Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

The serpent and the weasel

EVERYONE KNOWS about the serpent in the Garden of Eden, but many overlook the presence of another questionable creature. The weasel.

Eve may have led the way in transgressing God’s rules when she plucked from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, Adam was the first to try to dodge responsibility when called to account for the forbidden picnic.

“Mistakes were made” may be a relatively recent “passive-evasive way of acknowledging error while distancing the speaker from responsibility for it,” but its forerunner is to be seen in Genesis 3. And we’ve been doing it ever since.

God knows everything that’s been going on, of course. So when He calls out to ask where Adam is, it’s not because He doesn’t know. After all, in Jeremiah 23:24, God says, “Can a man hide himself away on secret places, so that I cannot see him?”

No, God’s cry of, “Adam, where are you?” is a remarkable expression of His grace. It’s a picture of how, even in our fallenness, He gives us dignity and room to respond to Him freely. There’s no, “Hey, you, come here right now!” God’s words to Adam are an invitation, not a summons.

And yet look at how like a weasel (“a scheming person that will do whatever they need to escape whatever they fear in the moment”) Adam is in his response. When God asks him how he has learned that he is naked, Adam doesn’t answer the question directly.

The best he can come up with is, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (verse 12). In other words, Don’t blame me. In fact, it’s your fault and her fault. Blame-shifting instead of accepting responsibility.

How many times have I tried the same thing? Questioned on something, my knee-jerk defense too often has been along the lines of, “Yes, but if you hadn’t…”

Whether it’s spoken to God or a person, Yes, but isn’t confession, nor is it repentance. They are not the words of a stand-up guy, but a weasel.

Words that—in reflecting years later—should prompt us to say, “God, here I am, mistakes and all.”  

Photo: Laurie Campbell

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