The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17
Adam and Eve had a perfect environment provided by God, with one instruction, not to eat the fruit from a single tree found in the center of the Garden, lest they die. God withheld nothing from them but the fruit of one tree, represented here as an apple in Adam’s hand, although the text doesn’t say what kind of fruit it was. The crafty serpent tricked Eve by casting doubt on God’s character, essentially calling God a liar, and told them surely they would not die. Adam and Eve chose to believe the lie instead of God. Eve took the fruit and ate it, and gave some to Adam, who was the one who had received God’s original command; nonetheless, he also ate it.
In His warning, God referred to Adam and Eve’s spiritual death, which was an immediate consequence, as well as their physical death which would follow in later years. Until this moment, death did not exist in the Creation. So it was that death entered the world, and every generation of mankind, every living thing, has died ever since.
For the very first time, Adam and Eve experienced shame and hid themselves from God. When God asked Adam what he had done, he blamed it on his wife, who in turn blamed it on the serpent, Satan. This state of separation from God had greater consequences than this first couple could have imagined at the time. They were driven out of the Garden, which is depicted here as Creation now in chaos. All the way back in Genesis where we see the fall of Adam, thus of all mankind, we see a humanity now separated from God. But even in the chaos, God already had a plan of redemption.
This painting is the First Place winner of the 2021 Illinois State Fair.