What is the Inciting Incident of the Bible?

Before completing this topic, please read Genesis 3 in your Bible or online.

In the last topic we introduced the beginning of our story – how everything started great and glorious.

Adam and Eve were invited to rule alongside God, but He did give them one simple rule – do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. And what did they do? They ate from the tree.

The Inciting Incident of the Bible

In stories, we call this moment the “Inciting Incident.”


  1. Once Upon a Time there was a man and woman named Adam and Eve. And they had it all.
  2. Every day, they would spend time with God, work the garden, and rule over Creation.
  3. Until One day, Adam and Eve rejected God’s command and ate from the tree.

The Inciting Incident of the Bible

As all of us have been told countless times, our actions have consequences. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree, it set off a massive chain reaction of events.

Because of that inciting incident, because they rejected God’s command, several things happened.

4. Because of that, our relationship with God is ruined.

In Genesis 3:8, God comes walking through the garden to visit with Adam and Eve, but here’s what they do:

“the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

But that’s not the end of the curse, is it? God promises that there will be struggle and strife between his people. No longer will we experience perfect harmony with each other.

God even curses the very earth we live on and depend on.

“cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.

Genesis 3 is just the preview of what is to come for our sin. This is the reason for all wars, sickness, and death. This is the cause of all famine, flood, and destructive fire. The list could go on and on, but this inciting incident had more consequences than we can really grasp or comprehend.

God’s Way vs Our Way

There is an irony here in all of this. Adam and Eve disobeyed God because they wanted glory. They wanted to be like God.

But here’s the thing – God had already promised them glory. God made mankind in His image and walked with us. We were created to rule on His behalf!

Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in order to get something they had already been promised, but they wanted to get it on their own terms. They saw a shortcut and they didn’t trust the glory God had for them.

But because we chose to pursue glory on our own terms, we lost everything. Instead of gaining glory, we gained pain and suffering and death.

A Hint of Hope

Things were pretty bleak, but like all good stories, there is a hint of hope, even here, right after the inciting incident.

In Genesis 3:15, God speaks to the serpent who deceived Adam and Eve:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise (or crush) your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

In other words, there will be enmity between God and man, enmity between men and women, enmity between people and Satan.

Until finally, the offspring of Eve defeats the serpent.

Bruising or crushing the head of the serpent will start to reverse the curse, it will restore the relationship between God and man and will ultimately bring peace.

And so, right away, the search begins for a descendant of Eve who can defeat the serpent. I’m going to refer to this story as the Eden Narrative.

The Eden Narrative tells the entire story of the whole Bible, but the pattern of this story plays itself over and over again throughout Scripture until we arrive at Jesus.

So in the next video, we’ll take a closer look at the Eden Narrative and see how some specific stories act like a microcosm for the story of the Bible.