Every day the cunning serpent whispers in the ears of women with unplanned pregnancies, darkening the doors of abortion clinics. He promises death as the way these women will regain control over their lives. He manipulates with a pledge of freedom and personal fulfillment.
Every event is part of a story within a larger story, and that larger story has ancient roots.
In his beautiful creation, God created the first man, and from him created the first woman. The first man, Adam, was designed to lead his wife and the rest of creation in glorifying his creator, and was entrusted with the task of providing for and protecting God’s world.
The first woman, Eve, was designed to joyfully support and strengthen her husband in fulfilling his roles, while according to the meaning of her name, becoming the mother of all the living.
God designed these distinctions into man and woman. They are not arbitrary, but wired deeply into our very beings. When God looked at his plan for man and woman in complementarian harmony, behold, it was very good.
The Tragic Turn
And yet as the second chapter of the story unfolds, the first couple tears down God’s authority and asserts themselves as their own ultimate authority. God’s declaration of goodness was not good enough for them.
Additionally, God’s adversary tempted the woman first in an attempt to manipulate her mind and heart. Knowing God designed the man to be the head, Satan subverted God’s arrangement and tempted the woman to pretend she could be her own authority. The serpent approached the woman as a perversion of God’s created order to strike chaos into the perfect unified bond of man and wife.
The serpent’s fork tongue hissed lies to Eve and made her question the legitimacy of God’s command to not eat the fruit from one tree in the garden. Eve doubted God’s goodness. Why would God withhold something from her? What was she missing out? The only way to find out was to bite the fruit. She would become like God, said the serpent.
What did Adam do? First, what he didn’t do. Adam failed to protect the garden from God-rejecting lies. Second, he passively went along with Satan’s lies. He abdicated his responsibility to protect Eve from Satan’s schemes. Instead of leading her away from Satan’s lies, he reinforced the lie himself by willing participation. Though Eve was the first to disobey God, Adam’s failed leadership bears the legacy:
Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned . . . Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. (Romans 5:12,14)
Adam was held accountable for his role as leader, and he was found wanting. Instead of crushing the serpent underneath his foot, he stood idly by. He failed God, he failed Eve, and he failed all of mankind.