look, we discover how our own sin and the sin of others has divided our relationships with people, the world, and with God.



The Fall

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me — he gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,


“Cursed are you above all livestock

and all wild animals!

You will crawl on your belly

and you will eat dust

all the days of your life.

15 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.”


16 To the woman he said,


“I will make your pains in childbearing

very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.

Your desire will be for your husband,

and he will rule over you.”


17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’


“Cursed is the ground because of you;

through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,

and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow

you will eat your food

until you return to the ground,

since from it you were taken;

for dust you are

and to dust you will return.”


20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Exploring the Text

1. In Genesis 3:5, the serpent tempts Eve and uses the phrase, “your eyes will be opened.” This phrase appears again after Eve has eaten the fruit in verse 7. Compare these two verses. Did Eve get what she wanted and expected when her eyes were opened? What do you think the phrase, “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew,” in verse 7 means?

Reflection Questions

2. In Genesis 3:9, God calls for Adam. This is the first instance in the Bible that God pursues a sinful human. The all-knowing God doesn’t ask Adam “where he is” because He can’t find him. He does this to give Adam an opportunity to pause and to face his sin and repent. The theme of God pursuing sinful humans is the story of the Bible and of God’s love for humanity. We sin and God seeks us out. When have you heard God “call out” to you to repent? What sinful behavior or pattern do you need to acknowledge today so that you can be in a right relationship with God?

3. Eve was deceived into eating the forbidden fruit but she was still held accountable for her action. One of the repercussions was the effect of her choice on her marriage to Adam. Because of sin, God’s perfect design for relationships—His plan for equality within marriage—was marred. How have you seen the effect of sin in your own marriage or a meaningful relationship? In Ephesians 5:24-25, we see that marriage should be a reflection of Christ’s love for the church. Take a moment to read those verses. What would marriage look like if it were a reflection of Christ’s love for the church?