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             Adam and Eve were very happy in their garden home as long as they followed God's instructions. They loved each other, and they enjoyed a close friendship with God.

            God often came to the garden to visit Adam and Eve. The invisible God somehow walked and talked with Adam and Eve as we might stroll through the park with a friend.

            Then one day a terrible thing happened. Eve was in the middle of the garden when a snake spoke to her. Can you imagine her surprise? The snake spoke to her in human language. Actually, the snake had no special power of its own. Satan, the prince of demons and the enemy of God, was speaking through the snake. Satan wanted to turn the woman against God.

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             Satan said, "Woman, did God really tell you that you must not eat from any tree in the garden?"

            The woman answered Satan, "No! God did not say that! We can eat all the fruit we want. There is only one tree from which we must not eat. God told us, `You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden. You must not even touch that tree or you will die.'"

            Satan said to the woman, "You will not die. God knows that if you eat the fruit from that tree, you will learn about good and evil. And then you will be the same as God!" Eve believed Satan's lie.

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             The woman saw that the tree was beautiful, that the fruit was good to eat, and that the tree would make her wise. So the woman took fruit from the tree and ate it. Her husband was there with her, so she gave some of the fruit to him, and he ate it.

            As soon as Adam and Eve swallowed the fruit, they changed. It was as if their eyes were opened and they saw things differently. They had a new sense of shame. They realized that they had no clothes on, and they were embarrassed. For the first time they were ashamed of being naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and wore the fig leaves for clothes.

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             During the cool part of the day, God came to visit Adam and Eve in the garden. When Adam and Eve heard God's footsteps, they hid among the trees in the garden. They felt guilty and ashamed. They did not want to see God, and they tried to hide. But the Lord God called to the man. The Lord said to him, "Where are you?"

            Adam said, "I heard you walking in the garden, and I was afraid. I was naked, so I hid."

            God said to the man, "Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat fruit from that special tree? I commanded you not to eat from that tree!"

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            Instead of admitting that he had done something wrong, Adam blamed his wife. He said to God, "You made this woman for me. She gave me fruit from that tree, so I ate it."

            Then the Lord God turned to the woman and said, "What have you done?"

            Instead of admitting that she had done something bad, the woman blamed the snake. She said, "The snake tricked me. He fooled me and I ate the fruit."

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             So the Lord God said to the snake, "You have done a very bad thing; now bad things will happen to you. It will be worse for you than for any other animal. You will be forced to crawl on your stomach and to eat dust all the days of your life. I will make you and the woman enemies to each other. Your children and her children will be enemies. You will bite her child's foot; but he will crush your head."

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            God said to the woman, "When you give birth to children, you will have much pain. You will want your husband very much, but he will rule over you."

            Then God said to the man, "I commanded you not to eat from

that special tree, but you listened to the things your wife said, and you ate from the tree. So I will put a curse on the ground because of you. You will have to work very hard all the days of your life for the food that the ground gives. You will want to eat the plants that grow in the field, but the ground will cause thorns and weeds to grow for you. You will work hard for your food. You will work until your face is covered with sweat. You will work hard until the day you die, and then you will become dust again. I used dust to make you, and when you die, you will become dust again."

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             Sin is disobeying and dishonoring God, the Creator. Sin leads to suffering and death. Death came into the world because of sin and shame.

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             The Lord God forced Adam and Eve to leave the garden of Eden, and God put angels at the entrance of the garden to keep the man and his wife from returning. God also put a sword of fire there. This sword flashed around and around guarding the way to the tree of life.

             Adam and Eve were very sad. Adam had to go out and work the ground. Weeds came up and ruined the plants he was growing for food. Thorns sprang up everywhere. In order to grow enough food to eat, Adam had to work hard pulling and cutting weeds.

             Worst of all, the friendship between Adam and Eve and God had been ruined. God no longer came to walk and talk with them as he had in the garden. Their sin had separated them from God. Since God is the source of life, separation from God leads to death. Adam and Eve died spiritually the moment they disobeyed God, and on that day they also began to die physically.

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             In this lesson, we learn several important things about Satan, temptation, and sin.

             1. Satan is cunning. The word "Satan" means "adversary," "opponent," or "enemy." According to the Bible, Satan was once an angel who served God in the courts of heaven. Then, filled with pride, he misused the freedom that God had given him and led other angels in a rebellion against their Creator. Satan thus became the enemy of God.

            Satan is very clever. He is more intelligent than any human being.

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             With his lies, Satan convinced Eve that the forbidden fruit was harmless and that God had lied in order to keep her ignorant. Satan tempted Eve by showing her something beautiful. Then he tempted her by offering her something delicious. Finally, he appealed to her pride by promising her wisdom. Perhaps it was the snake's intelligence that convinced Eve that the tree would make her wise like God.

            Satan is still tempting us today through the desires of the body, the longing for beautiful things, and the desire to be important and powerful.

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2. Satan is the source of evil. Elsewhere in the Bible, Satan is called "the evil one." Satan is totally selfish and heartless. He would gladly kill a thousand people in order to get his own way. He uses people like puppets to accomplish his evil purposes.

            In this Bible story, Satan pretends to be Eve's friend while, in reality, he is her worst enemy. He promises freedom, then makes Eve his slave. While promising to lift her up, he pulls her down. In her effort to be wise, Eve becomes a fool.

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             The devil is still playing tricks on people today. He promises life but brings death. He has been called "a murderer from the beginning" and "the father of lies."

            In the garden of Eden, Satan spoke to Eve through a snake. Today, he speaks to us in our thoughts, whispering, "Go ahead and enjoy yourself. If it feels good, do it. If you see something you want, take it. If cheating helps you get what you want, cheat. If lying helps you get rich, go ahead and lie." In a thousand clever ways Satan lures us into evil. He offers us pleasure, freedom, and life but produces misery, bondage, and death.

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            3. Satan is not equal with God. Although Satan is a powerful force for evil in the world, he is not equal with God. He is a created being, and he acts within the limits that God has estab lished. In his wisdom, God has put boundaries around Satan. In the end, God will bring Satan to defeat.

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            4. Sin separates us from God. Hebrew and Greek words for "sin" mean "missing the target," "taking the wrong road," or "getting off course." God knows that we cannot direct our own lives without getting into trouble, so he has given us directions which lead to life and happiness. These directions serve as a standard or rule. According to the Bible, there is only one right way to life and happiness, and that is God's way. When we reject God's rule and disobey God's commands, we miss the target and take the wrong road. As a result, we become separated from God.

            God is totally good. God is completely honest and cannot tell a lie. When he makes a promise, he keeps it. He is honorable and pure. There is no evil in him. That is why sin separates us from God.

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5. God develops a plan to save us from evil. When sin entered the world, it separated people from God. Sin ruined the peaceful relationship between God and his people. Then God set in motion a plan that would remove the guilt of sin and restore peace between himself and humanity.  

            God said to Satan, "You will bite his foot; but he will crush your head."

            Here, for the first time, God promises that someone will come to defeat Satan. Someday, a descendant of Eve will crush Satan's head. Someday, Satan will be defeated. Someone, while suffering great pain, will destroy Satan's power over God's people.

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             We will watch this plan of God unfold as we continue our Bible study.

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Scripture References: Genesis 2-3; Job 1:6; Matthew 13:38; 25:41; Luke 4:6; John 1:12; 2:6; 8:39-44; 12:31; 16:11; Romans 5:1-2, 6-11; I Corinthians 10:13; II Corinthians 5:17-21; Hebrews 2:10-15; I Peter 5:8; I John 2:15-17; 3:8; Revelation 12:9; 20:2,7


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