The Crux • Chapter 1 • Problem and Purpose


Can you think of a situation where something started off so right but ended up as a disaster? Perhaps it was a day planned with fun activities or a pivotal sports game.


Today, we are going to study parts of two chapters from the beginning of the Bible in the book of Genesis. Genesis means beginnings. For Jews and Christians alike, Genesis is the beginning of the story of humankind. It gives us a unique insight into some of the most basic and important questions that humans have: Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here?

The author of Genesis tells the story of Adam and Eve in order to answer some of these questions. Through figurative language and metaphor about actual events, the author attempts to answer these questions for the reader. In the beginning, God created man and woman and called them “very good” (Genesis 1:31). God and man had a strong relationship with one another. Here, in chapter 3 of Genesis, Adam and Eve encounter their first temptation that will test this relationship. To begin, let’s set the stage with what God tells Adam and Eve in chapter 2.

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-18

15 The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it. 16 The Lord God gave the man this order: You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden 17 except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die.

1 Now the snake was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’?” 2 The woman answered the snake: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3 it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, or else you will die.’” 4 But the snake said to the woman: “You certainly will not die! 5 God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil.” 6 The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and 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 knew that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

8 When they heard the sound of the Lord God walking about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 The Lord God then called to the man and asked him: Where are you? 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.” 11 Then God asked: Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat? 12 The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it.” 13 The Lord God then asked the woman: What is this you have done? The woman answered, “The snake tricked me, so I ate it.”

14 Then the Lord God said to the snake:

Because you have done this,
    cursed are you
    among all the animals, tame or wild;
On your belly you shall crawl,
    and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
They will strike at your head,
    while you strike at their heel.
16 To the woman he said:

I will intensify your toil in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
Yet your urge shall be for your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.
17 To the man he said: Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, You shall not eat from it,

Cursed is the ground because of you!
    In toil you shall eat its yield
    all the days of your life.
18 Thorns and thistles it shall bear for you,
    and you shall eat the grass of the field.


  1. What do we do to justify the things we do that we know are wrong?
  2. What have you found to be the best way to recover from something you have done wrong?
  3. Do you think that you have a specific purpose here on earth?

*Adapted from FOCUS