(All scripture is from NIV)
Genesis 2:8-9 “Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Then in verses 15-17 we learn that Adam alone was given the commandment not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. “The Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’” Later God made woman and Adam called her Eve. They were I am sure living very happily in Eden.
Although Eve was not with Adam when he was given the command by God not to eat of the tree, Adam must have apparently shared that information with her at some point because in Genesis 3:1-6 we find the story about the fall of mankind and Eve’s role in it. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.”
Eve should have recognized something was amiss as soon as the serpent asked the first question, because he totally misquoted God when he insinuated they could not eat from any tree in the garden. Then Eve responded with her own misquote saying that God told them not to touch it – He only told them not to eat of it, He never mentioned anything about not touching it. Then the serpent totally contradicts what God said by telling them “You will not surely die…” I can just hear the sarcasm dripping in that statement coming from the mouth of the evil one. Eve obviously loved the idea of gaining wisdom that the serpent waved in front of her; and, what she did not seem to comprehend was that they did not need to do anything to “be like God”, because they were already like God. (Genesis 1:26a “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…’” and verse 27 says: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”) So Eve reached up, picked some of the fruit and ate it. Then gave some to Adam and he also ate it. Adam not only did not object to her pulling off the fruit and eating it, but freely participated in the sin and chose to indulge himself also.
They soon recognized their nakedness and decided to cover themselves and when they heard God approaching them they tried to hide from Him. When questioned by God, Adam admitted they were afraid because they were naked. In Genesis 3:11-13 God asked them “’Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’ The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’”
So Adam not only blamed Eve but actually blamed God, because He is the one that gave him the woman; and, Eve blamed the serpent. The blame game has truly begun.
Another perfect example of the blame game is seen in Exodus. Moses is up on the mountain, conversing with God and receiving the tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments. While he was gone, the people got restless and approached Aaron wanting him to make them some idols to worship. There is no record of Aaron trying to persuade the people that Moses would be back and that it would be wrong to make idols to worship. Instead, in 32:2 it says: “Aaron answered them, ‘Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol in the shape of a calf….” Then to top it off Aaron planned a big party for the next day. They ate and drank “and got up to engage in revelry.” (Verse 6c) God told Moses what was going on and stated that He wanted to wipe out all the people but Moses asked Him not to do that – God relented. When Moses went down from the mountain and saw what all was going on he was very angry. In 32:21 Moses “said to Aaron, ‘What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?’ ‘Do not be angry my lord’ Aaron answered. ‘You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off. Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.’
So Aaron, when confronted by Moses for the evil he had done, immediately pointed his finger at “these people” and proclaimed how evil they were. THEN had the audacity to tell a really tall tale about how the golden calf came about. He did not make the thing – it just popped up out of that fire of its own volition! The blame game is in full evidence here.
Oh how much like Adam and Eve and Aaron we remain today! It starts when as children we are caught doing something wrong and we will try to blame another child. Teenagers blame other teens, or teachers, or their parents. Even adults point fingers at the spouse, or co-workers, or strangers, or yes – their parents. Sometimes we will even try to blame the unknown (like Aaron about how the calf came into existence.)
When will we really grow up? When will we learn to accept personal responsibility and abide by it? We need to remember that there are consequences for everything we do and say – this should cause us to pause and think about our words and our actions. They can affect not only ourselves but other people as well. It would be bad enough if it was only me, myself and I that we have to be concerned with, but that just is not the case too many times.
It is time for us to grow up and stop playing the blame game.
Written by Karran Martin – February 26, 2019