At the end of the Genesis creation story God created Adam and his wife Eve; between the two of them they made up all of humanity.
Adam was formed from the dust of the ground in which God breathed life into him (Genesis 2:7) and he lived with his wife Eve in the Garden of Eden.
God spoke about two important trees in the garden, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Man was commanded not to eat from one of the two trees; if he ate from the forbidden tree the other would be taken from him also. (Genesis 2:16)
Everything was good in the garden until the devil came. Genesis 3:1-5 says the devil was more crafty than the other things alive that God had made and had a private agenda for man in the garden.
The devil spoke to Eve under the cover of a lowly serpent to tempt her to disobey God and eat from the tree that was commanded not to eat from.
Tragically the devil succeeded. When the woman saw… that the tree was desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:6). ‘The Discovery of Genesis’ by Kang and Nelson explains the following character, how does the most ancient of all picture-writers illustrate the word to covet or desire? Is it mere happenstance that to covet utilizes two trees and a woman? (Page 57)
At first Adam and Eve were both naked and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:25). But after they ate the fruit God commanded them not to eat they experienced shame and try to cover their nakedness with clothes made from fig leaves. This is shown in the following two kanji characters.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presents of the Lord God among the trees. (Genesis 3:8)
God saw them (you can’t hide from God) and performed an inspection desiring Adam and Eve to confess their disobedience, “Where are you?”… “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I commanded you not to eat?”… “What is this that you have done?” (Genesis 3:9-13)
Then God delivered the consequences for eating some (a piece of) fruit from the tree he told them not to eat. To Eve he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; and in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rue over you.” (Genesis 3:16)
And to Adam God said, “because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘you shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat of bread till you return to the ground, for out of it your were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)
‘The Discovery of Genesis’ elaborates more on this, from this ancient 古 time forward, man has had to work hard to secure provisions from the earth in the form of plants of the field 艹 to sustain life. The figure 古 also might be pictographically interpreted as illustrating eating, using ten 十 fingers to put food into the mouth 口. (page 71)
Adam was responsible for the ruin of human history as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned (Romans 5:12). God sent them out of the Garden of Eden, took away the tree of life, and placed and angel with a flaming sword as a boundary to keep them out (Genesis 3:24). To be separated from the tree of life and experience death was indeed very distressing.
God still loved Adam and Eve, but harmonious relationship with God was severely affected and life became increasingly more difficult and corrupt on the earth. Eve had great hope and expectation with the birth of the first born son, Cain (Genesis 4:1).
But Cain became filled with anger, violence, and even murdered his younger brother Abel (Genesis 4:2-8). In the Chinese language the kanji character for elder brother 兄 and wickedness 兇 have the same pronunciation. But 兇 means cruel, violent, inhuman, and is use in many titles in reference to killing.
Genesis 4:14-15 says that the Lord was still gracious to Cain and put a mark メ on him. There is much speculation about this mark but the bible does not tell us what it was specifically. Ultimately it signified God’s protection on Cain despite his sin and shame for killing his brother.
All people are descendants of Adam and Eve and follow in the same disobedience against God though he continues to demonstrate his love towards us. But as we will see next, life for humanity only gets more corrupted.