Chapter 3

  1. The Temptation and the Fall

      • The snake was the most cunning of the wild animals the Lord made. The snake asked Eve, “Did God really say you can’t eat from any tree in the garden?”

        • This passage does not identify the snake as Satan, but we know from later in this chapter as well as from references later in the Bible (Ezekiel 28:13-19, Job 26:13, Revelation 12:9 and 20:2) that Satan is referred to many times as a snake.

        • Guzik notes, “Satan’s first attack is leveled against the Word of God. If he can get Eve confused about what God said, or to doubt what God said, then his battle is partially won. Satan took God’s positive command (Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat [Genesis 2:16-17]) and rephrased it in a negative way: “God won’t let you eat of every tree.”

    • Eve responds that they may eat the fruit of all the trees in the garden except the one in the middle. Eve said that God had said they must not eat it or touch it, or they would die.

          • Guzik makes a good point here also, “Eve’s knowledge of what she should not do is partially correct, but what she doesn’t seem to know makes her all the more vulnerable to deception. Eve does not seem to know the name of this tree; she only calls it the tree in the midst of the garden, instead of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). Eve misquoted God’s command to Adam. Her words, “you shall not eat it” and “lest you die” are close enough, but she added to the command and put words in God’s mouth when she said, “nor shall you touch it.” Of course, it was a good idea to completely avoid the temptation; no good could come from massaging the fruit you’re not supposed to eat. But it is a dangerous thing to teach the doctrines of man as if they are the commandments of God (Matthew 15:9).

          • Guzik also points out what Eve’s response tells us about Adam’s shared culpability, “Eve’s ignorance of exactly what God said was really Adam’s responsibility. He did a poor job of relating to his wife the word God gave him. We can almost picture Adam telling Eve, ‘See that tree in the middle of the garden? Don’t touch it or God says we’ll die!’ While this is better than saying nothing, what Adam didn’t explain made a vulnerable place where Satan could attack.”

        • The snake tells Eve that not only will she not die if she eats the forbidden fruit, but that God knows that if she does, she will become like God- knowing good and evil.

          • In this one example is wrapped the failure of every single person who lives or has ever lived. We allow ourselves to doubt the goodness of God and His commands while convincing ourselves that fill in the blank sin isn’t bad. Guzik says it best, “In Satan’s direct challenge, he tries to get Eve to doubt the badness of sin. If this fruit is something good for her, why doesn’t God want her to have it? Satan wants us to see sin as something good that a bad God doesn’t want us to have. His main lie to us is “sin is not bad and God is not good.”

          • We’ve all heard the saying, “The best lies contain a grain of truth,” and this one was no exception. Indeed Adam and Eve’s eyes would be “opened” to see good and evil, but they were still not “like God”. Perhaps Satan knew the best way to deceive Eve because Satan’s own downfall was his desire to be equal to God.

            – This age old lie is gaining ground in our society today at an unbelievable rate. It’s called the “New Age Movement”. A Pew Research Poll in 2009 revealed that as many as 26% of Americans ascribe to “New Age” type beliefs and college students are turning to this movement in staggering numbers which doesn’t bode well for the future. What is this movement? Neil Anderson in his book, Walking Through the Darkness, provides some insight into the belief system. “The New Age movement is not seen as a religion but a new way to think and understand reality. It’s very attractive to the natural man who has become disillusioned with organized religion and Western rationalism. He desires spiritual reality but doesn’t want to give up materialism, deal with his moral problems, or come under authority.” It is characterized by the beliefs that, “…all is one and one is all. History is not the story of humanity’s fall into sin and its restoration by God’s saving grace. Rather, it is humanity’s fall into ignorance and the gradual ascent into enlightenment. If all is one, including God, then one must conclude that all is God. It is pantheism—trees, snails, books, and people are all of one divine essence. A cosmic evolutionary optimism is taught. There is a New Age coming. There will be a new world order, a new world government. New Age thinkers believe that there will eventually be a progressive unification of world consciousness,” Anderson says. I don’t think I need to point our what book of the Bible describes this “New Age” society but I will anyway- Revelation. If you’d like more info on the New Age Movement this article is a good place to start: What is the New Age Movement? 

    • Then Eve saw that the fruit looked delightful and she desired the wisdom that she would gain, so she ate it. She also gave some to Adam and he ate it.

      • Many have asked the question, “Why is Adam blamed for sin even though it was actually Eve who sinned first? Guzik has an excellent commentary on this, “Not only did Eve sin, but she became the agent of temptation for Adam. But when Adam ate, he was not deceived as Eve was. Adam sinned with his eyes wide open, in open rebellion against God. Therefore, it is Adam, not Eve, who bears the responsibility for the fall of the human race and for the introduction of death into the created order (Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:22). Eve was tricked into sinning; Adam knew exactly what he was doing (1 Timothy 2:14).

    • Then their eyes were both opened and they became aware of their nakedness, so they made themselves clothes with fig leaves.

      • Note that their eyes weren’t opened until Adam ate the fruit.

2. Sin’s Consequences

      • Adam and Eve heard the Lord walking in the garden and they hid from Him. The Lord called out and asked them where they were.

      • This is such an amazing thought to me, that Adam and Eve had a relationship with God in which they casually walked through the garden together. Leupold says this, “The almost casual way in which this is remarked indicates that this did not occur for the first time just then … There is extreme likelihood that the Almighty assumed some form analogous to the human form which was made in His image.”

      • Guzik notes this incredible insight, “We can assume this is God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, appearing to Adam and Eve before His incarnation and birth at Bethlehem, because of God the Father it is said, ‘No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him’ (John 1:18), and ‘no man has ever seen God in the Person of the Father. ‘(1 Timothy 6:16) “

      • Guzik says this about God’s questioning, “This is not the interrogation of an angry commanding officer, but the heartfelt cry of an anguished father. God obviously knew where they were but He also knew a gulf had been made between Himself and man, a gulf that He Himself would have to bridge.”

    • Adam responded that he hid because he was naked.

    • God asks Adam how he knew that he was naked and asks if he ate from the tree He had commanded him not to eat from.

        • Of course God already knew the answer to His questions. Guzik states that this was God giving Adam an opportunity to be truthful and repent- which Adam did not do.

    • Adam replied that the woman God gave him had given him some fruit from the tree and he had eaten it.

      • Not only is Adam throwing Eve under the bus and not accepting his own responsibility- he is also attempting to place some of the blame back onto God. This is what Guzik says, “By saying “the woman whom You gave to be with me,” Adam essentially blames God for the sin saying, “You gave me the woman, and she is the problem.” Adam wasn’t content to blame Eve; he had to blame God also.”

    • So the Lord asked Eve, “ What have you done?”

    • Eve replied saying that the serpent had deceived her and she ate the fruit.

    • Genesis 3:14- Then the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life.

      • Guzik elaborates, “The first part of the curse is directed at the animal that Satan used to bring the temptation. God commanded the serpent to slither on the ground instead of walking on legs like any other animal… Apparently, before the curse pronounced in Genesis 3:14-15, the serpent was different than what we know today as a serpent. This creature didn’t start as a snake as we know it, it became one.”

      • Boice writes, “The creature that tempted Eve became a serpent as a result of God’s judgment on it, and it went slithering away into the bushes to the intense horror of Adam and Eve.”
    • Genesis 3:15- I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

      • Guzik remarks, “The second part of the curse is directed against Satan himself. God placed a natural animosity between Satan and mankind. Enmity has the idea of ill will, hatred, and a mutual antagonism. Satan’s hatred of Eve was nothing new; it was already present – but now man will, generally speaking, have antagonism towards Satan. If we are born naturally rebellious against God, we are also born cautious and afraid of Satan. One must be hardened to willingly and knowingly serve Satan. Instinctively, we don’t serve God or Satan; we serve ourselves (which is fine with Satan).”

      • Guzik also points out the prophecy here, “There is no doubt this is a prophecy of Jesus’ ultimate defeat of Satan. God announced that Satan would wound the Messiah (you shall bruise His heel), but the Messiah would crush Satan with a mortal wound (He shall bruise your head). This prophecy also gives the first hint of the virgin birth, declaring the Messiah – the Deliverer – would be the Seed of the Woman, but not of the man.”

      • What follows may very well be the most important concept to grasp for many who struggle with God’s sovereignty. SO many times, I see the question asked by atheists or agnostics, “If God is so great, why did He allow Adam to sin in the first place?” It is imperative that we understand the vital point that Guzik makes here, which is that God has ALWAYS had an ultimate plan for humanity. God knows and has known since before the creation every single thing that would come to pass and He uses these events to achieve His ultimate goal. God’s goal has never been restoring man to the “innocent” pre-fall state, but to mold us into something much better. “For God to see the defeat of Satan at Satan’s first flush of victory shows God knew what He was doing all along. God’s plan wasn’t ‘set back’ when Adam and Eve sinned, because God’s plan was to bring forth something greater than man in the innocence of Eden. God wanted more than innocent man; His plan is to bring forth redeemed man. Redeemed man – this being who is greater than innocent man – is only possible because man had something to be redeemed from.” Redeemed man > Innocent Man!!

          • Genesis 3:16- He said this to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children in anguish. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will dominate you.”

      • Guzik comments, “This speaks of an inherent challenge in embracing the husband’s role as leader of the home and family.

      • “As a result of the fall, man no longer rules easily; he must fight from his headship. Sin has corrupted both the willing submission of the wife and the loving headship of the husband. The woman’s desire is to control her husband (to usurp his divinely appointed headship), and he must master her, if he can. So the rule of love founded in paradise is replaced by struggle, tyranny and domination.” (Susan T. Foh, cited in Boice, from Guzik’s commentary)

    • Genesis 3:17-19- And He said to Adam, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’: The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.”

      • “ Before the curse on man, the ground only produced good. After the curse, it will still produce good, but thorns and thistles will come faster and easier than good fruit. Adam worked before the curse, but it was all joy. Now work has a cursed element to it, with pain and weariness a part of work. Is there not a time of hard service for man on earth? Are not his days also like the days of a hired man? Like a servant who earnestly desires the shade, and like a hired man who eagerly looks for his wages (Job 7:1-2).” (Guzik)

      • “The final curse upon man promised there would be an end of his toil and labor on the earth – but it was an end of death, not not an end of deliverance.” (Guzik)

    • Adam named his wife Eve meaning that she is the mother of all the living, and God made clothing for Adam and Eve out of animal skins.

      • “God gave His approval of the sense of shame which had led our first parents to cover their nakedness.” (Leupold)

      • “Covering ourselves with our good works is like Adam and Eve trying to cover themselves with fig leaves. Our good works are like monopoly money – great for monopoly, but not legal tender. Your good works are essential to what it takes to live out your life, but they are not legal tender before God. Adam and Eve were clothed in a garment that was purchased with the life of another. We are clothed with a garment of righteousness that was purchased with the life of another, Jesus Christ.” (Guzik)

    • God said, “Since man has become like one of Us and now knows good from evil, he must not eat from the tree of life and live forever.”

      • This to me, is a hard verse because it seems to insinuate that indeed Satan was correct in what he told Eve and that they became “like” God. (We’ve already discussed the use of the term “Us” from back in our Genesis Chapter 1. The link to the article in that topic is here. It could either be a reference to the triune nature of God or it could merely be a grammatical Hebrew term referring to God’s majesty.) Adam Clarke’s commentary in Studylight.org sheds some light on the subject. “On all hands this text is allowed to be difficult, and the difficulty is increased by our translation, which is opposed to the original Hebrew and the most authentic versions. The Hebrew has היה hayah, which is the third person preterite tense, and signifies was, not is. The Samaritan text, the Samaritan version, the Syriac, and the Septuagint, have the same tense. These lead us to a very different sense, and indicate that there is an ellipsis of some words which must be supplied in order to make the sense complete. A very learned man has ventured the following paraphrase, which should not be lightly regarded: “And the Lord God said, The man who was like one of us in purity and wisdom, is now fallen and robbed of his excellence; he has added לדעת ladaath, to the knowledge of the good, by his transgression the knowledge of the evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever in this miserable state, I will remove him, and guard the place lest he should re-enter.”

    • So God sent them out of the garden of Eden to work the ground. God stationed a cherubim with a flaming, whirling sword to the East of the garden, to guard the way to the tree of life.