The first two chapters of Genesis are a detailed account of the creation of all things ranging from the earth, sky, sun and moon to the vegetation, birds, fish, animals, and humanity. In six days, God created everything, and it was all good. On the seventh day He rested; not out of exhaustion but because his work was finished, complete… and it was perfect… It was just the way God intended.
God placed the man in the Garden of Eden, and he gave him specific instructions; he was to work and tend the Garden. He says to the man, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” This was an invitation to enjoy the fruits of the garden and a warning of obedience to God.
He also created woman for man (out of the side of man) to be a companion, a helper, and for them to be fruitful and multiply. On the day God created woman the blessing of marriage was instituted, the two became one flesh and they literally lived in paradise. Until the unfortunate events of chapter 3.
We are not sure of the length of time between the end of chapter two and the beginning of chapter three, it is undisclosed. Chapter three is an outrageous chapter as it deals with a talking snake, a forbidden fruit, deception, blame and judgment but it is also an essential chapter for believers to better understand God’s mercy, love, forgiveness and His perfect plan of redemption.
Verse 1: The serpent: We are introduced to the serpent in the first verse of this chapter. The serpent is described as “the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made.” Most of us have heard this story multiple times and I think it is safe to assume the snake is Satan. How can we know for sure? It has been said that the Bible is the best commentary of the Bible. We read in Revelation 20:2, 3, “He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. 3 The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while.”
Some have suggested that Satan disguises himself as a snake, and others have proposed that the snake had a Satanic presence behind him (he took possession of the snake). Regardless we are given insight that the serpent was up to something and that something was no good. Here in the beginning, we see two people, a man, and a woman, naked in the garden (this symbolized their innocence and purity) who have no understanding of sin and disobedience until the snake appears. The serpent is sneaky, crafty and deceptive (he preys on their gullibility and innocence) and things are about to south.
The snake approaches the woman and strikes up a conversation with her. Let me pause. This is where the story gets a little weird. I am not a snake person. Never have been and never will be. If you want to see a grown man scream like a little girl then put me in closed quarters with a snake… Any snake… I. DO. NOT. LIKE. SNAKES. So, if this conversation would have never happened with me because I would have turned and ran out of the garden quicker than you can say, “hiss”. I digress.
The snake begins by questioning God. He says to the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” He questions God’s authority and causes the woman to doubt. We can learn from this encounter. Doubt is one of Satan’s most powerful tools. He still uses this tactic quite regularly today. He plants seeds of doubt by suggesting God doesn’t really care for you. He may say things to cause you to doubt like, “If God loved you then he wouldn’t be letting you go through this difficult time of life”. Or “If God created this thing, then he obviously wants you to enjoy it.” Or he may be more extreme by saying, “You’re waaaay beyond saving. With all the things you have done God could never forgive you.” If Satan is good at anything he is good at causing doubt.
Verse 2, 3: The woman responds, and this is her first mistake. Engaging with evil is a slippery slope. She listens to what He says and then responds, “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’ ” She feels she needs to defend God and then adds to his command by saying that couldn’t touch the fruit (which God did not say). Debating with the devil is never a good thing. Jesus himself refused to debate, instead he rebukes Satan by responding with the Word of God.
Verses 4, 5: The first lie is recorded in this verse, “You won’t die!” The serpent/Devil flat out calls God a liar and thus he has the title the father of lies (John 8:44) and the devil hasn’t stopped lying and deceiving since the beginning of time. He is trying to negate what God CLEARLY commanded. Satan continues by saying, “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” He essentially is calling God an oppressive, egocentric, and insecure God.
Verse 6: The root of sin. Eve “saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her.” All of the woman’s sinful desires were appeased as she heeded the words of the serpent and ate the forbidden fruit. Sin always clouds our judgment and always pushes God out of the picture. Sin often looks appealing and delightful, and it may even satisfy for a SHORT moment. But it always comes up empty. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment of sin and have no regard for the consequences.
Not only did the woman fall into full blown sin but she invited her husband to sin with her. Both the man and woman blatantly and knowingly disobeyed God and chose to believe a lie. They did not take into consideration the consequences of their disobedience. They believed that they would not die otherwise they would not have eaten.
Verse 7: Afterward, their eyes were opened, and they saw they were naked, and they were ashamed; so they tried to cover their nakedness. The symbolism is thick here. After they sinned, their eyes were opened to the guilt of their sin. In desperation and shame, they tried to cover their guilt or sin by sewing loincloths out of figs. They tried (like so many of us do) in their own power to cover their sin and they did not understand that there is nothing we can humanly do to make things right with God when we sin.
Verse 8: When they heard God walking in the garden in the cool of the day… Take a moment and think about that. The man and woman had perfect communion with God while in the Garden. He would come and walk in the Garden He created with the man and woman and they would have perfect fellowship. God was with them. He walked among them. But that fellowship was soon broken as their sin severed the relationship.
They were afraid and tried to hide from God. What used to cause great excitement and joy (hearing God coming to fellowship with them) now became something they feared and dreaded. In their fear they tried to hide from God. Their sinful minds rationalized that maybe he wouldn’t notice. This sounds like the most ridiculous thing ever but how often do we try and do the same with God? Men and women in the Bible have tried to hide their sin from God and all have been unsuccessful. Cain tried to hide his brother’s murder from God. David tried to hide his sin of adultery from God. Jonah tries to hide from God by running. The list goes on. We cannot successfully run and hide from God. He always finds us.
Verse 9: God calls out to Adam, “Where are you?” God is not asking this because he doesn’t know where Adam is; the question could be better translated, “Why are you hiding?” God knew they were hiding. In this question we see some of God’s attributes. We see…
Verse 10 - 13: Fear and blame enters… Man replies, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” Instead of coming clean with God the man and woman do what humans do best… they blame each other for their sinful actions.
Man (what he said): It was the woman you gave me… It’s her fault. She gave me the fruit and I ate it. You gave her to me, and she told me to eat so it is her fault. God it is your fault because if you wouldn’t have given her to me then I wouldn’t have eaten.
Man (what he should have said): Yes, I ate of the tree, and I am sorry please forgive me.
Woman (What she said): It’s the snake’s fault! HE tricked me! If it wasn’t for this vile creature that you created, then I would have never eaten of the fruit. So really, it’s your fault God.
Woman (What she should have said): Yes, I ate of the tree, and I am sorry, please forgive me.
We would all do ourselves a huge favor if we would just own up for our sinful actions. This is a hard lesson to learn because blaming is so much easier. When we believe our sinful actions are someone else’s fault, we don’t have to take responsibility for our actions and humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness.
When we look at this account, we see sin has consequences…
In this Genesis account we see God’s mercy. He does not kill Adam and Eve. He does not even kill the serpent. God would have every right to do so. He told Adam and Eve, “If you eat of this tree then you will die.” He could have said, “You disobeyed, and I told you if you disobeyed you would die; so ‘off with your heads!” But He doesn’t. In God’s mercy he spared humanity.
Not only did he spare humanity from death (physical & spiritual) but He put his plan in place that allowed for humanity AND all creation to be restored once again through the offspring of the woman… Jesus Christ. This was/is God’s gift of grace to humanity. We have inherited their sin nature but through Jesus Christ we can find true restoration and redemption to the full glory of what God intended.
Through God’s mercy and grace, we see that Satan’s work cannot stand. Jesus is victorious and Satan is defeated. The curse of the Serpent/Satan opens the door of hope. We know by reading the end of the Bible that Satan is not victorious. He is doomed. We are told that on the Day of Judgment Satan, death and Hades will be cast into the lake of fire and tormented for all eternity. This is Satan’s fate.
One could read this account and conclude that God is a cantankerous old man just waiting to dish out punishment to anyone who disobeys him. Some people focus so much on the judgment of God that they miss His true character. It is important to first establish that there are always consequences for sin. God cannot and will not overlook disobedience and he cannot or will not turn a blind eye to sinful rebellion. For him to be just, loving, and holy he must discipline when sin is committed. Yet, it is important to know that He does not discipline because he is angry and wants us to suffer, it is just the opposite. He disciplines because he loves us.
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Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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