Pastor Speaks: God triumphs in tragedy

By Pastor Stephen Howard - Contributing Columnist

The greatest tragedy of all time happened thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden. There the first people on earth, Adam and Eve, fell into sin.

In a perfect environment, they chose to disobey God. This history is recorded in the Bible in Genesis 3.

Adam and Eve made the choice, but Satan encouraged them to do it. He came disguised as a serpent. He approached Eve alone and said to her, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). But that wasn’t quite what God had said.

God actually said, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

Eve didn’t have the exact words down either. Doubt about God’s exact Word led to sin.

The Devil didn’t stop there. He denied the penalty for sin when he said, “Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). That was a flat out lie, a contradiction of God’s Word. It’s really no surprise because Jesus said Satan “…is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).

We are always in danger when we contradict God’s Word.

Then Satan raised doubt about the goodness of God. He suggested that God was withholding knowledge from them. Never mind that God had given them all the food they could ever need in the garden. Satan made sin look like a really good opportunity.

Sin is never a good idea. Yet, we foolishly think that way sometimes.

Adam and Eve found out the hard way. And we do too. Their sin brought them an uncomfortable sense of shame they had not felt before. They hid in fear from the presence of God. They blamed each other and the serpent for their own choices. Sin was not the great opportunity it seemed like at first.

They also found out God was telling the truth about sin’s penalty. They entered a world of conflict, pain, difficulty, and death. God said to Adam, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19).

Our world is their world. It is cursed because of sin. We share their nature, mimic their choices, and suffer their pain.

Even though it was a great tragedy, God did not abandon them. They hid, but God came seeking them. God made them clothes to cover their shame. God gave them children.

Yes, God cast them out of the garden. But even that was mercy. It protected them from eating from the tree of life and living forever in this fallen world.

Best of all, God gave them hope. He promised victory. God said, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

This promise is not mainly about fear of snakes. It is about conflict between Satan and his followers and the woman and her offspring.

Jesus spoke of Satan’s family when He said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (John 8:44). God intends for us to resist the Devil and his followers.

By Pastor Stephen Howard

Contributing Columnist

Pastor Stephen Howard is from Morrow Bible Church.

Pastor Stephen Howard is from Morrow Bible Church.