God is not the author of sin, nor does He tempt people to sin; this is the work of the devil (James 1:13). Who is this serpent? we are told in Revelation 12:9; 20:2. The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel describe him in great detail: Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:11-19.
Satan aimed at Eve’s mind (2 Corinthians 11:1-3; 1 Timothy 2:9-15) and succeeded in deceiving her. Satan attacks God when he attacks the human mind. Satan uses lies. He is a liar himself and the father of lies (John 8:44). As long as the mind holds to God’s truth, Satan cannot win; but once the mind doubts God’s Word, there is room for the devil’s lies to move in.
Satan questioned God’s Word (Genesis 3:1), denied God’s Word (Genesis 3:4), and then substituted his own lies (Genesis 3:5). Satan seeks to undermine our faith in the goodness of God, he suggested to Eve that God was “holding out on them” by keeping them from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When we question God’s goodness and doubt His love, we are playing right into the hands of Satan.
Satan made the temptation sound wonderful by making an offer: “You will be like God!” Satan himself had wanted to be “like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Eve added to the Word by adding “touch it” (Genesis 3:3); the temptation came through the lust of the flesh (“good for food”), the lust of the eyes (“pleasant to the eyes”), and the pride of life (“desirable to make one wise”) (1 John 2:15-17).
Genesis 3:7-19 – The process of death begins with internal and external condemnation. Genesis 3:7-13 we see the internal. It begins with the loss of innocence and a sense of guilt. They tried to cover their nakedness by their own works, garments that were unacceptable (Genesis 3:21). They lost their desire for fellowship with God. When they heard God approaching, they hid! They become defensive; the man blamed the woman and the woman blamed the serpent.
In Genesis 3:14-19 we see external consequences. The serpent is judged for allowing itself to be used by Satan. The woman’s judgment involved pain in childbirth and made to be subject to her husband. The judgment on man involved his work: paradise would be replaced by thorns and weeds, and the joy of work would be now toil in the field. All creation became victims of their sin is cursed and in bondage because of sin (Romans 8:15-25).
Genesis 3:15 The first of the Messiah and redemption. It would come through the woman’s seed and ultimately defeat Satan and his seed (Romans 16:20; Galatians 4:4-5). God Himself put the enmity (hostility) between them, and God will end when Satan is cast into hell (Revelation 20:10). In Matthew 13, we see that Satan has children just as God does. In Genesis 4, Cain kills Abel, and 1 John 3:12 informs us that Cain was “of that wicked one” a child of the devil. The OT is the record of the two seeds in conflict; the NT is the record of the birth of Christ and His victory over Satan through the cross.
Genesis 3:16-24 foreshadows the redemptive program. God did not change the physical consequences of sin, but he did made provision for the eternal consequences, by the promised Messiah. The coats of skins in Genesis 3:21 are pictures of the salvation we have in Christ. There must be the shedding of blood, the offering of innocent life for the guilty. Garments in the Bible are often a picture of salvation. See Isaiah 61:10 and Zechariah 3. The garments of self-righteousness and good works are but filthy rags in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6).
Genesis 3:22-24 By removing Adam and Eve from the garden God was providing that they would not remain forever in sin and separation. If they had eaten of that tree, they would have lived forever in their sinful state. This would mean that the Savior, the Second Adam, could not come to die to deliver humans from sin. Thus, in driving Adam and Eve out of paradise, God was showing His grace and mercy to the whole human race. The sword that God placed at the garden barred the way. It is possible to translate this “a sword like flame”—the fire of God that speaks of His holiness (Hebrews 12:29).
Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15:42-49 explain the contrasts between the first Adam and the Last Adam, Christ. Adam was made from the earth, but Christ came down from heaven. Adam was tempted in a perfect garden, while Christ was tempted in a terrible wilderness. Adam deliberately disobeyed and brought the human race into sin and death, but Christ obeyed God and brought righteousness.
Questions to consider
- What does the response of the woman suggest about her thoughts concerning God’s regulations about the trees of the garden? (Genesis 3:2,3)
- Describe Adam’s confession of his sin (Genesis 3:7-12):
- In terms of his willingness to confess
- In terms of the straightforwardness of his confession
- Why do you think the serpent denied that disobedience would bring the promised consequences? (Genesis 3:4)
- The serpent told the woman that the results of eating of the tree would be that she would “be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). The actual results were far different. What was the first consequence of eating the fruit? (Genesis 3:7)
- Before sin, the man and the woman enjoyed an openness toward the Lord God and one another without shame or fear (Genesis 2:25). After sin, who did they instinctively defend themselves against in shame-filled fear?
- Read through Genesis 3:14-19 and underline the occurrences of the word “cursed.” On what or whom did the Lord God pronounce a curse?
- Before the man and woman sinned, there had been perfect harmony in their relationship (Genesis 2:23-25). How would the long-range consequences of sin threaten the harmony of their marriage and every marriage after theirs? (Genesis 3:16-19)
- How and why does sinful behavior cause you to withdraw from God and avoid contact with Him?
How does honest confession to the Lord God who forgives sins on the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ help deal with broken fellowship and blame-shifting?
Complete notes of Chapter 3
When the work of God in creation was complete the world was “very good”. But as we can all surmise things presently are “not good”. Something has happened to that wonderful start. How could a loving and Holy God permit a world filled with hatred, crime, war, pollution, selfishness, corruption and evil of all kinds to fill His creation? There are no easy answers. Atheists believe that the greatest proof that there is no God is the presence of evil in the world.
Either God is not good because He allows evil, or He is not all powerful to eliminate it. This chapter explains a great deal about the source of evil in the world. (Romans 5:12; 8:20-22). Is this chapter an allegory, as many of the fathers of the church believed, or were these events recorded faithfully? The New Testament holds to the literalness of this account (2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14).
Genesis 3:1 The Serpent – who is this serpent? We are told in Revelation 12:9; 20:2. The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel describe him in great detail: Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:11-19. He was an exalted angel who thought of himself as God. In order to subject God’s creation to himself Satan began to work at gaining authority over the crown of God’s creation man and woman. To accomplish this he took over the body of the serpent. It is possible that at this point animals were able to communicate with man, after all porpoises are able to communicate as was Balaam’s donkey (Numbers 22:8). That the serpent was cursed as well as Satan is an indication that the serpent willing allowed himself to be possessed by the adversary. The serpent is described as the craftiest of servants. In John 8:44 we are told that the devil is a murderer from the beginning, and in (2 Corinthians 11:14).
His subtlety of approach here is notable, “Did God really say?” Choosing Eve was another strategic tactic of the serpent. Eve may have heard the command through her husband, and Satan approached her while she is alone. There is much to be said by ministering in pairs. She was definitely the easier mark, or Satan would not have chosen her to approach first. Why would God allow this temptation? Why not just nip it right in the bud. It is these kinds of temptations that prove us, that refine us, and ultimately cause us to love God freely rather than by compulsion (James 1:12-15).
Genesis 3:2-3 Eve’s response to this very subtle question was to add to God’s Word. God never said that they could not touch it. Adding or taking away from God’s Word always leaves one vulnerable to the enemy of our souls (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6;Revelation 22:18-19)
Genesis 3:4-5 the quick response by the serpent was an emphatic negative. “You shall surely not die” Now this is a half truth but a complete lie. By touching the fruit Eve will not die. Then Satan goes on to suggest that instead of death they will be as gods, which was the very same thing that caused him to fall from heaven (Isaiah 14:13-14). Satan was suggesting that God would become jealous of Adam and Eve that God was withholding something from them. This is a classic argument made by unbelievers that God is vain and egotistical requiring man to worship Him and keeping man down.
But God is perfect in His essence no such things exist in Him, perfect in Holiness, Love, Mercy and Goodness. To worship and adore Him is to abide in His Attributes jointly with Him. This is the same kind of temptation we face. We too want to know evil and good. There was some truth in what Satan said for indeed their eyes were opened, but sadly we only know a distorted truth until we come to the Messiah. We think we see and sadly we are blind. The New Testament demonstrates the accuracy of these events(2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14)
Genesis 3:6 Because Adam and Eve questioned God’s love and they harkened to the voice of the tempter and acted on his suggestion and sinned by eating the forbidden fruit. This was not a metaphor but fact. It has become a metaphor but only because of the reality of this action. The result are told to us in (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22) the actual action of disobedience is recorded in Genesis 3:6. There are described three things that appealed to Eve that caused her and Adam to disobey God and sin. These three things are at the root of all the temptations that you and I face today.
- Good for food – something that appealed to our physical, body appetites.
- Pleasant to the eyes – something that appealed to the emotions and senses.
- Desired to make one wise – something that appealed to the mind and spirit — to one’s pride of knowledge and insight
This is described as the source of our temptations today in the New Testament (1 John 2:16). Jesus, the second Adam who would regain for man all that was lost in this action, underwent the same temptation in the wilderness, for part of His work was to experience the same temptations as us but not sin (Hebrews 4:15). When Jesus was led out into the wilderness, we find Him similarly tempted:
- Food – offer of bread when He was hungry – (Luke 4:3-4)
- Appeal to emotions and physical senses – He was offered the world and its kingdoms – (Luke 4:5-8).
- An appeal to pride by offering the worldwide recognition as the Son (Luke 4:9-12)
Genesis 3:7 – The result of eating the fruit is immediate. Instead of the fulfilled expectation that the serpent planted in her mind, Eve, and then Adam experienced shame. It is interesting that the focus of their shame is on the very organs that would generate and reproduce their sin in their offspring. The very fountain of human life has been contaminated and they seem to recognize it. Their eyes were opened.
Some anthropologists suggest that shame at nudity is an artificial inhibition that is the result of civilization. But its source is the awareness of sin. Clothing is mentioned as worn in heaven (Revelation 19:14).Except for the Garden of Eden, nakedness before anyone other than one’s own husband or wife is considered shameful (Genesis 9:23; Revelation 3:18). These feelings of guilt then are not bad, but a gift of God’s grace that man might begin the process of self-examination and find life in repentance.
Genesis 3:8 – When they hear the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden their response is evidence of God manifesting Himself in flesh before the incarnation. Theologically we call it a theophany. There are many such appearances in the Old Testament. Genesis 16:7 ff, when God appears as the “Angel of the Lord.” Genesis 18, when God appears to Abraham and sits and eats a meal with Him.
Genesis 32:24 when Jacob wrestles with the “Angel of the Lord”. Here God is walking in the garden and it is written in the manner of a regular event. Instead of communing with God at his regular time of fellowship, Adam hides. The results of their sin has become separation; from themselves, each other, and now God. In the past fellowship with God was something that was looked forward to, now it was something to be avoided. Fear and mistrust have replaced love and confidence. The voice of the Lord, is His word. His voice can be heard today in the Word of God, the Scriptures. The Word has been given to men for guidance and comfort, but it also can bring conviction of sin (Romans 3:20; 2 Timothy 3:16).Either we will be instructed by the Word of God or we will hide from it.
Genesis 3:9-10 God calls out to Adam, God is so gracious that He seeks lost man. He knows where Adam is but is seeking to instruct Adam of His need for Him now more than ever. Adam’s response indicates that the fig leaves were not really working.
Genesis 3:11-12 – God’s question to Adam asking him “who told you were naked?” Was a call for Adam to confess his sin. He then asks him further if he ate from the forbidden tree. Sin had so invaded him that the one who aspired to be a god lamely responds by blaming his wife, Eve. Actually his first blame is to God, “the woman you gave me”. The very woman he rejoiced over when she was brought before him, is now he believes, the source of all of his problems. So too is God who created her to blame for his sorry condition.
What seems out of place here is the lack of honest confession on the part of Adam. Yet God in His mercy begins a process that will ultimately lead to his and the world’s redemption. This is true grace; it is receiving the opposite of what we deserve. In the Hebrew : Chanon – which is a free and spontaneous willingness to bestow good on him that is bereft of it, either in a way of kindness (chesed), or in a way of compassion (rachmones). Chanon excludes all idea of merit it is something that is freely given with no strings attached to it.
Genesis 3:13 – The woman when asked also blames God indirectly by suggesting that her action was the direct result of the serpent that was the creation of God. Eve like Adam is not admitting her sin. God is looking for honesty, and genuine repentance, but the fruit of death has taken its toll. Real life is found in a genuine relationship with God.
God here is looking for His relationship with Adam and Eve to be restored. God is merciful and does not want to punish sin, but He is holy and must. He would impugn justice if He did not punish sin. But God now begins a program of judgment that is both just and merciful, a punishment that demonstrates grace and righteousness.
Genesis 3:14-19 Begins what has been commonly called the “curse”, which actually is diverse. There is a curse on the animal kingdom, on the serpent, on the woman, on Adam and his descendants, and on the earth, or ground. Since Adam had been given dominion over the earth, and he began the process of dying with his disobedience, his jurisdiction also would begin to die. (Romans 8:20-22). Everything we do has consequences. There are times when our actions will affect others who are innocent.
Our lives can affect the world with blessing or with cursing. That is why it is so important for us to be vessels submitted to an filled with God’s Holy Spirit. It is the way that God has provided us and the world to be touched with his redemptive love and healing. For Adam and Eve this curse was one filled with hope. But with Satan the curse was final and irrevocable. He not only rebelled against God in heaven, but now he had brought his rebellion to mankind.
Genesis 3:14 – The curse on the serpent was to remain for mankind as a reminder to mankind of the instrument used to bring our fall, and the ultimate destiny of Satan. This animal which initially had beauty, would now slither and be an object of fear and dislike. A serpent generally eats its prey from the ground and with it dirt is included. All animals were cursed but the serpent is singled out.
Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman”. Enmity is generally not something a normal animal is capable of. God also decreed that the woman would not rule over her husband but the husband over her. Childbirth would not be a quick and easy process Genesis 3:16. Then God declared that from the woman’s offspring, One would come who would crush the serpent. The Scripture says that it would be the “seed” of the woman.
This is an allusion to the virgin birth. The primary reference of seed here is the Messiah. The seed of the serpent is primarily the devil, who will be crushed on the head (Romans 16:20). The seed has a biological connotation but foundationally to spiritual offspring. Satan’s seed are those who join with him in his enmity with the seed of the woman. In fact if you trace the history of Anti-Semitism, and Anti-Christian activity you will clearly recognize the fruit of the seed of the serpent. His desire is to destroy the seed before it can bring forth the seed will destroy him. The seed of the serpent seeks to oppose God’s purposes for the redemption of man and the world. (John 8:44; Ephesians 2:2-3).
There is also one primary seed of the woman and one primary seed of the serpent. The primary seed of the serpent is the antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3; Revelation 13:2) “And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.” The primary seed of the woman is the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, who will crush the serpent fatally. It is appropriate that the woman who brought death into the world would be the vessel to bring victory over death into the world. One of the reasons that women kindle the Sabbath and Holy day candles; was the rabbinical realization that it would be the woman who would one day bring the Light into the world.
The prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 has implications of this prophecy. The serpent was kept in constant dread of the one who would crush him, for he never knew from which woman the seed would come. This is why he repeatedly seeks to destroy the vessels from which the seed might come. Starting with Cain and Abel, the pollution of mankind beginning in Genesis 6 which led to the flood, the actions of Pharaoh, Haman, and Hitler all are attempts to thwart God’s redemptive program for the world. (Revelation 12:13). God’s grace is evident in providing the promised seed of the woman who would crush the Serpent. God has given the honor of this blessing to the woman, in Jewish tradition this honor is highlighted by her kindling of the lights of the Holy Days.
Yet it should not be forgotten that she is subject of special judgment; Pain in childbirth which would be “greatly multiply.” Being the mother of all the living the pain of childbirth was and is a constant reminder of the effect of sin on the world. The woman acted independently of her husband when she desired the “knowledge,” she believed that God was withholding this from her. Now her husband would rule over her, and her desire would be for the man.
History has demonstrated the reality of this judgment on the woman. She has experienced pain in many forms, physical, mental, and spiritual. Generally speaking man has subjected women with little regard for her feelings or needs. It is even worse in non-Christian circles, where girls who are born are killed at birth or treated as chattel. This was not God’s intention for “rule.” Though the husband is to be the head of the house, he is to love and cherish his wife (Genesis 2:23-24). The feminist movement is well justified in fighting against the injustices and cruelties long associated with male-dominated governments and customs; but they should avoid carrying such movements to anti-Biblical extremes.
Demanding absolute equality in all legal, political, cultural, and personal relationships many times thwart accomplishing change through the Spirit of God. More change can be affected through a changed heart than through political action. In many Christian homes and churches, the proper roles of husband and wife have often been distorted in one direction or another. Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:18-21, 1 Peter 3:1-7 is a few of many significant Scriptures that set down guidelines for Christian marriage relations. It should be noted that the curse of child bearing has also a blessing (John 16:21; Romans 8:19-22)
Genesis 3:17-19 – Because Adam listened to the suggestion of his wife God’s judgment fell upon him. God would not excuse man because he was not the cause of the fall. Judgment came in the form of a curse on the environment he lived in. God has made provision for forgiveness of our sin but there will always be consequences for our actions. Instead of being freely able to provide food for himself and his family he would have to work hard. He wouldn’t have as much free time to entertain thoughts of being a god. Judgment is a deterrent for continued bad behavior.
The hard work also would be an incentive to look to God from time to time to ask that his load might be lightened. This curse forced man to recognize the seriousness of his sin, as well as his helplessness to save himself and the world he lived in from destruction. The entire creation began the process of dying. A scientific law bears witness of this truth, the second law of thermodynamics. This law states that all systems, if left to themselves tend to become degraded or disordered. Evolution suggests that things are getting better while the Bible and scientific observation demonstrates that the world is decaying.
The curse included sorrow, pain and suffering, sweat and tears, and physical death. Jesus who was the promised seed of the woman and the second Adam came to begin the process of redemption. He was cursed for us (Galatians 3:13), He was the man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3); acquainted more with grief than any man. He was wounded, bruised and chastised for us (Isaiah 53:5). He even wore as a crown, thorns In the garden his sweat were as drops of blood, and with strong crying and tears he offered prayer and supplication (Hebrews 5:7).
When he died he experienced the dust of death (Psalm 22:15). He bore in Himself the curse so that in the fullness of time there will be no more death, sorrow, crying, shame or pain (Revelation 21:4; 22:3) Jesus’ first coming provided the means of reconciliation to God. The filling of His Spirit in our hearts is the down payment for the ultimate redemption of the world.
Genesis 3:20 – Adam names his wife “Havah” from the Hebrew root meaning “to live”. This is an indication that instead of doubting God’s word this time they believe his promise that through the seed of the woman the redeemer would come. True faith in God’s word is an indication of repentance; we have some evidence of Adam repenting. The fact that there are as yet no offspring may further demonstrate faith on Adam’s part. The fact that there are as yet no children would be an indication that the fall happened shortly after their creation.
Genesis 3:21 God now graciously makes provision for their nakedness. The fig leaves were not going to make it. God made suitable clothing from the skins of animals. In all likelihood they saw two of their companions, probably a pair of sheep taken by the Lord and sacrificed to cover their nakedness. This is the first time blood is shed in the Bible and serves as a vivid picture of what it will take to cover our shame and spiritual nakedness before God. The sacrificial system served as a continual reminder of man’s need for a covering or atonement for sin (Leviticus 17:11).
Genesis 3:22-24 – In His mercy God drove man from the garden lest he eat from the tree of life and live forever in his sin and separation from God. The tree of life will appear once again when the new earth appears (Revelation 22:1-2). When God declared that man had become like one of us it was spoken in all likelihood in sadness. Prior to the fall all he had know was the goodness of God, now he had come to know evil. We have an allusion to the Trinity in the statement “Us”. God had to “drive” man from the garden, probably because he was reluctant leave. Perhaps they feared the outside world and the loss of fellowship with God, whose home appeared to be the garden.
To guard the entrance God placed two cherubim with flaming swords to guard their way (Ezekiel 1:4ff). Satan once was an anointed cherub on God’s holy mountain before he fell (Ezekiel 28:14). Cherubim seem to always be associated with God’s presence on His throne (Psalm 18:10, 80:1, 99:1). In the Holy of Holies was the ark of the covenant and placed above that was the “mercy seat”, which was overshadowed by the likeness of two cherubim. This was the place that once a year the High Priest entered and placed blood (Leviticus 16, Hebrews 9:7-9; 24-28).