She skeptically held that tiny fruit. It was glittering and glistening in the fresh morning sun. Not a single blemish, the jewel-toned color made her mouth water. She imagined that first taste by the sweet fragrance of the unknown delicacy that was just inches from her lips. Pausing for only a second, she wanted to forget everything that she had once heard about this fruit. Peering deep into the glossy reflection, she saw only goodness and beauty. It couldn’t have been this tree that was bad for her. There was no apparent reason that God should have kept her from this one little bite.
So, she went for it. Overcome with curiosity and desire, the gratifying fruit exploded on her tongue. It was everything she had hoped for in that moment of decision. It filled that ache of want for something more, something delicious, something forbidden. Yet, as she swallowed her first bite of doubt, her stomach turned sour. Too much of a good thing, she must have wondered. Or maybe just a nibble of the worst thing ever.
Rolling that fruit around her trembling palm, she now saw a little more. The fruit was beautiful, yes, but she suddenly burned with an incredible sadness. Unlike anything she felt before, her stomach ached and pinched. An invisible invader punched her from the inside and the first regret welled up from deep within. She doubled over, sitting down to catch her breath. Something was incredibly wrong.
And if there was one point and time that defined our present disfigured world, it was this moment in time. Not necessarily the second that a woman tasted a forbidden fruit, but rather what happened next.
There was someone else in the Garden that afternoon. Adam, her husband, was with her. Yet it seems to be a bit of a controversy in what capacity that Adam was with his wife. Was he with her the whole time when the serpent was deceiving his wife? Was he with her when she took that first bite of the forbidden fruit? Was he with her only after the fact as his wife writhed with pain on the ground? Where was Adam when the crafty serpent launched his attack?
Some interpretations would have us believe that Adam was deceived at the same time as his wife. After all, where else would he be in the Garden? It is thought that perhaps they were both tricked at the same time, and together and both took and ate. Others may infer that that woman acted alone, and it was her deceptive deed that pulled Adam into this mess. Scripture says that she is the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7), and woman was the only one deceived by the serpent (1 Timothy 14). These lines of reasoning play out our old familiar blame game that both man and woman are eager to play after their fall into sin.
But what if something greater happened in the midst of that first bite? Something extraordinary in that second where one half of God’s complete human creation was doomed, yet the other half still had a grasp on eternal life. What if the preface to the most amazing story pulsing with grace and mercy was unfolding here, right before our very eyes?
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.“ (Gen 3:6 ESV)
He was with her. God joined them both together as one flesh. Bone of my bone, confesses Adam. He recognizes his very own body in a completely other person. They are two, yet they are with each other. Similarly in Genesis 2:24, God creates a new family by joining man and woman together, instead of parent and child. The are with each other, physically, emotionally, creationally. Before the fall, this was a good and gracious thing. Man was not meant to be alone, woman was created as a help. They were both meant for more than a one-person existence. God created them to be with each other.
But that doesn’t mean that Adam had to be attached at her hip. In fact, we don’t know exactly where Adam was located in the middle of the exchange of the woman and the serpent. But in his very being, in the garden he was with her. When she took and ate the fruit, chewing it and swallowing into her own body, he also tasted the bitter reality of disobedience. They were one flesh, after all. His physical eating of the fruit was inconsequential, because he had already tasted death by means of his wife.
For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife. The bodies (mother and father) which God made to biologically create a man is not nearly as important to the man as the woman to which he clings. Because they are one flesh. Everything she has is his, everything he has is hers. Including disobedience sin and death.
And yet the story continues. There is a second Adam, a greater Adam. But this second Adam follows the same story. He knew exactly what He was doing.
Jesus walked into the water at the Jordan against the strong advice of John the Baptist. This is a baptism of repentance. I know who you are, John says, you have nothing to repent of. You do not need this!
Jesus smiles. He knows that he does not need this baptism. But he willingly steps into the water. Do this, he says, not for me. Do this to fulfill all righteousness. Do this to me, for the sake of my Bride, the church. John washes Jesus. Jesus repents for his wife, the church. Filthy in body and soul, He assumes this as His own. It is not hers alone to bear, it is the one-flesh reality of Christ and the people he came to save.
Walking straight to a terrifying cross of judgement, the second Adam was with her. When she took and ate the consequences for sin, the second Adam swallowed her punishment along side her. Not because he was deceived, not because he had no other choice. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.