Eating Ourselves to Death
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6
I was recently walking along the lakeshore when I came across a walleye lying dead on the rocks. On closer inspection, I could see why it was dead on the rocks – It had another fish stuck in its mouth. That walleye, following its natural appetite, tried to eat a too-big fish. The second fish got stuck in the walleye’s throat and, presumably due its dorsal fins, couldn’t back out. This walleye caused its own death because it couldn’t say no to that too-big-to-eat fish.
Though the fish wasn’t made in God’s image like man, this walleye’s death is an apt analogy for today’s passage. In the third chapter of Genesis, we’re told how the serpent tempted eve with the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve knew she wasn’t supposed to eat the fruit. She’d been warned of the consequences. But the serpent weaponized her own appetite against her. She looked. She was hungry. She saw the fruit was good and she wanted it. Eve knew what God desired, but she desired the opposite. So, she followed her natural impulse, eating her own death.
We may look at Eve or that walleye and find them both to be foolish, but we’ve all got our forbidden fruit. We’ve all got those things which we naturally and impulsively desire, but which cause our own destruction. Evil doesn’t tempt us with something unappealing but rather with something we crave . For some of us, our struggle is literally with food. For others, the struggle is with greed, lust, anger, pride, need for affirmation, excessive screen time, drugs, or alcohol. Whatever it is, we know that this thing brings us some instant gratification and so, we pursue it. We understand it doesn’t take us where God wants us to go, but we want it. And so, we follow our natural appetite to its natural end – our self-destruction.
We don’t die when we indulge of course. Eve didn’t die immediately when she ate the fruit. Following our way though, at the expense of God’s way, always distances us from him, which is the definition of spiritual sickness. Whether we recognize it or not, our spiritual health, or unhealth, directly impacts everything else in our lives – our relationships, our physical health, and our mental health. Following our way instead of God’s way always makes us sick, causing us some misery and pain in the end.