Genesis Chapter 3: The Serpent Deceives Eve, God’s Curse Upon Adam, Eve, and the SerpentJan 2nd, 2010 | By admin | Category: Genesis, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)
Genesis Chapter 3: The Serpent Deceives Eve, God’s Curse Upon Adam, Eve, and the Serpent
Gen. 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Calling the serpent a “beast” is a clue that as originally created, the serpent was in a different form than after it was cursed. Being “more subtle,” it was more intelligent than any other beast—and the most advanced below man. However, when the serpent talked and reasoned with Eve, it was a possessed beast. Satan possessed the serpent much as God spoke to Balaam through the ass.
What would the serpent have looked like before the curse? It probably had four legs and could stand erect when it so desired as, for instance, in eating the fruit of a tree. It looked vaguely like a reptile but was attractive—it was not repulsive like present-day snakes. Proof that the serpent was pleasant to behold is that it reasoned intimately with the woman and she was not repelled. When the serpent was cursed, it lost its beauty—much like Lucifer. Originally beautiful and very intelligent, Lucifer was an honored creation in heaven, yet he fell. The “son of light” became Satan, the deceiver, the Adversary, etc. Just as Lucifer’s name was changed, so the serpent may have had a different designation originally.
The serpent asked Eve, “Has God said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Satan twisted God’s words. God had said that Adam could eat of every tree—and eat freely—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16,17). In other words, God simply put a prohibition on one kind of tree. By stating the question in the negative, Satan was casting suspicion and doubt on God’s motives. The implication was that God was depriving Adam and Eve of something desirable, that is, that He was denying them their rights and they were entitled to more.
Satan had not previously disobeyed God, for God’s will is done in heaven. Hence Satan became the “father” of lies with this first transgression (John 8:44). Because he had not sinned previously, we have to conclude that at this point, he really believed what he was saying. He was not disobeying divine authority with the knowledge that he was definitely wrong. Rather, Satan was deceived in his own thinking. Having seen the creation of man, he meditated on certain things. There was only a two-year gap between the creation and the fall of man. Lucifer, as well as the Logos, had rejoiced at the new human creation: first the man and then the woman. Adam was a miniature physical form of what a spirit being looks like, but a woman was something different, for the angels were all sons of God, all males. As Lucifer meditated, he could see the potential for reproduction and multiplication that existed through the woman. He misunderstood God’s motives in prohibiting Adam from partaking of the one kind of tree. He had heard what God said to Adam but misunderstood and thought God had limited Adam (and Eve).
Since no human death had ever occurred, even though that was the penalty for disobedience, he did not know what death was. As one of the early creations, Lucifer may have already lived a million years, and none of the spirit realm had died either. Lucifer was one of the chief angels; he was an archangel. Faith was required to believe God meant what He said, namely, that death was the penalty for disobedience.
When Lucifer saw the perfect human creation, the wheels were turning, and he imagined what might be done with them and their progeny. He saw the possibility of a physical universe with human beings just as there already was a spirit universe with spirit beings. Then he misinterpreted God’s motive in placing a restriction on eating the fruit of a particular tree.
Lucifer had been thinking along these channels, but his disobedience did not start to occur until he spoke and acted through the serpent. At that point, he made a decision for disobedience. He saw the potential, and now he acted as the benefactor to Eve. He befriended her, suggesting that if she disobeyed God, the result would be good.
Satan thought he was immortal, and he was more and more convinced of his immortality when he disobeyed—and repeatedly—with seeming impunity. He experienced no deterioration in spiritual energy, and he maintained his beauty and agelessness. In contrast, when man disobeyed, he aged, got wrinkled, became infirm, etc., and eventually died. Satan misquoted God. Professed Christians can also put false connotations on the principles of God. A certain statement or illustration in God’s Word may be used to draw a lesson completely different from what was intended. One may truly think he is properly interpreting the Bible but actually be misinterpreting it.
Based on all the serpent said and did, we know that Satan had carefully thought out this matter in advance. For example, Satan chose an opportune moment. He chose both the time and the place, making sure that Adam would not be there. Why did Satan talk to just the woman? He recognized that when the rib was taken from Adam and Adam’s qualities were divided, Eve would be the easier one to deceive. As the Apostle Paul said, “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Tim. 2:14). Also, the prohibition had been declared to Adam; the penalty was on the man. God was careful to put the penalty only on Adam because the ransom price had to be paid (a single life for a single life, a man for a man).
Eve was considered in Adam, a part of man. God “called their name Adam” (Gen. 5:2).
God simply prohibited the eating of one kind of tree. There was nothing wrong with such a prohibition. Some people think everything should be democratic and they are entitled to all things, but that concept is wrong. We are subjects of grace. God did not choose us because we are better than someone else or because we have rights to certain things. As brethren, we must heed the Scriptural conditions that limit or modify our behavior under certain circumstances.
Gen. 3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
Note Eve’s reply: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.” She did not quote God correctly either, for God had said, “You may freely eat of every tree except the one” (Gen. 2:16 paraphrase). Eve omitted “every” and “freely.” She did not quote God in a positive manner any more than the serpent did. Although she was trying to correct the serpent, her deletions were significant.
Gen. 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
Now Eve added to the original prohibition, which mentioned nothing about touching the tree.
Since the prohibition was not to eat of the tree, common sense would say to leave it alone.
Therefore, Eve thought wisely, “I better not touch the tree either.” However, God did not say those words, and Eve was unknowingly setting up a trap for herself. Incidentally, the prohibited tree was not a single tree but one kind of tree that was here and there throughout the garden. The principles of the Adversary’s tactics are being discussed. He is a wily foe.
Gen. 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
The serpent said to Eve, “You shall not surely die.” What a strong statement! Satan had given a lot of thought to God’s prohibition before saying these words and possessing the serpent. Satan thought the prohibition was strange. He wondered why God excluded that tree from Adam’s diet. If we had faith in God and loved Him, we would say, “God must have a good reason even if I do not understand it.” We have this attitude about Scriptures we do not understand. However, if we did not have faith and were beginning to question certain things, the prohibition could be a stumbling block as we thought about it more and more.
When the serpent ate the fruit and did not die, the test was increased. Perhaps the serpent was even eating the fruit while it was talking to Eve. The eating was a tremendous test on Eve as well as on Satan, for the assumption would be, if the tree is poisonous to man, it is poisonous to animals too. At each step, Satan became more and more convinced that he was right. Yes, there were contradictions, but then much seemed to be in his favor. Satan thought God was lying when He said that Adam would die if he ate the forbidden fruit.
Even before this scene with Eve, Satan had the serpent partake of the fruit, so Satan knew in advance of tempting Eve that the serpent would not die. But then to demonstrate the eating before Eve and say, “Ye shall not surely die,” made the serpent’s statement seem correct. God’s original statement and prohibition would lead any thinking person to ask, “Why?” With the “Why?” came the test. Faith would say, “God has a good reason of which I am not aware.”
However, one who lacked a sufficiency of faith, trust, and love for God might misconstrue what seemed to be a proven fact; namely, the serpent ate the fruit and did not die. And when Adam and Eve subsequently ate the fruit and did not die, Satan was further confirmed in his lie. The holy angels who did not sin at the time of the Flood do not need any further testing. They withstood what seemed to be a proven reality and still had faith and trust in God and did not sin. Because the holy angels were tested to the very core and passed the test, they do not “die any more” (Luke 20:36).
The lesson for us is that we must analyze statements coming forth from Christians—what we hear and what we are being taught. We should ask ourselves, “Is the statement true?” Eve was naive. She was trusting and believing. When she saw what seemed to contradict, she went along with the reasoning, forgetting what God had said. She was deceived by false reasoning, and we, too, can be deceived by false reasoning. The Apostle Paul said, “I fear lest you, like Eve, will be deceived by beautiful statements of others who are supposed to be Christians. You naively believe them” (2 Cor. 11:3,4 paraphrase). We must heed a “Thus saith the LORD,” and the “Thus saith the LORD” here was a simple statement: “Thou shalt not eat of it” (Gen. 2:17).
Gen. 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
The serpent continued his false reasoning. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened immediately to their nakedness. This, too, would seem to justify Satan, who misunderstood what the “good and evil” was. Did evil of this nature exist before this incident?
No! Satan thought that for some ulterior motive, God was excluding the fruit, but Satan was impugning God’s motive. Satan thought, “It is God who is evil in making the prohibition. Since the serpent and Adam and Eve can eat the fruit and not die, then another side of God’s character is being revealed.” Satan mistakenly thought God was trying to withhold information and privileges, and the evidence seemed to prove that Satan’s stand was right.
Adam and Eve felt shame regarding their nakedness, but Satan did not, for the prohibition was only on Adam. Satan had a tiny bit of truth mixed with a lot of error. The mixture confused Satan, so that he misconstrued God’s motives and thought that by eating the fruit, Adam and Eve would become more godlike, more like spirit beings.
The death penalty was not on the angels; the prohibition was for man only. Since the angels subsequent to Adam’s fall did not begin to deteriorate, we know their experience was different from man’s. Moreover, they did not feel shame, which was a part of man’s penalty. Of course later as the fallen angels beheld the physical acts of man and woman, the seeds of moral degeneration were bred in them, but they did not experience the emotional reaction of shame that Adam and Eve did.
Some time passed before the fallen angels materialized, for if they had materialized sooner, the Flood would have come sooner. We know the delay occurred because when they materialized, they predominated. They became mighty men of renown, and they proliferated and dominated the human race. Man had to have a chance to multiply before the disobedient angels caused the hybrid race. Proof that generations (plural) were born is that Noah’s genealogy could be traced as “perfect” (Gen. 6:9). The materializations occurred in Noah’s day—not necessarily when he was building the Ark but in his lifetime. At the time the 120 years began and God gave Noah the decree to build the Ark, evil had reached a crescendo.
Hence there was a long period of time after the creation and fall of Adam and Eve in which the angels were thinking matters over, and the unholy angels then made a decision to follow Satan’s leadership.
Satan misunderstood that death was a dying process: “dying thou shalt die.” However, the death sentence immediately fell upon Adam—probably in the cells of his body, for the death penalty is inherited. After the fall but before Adam had children, his DNA cellular genetic code was altered so that the death sentence was in his genes. But the enactment of that death penalty was so slow that Adam lived 930 years before he died. The lack of visibility of the death sentence in Adam for a period of time was a strong test on others who observed him.
When man was created, it was clearly implied that had he not eaten of the forbidden tree, he would have lived forever. (Incidentally, in regard to the animals, it was not said that they were created to live perpetually.) Also, if God had so chosen, He could have made Adam to live only 100 years and then die—that was God’s prerogative. The injunction to Adam in regard to obedience became a covenant, the Adamic Covenant.
Gen. 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
“The woman saw that the tree was good for food.” This statement is a clue that the serpent ate the fruit in front of Eve. The serpent had already reasoned with her, implanting the seed of bad thinking, and that thinking began to percolate; namely, God had said, “You shall die,” but Satan, through the serpent, had said, “You shall not die.” In the meantime, Eve’s seeing that the tree was good for food steered her thinking to Satan’s favor. She thought God had lied and withheld knowledge from her that she had a right to have. The Hebrew word used here for “saw” is raah, which means “considered”; that is, Eve had time to meditate on what she had seen.
The tree was also pleasant to look at. The fruit looked luscious. This fact shows that what appears to be actual evidence (in this case, the serpent’s eating the fruit as well as the appearance of the fruit) can be deceiving. Even in the brotherhood, what seems to be factual evidence can be misleading. We (the Church) are naive like Eve, as the Apostle Paul said. If teachers come in and say, “This is all right, and that is all right” when it is not, we can be deceived because those teachers are prospering—they are more numerous, they get more attention, they are more highly favored, they seem to have God’s blessing, etc. But what is God’s blessing? The understanding of Providence is a very complex subject. We must stay close to the Scriptures in order to interpret what appears to be factual evidence. In the Garden of Eden, the circumstantial evidence favored Satan. God’s statement could not have been any simpler, but Satan made a complex argument out of it. If we try to reason with the Adversary, we will be no match. He is a brilliant being with tremendous powers of intellect. All we have to combat him is a “Thus saith the LORD” plus the guardian angels and the robe of Christ’s righteousness.
Eve also saw that the tree was “desired to make one wise.” She came to this conclusion because the serpent was the wisest beast and because he was the only one eating the forbidden fruit.
Therefore, she reasoned that the fruit had made him so wise. Again this was circumstantial evidence. We need God’s grace in this world. Because we are living in the end times, we must be careful of sophistry regarding the interpretation of God’s Word.
Eve partook of the fruit. From the account, we do not know whether or not Adam was with her at the time. It does not really matter, for the facts remain the same. At any rate, the Apostle Paul tells us that Adam was not deceived when he partook (1 Tim. 2:14).
There may well have been a little interim between Eve’s and Adam’s partaking. When Adam heard, he (incorrectly) assumed Eve would die and then partook himself (as a “suicide pact”) out of inordinate love for her—without inquiring of God first.
Satan had not approached Adam, the man, because he felt he would be far more successful through the woman. Women have a desire for approval and are more sensitive and appreciative of kindness and beauty.
Gen. 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
The eyes of both Adam and Eve “were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” If Eve partook earlier and there was a time interval, this verse suggests that she did not feel naked until Adam partook, for the penalty was on him, the father of the human race. Eve died because of Adam’s transgression rather than her own.
“They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” “Aprons” were like those worn by natives: a cord with an “apron” flap in front and back. The leaves were folded (“sewed”) and hung loosely. Their covering themselves suggests justification by works. In contrast, God later provided animal skins, as coats, to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve; God’s covering pictured Christ’s robe of righteousness gained through the shedding of blood.
The thought of the “fig” leaves can be carried further. The fig tree represents the nation of Israel, and the Law was given to Israel. Because Adam and Eve sewed their own fig-leaf covering, the act represents justification by the works and deeds of the Law. Christ’s robe of righteousness supplants that type of justification.
Gen. 3:8 And they heard the voice 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 amongst the trees of the garden.
Gen. 3:9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
Adam and Eve “heard the voice of the LORD God walking … in the cool of the day.” The “voice” was the Logos, the Word of God (John 1:1). “Logos” was the title of Jesus in his pre-human existence. “Michael” was another title (Dan. 12:1). “Logos” refers to his role as spokesman for God.
Adam and Eve heard an audible voice calling (described as “walking”) to Adam. As in Genesis 3:9, the Old Testament frequently says the LORD God spoke to so-and-so, but actually the Logos was conveying the instruction. As official spokesman, the Logos spoke so authoritatively that his pronouncements were considered to be the LORD God speaking.
By dissecting the grammar of such statements, Trinitarians could “prove” that Jesus was God, but we must reason on these Scriptures.
The Diaglott footnote for John 1:14 quotes an authority in regard to an Asian custom that when the king spoke to the public, his face was covered and he had a spokesman. From a veiled cubicle, the king spoke to his representative who, in turn, gave the pronouncement to the people. The people knew the king’s message was coming through the “Logos.” The principle is the same as having a translator. If a person spoke Russian, a translator would convey the message to those who spoke English.
The expression “cool of the day” meant afternoon, which corresponds to 3 p.m., the time that Jesus died on the Cross. In paying the ransom price, he was naked on the Cross. He was naked in front of a tree, as it were, as opposed to being behind a tree, because he was in Adam’s stead. On the Cross, Jesus would have felt chills; therefore, the “cool” of the day has a symbolic meaning as well. It was like the fall of the year, autumn. Also, when we “fall,” we stumble and fall down. These words have their origin in the spiritual fall of Adam, which occurred in the fall of the year. The God of nature has designed tides, weather, animals, seasons, planets—everything—as symbols. The thinking behind these realities is significant. Incidentally, the “cool” of the day is called the “wind” in the King James margin.
Gen. 3:10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Adam and Eve were in the garden when they heard the Logos call, “Adam! Adam!” Right away they were frightened because they had sinned, so they hid themselves among the trees (or behind a tree). Adam said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.” One penalty for disobedience that they felt immediately was a sense of being unclothed and shame, which led them to make a fig-leaf covering, but in spite of this covering, which they made, they still felt naked because their covering was insufficient.
Gen. 3:11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
God knew the answers to the questions, but He asked them (through the Logos) because a strategy was involved. God was not seeking information but was giving Adam and Eve an opportunity to explain themselves.
Comment: Each one was willing to blame another, which is true of people today. It takes courage to say, “It is my fault. I was wrong.”
“Who told you that you were naked?” Adam and Eve were aware of the sensation, but the question connected the sensation of nakedness with the transgression. We could have a providence that is retribution, a punishment, but view it otherwise. For instance, we might say, “That experience is common to man.” Another hard experience might not be a punishment at all but a test of our faith in God and in Christ. Or a test might be designed to probe and develop us—and not be a punishment in any sense of the word. Experiences have to be analyzed. We should ask ourselves (and the Lord in prayer), “Why did this happen?” Because of wrongdoing, because of right doing, or because of not doing? At the First Advent, Jesus looked into every experience to see what God’s leadings were. He did not see any of his experiences as happenstance. Jesus’ life was ordered of the Lord. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way” (Psa. 37:23). Hence we should try to see things in this light in regard to important events and circumstances.
“Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded you not to eat?” Adam first said he hid because he was afraid and because he was naked, but he did not say, “Because I sinned.” His transgression caused the sensations. The ideal answer would have been, “I transgressed. I disobeyed your commandment. I ate of the tree, and I got this sensation.” God pressed the question to get at the real reason: “Have you eaten of the tree that I commanded you not to eat?” This second question was instructional and illuminating. Adam got the point and then offered another excuse (verse 12).
Gen. 3:12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Adam blamed his transgression on the woman whom God had given him: “She gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Adam even brought God into the situation. Sometimes we do foolish things, and Adam’s comment helps us to understand some of our own actions. Today we are not commanded to not do such and such, but with Adam, the command was very specific and his disobedience constituted the sin. Instead we are given the whole Bible, and Adam’s and Eve’s failings can help us to see some of the failings and shortcomings in our own flesh. The more we know of God’s Word, the more responsible we are, but we should hunger to know more and more of God’s ways and principles. The more we learn now, the better educated we will be for our future work. We should want to discern the real reason we do something, not the professed reason. To be strictly true and honest is a hard thing. God is developing us to see if, at heart, we truly desire to be like Him.
Instead of saying, “The woman gave me of the tree,” Adam should have said, “I disobeyed. I ate the fruit.” He should have taken the blame himself. Jesus died specifically for Adam. As children of Adam, we are covered by the ransom price.
Adam answered, “The woman whom thou gavest me….” He was wrong to bring in God. If the Lord judged us by some of our statements, we would be very much condemned. Since there was only one woman in the garden, it was certainly wrong for Adam to identify her as “the woman whom thou gavest to be with me.”
Gen. 3:13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
God asked Eve, “What have you done?” (Adam, as head of the husband-wife relationship, was questioned first, but Eve was not left out.) Eve blamed the serpent. True, the woman did give Adam the fruit, and the serpent did beguile Eve, but each should have said, “I disobeyed.” Both Adam and Eve should have said first, “I did eat,” and then secondarily, if at all, have brought in Eve and the serpent, respectively. Their words were backwards. With Christians, too, many things are backwards, with the importance in reverse order. And why? To protect either ourselves or those we love.
Gen. 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
Now God addressed the serpent, but He did not ask, “What have you done?” because the serpent was possessed. In the New Testament, a demoniac who was the spokesman for a company of fallen angels asked Jesus, “Have you come to torment [judge] us before the time?”
(Matt. 8:28-32; Mark 5:2-13). The individual who ostensibly asked the question had no such knowledge, for it was the evil being in him who did the speaking when Jesus was about to cast out the fallen angels. Their spokesman continued: “We do not want to be dispossessed and go into the abyss. Let us go into the swine.” Hence the fallen angels talked with Jesus before he exorcised them. The point is that Jesus was talking to a man, but the man was not the one speaking. Yes, his mouth moved and his tongue wagged, but the evil being in him responded to Jesus. These incidents help us understand God’s dealing with the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
The serpent became a helpful symbol following its cursing, but when it conversed earlier, it was possessed. Satan and God both knew that Satan had possessed the serpent. But now, by talking to the serpent and stating the curse, God was really telling Satan his destiny. God cursed the serpent above all cattle and beasts and said it would go on its belly and eat dust all the days of its life. And God put enmity between the serpent and the woman, etc. (verse 15). The serpent became a symbol by being radically, suddenly, and literally changed. By being forced to travel on its belly, the snake previously, by implication, could stand erect. The act of beguiling the woman brought the curse.
Gen. 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
God put enmity between the woman and the serpent, and between the woman seed class and the serpent seed class. The serpent seed will bruise the “heel” (feet members), and the woman seed will bruise the serpent’s head. This verse is a prophecy that the feet members will die violently.
Just as the serpent is a symbol of that which is evil, so the destiny of evildoers is that they will bite the dust (be destroyed underfoot, die the Second Death). The upright will get life. Thus we see the two extremes. And just as the serpent injected poison into Eve, so snakes are poisonous and dangerous, even though they lack arms, legs, and jaws with large teeth. Snakes inject venom, but the signification goes much further.
The serpent seed versus the woman seed represents two classes. In Revelation chapter 12, when the dragon was unsuccessful in swallowing the man-child, he next chased the woman, who fled into the wilderness for 1,260 years. But the dragon will make war with the remnant of her (the woman’s) seed (Rev. 12:17). The dragon is a multitudinous seed, a composite seed, with Satan as its head. The woman is a multitudinous seed with Jesus as its head. The woman seed will bruise Satan, the serpent seed’s head. The serpent is the one being addressed. Hence “thee,” “thy,” and “thou” all refer to Satan, for the “head” (Satan) did the talking and the deceiving.
In the term “his heel,” the pronoun is wrong. The thought is that the serpent will bruise “her heel” (the woman’s heel), that is, the feet members. The Apostle Paul gave the clue: “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your [the Church’s] feet shortly” (Rom. 16:20). In other words, the Church will be involved in the crushing of Satan underfoot, but first, the dragon seed will bruise the heel of the woman seed. The implication is that the last members of the body of Christ will die violently. (Incidentally, the dragon or serpent [civil power] put Jesus to death.) Reverse order was intentionally used by the Holy Spirit to make the last part of verse 15 a time lock. The heel will be bruised (killed) first; the serpent head will be bruised later.
Jesus will personally bind Satan (Jesus must first enter the strong man’s house and bind him), but the Church will be involved in Satan’s destruction (Mark 3:27). The Christ will destroy Satan and all who follow his deception in the “little season” (Rev. 20:3).
Gen. 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
The Revised Standard Version reads, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
Q: Does this verse indicate that prior to the punishment, there was more equality between Adam and Eve?
A: Although there was more equality, there was not full equality because their name was called Adam and the two were one under his name (Gen. 5:2). The sequence of address when God gave the punishments and/or curses was the same as the order of sin: (1) Satan, (2) Eve, and (3) Adam. Satan initiated the temptation, the woman was beguiled, and Adam willingly ate the fruit.
Eve did not conceive prior to leaving the garden, but the implication is that if sin had not occurred, Eve would have borne children without pain, for Adam and Eve were told to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Now there would be pain before birth (travail or labor pains) and at birth (the final birth spasm). Notice that in spite of the pain of childbearing, the woman’s desire would be to her husband.
If the transgression had not occurred, Adam and Eve would have had more of a partnership, but Adam would still have been the head. Now Eve would have a more subservient role, and history proves this to be true regarding women. We are reminded of certain other prophetic utterances such as when Ham showed disrespect for his father after the Flood (Gen. 9:24,25).
Gen. 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Why was the ground cursed for Adam’s sake, or because of Adam? (1) The permission of evil has been for man’s benefit, as will ultimately be seen. Too much leisure is not good for fallen man. (2) Adam had sinned.
Gen. 3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
The ground would now bring forth thorns and thistles. In other words, there would have been no weeds if Adam had not sinned. Man would just sow and plant—without weeds, thorns, and thistles.
Also, verse 18 indicates a change of diet from a basic fruit diet to more of a vegetable diet. Evidently no fruit trees were growing outside the garden at this time.
Gen. 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” Not only would Adam have to till the ground, plant, and remove the weeds, but also the kernel of wheat would have to be removed, ground, and made into bread; a fire had to be started; and the bread required baking. Obtaining bread would be much harder than just plucking fruit off a tree.
“Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” This portion of verse 19 informed Adam and Eve what the death penalty meant, for they would not have understood death. The corpse would be buried in the ground and decay into the elements from which it had been formed.
In addition to death, mankind has experienced sorrow, pain, labor, sweat, etc. When the death procedure is reversed to life by the end of the Kingdom, the curse and its effects upon man will have been rolled back. The reversal process will be gradual.
Satan also did not know what death meant at that time. He probably thought that once life was given, it was perpetual, and that the point of eating was just to satisfy hunger, not to satisfy life. Satan should have realized that God could destroy him and that defying God jeopardized his own existence. However, Satan did not realize what God could do to him or to other sentient beings. The angels had lived for thousands of years with no diminution of vitality, so death was a new lesson for the angels—seeing the dying process and then actual death.
Gen. 3:20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
Adam named the woman Eve. He had previously named the animals, and now a helpmate was created for him that was bone of his bone. The name Eve means “living.” The name was given because Eve was “the mother of all living.” Eve had borne no children yet, but God had just said she would bear children in pain. The name Eve also suggests that the Second Eve, the Church, will be the mother of all. Rebekah was told, “Be thou the mother of thousands of millions [or billions],” and she represents the Church (Gen. 24:60).
The deception of Eve would have taken place shortly after her creation—probably about two years after. Incidentally, Adam was created at age 30.
Gen. 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
God Himself made “coats of skins, and clothed” Adam and Eve. This act was a picture that God would provide His Son as the ransom sacrifice. Earlier Adam and Eve had sewn together fig leaves to clothe themselves in aprons (like loincloths). Now God used skins to cover the nakedness of not just private parts but nearly the whole body. The “clothing” would have been like a tunic, front and back. Since animals had to be killed to provide the skins, God was also showing the lesson that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22). The providing of skins was an act of forgiveness; it showed the possibility of recovery.
According to God’s promise, the serpent, the instrument of deception, would have its head crushed by the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15). A way out was thus suggested for the longterm future, but Adam and Eve were not fully aware of the significance. However, they did realize that their present life would terminate, that they would return to dust, and that ultimately the serpent would be crushed, so they did have hope of a vague future recovery.
Gen. 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Properly translated, this verse should read: “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man who was as one of us now knows good and evil.” Otherwise, the verse does not make sense. For one thing, God does not experience evil, for everything is happiness and righteousness up in heaven. And Adam and Eve certainly did not become Godlike by disobeying. As sons of God, the angels were created in the image of God—the Logos too. Therefore, by sinning, Adam did not become “as one of us,” that is, as one of the holy angels or the Logos.
The King James translation actually supports Satan’s lie. His false statement was derogatory, but the implication is that one must experience sin to become Godlike. The thought should be: “Behold the man who was created good and perfect and in our image—now look what has happened to him! He knows good and evil because he partook of the forbidden tree.” The tree symbolized the knowledge of that which was good and that which was evil. Because of disobedience, Adam would now have an experience with evil.
There was and is no sin or death in heaven. God’s will was done in heaven back there, and it is still being done today. Sin occurred on planet Earth, specifically in the Garden of Eden, where Satan manifested himself as the father of lies. Hence the angels did not experience evil up in heaven. Now Adam would see the penalty of sin in the full sense, not only in the cessation of life but also in the attendant pain, sorrow, labor, etc.—things that had never occurred anywhere before.
The death penalty was on Adam, not on his race. The penalty on the human race was genetically transferred. Man dies not because of individual sin but because of heredity and Adam’s sin.
Stated another way, Adam sinned, and because he was the father of the human race, the whole race is under condemnation. Jesus was the substitute for Adam; he died for Adam’s sin, and by doing so, he paid the penalty for the entire race. Just as the human race dies in Adam (as an indirect result of Adam’s sin), so the human race will get the opportunity for life from what Jesus did to offset Adam’s sin. Similarly the sorrow and pain that were pronounced on Eve are felt by the whole human race, for the penalties personally expressed to them were indirectly transferred. And Jesus’ ransom sacrifice is likewise transferred to all.
“Behold, the man” reminds us of Jesus before Pilate, who also said, “Behold the man” (John 19:5). Jesus had a crown of thorns on his head, and his back was bloody from stripes. Probably the skins that God provided as clothing for Adam and Eve were somewhat bloody. Pilate recognized Jesus as being very noble despite the disarray of garments, the crown of thorns, and the injuries, for he could see through the superficial troubles and picture Jesus as he was before. And Adam was originally noble, that is, in his perfection prior to transgressing.
In taking Adam’s place as a substitute, Jesus had to feel alienated just as Adam did when he sinned. Jesus also had to experience the curse just as Adam did. Adam ate of the forbidden fruit; Jesus tasted death for every man. Adam felt he was naked; Jesus was naked on the Cross. A tree was involved with Adam’s transgression; Jesus died on a “tree.” “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Deut. 21:23; Gal. 3:13). Pilate said in connection with Jesus’ death and trial, “Behold the man,” and God said in regard to Adam, “Behold the man who was as one of us; look at him now.” Jesus had to take man’s sin upon himself and be really cursed in order to be an offset for Adam. Not only did he have to be a perfect man to ransom Adam, who was perfect prior to sinning (a life-for-a-life principle), but also he had to experience the suffering.
The skins for clothing Adam and Eve were bloody, and Jesus’ back was bloody from being scourged. In addition, blood dripped down his face from the thorns in the crown.
Lest Adam “put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever” is a radical thought. All other things being equal, had Adam stayed in the Garden of Eden and continued to partake of the trees of life, he could have lived forever despite his sin and the curse. Hence God put Adam out of the garden. Notice what the account is telling us—the Garden of Eden still exists.
Gen. 3:23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
Although God pushed Adam out of the garden, the suggestion is that if one of Adam’s posterity—one of the fallen race that is under condemnation—should be placed in the garden, he would live. The Pastor felt that Elijah and Enoch are alive somewhere as two witnesses— perhaps on another planet. (See Reprint article No. 3377 entitled “Enoch, Elijah and the Sentence.”) If they were translated to or placed in the Garden of Eden, they would still be alive because verse 22 says “live for ever.” Enoch was physically translated; that is, he was literally taken from one place to another: to Eden. The death sentence was directly on only Adam (it is indirectly on his posterity), so Enoch and Elijah can still be alive. Adam had the right to life, but he forfeited it. The human race never had the right to life.
Comment: God could have made Adam from the dust, or ground, inside the garden, but He took special care to state earlier in the Book of Genesis that Adam was formed of the dust, or ground, outside the garden. Now, after Adam sinned, he was sent outside the garden to till the ground, and there he would return to dust. It seems that God made a distinction between the ground inside the perfect garden and the ground outside in the unfinished, imperfect earth.
Reply: The Garden of Eden is a miniature picture of God’s plan for planet Earth; it is a picture of the future paradise down here. Jesus was made flesh down here on earth, not up in heaven.
His life was transferred into the womb of the virgin Mary. The transferal took place outside of the Garden of Eden and outside of heaven itself. But we should keep in mind the distinction: Adam sinned; Jesus did not.
Jesus had to experience the curse in order to be an offset for Adam. In other words, to pay the ransom price, Jesus had to do more than die a perfect life for a perfect life. Jesus also had to experience the curse, being made a curse for us. Therefore, the Ransom includes two thoughts. Ezekiel 28:13 speaks of Lucifer’s having been in the “garden of God.” The Garden of Eden was an earthly equivalent of heaven. Jesus was created flesh outside of both garden arrangements.
His similitude of Adam (as the Second Adam) occurred down here. He was the Son of the man Adam.
Adam was sent forth from the garden where he ate fruit and did not have to till the ground.
Once outside the garden, he had to till the ground.
Gen. 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
God “drove” Adam out of the garden; that is, Adam was forcefully evicted. The garden must have been absolutely beautiful because God Himself planted it eastward in Eden (Gen. 2:8). The garden was not just a very fruitful area, for the landscaping, trees, flowers, etc., would have been breathtaking. If Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you in my Father’s house of many mansions,” then the little Garden of Eden, which God took care to plant, would have been a place Adam did not want to leave (John 14:2). Verse 23 suggests that God told him it was necessary to leave and that Adam did not want to go. It was like taking a child by the neck and putting him outside as a punishment. Adam had to go out and till the ground; he could not stay inside where everything was available.
God instructed Adam to leave the garden; He gave Adam his eviction notice, as it were. Notice, however, that God had to drive Adam out. The use of this term suggests that Adam was reluctant to go. In addition, God placed “Cherubims” at the east side of the garden like sentinels to guard the entrance and thus forbid Adam’s (and Eve’s) return.
The garden was planted eastward in Eden, and Adam was evicted on the east (Gen. 2:8). The significance is both literal and spiritual. From a literal standpoint, the garden is in a remote area at a high altitude in a mountain range from whence four rivers start as one river. Two of the rivers are mighty ones that traverse a tremendous distance. The fact the cherubim were stationed only on the east side suggests it was impossible to enter the garden from any other side. Of course the river exited to the east.
The spiritual significance corresponds to the Tabernacle arrangement. The way to life was the east gate, which was on the east side. Only by invitation does one antitypically enter. In the Temple, the east gate was the most prominent one. Revelation 2:7 states that the Little Flock will have access into the heavenly Eden: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
“Cherubims” (plural) suggests that two cherubim were stationed at the east entrance of the garden. But there was only one flaming sword, “which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Moreover, the one sword was separate, not in the hands of the cherubim. The flaming sword whirled in every direction. Hence access to the garden was prohibited by two cherubim and the flaming sword. There are spiritual connotations too.
The whirling, turning sword was like saying, “Do not even think of entering this garden. The cherubim might get distracted, but this sword is ever active.” The flaming sword, which was an electrical force of some kind, probably pictured the wrath of God, that is, God’s justice. God dwells with the “everlasting burnings” (Isa. 33:14). “Our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29). No man can see God and live (Exod. 33:20; John 1:18). We are reminded of Moses and the burning bush, which symbolized God’s presence. The shekinah light, too, is brought to mind.
The cherubim and the sword guarded or kept the “way … of life.” Jesus said, “I am the way [to life]” (John 14:6). The entrance to the garden was “the way”; it was a processional entrance.
One entered an open area through a gorge. Adam’s feeling of separation from God when he was evicted from the garden and looked back and saw the lightning and knew he could not return was like Jesus’ crying on the Cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46).