Authored by Mara Hodler
Sometimes when I see something awful in the world, like a terrible act of hatred or violence—something that is the direct result of sin and evil—I think to myself, I wish Eve wouldn’t have eaten the fruit. I wish Adam and Eve never brought sin into the world. I wish we did not live in a broken, fallen world.
The world was once a perfect place. I like to imagine that grass was lush and green, but not itchy; the sun shone, but it was not too hot; the world was full of its natural beauty, but nothing was dirty or dying. There was no such thing as rich or poor, slaves or lords. No haves and have-nots.
Then someone takes a bite of a forbidden fruit and the world breaks. Sin enters the world, along with sickness, death, and suffering. And ever since that day, mankind has struggled and suffered.—Suffered from the elements of cold, heat, drought, floods, earthquakes, storms, and fires. Humanity has suffered at the hands of one another through wars, feuding, slavery, deception, and other sinful acts. Our bodies die; there is sickness and pain.
It’s easy to think that none of this had to happen! But can we really blame all of this on Adam and Eve? Is it really the case that if they hadn’t bitten into the fruit that day, the world would not know suffering? We would not be separated from God? Christ wouldn’t have had to die? If it really came down to a bite of fruit, then I think we’d all want to have a pretty serious chat with Adam and Eve when we get to heaven. I think I would be angry! “We could have lived in paradise, but you wrecked it all!”
But if it hadn’t been Adam and Eve, it would have been me or you or someone else. We were all given the gift of free will, and God has given us all the right to choose to obey or disobey. In the same place, we probably would have done exactly what Adam and Eve did. I know I would have.
I remember when I was very young, our family had a favorite ice cream shop we would frequent. I was still learning how to eat an ice cream cone without making a giant mess. My parents were pretty easygoing about it, but there was one thing they told me every single time: “Do not bite the bottom of the ice cream cone.” My logic hadn’t fully evolved and I was desperately curious as to why I could not bite the bottom of the ice cream cone.
One day, after an afternoon of running errands, my mom decided to take us for an ice cream treat on the way home. The plan was to eat our cones as we walked home. My sister and I were certainly on board with the plan! I got a cone full of my then favorite: rocky road. On our walk home I realized that with Dad not being present, this was the perfect time to conduct the cone-biting experiment. So I excitedly bit off the bottom of my ice cream cone.
Only a few seconds later as melted ice cream dripped out of the bottom of my cone, did I realize how much biting the bottom of my cone ruined my ice-cream-eating experience. Ice cream dripped on my clothes and shoes, and I was forced to throw my cone away. Such a sad day! I learned something that day: do not bite the bottom of the ice cream cone. Also, there are consequences when we choose not to obey.
In thinking back on that experience, I would say that I exhibited behavior similar to that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were told not to take a bite, and yet they did. I was told not to take a bite, and yet I did. My heart, their hearts—all made of the same stuff.
I cannot blame my need for a Savior on Adam and Eve. I can only realize that I am just as sinful of my own accord. This world is a fallen place as much because of me as because of Adam and Eve. Understanding that it’s not that I simply happened to have been born into the world in the time period after sin entered the world, but that I am actually at my very nature sinful, has made me much more grateful for the gift of salvation.
When Jesus took up the cross and began His torturous walk to Calvary, when He allowed Himself to be hurt and pierced and poked, it was for me and because of me. And when He arose triumphant over sin and death, He changed my eternity. How amazing is that? It’s something I’ve heard all of my life, but only recently I’ve begun to understand it more fully. I’ve always known I was saved and understood that Jesus loved me, forgave my sins and mistakes and all that. But recently I finally “got” how like Adam and Eve I am, and I gained a greater appreciation for Jesus’ sacrifice and the joy of my salvation.
It’s a wonder and a joy that I hope you get to experience too! You cannot really experience the joy of your salvation until you understand that you would be lost in sin without it. Not because of Adam and Eve and a “fallen world,” but because of your own nature.
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.1
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.2
1 Romans 3:23 KJV
2 Romans 6:23 KJV
Read by Amber Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2016 by The Family International