They are the most damaging, malicious and vengeful three words ever uttered in time and space.
“Has God said?”
Satan’s objective was clear; cause Eve to doubt God’s Word, in so doing, get her to focus on this forbidden fruit. If Eve fell for Satan’s ruse, he would be able to lay claim to this World that he so greatly desired, and Adam & Eve would forfeit all that had been given to them and be subject to God’s wrath.
History is now the lamentable record of Satan’s victory in the Garden of Eden and God’s incredible plan of Redemption to right the wrong. He is, in this current order of things, the ‘god of this world’ (2 Cor 4:4). The kingdoms of this would have been given over to him, for now (Luke 4:5-6).
Satan has successfully employed the same method ever since. The moment he can cause even the slightest doubt in God’s Word, he has a foothold. We have had attempts to undermine, re-define and allegorise Scripture, each time with the same question: ‘has God said’?
We have had the documentary hypothesis, textual criticism, liberalism and forgeries that claim to be older and more reliable manuscripts of the Bible – yet which omit entire verses and call into question scores of others, all of which are nothing more than the regurgitation of these most pernicious three words.
In this study of Genesis chapter 3, we look at the Fall of man and the introduction of God’s plan of redemption. I pray that you will be blessed and encouraged by these comments. If you want to listen to the audio teaching on Genesis chapter 3 (complete with PowerPoint slides), go to the following link: http://www.calvaryportsmouth.co.uk/sermon-series/sunday-morning-studies/
1 Now the serpent was more subtil 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?
The first question to answer is, what is this ‘serpent’, and why was it made more subtle than any living thing?
There is a clue in the word for ‘subtle’ עָרוּם (aruwm) which has a negative connotation and in Hebrew it implies cunning (usually in a bad sense) – which begs then the question, why would God make a creature that was deliberately deceitful in a Creation He declared ‘very good’? In 2 Corinthians 11:3 we are told that the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, i.e. the serpent acted with intent. In Revelation 12 we are given a specific link between the serpent and Satan.
There seems to be an implied comparison in this verse, where on one hand we have ‘every living creature that the LORD God made’ and on the other hand we have this creature. Somehow, Satan used this creature to manifest himself and turned it from whatever God had created it to be, into an instrument of deception.
The next question is why would Eve stop and listen to a talking snake?
The fact that Eve doesn’t immediately run away is a good indication that she was not surprised by this! The fact that she happily engages in conversation with this serpent suggests a familiarity.
This itself should come as no surprise for in the book of Ezekiel (ch 28) we are told that Satan (then known as Lucifer) was in the Garden of Eden. Initially, he was a perfect and beautiful Angelic being, so there is no reason Adam and Eve would not have already known Satan in his un-fallen state. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for serpent is ‘Nachash’ meaning ‘shining one’
So when this beautiful creature engages Eve in conversation it was probably nothing new to her, hence she was willing to listen to this beautiful and captivating being.
“Has God said?”
It’s either God’s Word or man’s. Either we believe that God has said what He means and means what He says, or it’s a free-for-all!
Peter tells us that ‘prophecy is of no private interpretation (2 Peter 2:20), but this applies to all Scripture – to everything that God has said! It is not up to us to decide or vote upon what God meant!
Eve’s simple failing here was to entertain the question! (but let’s not be too harsh on Eve, not only is she our great, great, great…..grandmother, we would have all (and actually have all) done the same!
A.W. Tozer said: “Let a man question the inspiration of the Scriptures and a curious, even monstrous, inversion takes place: thereafter he judges the Word instead of letting the Word judge him; he determines what the Word should teach instead of permitting it to determine what he should believe; he edits, amends, strikes out, adds at his pleasure; but always he sits above the Word and makes it amenable to him instead of kneeling before God and becoming amenable to the Word”. (A W Tozer, “Man the Dwelling Place of God,” chapter 26,)
Significantly, despite the claims and allegations to the contrary, the Bible has stood the test of time. God’s Word has never failed; He has preserved His Word and it will stand forever (see Psalm 12:7 / Isaiah 40:8). Yet Satan has continued to say ‘Has God said…’ and many sincere people have given him their ear and doubted God’s Word, questioned what He has said, and ultimately fallen from the simplicity of a child-like faith in Him and been plunged into a life of doubt.
Notice Satan’s question: It is itself a distortion of the truth: “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
This shows the ‘wiles of the Devil’, His question immediately provokes a response – which is exactly what he wanted as this sets the conversation up for him to reap the seed of doubt he had sown!
What it the lesson here? The Devil is an alluring and formidable opponent. He was one jump ahead of Eve and orchestrated this whole event with precision. The moment Eve unwittingly succumbed to this interaction there was only one possible outcome.
“And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:26-27).
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 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.
Eve answers the question, adding her own interpretation of what she thought God had said!
[Remember that Adam was given the instruction about this Tree not Eve; it was his responsibility to instruct his wife! Do the details matter? I think this example should answer that question for every husband, father, wife, mother and child – God says what He means and means what He says! We should pay attention!]
Nowhere is it recorded that God said to Adam and Eve they would die from merely touching this tree. Does that make a difference? Absolutely! For, as we will see in a moment, Eve will stretch out her hand and touch the fruit of this tree, and guess what? She doesn’t die by touching it! Thus Satan will be ‘proved right’ and it will seem that God is the one who has concealed the truth from them both. If touching the tree caused no harm, why not eat and see if it makes you wise?
It cannot be overemphasised how important the lessons we glean from these verses are!
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
John 8:44 tells us that the Devil was a liar from the beginning. Remember his objective: usurp man and claim the title to the earth. Did he care one iota about man? No! Did he care about how man would view him after this? No! Though Satan appears as an angel of light, he will only bring darkness to our souls! He leads men into darkness but makes them think he is leading them into light.
Who on earth could ever be so twisted and cold as to take a young child and tell them to put their hand into a fire and pick up a burning hot coal, knowing it will burn and sear their tender young flesh? That isn’t even half the wickedness of Satan. He did this knowing he would be condemning humanity to hell! What is hell? It is separation from a perfect and loving God. Yes, it is a real place; yes it is a place of suffering, but the greatest pain will not be physical, it will be the unimaginable anguish that will be experienced by every soul condemned to this eternal place of torment on account of Satan’s lie in Genesis chapter 3 verse 4.
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 hallmark of a good liar is that they don’t know when to stop! Satan’s arrogance here leads him to make the assumption that all created beings covert being ‘as gods’. Yet that job is already taken! Satan did not take into account the capacity to find total fulfilment in serving and obedience to the One true God. That is our greatest joy!
Nevertheless, Eve is already on the hook, so another tug won’t do any harm! Sadly, so many through history have fallen for this lie also. Kings and despots alike have sought absolute power; but as has been said, absolute power corrupts absolutely! Man was not created to be ‘god’. Nor for that matter was any angelic being!
There is a beautiful innocence in young children before they become ‘worldly wise’. Yet notice how wisdom does not bring happiness but sadness. We can never go back and undo what has been done. We can never reclaim innocence lost.
“I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow” (Eccl 1:17-18).
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.
Notice the progression; she saw that it would satisfy her hunger, that it looked really good and that it would make her wise!
John tells us that this same progression is found when we love the creation more than the Creator!
“ 15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever”. (1 John 2:15-17)
When did Eve sin? When she ate of the fruit? When she plucked it from the Tree? When she first touched it? When she merely looked at it?
No. Eve sinned – rebelled against God – when in her heart she decided to take the fruit.
“And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:20-23).
In Paul’s letter to Timothy he makes an important comment:
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Tim 2:11-14).
This is very interesting because Paul also said in the book of Romans that Adam was a “figure of him that was to come” (Romans 5:14).
Adam, realising what had happened to his bride, knowing that she would now die on account of her sin, willingly entered into the same predicament as Eve, knowing that this would be the only way to save her! It would ultimately be through their union and through Eve’s offspring that not only Eve, but all her children could be redeemed.
In just the same way, Jesus, the Second Adam, willingly gave up His position to come and rescue His bride (comprised of all who accept Jesus and are part of His Church).
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 had been naked in the moments leading up to the Fall, but there was no shame. Suddenly, in a moment, everything had changed. They had crossed a line and there was no going back. Suddenly they were not only physically naked, but they were ‘uncovered’. Seemingly up to this point they had been covered, not by a fabric or physical covering, but by the Shekinah glory of God. Now, on account of their sin that glorious covering had departed. Sin distorts nakedness.
The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life all swamp our minds and we cannot regain that wonderful innocence Adam and Eve had known.
Here we see religion introduced for the first time. Religion is man’s attempt to cover sin and get right with God by his own efforts. The Latin word for religion means to re-link. That is what Adam and Eve were trying to do through these leaves. They were trying to make themselves acceptable to God again, trying to remove their shame.
It has been said that Religion is man searching for God. Christianity is God revealing Himself to man!
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.
How can you hear a voice walking? What is the voice of God? It is the Word of God? This is a ‘Christophany’ – a pre-incarnate appearance of God the Son.
And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
God was not asking this question because He needed help finding Adam! God never asks questions because He is looking for information! God asks questions to make us think! He the question to Adam was to make Adam think about his predicament. Where are you? What has become of you? The same question is asked of each of us: “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death” (Rom 6:21).
As you read this, where are you? Are you walking with God in the open or are you trying to hide from God? Are there things in your life you would rather God didn’t see? Where are you at right now? What is going on? God is awaiting the response.
As noted previously, God holds Adam responsible, even though Eve is accountable for her own actions. Significantly in this verse, we see that it is God who seeks Adam, and not Adam seeking God.
This is always the way we see it in scripture. Paul says in Romans: “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom 3:11). God Always Does the Seeking: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
God sought Abraham, whilst living among idol worshipping gentiles. God sought Jacob at Bethel as he was fleeing from Esau and God sought Moses whilst a fugitive in Midian. God sought David, a man after His own heart. God sought Isaiah, Jeremiah and the prophets of old. God still seeks today. ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock’ (Rev 3:20). The Shepherd always seeks the sheep (see Matthew 18:12-14).
And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
How sin brings guilt and fear! We don’t want people to see us as we really are, especial the One before whose eyes “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).
Psalm 139 reminds us that it is foolish to hide from God, for even in Hades, God’s presence can be felt. Jonah tried to prove this the hard way! Seriously, how can you run away from an omniscient and omnipotent God?!
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?
This is what the knowledge of Good and Evil does! It doesn’t make us wise unto Salvation, it makes us wise unto death!
And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Always someone else’s fault! Never our own. Blame it on my evil twin! In fact, blame it on everyone and anyone, just not me!
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.
The man blames the woman, the woman blames the snake. It doesn’t change the last four words of this verse:
‘and I did eat’!
The rest is simply the details; the fact remains that Adam and Eve had transgressed (crossed a line) and they had sinned (missed the mark).
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:
What was this creature? Somehow it is physically altered so that after the fall it would like much like every snake does today. A documentary some time ago was suggesting that Snakes once had legs. Of course they put this down as ‘proof’ for Evolution. As we know, Evolution is utterly ridiculous, but it does beg the question, did the snake once have the ability to walk? Certainly, this verse would lead us to that conclusion.
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.
This is the foundation of the Gospel, and the start of the incredible story of redemption. From this moment God reveals that man is not without hope, for through his offspring God will make, not only a way of salvation but also for the ultimate defeat our adversary.
There is a dramatic ‘role play’ of this in the account of David and Goliath. David, as a type of Christ takes on the embodiment of evil in Goliath. David slays the great giant with a Stone that strikes his head. But more than that, the head of Goliath is then taken by David to Jerusalem. This has to be one of the most bizarre events in Scripture! For at the time David did this Jerusalem was not in Israel’s hands. It belonged to the Jebusites. This means that, in order to bury Goliath’s head, David had to break through into enemy territory (see 1 Samuel 17:54).
But the astounding thing is that place that David buries the head thereafter bore the name of the giant as a memorial of David’s great conquest. Around 1000 years later, Jesus is taken out to this very spot and crucified. John (19:17) specifically tells us it was ‘the place of a skull’ – whose skull? Goliath’s; hence the name ‘Gol[iath of [Gath]a’ – Golgotha!
Of course, now that God had announced that the Seed of the woman would be the one to redeem man and also [fatally wound] Satan’s head, Satan know what he had to do – destroy the seed. The Old Testament is the account of this battle. When Adam & Eve had their first children, they must have been wondering which one would be the seed? It soon became apparent that Abel was a man of faith and obedient to God. Could this be the Seed? Satan took no chances and used Cain to kill Abel.
However, as the population increased, the problem multiplied!
This led to the Angelic invasion that led to God cleansing the world with the Flood (see Genesis 6).
Then came the Tower of Babel – maybe Satan could manipulate the world through a One World Government which he would control?
Once again God confounded Satan’s plans.
However, God then chose to establish a ‘protective clothing’ for the Seed (see Rev 11:1-2). That clothing was the Nation of Israel. God chose Abraham and said that the Seed would come through His family. There were strict rules for the descendants of Abraham such that they should not intermarry with the people around them. They must be kept separate to ensure the safe delivery of the Seed at God’s appointed time. (This is all summarised in Revelation 12!)
The Battle of the Seeds
- The murder of Abel by Cain (Gen 4);
- The fallen angels corrupt mankind (Gen 6).
- The Tower of Babel – One World Government (Gen 10-11)
- Abraham’s famine
- Isaac and Abhimelech
- Jacob & Esau and then later, Laban
- The Famine in Canaan (Gen 50)
- Destruction of male line (Ex 1)
- Pharaoh’s pursuit (Ex 14)
- The battles and populating of Canaan (Gen 12:6)
- Saul’s attempts on David’s life
- Against David’s line (2 Sam 7)
Attacks on David’s Line
- Jehoram kills his brothers (2 Chr 21)
- Arabians slew all (but Ahazariah)
- Athaliah kills all (but Joash) (2 Chr 22)
- Hezekiah assaulted, etc. (Isa 36, 38)
- Haman’s attempts (Est 3)
New Testament attempts:
- The babies of Bethlehem
- The attempts on Jesus through his ministry
- The Cross
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 curse – the Woman
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;
The curse – man
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
This is why we have a day job!!! – and why we are continually mowing grass and weeding during the spring & summer!
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.
This was the ‘prize’ for disobedience.
“The keyword in the sentence of the man is the “soil.” The curse of the soil is the desire of the fruit trees with which the garden was planted, and of that spontaneous growth which would have rendered the toil of man unnecessary. The rank growth of thorns and thistles was also a part of the curse which it occasioned to man when fallen. His sorrow was to arise from the labor and sweat with which he was to draw from the ground the means of subsistence. Instead of the spontaneous fruits of the garden, the herb of the field, which required diligent cultivation, was henceforth to constitute a principal part of his support. And he had the dreary prospect before him of returning at length to the ground whence he was taken”. (Albert Barnes)
However, Paul tells us in Galatians that Jesus became a curse for us to deliver us from the curse of the Fall.
Bearing the Curse – Jesus became a curse
- Ground cursed – Jesus made a curse for us Gal 3:13
- Man: eat sorrow –Jesus became the Man of Sorrows Isa 53:3
- Thorns & Thistles –Jesus wore a crown of thorns Jn 18:8
- Sweat of brow –Sweat as blood Lk 22:44
- Dust to return –Dust of death Ps 22:15
- Sword barred –Awake O Sword Zech 13:7
- Man to die –“Why has thou forsaken me?” Ps 22:1; Mt 27:26
And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Here we have the first sacrifice – made by God – notice plural skins. Were they clothed by the shed blood of a slain lamb?
The basis of blood sacrifice is instituted here. Any attempt to cover ourselves is just empty religion, but God’s remedy is acceptable to a holy God.
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:
We have become like God inasmuch as we now know about good and evil.
We will not get to see this tree of life again until the New Jerusalem
Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
Banished on account of sin.
Now man had to work for a living! From the beauty and perfection of Eden, this is now the way it is. We simply have to look at the world to see that something is wrong. Death should not have been. Sickness was never part of the original plan. But praise God that this is not the end of the story! For there is coming a day of restitution! (Acts 3:21).
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.
Why does this require a SuperAngel? Ordinary angels would seem to be sufficient. We see here Gods grace yet again, for now God guarded the way to the Tree of Life so that man would not eat from it and then forever remain in his falled condition. God here institutes death as the means for salvation. For if the sentance for our sin is death, and if another could be found to die in our place, God’s perfect justice and mercy could both be satisfied!
Cherubim principle: They were guardians of God’s glory and majesty (Ex 9, 10:1-22; Isa 6; Rev 4:6-8; Ps 18:10; 81:1; 99:1; et al.). Satan was the “anointed Cherub”… Ezek 28:14…
More next week…