The story of the fall of our first parents, Adam & Eve, is without doubt, a factual and historical account! When read in a physically literal way though, as with the two previous chapters of Genesis; it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and really, seems somewhat fantastical: 'A talking snake?!' Even with the traditional understanding of 'Satan' taking over the body of the serpent, and speaking through a creature ordinarily incapable of human speech; it must be a supernatural occurrence, which, I will admit, is quite possible, or else this is an example of 'prophetic license', an allegory, a story told in such a way as to portray a certain hidden meaning.
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
I remember an acquaintance of mine arguing, from the text, that since it is recorded that 'the serpent was more cunning than ANY beast of the garden', and not any OTHER beast, that this 'serpent' was NOT a beast ( of the garden ): but that it was Adam himself who filled the role of the tempter ( or adversary ) here. I might have a hard time successfully arguing that such was the case; but whatever the case may be, I do believe that there was more to it ( or maybe less ) than the fallen spiritual being named Satan ( Hebrew for adversary ) 'possessing' the body of a snake, and persuading our first parents to sin.
If this story is analogous of the 'fall from grace', rather than historical, as is traditionally believed, then does it really make a difference whether it was a rebellious angel named 'Satan', an adversarial husband named Adam, or even Eve's own rebelliously wicked heart?
As we can see in our text; the 'serpent', whether it was Adam, or even Eve arguing with herself, or whether it was a case of demonic possession: the important thing here is to see that this adversary's purpose was to shed doubt on God's truthfulness. By asking Eve this question; he was saying, in other words, 'do you trust God to do exactly what He says, or is He just threatening you?'. I can almost 'see' Adam & Eve standing there before the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil, and either one of them saying to the other, 'Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?' If this tree was as appealing to the senses as Eve found it to be, later on in this story; one can easily see her either making the argument herself, or listening openly to an appeal made by a loved one; 'it looks so good, how could it be bad?' Another common phrase is, 'it feels so right; how can it be wrong?'
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
As above; we might well speculate as to whom God had told not to eat of 'the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil'? Scripture does not ever specifically tell us that Adam had told his wife what God had instructed him concerning this one certain tree; we only speculate that he was a good husband and relayed this information along to his wife. Chronologically, according to a strictly literal reading of the previous chapter, Adam was introduced into this Garden and given this command prior to his wife being 'formed' from his side. Although we are most likely 'within reason' to assume that such was the case, that Adam ( as a good hubby ) had relayed this pertinent information to his 'better half', they being one and all; it is still not given us plainly in Scripture, and thus can only be reasoned that this is indeed what transpired. All this should then, as I've explained in two previous studies from the book of Genesis, tell us that, while this is a literal, historical story of what actually happened, we should not view it in the woodenly literal sense in which it has been traditionally understood. I've reasoned before that a woodenly ( or strictly ) literal reading of Scripture, particularly, doesn't make much sense sometimes, particularly when reading the Prophets. I've argued as well, along with some friends of mine, that the first three chapters ( at least-maybe the first eleven ) should be viewed in this way. Many people today, but especially in the last hundred or so years, have taken, for instance, the 'dispersion' in chapter eleven as speaking of the forming of the different languages of men, and the reason for their different geographical placement, but I think that this view misses the context, not only of the immediate chapter, but of the whole of Scripture, and the grammatical and historical situation in which it was recorded.
Back to our main subject; I wish to quote a few lines from an article that I wrote several years ago, 'The Tree ( s? ) of the Garden, and the Birth of the Conscience':
My thinking here, was that Eve mentioned only one tree that was 'in the midst' of the garden; whereas the first mention of any certain tree, or trees, was back in verse 9 where, at first glance, it would seem like two separate trees are mentioned, and then, in verse 17, God told Adam that he was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, else he would die. Let me submit, though, concerning the first mention of the trees, or tree; that the latter part of verse 9 might be a sort of a 'biblical parallelism', which I have mentioned before to my readers, and to others as meaning that the Author, or author says the same thing twice, in two different ways. I think that, in the context of the whole passage, and other Scriptures that I'll bring to your remembrance as we continue; that this may be the case here.
As I explained previously, in the aforementioned article, and in a previous study of the second chapter of Genesis, it may seem that the Author uses the Hebrew tavek in describing where exactly this 'tree' was that Eve mentioned; in the 'middle', or maybe center, of the Garden. Going back to the second chapter of Genesis; the same word is used, not so much to give the exact placement of this certain tree, but to apprise us of the fact that God also placed this tree, or these trees, in this Garden that He had planted. I have mentioned before, that a strictly, or woodenly literal understanding of God's words here, as in much of Scripture, leads to many questions, asking for much unnecessary speculation on the part of the reader. I have mentioned several already; but others might be asked, like, 'why does Eve say that they were forbidden to eat of *the* tree in the midst of the Garden, when God had said that there were two ( different? ) trees?', and 'why did she add that they were not even to touch it?' ( I wonder, in relation to this last question, if the answer might be related somehow, to Jesus reply to Mary in John 20:17, where He told Mary not to 'cling' to, or touch Him. ) These questions all lead, of course, back to the central question; 'why did God place these trees, in particular, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden, when He knew what would happen when man chose to disobey Him?' The answer to this, and other like questions, should give us all pause, and might even make us rethink our understanding of this and other Scripture passages!
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
The 'serpent', which, as I mentioned, could be representative of her husband's subtle persuasion, even the yearnings ( we'll get to this more in the next passage ) of her own wicked and rebellious heart, or, as I put it earlier; 'The Birth of the Conscience', tried to persuade the women, as we often try to persuade ourselves, that 'he' knew better than God, that God was simply trying to keep something from us that would put us on the same level, deciding for ourselves what was right and what was wrong, good or evil, in essence, our own absolutes! We all would like to make our own absolutes, wouldn't we? It's only natural to rationalize our wrong-doings, to try to convince ourselves that it's not really wrong The 'serpent' tried to convince Eve that it wasn't really wrong to disobey God, and eat the 'forbidden fruit'; it was really a good thing because it would make her like God, deciding ( judging-for herself ) what was good and what was evil.
The Author here uses the word yada`, both to describe God's reason ( according to the 'serpent' ) for deceiving the woman, and for the 'wisdom' and perception that they would gain by disobeying God's orders. Although this Hebrew verb basically means just that,' to know, to learn', and only secondarily 'to perceive, to discern'; I believe that the context of this statement, both textually and historically, tells us that what the 'serpent' tempted Eve with here, was just that, her own wisdom ( rather than God's ) and the ability to make her own judgment ( rather than God's ) of what was right or wrong, good or evil!
As I explained also in the aforementioned article, 'The Tree ( s? ) of the Garden'; Here's another good question for you; did the serpent really lie to Eve?? Well; yes and no! Yes: he told Eve that they would not 'surely die'; but then he told her that 'you will be like God, knowing good and evil'. Look at Genesis 3:22, and the first part of the verse; "Then the Lord God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil.......' " That much was true: my friend, in his sermon ( #3 ), recalled the likeness of the temptation of Eve in the garden, to the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, and I thought that he made a very good observation there. Without going into why God told them that they would 'surely die' the day that they partook of the tree ( another can of worms could be opened here ), and then later, after they did exactly like they were told not to ( just like most children ); He agreed with the serpent that they were now like God, knowing ( Heb. yada-to ascertain by seeing ) 'good and evil'.
The 'serpent' had previously told Eve that she and her husband would not die as a result of eating the fruit of this one ( ? ) certain tree, using the Hebrew muwth to describe the promised punishment. Muwth does have a direct connotation of physical death, which would lend credence to the idea, or fact, really, that Adam & Eve were quite familiar with the concept of physical expiration, and so, as Adam & Eve did not die physically the very day that they disobeyed; the general consensus, traditionally speaking, has been that they died a spiritual death, being ushered from the presence of God, as we'll see toward the end of the chapter. Some have argued, relying on more supposedly literal ( Young's ) translations, that what God actually told them was that they would * begin* to die on the day that they ate. I would imagine too, that those who purport this belief would also find support for it in the doctrine of 'the immortal soul', although inconsistently. Others inconsistently argue that, though this was a spiritual death, of sorts, it was not only from this spiritual death that Christ came to save His people; but that Christ also came to save us from physical death.
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
I believe that I have mentioned this before, in passing; but why do you think that Scripture records that the 'serpent' first approached Eve? Why did 'he' not speak to Adam? ( This, in itself, could lend more credence to the theory that the 'serpent' was indicative and allegorical of Adam. ) Paul, in I Timothy 2:14, recorded that 'Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.' The apostle Peter gave us a hint as to why the 'serpent' might have approached Eve first, when he wrote, in I Peter 3:7; 'Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.' Peter used the Greek adjective asthenēs to describe, not the physical make-up of women ( although this often the case ), but rather, I believe the acquiescent nature of the female mentality, or will ( though this too, is not always the case ), although the word does have a physical connotation, especially in the context of Scripture. These, and other passages like them, have been used for centuries to support the notion that women have always been somehow inferior to men, especially when it comes to religion, and maybe more precisely, orthodox Christianity. Paul wrote, earlier in his first letter to Timothy; 'I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. Most churches over the centuries, have used this passage to denounce the idea of women preachers; but I think that this is where we must remember the historical context in which Paul wrote these words. First of all, Paul was a Jewish Christian; this must have had some impact on his writing, and his thinking, even though he must have realized that the physical aspects of Judaism had pointed toward the more spiritual aspects of Christianity. Secondly; we must remind ourselves of the situation that Paul was instructing Timothy about. Paul's injunction ( and remember, these are Paul's wishes-I Corinthians 7:12 ) to Timothy may seem pretty clear-cut; but remember that he had written to the church in Corinth, in I Corinthians 11; 'I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. This he wrote just prior to the famous passage that most pastors ( or other elders ) use to 'introduce' the Lord's Supper. Just as Trinitarians will readily admit that the Son is by no means inferior to the Father, or the Spirit to the Son, just that they have different offices; so Paul is saying here that God has given men and woman different offices, not that the woman is, in any way, inferior to the man, though, as Paul wrote later to the church in Ephesus, the husband, or man was to be their protector, even to the point of dying for them ( Ephesians 5:25-Genesis 26:9 )!
As I said before; I have 'treated' this subject before, in 'The Tree ( s? ) of the Garden.....'; but the Scriptures record that Eve saw that 'the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise': she saw, or perceived ( Hebrew-ra'ah ) that by taking of this fruit that God had forbidden them, she would become as the 'serpent' told her, 'like God, knowing good and evil. ' Why would God forbid this to them, knowing that it was actually a 'good' thing, that they would one day 'judge angels' ( I Corinthians 6:3 )? I believe that God forbade them for several reasons, the first being the most obvious; just as with the children of Israel later on, in the wilderness, He tested them to see if they would follow His leading, voluntarily ( Judges 3:4 ): secondly, He wanted them to trust in Him, rely upon His wisdom, His absolutes ( Galatians 3:24, Matthew 6:33 ), and thirdly, I believe that God, as a good Father, forbade them to eat of 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil' because He knew that they were not yet ready for such 'heady' knowledge, they weren't ready for the Truth: they were still children, not yet mature enough to make their own judgments, the Father having already determined His own 'fullness of time' ( Galatians 4:1-7 ). ( you might remember the line from 'A Few Good Men'; 'You can't handle the truth!' )
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Borrowing a quote from my second study, of Genesis 2;
'A couple of thoughts that I have ruminated over of late is the nakedness of our first parents, especially concerning the covenant context, and the idea that Adam & Eve were created with 'age'. One question that I have posed; 'what sort of people do we usually think of that are naked and innocent when they make their entrance into this world?' I don't agree with those of my brethren who posit that babies, even children, up to a certain age ( the 'age of accountability'? ) are innocent and when they die before that age, are accepted directly into the arms of Jesus. A 'nice' thought, perhaps; but when I asked one of the expositors of this 'doctrine' to back it up with Scripture, he replied that there was only one Scripture, maybe two, that supported this belief. The point though, is yes; Babies enter this world naked, and in a sense, innocent. They have not had a chance to actually commit any sins; although they are all born with the fallen, sin nature of Adam, and do not have to be taught how to lie, cheat, or steal, often before they can talk or walk!'
When Adam & Eve had illegally gotten ( for themselves ) this 'knowledge of good and evil', they understood why God had told them not to seek it; they were naked, they were still babes. We can apply, as I have previously, this situation to our own situations in life. In the area of parenting, for instance; we do not automatically expect our newborn children to be able to speak so that we can easily understand why they are fussing, we do not expect toddlers to understand why daddy & mommy want them to hold their hands when crossing the street, nor can we expect our adolescent children to understand ( or like ) everything that we tell them to do or not do. Many parents, when faced with the question of 'why not?', will take the short, easy route, and just say, 'because I said so!', and leave it at that. Some will say 'you'll understand when you're older', and some will actually try ( unsuccessfully, often ) to make their child understand that, while it might not be a bad thing ( necessarily ), they aren't quite ready to try it on their own, they haven't gained the maturity that is needed to face certain situations yet. In the same way; we don't automatically expect our teenagers to face, with the same level of maturity ( even success ), the situations that we adults face every day in 'the real world'.
Did Adam & Eve have any idea that they were naked, before they sinned? I dare say that they did; but before they 'acquired' the knowledge that they had been forbidden; they probably thought nothing of it ( Genesis 2:25 ). ( Let me again remind my readers; although it may seem like I am assuming a strict historical understanding of this chapter; I am simply showing you that, as I believe, this is not so much a literal, scientifically accurate account of what actually transpired in a geographical location called the 'Garden of Eden', as it is significant, or representative of the greater spiritual truth of our need for the true wisdom, the righteousness of Christ! ) We can speculate about such matters until we're 'blue in the face', but until we realize that this story, like so many others, is prophetic hyperbole, significant of, and typifying the fact that we cannot gain wisdom on our own, and that we are naked, and 'destitute of the truth', without Christ and His righteousness; I believe that we miss the point of many such passages!
Of course; we can easily tell, and I believe that this is traditional, the 'story' of how Adam & Eve clothed themselves is typical of our vain attempts to 'appear' righteous ( even before God ). As mature ( even immature ) Christians, we have been clothed with 'white robes', the righteousness of Christ ( II Peter 1:1 )!
8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
As I have covered much of this chapter in a previous article; I would like again, to quote shortly from that article, in relation to verses seven and eight;
'Most importantly here, I think, is the last phrase: "and made coverings for themselves". They knew ( from eating of the tree of knowledge? ), whether instinctively, or by some other means ( ? ), that they needed to be covered; however, like most children with their parents, they also figured that, since they had disobeyed God and found out something that they didn't want to know ( they weren't ready for it! ), they had better provide their own coverings, and just try to avoid 'Daddy' for awhile! As I can personally attest; this doesn't work; for sooner or later, daddy comes calling; 'where are you?', and the 'jig's' up! Maybe a better way to put it, would be: knowledge ( or consciousness ) of good would also come from eating of this forbidden tree: For one thing, Adam learned how good he really had it, in the Garden, where he walked ( and presumably, talked? ) with his Creator, where his food was more pleasantly and easily obtainable ( no sweat, man!-metaphorically speaking ), and he wasn't (presumably ) 'bothered' by wild animals. For another, since he was 'booted' out of the Garden, his 'race' was propagated throughout the known world ( his 'world' ).'
Something interesting that I have thought of, is how the Author records here that Adam & Eve 'heard the sound of God walking'. This itself brings up another good question; 'how would one hear the movement of the Spirit, as God undoubtedly is ( John 4:24 )?' Jesus told Nicodemus, the Jewish ruler who came to Him by night, in John 3:8, 'The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.' I believe that recording above, that 'they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden ' is the Author's typical, hyperbolic way of saying that the Spirit of God was present with our first parents, at least until they sinned against God, and were removed from His presence! It is recorded that certain men, even during the Old Covenant 'age', walked with God ( see Deuteronomy 1:36, I Kings 3:6, 8:25, II Kings 22:2, II Chronicles 17:3&4, 34:2, Job 29:3, Isaiah 38:3, Malachi 2:6 ) Note too, that our first 'parents' 'hid themselves from the presence of the Lord'; now they feared ( unnaturally ) the presence of their Creator because they knew that they had done wrong, and also, because, as we'll see in the next few verses that they were naked, and without covering: now they were ashamed!
9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?
'Daddy's home!' As children growing up; my brothers and sisters and I ( maybe it was just me! ) used to alm0st dread to hear those words, especially if we knew that we had done something wrong during the past week. Although we all loved our father ( as children do ), and looked forward to being with him again after his being away for up to a week ( he was a traveling salesman ); we weren't looking forward to the punishment that we had 'earned' while he was away! Just as Adam & Eve, sometimes we would hide from our father ( whether it was by retreating to the bathroom or our bedroom with a book ), trying to escape our 'tanning', hoping against hope that if we stayed hidden from his sight ( 'outta sight, outta mind' ) for long enough, maybe he would either forget it entirely, or at least mete out a lesser punishment. With any luck, we hoped, maybe mom had not deemed it important enough to tell him about, or maybe he'd forgotten what she'd told him, in his joy at seeing his loving kids again!
After Adam & Eve had eaten of the forbidden tree, realized that they were naked, and that they were ashamed of what they had done; God decided to make His presence known: although He had been there all the time-N.T. Wright makes this enlightening statement concerning God's presence; 'Of course, when he 'appears' he will be 'present'. But the point of stressing 'appearing' here is that, though in one sense it will seem to us that he is 'coming', he will in fact be 'appearing' right where he presently is-not a long way away within our own space-time world but in his own world, God's world, the world we call heaven'. ( emphasis mine ) Although, as I have pointed out elsewhere; God knew exactly where our cowering 'parents', though 'children' themselves, were. He was testing them, as most good, earthly fathers will, to see if they would 'fess up' if they would acknowledge their sin, and their 'nakedness' apart from Him. When Adam realized, finally, that there was no escape, he acknowledged that he had hidden from God ( tried to ) because he realized that he was naked. Again; why would he hide from God because he was naked? He was naked before and he didn't mind being around God! Why should he be afraid now? As I intimated above, it is recorded in the previous chapter, and the last verse , that 'they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.' Although I'm sure that Adam & Eve were rather ashamed of their nakedness now ( I mean; they tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, for God's sake! ); but Scripture records, not that he was ashamed, but that he was afraid! As we children feared the promised punishment 'when your father gets home'; so Adam feared the promised punishment when God 'got back'. That punishment was, as God promised, immediate death! Paul wrote, in Romans 6:23, that 'the wages of sin is death', and many people see this as physical death, for varying reasons, but I believe that Scripture teaches, as a whole, that the death that Adam feared was not physical death, but rather spiritual death, a separation from the Life and Presence of God!
God asked a good question of Adam, in the eleventh verse: 'Who told you that you were naked?' Again; God knew very well how they had learned that they were naked; he knew that they had perceived on their own this reality because they had eaten of the tree that
He had commanded them not to; but He wanted to see if they were still being children, or if they would acknowledge what they had done.
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate".
Like a typical child; Adam tried to shift the blame, saying, in essence, that it was God's own fault. As parents; we often face the same problem ( in our case though; it *is* often our 'problem' ), with our children will most often blame their own failures on our bad example. ( Not that it's okay for us to fail, but how many children do you find 'blaming' their parents for their good behavior? ) While it was true enough that 'She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.'; the 'problem' was that he ate of the fruit that had been forbidden him. Too often we tend to compare ourselves with each other, saying to ourselves that if somebody else does something wrong without getting in trouble for it ( that we can see, anyway ), we should be able to get away with it too, or 'if he does it, then it can't be all that bad!' I'm sure that we've all heard from our children ( at least once or twice ), 'Why isn't he ( or she ) getting in trouble? He did it too ( or first )!' Paul warned his Corinthian brethren not to compare themselves with each other, in II Corinthians 10:12, but rather to follow the example set by our Lord, Jesus Christ, and to seek His righteousness!
13 And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate".
Although God knew that there were indeed 'two sides to the coin'; He turned His attention upon Eve now, because, as Paul wrote, she committed the first offense ( at least, that's what we traditionally understand ). As her husband had; Eve also tried to shift the blame onto the 'serpent', ostensibly, one of God's creatures, saying, with Paul, in I Timothy 2:14, that she had been deceived: 'it wasn't really my fault!' As many children, even some adults, Eve complained, 'what about him?' By saying this, I'm sure that she hoped to escape the punishment that she knew that she justly deserved, by pointing out that she was not the only one, and certainly not the first, to sin. As with any just and wise parent; this ruse did not work with God, as we shall see in the following verses.
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent: “ Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.
As the 'serpent' sinned first; so God deals with 'him' ( ? ) first. We saw above, where some have argued, mainly from this and the first verse of this chapter, that this 'serpent' was not a non-human creature, but may have, in allegory, been personified by Adam himself. As I indicated in my article 'Wise as Serpents.......'; the Scriptural occurrence of the word 'serpent' often referred to the wicked, and more often, especially in the New Testament, to the Pharisaical Jews! In the book of Judges, and chapter 11, that the children of Israel were not to eat that which crawled on it's belly, referring, I believe, to to the curse that God placed on the 'serpent' here in Genesis chapter 3. Dust, as we have seen, is often somehow related with death: prophesying of the Christ, in Psalm 22, David wrote, 'My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.' He also wrote, in Psalm 72:9, that God's enemies would 'lick' or eat dust ( see also Isaiah 49:23 ). In the context of the promised New Covenant, and 'a new heavens and new earth', in Isaiah 65; God reiterates His condemnation of the 'serpent' when Isaiah records, 'The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, says the LORD.' The prophet Micah wrote, in Micah 7:17, speaking of the nations who rejected God; 'They shall lick the dust like a serpent; they shall crawl from their holes like snakes of the earth.They shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of You.'
AS I mentioned earlier; this verse ( Genesis 3:14 ) is also why some have nurtured the notion that this 'serpent' was no ordinary 'creature', for the simple fact that Scripture said that he was more cunning, subtle, and cursed than *any* creature, and not any *other* creature. Also; you might have noticed the interesting 'fact' that, although the 'serpent' spoke, in human terms, to Eve; 'he' offered no excuse when God cursed Him for what 'he' had done. Some may argue that God's condemnation had rendered the 'serpent' speechless by cursing 'him', or that this 'serpent' was at a loss for words, having no excuse to give to his Creator. As far as speculation goes then; we could suppose maybe, that the 'serpent' had already made his argument, or defense!
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.
Traditionally, this verse is thought of a speaking of the Christ, as the Seed of Abraham and David, the 'second Adam' that would bruise, or crush the 'serpent's' head; but even more: this promise is fulfilled in us, the Body of Christ, the elect Church or people, of God! Paul wrote, in Romans 16:20, 'And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.' Many might try to ignore this clear time statement, saying something like, 'Paul is simply speaking, as the writer to the Hebrews, in Hebrews 9:28, of personal salvation.', that 'Satan' merely has no more power over us, as the redeemed and sanctified, holy people of God; but we must remember the historical context of when Paul, and his contemporary, wrote these words. Paul reiterated God's promise in Genesis 3:15, in or around AD60, prior to the Fall of Jerusalem and the Temple, which brought an end to the Jewish economy! As the Author promised that 'He shall bruise your head', so Paul reminded the Roman Christians that the promise of the defeat of their great adversary would be fulfilled in and through them! In the Hebrew passage, the word shuwph is used to describe the defeat of this 'seed of the serpent' ( Matthew 23:33) ; while in the Greek, Paul uses syntribō to describe the 'trampling down' ( Psalm 8:6 ) of the enemies of God that He would bring to pass through His people, the 'seed of the woman' ( Galatians 3:29 ).
16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
Here is yet another passage of Scripture that is 'used' to show that men are to 'lord' it over women, whether in the 'ecclesiastical' or 'secular' setting. The Hebrew mashal does connote that men are to be the master, or 'head' if you will, of their wives; but remember what Paul said to the churches in Galatia, in Galatians 3:28: 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.' Later on, in Ephesians 5:23, Paul also says that 'the husband is head of the wife', and that she is to be submissive to him; but he says several verses earlier that we are to submit to one another, in the fear of the Lord. From a plain reading of the verse above, at least in the KJV and NKJV, we see that God's punishment upon Eve, or the woman, and hence, upon all women was that now she would experience pain in birthing children, and not only that, but he would multiply her conceptions as well. The English Standard Version of this verse reads 'I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; (A) in pain you shall bring forth children. ( B) Your desire shall be fora]">[a] your husband, and he shall (C) rule over you.' This reading makes it a bit clearer, given that this is a truer translation, that Eve's punishment was not that she would become pregnant more often, as the KJV seems to imply, but that pain would now be involved in the delivery of children. In the covenant context, though; one cannot help but make a leap forward to the times of what we traditionally call the 'prophets'. In Isaiah54:1; God told His covenant people, 'Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman.' ( see also Galatians 4:27 ) Isaiah wrote concerning the 'new heavens and new earth', in Isaiah 66:7, 'Before she was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a male child.' Prophesying of the Christ, in Micah 5:3, Micah writes, 'Therefore He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel.' Jesus, using this analogy, speaks of the inauguration of His New Covenant, in John 16:21; 'A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.' Paul also uses this analogy in speaking of this New Covenant, in Romans 8:22; 'For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.' John, in Revelation 12, relates a vision that he saw concerning this 'birth' of the New Covenant. Several other passages from the Old Covenant prophets which use this analogy are; Psalm 48:6, Isaiah 26:17&18, 42:14, 65:23, Jeremiah 4:31, 6:24, 13:21, 22:23, 48:41, 49:24, 50:43 ( in relation to covenant judgment ).
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.
God now turns back to Adam, the one that He had originally reprimanded for disobedience, and speaks in much the same way as He later spoke to Abram, because a similar situation came up. In Genesis 16; we see that 'Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.' Abram, although he wasn't 'cursed' in quite the same way, or to quite the extent that Adam was, for heeding his wife rather than God, received a long-lasting and age-enduring ( it still goes on today, in fact! ) punishment for his crime! In a previous article, I discussed the fact that traditionally, because of this verse; it is thought that God actually cursed the ground, causing it to bring forth weeds and thorns, etc. If you'll notice though; The curse is upon Adam himself, and his labor: 'in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.' ! Later on, in Genesis 8:21, God promises 'I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.' Again, was this curse upon the land itself, although some will argue that the land itself was cursed, destroyed, or 'changed'; or was it upon the labors of the people on it?
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.
As God further clarifies this curse; we see again that He specifically tells Adam that 'it shall bring forth for you'. I mentioned above that, traditionally, this passage is used to 'prove' that God cursed the ground itself, that thorns and thistles are a part of that curse, which still 'plague' us to this day. The famous Christmas carol, 'Joy to the World' echoes this in the line, 'No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground'; but, as we saw above, that passage in Genesis 8, directly after the Great Flood, when Noah had offered 'of every clean animal and of every clean bird' implies strongly that God had lifted the curse which He had 'levied' upon Adam. Notice too that God tells Adam that he was to eat of 'the herb of the field'. Remember that, back in Genesis 1 & 2, God had given them 'every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth'. This brings up yet another interesting point: Adam & Eve were never meant to stay in the Garden ( if indeed it was a specific geographical location of a certain longitude and latitude )! Along these lines; let me bring to your remembrance a quote from my previous study, on Genesis 2;
'Another interesting note here is that the Author records that the river ran out of Eden to water the garden! Previously we saw that God planted a garden eastward in Eden; now He seems to imply that this garden that He had planted, especially; was not the garden that He purposed to 'water' with this river, but that this garden that He had planted especially ( in the east part of Eden ) was simply a picture of the true Garden that He had planted, His entire creation, and in particular, His elect from many nations.'
We will discuss this to a greater extent maybe later on in this chapter; but my belief that the first three chapters of Genesis, especially, are typological, in the prophetic sense, of God's 'forming' of His covenant with His people, is strengthened by passages like this which bring out the inconsistency of some of the doctrines that tradition has handed down to us over the years.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.
The last part of this verse is most often quoted at funerals, and in the most physical sense, very fittingly; but I think that sometimes we tend to forget the rest of the verse when 'borrowing' the phrase 'dust to dust'. If my readers will remember; I had talked earlier in this paper about those who say that God's warning back in chapter 2, verse 17, that 'in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die' would be more correctly translated as 'in the day of thine eating of it -- dying thou dost die', which is actually how it reads in Young's Literal Translation. According to this theory; God told Adam that he would *begin* to die on the day that he ate the 'forbidden fruit, and thus, they say, God was speaking of physical death as the 'wages of sin' ( Romans 6:23 ). It would almost seem that they have a point; but either way you look at it; God kept His promise, and Adam & Eve died in the day that they ate the fruit. They came under the curse of sin when they became aware that what they had done was wrong, and even that they were 'naked' and needed a Covering.
Another part of God's curse upon Adam was that now he would need to work harder, seemingly 'in vain' sometimes, for his food, 'in the sweat' of his brow'. I mentioned the phrase 'no sweat man!', or 'don't sweat it!' as indicative of and almost metaphorical for not worrying about something. Part of this curse, I believe, is the human tendency that even the most faithful Christian sometimes exhibits: the tendency to worry, especially to the point of getting 'stressed'! Indeed we should ( especially as Christians! ) be concerned about ( Philippians 2:4 ) things, but we should not worry about them because 'your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.' ( Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:22-25 ) As always though, this spiritual truth was typified as well by the physical injunction to the priests 'under' the Old Covenant, as found in Ezekiel 44:15-18 and Deuteronomy 22:11. Strangely enough ( and I only mention this in passing.....); in the passage in Genesis 3, the Hebrew feminine noun ze`ah is used, whereas the masculine noun yeza` is used in Ezekiel; both have a very physical meaning, meaning simply 'sweat', or 'perspiration'. This is also typical of what some call the 'covenant of works', which pointed forward to the New Covenant, which those same people would call the 'covenant of grace', in which the 'works' are those done in, through, and by Christ ( I Corinthians 12:6&11, John 9:4, Philippians 2:13 )
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
The Hebrew proper feminine noun Chavvah is used here to name the wife of Adam. Although this noun has the meaning of 'living', and thus traditionally she is known as the 'mother of all living', some have pointed out that the Hebrew actually reads 'mother of all *the * living'. At first glance, this insertion ( some might say reclamation ) of 'the' might not seem to make much difference; but when read in a covenant context, it makes all the difference! If indeed Adam & Eve were not actually the first human beings on Planet Earth; but were really the first humans with whom God covenanted, thus typifying His chosen and elect people, then saying that Eve was the mother of all the *the* living would simply mean that she was the 'mother', or progenitor of all that have Life through Christ in the New Covenant!
21 Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
The first thing that I wish to note here is the fact that, near the end of chapter 2, after God brought the woman to the man; Adam gave her the name of 'Woman', or 'ishshah; but after the Fall, when God had 'redeemed' them, in a type, by sacrificing an animal ( a lamb? ) in order to clothe their nakedness; Adam then gave her the name 'Eve', or 'living'! I must say that, although I believe the traditional, orthodox stance here is, as we see above, that God made the first sacrifice ( pointing forward to the final sacrifice, His own Son, Jesus the Christ ) from which He got the skins that He clothed Adam & Eve with; from a surface reading of this passage, it looks like we might have room to speculate that God especially created these skins ( without killing any animals ). I remember speculating to this effect once or twice, but I believe that it does make more sense to view this event as the first sacrifice or offering, typical of God's own final, once for all sacrifice!
22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
Like we saw earlier, in the beginning of this study; the 'serpent' did not wholly lie when 'he' told the woman 'in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' This, according to the above verse, is exactly what happened, but that's not all that happened! They did surely die, just as God had promised, whether they just *began* to die, or whether they died spiritually that same day. The orthodox position, I believe, is that Adam & Eve did spiritually ( in a type ), being put out from the presence of the Lord. We must remember though, in reference to what I said earlier, that in clothing them with the skins, in a type, He was revealing the good news of salvation in Christ; our Righteousness!
There is on-going debate about whether or not Adam and Eve had partaken, or been partaking of the 'tree of life' all along, up until the time when they disobeyed God's command ( this I believe is where some find biblical support for the doctrine of 'the immortal soul' ); but really, it's a moot point! It is true, in whatever sense, that God was with Adam and Eve in the 'Garden', and so we have a picture there of the present 'state' of the believer ( in Christ-John 14:23 ); but when God removed them from His immediate presence by ushering them out of His 'Garden' and forcibly denying them the communion that they had with Him, He, in effect, condemned them to 'spiritual death' by denying them His Life! ( see Genesis 4:13 ) Although the covenant context makes this a more or less moot point; it can be seen fairly easily from the latter part of verse 22 that they had not up to this point ( prior to the Fall ) partaken of the 'tree of life'.
In verse 23 we see that God not only removed them from His presence for disobedience, but, He says 'to till the ground from which he was taken.'I mentioned above, and in a previous article, that it had always been God's Plan for Adam & Eve to 'ply' their trade *outside* the 'Garden'. This verse only reinforces my opinion: remember when God said, in the previous chapter, 'and there was no man to till the ground'? Now there was a man to till, or take dominion over, take care of, God's true Garden, His entire good creation. Remember that God had created Adam*outside* the 'Garden', brought him into the 'Garden', thus signifying His bringing of His people into covenant with Himself, and after Adam had failed in keeping that Covenant himself ( remember the 'fig leaves'? ), He 'clothed' our first parents Himself, thus typifying the Righteousness of His own Son, and sending them forth to 'till the ground', to build His Kingdom 'on earth as it is in heaven'!
When reading, in verse 24, of the 'flaming sword' that 'turned every way'; I was just now reminded of the 'wheels' associated with the cherubim, in Ezekiel 1:4-21, 3:13, 10, and 11:22. I had written in a previous article that 'according to the passage in I Chronicles ( 28:18 ); the chariot of the Lord was simply the cherubim ( Strong's 3742-a cherub, or imaginary figure; Ungers Bible Dictionary says that they were vindicators ( or protectors?- my addition ) of God's holiness ) that overshadowed the ark of the covenant'. I wrote this short 'blurb' of an article ( 'Chariots of Fire' ) about two years ago, long before I had given any thought to writing these studies of ( at least ) the first three chapters of Genesis. Reading verse 24 now; we can see that the cherubim were indeed protectors, or guardians of God's holiness, the 'Way............of Life ( John 14:6, 11:25 ) Several other passages from which we can 'glean' this fact are Exodus 25: 10-22, I Kings 6:23-28, ( Numbers 22:22-34 ), and Hebrews 9:1-5. The passage from the book of Numbers is traditionally seen as a Christophany, or prior revelation of the Son of God; but as you can see from reading this passage, this 'Angel', or 'sent one, messenger' acted, not only as an 'adversary' ( Hebrew 'satan' ), but as a protector of the way of Righteousness, the path which Balaam was endeavoring to leave.
One final note before we bring this study to a close; when the Author records that God 'drove' our first parents from His Garden, He uses the Hebrew verb garash , meaning ( forcefully ) 'to drive out, expel, cast out, drive away, divorce, put away, thrust away, trouble'. Although, as I said, I believe that it is very clear that God's intent was always for Adam & Eve to follow His command to 'Be fruitful and multiply', and 'have dominion', subduing the earth, *outside* the 'Garden'; I do not mean at all to remove from our first 'parents the responsibility for their own wicked and sinful actions! Do we not all, every once in awhile, think that we know better than God? Man cannot function outside God's Plan! Unless God had given a man the breath and strength to do as he will, man could do nothing, good or evil! I am, by no means, saying that God is the author of evil, or even alleviating man's responsibility; but, to quote a good friend of mine: 'God accomplished his precise will through the free choices and actions of the people. God was so wise that he knew what they would do in any given circumstance. God used that knowledge to accomplish his desire through their choices and actions.' This 'doctrine', the doctrine of 'foreknowledge', is one that I am somewhat familiar with; but cannot quite agree with, because, as I told a pastor friend of mine, it's 'works salvation'! I believe that Scripture teaches us that God not only knew everything 'from eternity' ( Isaiah 41:4, II Thessalonians 2:13 ), but that He 'works all things according to.........His will' ( Ephesians 1:1 ). Peter said, in I Peter 1:2, that God chose His elect people because of His 'foreknowledge', and Paul, in Romans 8:29, said that 'whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son' ( although these are about the only two passages that deal with the foreknowledge of God, in relation to salvation ); but I believe that, as God is not human, and His ways are not our ways Isaiah 55:9 ) , so His 'foreknowledge' is so distant from our understanding of it, and that He did not base His election ( of us ) upon a simple foreknowledge, as we perceive it, but rather upon His divine and sovereign choice, because He 'set His love upon us' ( Deuteronomy 7:7 ), changing our 'course' ( Ephesians 2:2 ) forever! The question that I asked my pastor friend was, 'if God predestined us to eternal life in Him because He foresaw that we would choose Him ( in the future ); how is that not 'works salvation'?' It all comes down to this question then; 'if God foreknew that Adam would disobey Him, why did He place the 'tree of the knowledge of good and evil' in the 'Garden' in the first place? You might well say that He did this so it would become necessary to send His Son, as a true human, to show our need for His righteousness; but this goes back to the original question and begs for an answer. Think about it!
May God receive all the glory; I want none for myself!
Joyfully in His Presence forever,