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Genesis 3b

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Genesis 3:8-10… And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”

Commentary

            After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, their eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked. Only minutes before they were without shame and sinless, but now they are not only afraid of the scrutiny and humiliation from their respective mate (symbolized by sewing fig leaves together) but are suffering from a spiritual deadness – a state of alienation from each other and from God.

            In verse 8 the man and woman hear the sound of God walking in the garden “in the cool of the day.” Literally, that phrase is “in the wind of the day” and might possibly be translated as “in the wind of the storm” (word for “day” associated with an ancient cognate meaning “storm”). The second translation makes the scene far more dramatic and has God, instead of taking a leisurely stroll through the garden, coming in a great windstorm to confront the man following his sin. This is an accurate picture of God when confronting rebellion in the Bible, but it’s a stretch to make “day” mean “storm” in the Bible. The traditional interpretation of God walking through the garden in the cool of the day (“breezy” part of the day likely denoting the late afternoon) pictures the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ walking through the lush garden to meet up with Adam and Eve for their daily fellowship with one another. However, the man and his wife, like a soldier dressed in fatigues so as to go unnoticed in the thick brush, are hiding from the Lord God (Jesus Himself). They are wrapped in leaves to cover themselves, and they’re also hiding among the trees of the garden. The only explanation for this behavior is the shame they feel over their sin of disobedience. Prior to this they met up with God each day feeling no embarrassment among themselves and no shame in meeting the Lord God face to face.

            God’s question to Adam in verse 9 of his whereabouts does not show God’s ignorance but is the method He uses to induce Adam to confess his guilt. In verse 10 Adam tells God that he is afraid of Him because of his nakedness. In other words, Adam knew he had sinned, and facing the very One he sinned against was his greatest fear because he knew he couldn’t hide his guilt. His nakedness before God was far too evident. Like a child with a guilty conscience facing his mother so was Adam facing his Maker. It was in that day that he died spiritually.

Food for Thought

            It is noteworthy in our modern-day world (and the world of yesteryear) that the majority of people in society are looking to cover over their weaknesses and shortcomings. Our youth are wrapped up in fads and self-esteem circles that cause them to strive to fit in amongst their peers. Pre-marital sex, alcohol, drug abuse, and eating disorders are all ways in which young people seek to “cover themselves” and their shortcomings. Adults, though also suffering from much of the same garbage today’s youth suffer with, also fall into the trap of materialism – the insatiable quest for more. They attempt to cover over their own shortcomings through big homes, new clothing, and expensive cars. In the end we’re all trying to be and look like something we’re not. What we are is naked sinners who stand before God attempting to look good. The problem, however, is that these fruitless endeavors don’t work. Unless God sees the shed blood of Jesus Christ covering our shortcomings we’re simply lost in our worthless quests to look good.

Genesis 3:11-13… And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 And the man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Commentary

            In verse 11 God is once again asking a question He already knows the answer to. Adam tells God that they’re naked, but God knows that the only way they could even be aware of this would be for them to have disobeyed His command not to eat the forbidden fruit. He asks them this very question. God’s question appears to be designed to illicit a confession as He confronts the man. Since the only prohibition to man was that he not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, it stands to reason that this is why God even brings it up. He knows.

            In verse 12 the disappointment in man is more intensified by his response to the confrontation. If Adam would have come clean by confessing his sin, who knows what would have happened. We can speculate that the consequences would have been less severe, but it’s a moot point because not only did he fail to confess, he blames God for his mistake. The man answers God’s question by pointing to the woman and seemingly blaming her, but look at the subtlety of his response when he says, “The woman whom you gave me to be with me…” Adam is nowhere near a mature response of taking full responsibility for sinning; he’s blaming his helpmate, and worse yet, God too! He appears to be like a four-year old child with a stolen cookie in his hand who pleads innocence by blaming his friend who stands nearby. In Adam’s mind it’s not his fault. It’s the wife’s fault, and really it’s God fault because He gave her to him. This sounds a lot like the blame game that plays itself out in the modern-day court system.

            In verse 13 God appears to suspend His judgment on Adam as He plays along with the little game. Instead of confronting Adam and telling him he is fully responsible, God goes ahead and turns His attention to Eve whom Adam is pointing at. When He confronts Eve, just like Adam, she too passes the buck to the serpent. Eve does, however, admit to being deceived, and at least she takes some blame. However, her one-level-up-maturity from Adam’s is hardly worth a pat on the back because she knew the mandate not to eat from the tree. She even quoted, albeit a misquote from 2:16-17, the words of God clearly stating that death would follow the eating of the forbidden fruit. She knew better, but she allowed herself to be deceived anyway.

Food for Thought

            Man hasn’t changed much in the past 6000+ years. He still plays the blame game by refusing to take responsibility for his sins. God also hasn’t changed. He still gives us the opportunity to fess up when we mess up. The fact that we are not snuffed out of existence when we sin in the face of a holy God means that God is “slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” The character of God is such that He waits for us to confess our sins, and He listens to us when we do so. All He seeks is obedience from His created children.

            What about you? Whether you know it or not you stand sinful and naked before the Lord today. He knows who you are and what you’ve done. His patience has an end, however, and for those who refuse to acknowledge their innate-sin along with their daily sins, they will die in them. The first step to freedom from sin is the acknowledgment of it. Once it is acknowledged Christ is there to forgive it for those who seek it from him and from him alone. He’s the only one who can provide it, and it can be yours by simply trusting in Him. The same God who confronted Adam and Eve with their sin is the One who saved them from it through His Own death.

Genesis 3:14-15… And the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life; 15 and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”

Commentary

            After God asks Adam if he’d eaten from the forbidden tree, he passes the blame to his wife. Once Eve is confronted she passes the blame to the serpent. But God doesn’t ask the serpent if he’s guilty. He just lays down the curse on the serpent without giving it a chance to make a defense. It shows that God knew it was guilty, and the fact that He lays down a curse upon the serpent just goes to show that even though man was responsible for his own sin – the one through whom deception came was also to blame. Of course this didn’t negate man’s decision to rebel, and even though he was led astray, he was going to suffer for his choice.

            The word for “cursed” in verse 14 as it relates to the serpent means to be “punished.” He was to be punished above that of all the cattle and every beast of the field. Notice that, for whatever reason, the creeping things are not mentioned. God’s words to the serpent clearly imply that, for no fault of their own, all the other animals would be cursed too. The serpent was just going to be punished more than all the cattle and the beasts of the field. Since his curse is that he move along on his belly, it stands to reason that this wasn’t his original mode of transporting himself. He is said to be “more crafty than all the beasts of the field” in Genesis 3:1, and the beasts of the field are clearly those animals that are separate from “creeping things” and “cattle.” In other words, the serpent wasn’t originally an animal that slithered. It appears that he was originally made to walk upright with legs and possibly able to speak too as Genesis 3:1 indicates. Now, however, as part of his curse, he is to move about on his belly and eat dust. Now we know that the diet of a serpent isn’t dust, so it is evident here that eating dust as part of the serpent’s curse has more to do with being brought low – a symbol of humiliation, not his literal diet.

            Verse 15 goes further with the curse of the serpent. First, God is going to put “enmity” between the serpent and the woman. The word “enmity” simply means “hatred” or “hostility.” In other words, instead of carrying on conversations with unassuming women in lush gardens, the serpent would now be full of hatred for the woman “and [her] seed” – all humans. The seed of the serpent includes all snakes, and the rather obvious conclusion here that continues to the modern day is that poisonous snakes and humans don’t mesh. They are enemies. The second part of this curse of hatred is that man will “bruise” the serpent’s head, and the serpent will “bruise” the man’s heel. The Hebrew word for “bruise” (used in Job 9:17 and Psalm 139:11) basically means to “overwhelm.” In other words, the offspring of the woman will overwhelm the serpent’s head (his life) while the serpent will only overwhelm the man’s heel (be a nuisance).

Food for Thought

            Prophetically speaking, the seed (offspring) of the woman through the generations became Jesus Christ. The seed of the serpent also speaks of his children, and in John 8:44 Jesus speaks of the very fact that the devil himself has children (see also Matt. 13:37-40; 1 John 3:8-12). These two “seeds” – the children of God and the children of Satan, are at enmity with each other. Jesus overwhelmed Satan at His death and resurrection, and in the end will completely destroy him (Rev. 12:7-9; 20:7-10). In this way the seed of woman “bruises” the head of the serpent’s seed, while the serpent’s seed continues to “bruise” the heel of man.

Genesis 3:16… To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you shall bear children; yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Commentary

            After pronouncing the curse upon the serpent, God moves to the previous person in line, namely, the woman. There is apparently no excuse for her deception, and though the serpent was punished for successfully deceiving her, the woman stands without a defense and will suffer for her sin. Though deceived, she invited the deception by doubting God’s goodness to begin with.

            God gives the woman at least two consequences for her sin. First, she is to have intensified pains in childbirth. Literally, this says, “your pain in your conception,” and it refers to the entire process from conception to childbirth to childrearing. This childbirth expounds on the “seed” from Genesis 3:15. The word for “pain” here refers to both emotional and physical distress, and it’s the same word used for man’s curse while working the ground (3:17).

Now since sin came through the one man, Adam, and in Adam all sinned (Rom. 5:12), it is clear that Adam and Eve had no children up to this point. If they did, then there would be a race of people who didn’t sin in the likeness of Adam, but the Bible says that “all” sinned (Rom. 3:21-26) in Adam. Therefore, the multiplication of pains in childbirth must have to do with God’s original plan that apparently entailed little to no pain in conception (morning sickness), childbirth, and childrearing. Now, however, when the woman gets pregnant, she gets sick. When she gives birth her pains are great. And when she raises her children, she encounters many difficulties. This is the first part of the curse for the woman, and it is a curse that all women with children can attest to even today. It’s proof that the curse has not yet been lifted.

            The second aspect of the woman’s curse is directed at her relationship to her husband. In saying that her “desire shall be for her husband,” it must be noted that “desire” here has nothing to do with sexual desire. It makes no sense in the context of the antithetical phrase that follows: “but he will rule over you.” It also implies that sexual desire was not originally given to the woman for her husband even though their command was to fill the earth with children. Furthermore, this word is used in Gen. 4:7 in reference to Cain where sin “desires” to have him. What “desire” means in the present context then is “control” or “dominate.” In other words, part of the woman’s curse was that she desire to control her husband. However, God goes on to say that he will rule over her. The word “rule over” used for the husband in relation to the wife is one word in Hebrew. It means to “govern,” “control,” and “be in charge of.” It is used of God ruling over His creation (Is. 40:10) and of the sun and moon governing the day and night (Gen. 1:18). For husbands in relation to wives, the word simply means that instead of the wife having authority over the husband, he in fact is to have authority over her. But like God over His creation, and the sun and moon over the day and night, husbands are to rule over their wives lovingly and not in a dominating manner that sometimes implies slavery.

Food for Thought

            The curse given to Eve in Gen. 3:16 is for all women. Pain in childbirth and childrearing is evident to all mothers along with the wife’s desire to dominate her husband. It’s important to note that the curse is bad, and it’s still operative today. Allowing children to behave in ways that reflect the curse is no excuse for being under the curse. They must be disciplined. And wives ruling over their husbands is no excuse for following the way of the curse. Women indeed have the hard part because they must allow themselves to be ruled by their husbands contrary to all that is natural to them. Our need for Christ as Savior is clearly evident in all of this.

Genesis 3:17-19… Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; 19 by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Commentary

            The final curse following the fall of man (original sin) is given to man himself through Adam. It’s as if God saved the worst for last for the one who was most responsible for his actions. God turns from Eve, looks at Adam, and hands down the final curse for humanity.

            Verse 17 should not be taken out of context. When God tells Adam “because you have listened to the voice of your wife,” He’s not saying that men ought not listen to their wives as a general rule. In this case the voice of Adam’s wife was contrary to God’s command, and the fact that he listened to anyone else is the accusation, not simply the advice from his wife. In saying this, God is clarifying the charges against Adam so as to make it perfectly clear why he will suffer. God reiterates, contrary to Eve’s words to the serpent, that His command not to eat of the fruit of the tree is just that – not to eat of it (she added “or touch it”). Eve gave him some of the fruit, and against what he knew was right, Adam ate it. Unfortunately, God’s people continue to fail at this. God has laid down his commands, and man is deceived into thinking he can cross the line and not suffer. The world is replete with seductions that deceive man and bring him down.

            Now because man sinned by following after advice contrary to God’s command, God now gives man his curse. First, the ground itself is now cursed. This means that it will not yield its food the way it once did as a measure of God’s blessing. Romans 8:22 attests to the longing on of the creation itself groaning under the curse and waiting for the redemption. God goes on to say that only in toil will man eat of the fruit of the ground. Whereas it once came about easily, now it comes from painful labor. The thorns and thistles that grow from the ground come as a result of God withdrawing his hand and allowing things to gradually deteriorate. Man must now struggle against God’s curse just to fill his belly with life-sustaining food. Verse 19 says that all food produced from man’s hard work will come from sweaty and back-breaking work – from blood, sweat, and tears. Furthermore, this curse will not end till man returns to the ground from which he was made. God seems to remind Adam that he is nothing but dust, for from dust he came and to dust he will return. Before he was sinless and content; now he works hard and dies.

Food for Thought

            Man’s curse was and is something that man can do nothing about. He can’t reverse it, and because he can’t God Himself reverses it. Galatians 3:13 says that Jesus Christ was made a curse for us – the “man of sorrows… acquainted with grief, wounded, bruised, and punished for us (Is. 53:3-5). The crown of thorns he wore on his head (Mark 15:17) are reminiscent of the thorns of the curse. While he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemene, anticipating the full brunt of His Father’s wrath for man’s sin, he sweated drops of blood (Luke 22:44). Hebrews 5:7 says that Jesus also offered up “prayers and pleas with strong crying and tears” – parallel to the intense struggle of man through blood, sweat, and tears in the antagonistic environment of the cursed planet. In the end, God brought Christ to the “dust of death” as Psalm 22:15 states. All of this is proof that Jesus Christ delivered us from the curse. As 1 Corinthians 15:22 says, “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.” The curse is reversed in Christ alone.

Genesis 3:20-21… Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. 21 And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

Commentary

            This is actually the first time we are introduced to the woman as Eve. Her name means “life,” and Adam names her such because she is the mother of all the living. This should not be overlooked because it reveals many things. First, the fact that Adam named his wife “Eve” likely indicates that he had come to grips with the sober fact that he had sinned. Prior to this he blamed God and the woman, but now he seems to agree with God that the “seed” of the woman would prevail over the “seed” of the serpent. He believes God that he would have children through Eve, and he names his wife accordingly. Adam was responsible for naming all of the creatures God had created, and now he concludes by naming his wife.

            The second observation about Eve being the “mother of all the living” is that this shows there was no such pre-Adamic race of people as so many suppose. Many believe that prior to Adam, the first man, there was a race of people who lived on the earth. These people are believed to be extinct – dying through diseases and wars and the like – and after millions of years God started over with Adam and Eve. This is an idea posited by many Christians who are desperately searching for a way to believe in the so-called “science” of evolution and in the teachings of the Bible. They don’t mesh, however, and the passage above means what it says: Eve is the mother of all the living. All humans have their origins in the first woman who was married to the first man. This is supported both biblically and scientifically while the idea of a pre-Adamic race of people is only another idea of evolution that is unproven and void of truth.

            A third observation about this passage is that it must be an editorial comment that was not originally written by Adam. Since Moses is the compiler of the Genesis accounts, and since Moses clearly understands where he and his people came from, this is very likely an editorial comment made by him. In other words, Moses likely took the account written by Adam and made the comment to show how it was fulfilled in his own lifetime.

            Verse 21 is subtle, but don’t miss what God does here. In order to make “garments of skin” something had to die. God most likely took an innocent animal or two, killed it in front of Adam and Eve, and used the hides to cover their naked bodies. Imagine the horror of the two people as they see an animal die – with shed blood – because of what they did. They had never witnessed death up to that point because there was no death to witness prior to the fall of man. God, however, made provisions for atonement through the blood of these animals, and He likely covered their entire bodies with the hides. Of course this was a precursor to the sacrificial system in Israel which in itself was a precursor to the perfect sacrifice of Christ that “covered” our sins.

Food for Thought

            In the same way that God demanded death for the sin of Adam and Eve, He requires death for the sins of all men. We have all sinned (Rom. 3:23), and the price to pay for sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Jesus Christ, however, because he was the perfect sacrifice, paid the penalty for sin by dying on the cross for us. Romans 5:8 says that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Adam and Eve still died for their sin just as God said they would, and so will all men and women. It’s our spiritual life that’s at stake. Everyone who is born into this world is born into the sin of Adam, and it kills us all spiritually the moment we are born. Christ’s death reconciles us to God, and though we’ll still die when our days are over, just like Adam and Eve, we’re covered.

Genesis 3:22-24… Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” – 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Commentary

            After Adam and Eve received their clothing of skins, they are now set to enter into their new world that they ushered in by their sin – a world of pain, hardship, thorns, thistles, and death – a world where marital problems will be the norm and childrearing will be painful.

            God looks out on His once perfect creation and speaks with the members of the Trinity (“Us”). This statement in verse 22 actually validates some of what the serpent promised Eve if she would take and eat some of the forbidden fruit. The serpent told her that she would be like God in 3:5 by knowing good and evil. Even the Triune God admits as much here. God says that the man and woman have indeed become like the members of the Trinity – “knowing good and evil.” Unfortunately for them this knowledge did not equate to being equal with God. Knowing good and evil was not a good thing, and God was attempting to keep them from this knowledge for their own good, not to restrict them from being all they could be. Now that they knew good and evil, apparently eating from the Tree of Life – a tree they were not originally forbidden to eat from – would cause them to live forever. Knowing good and evil the way Adam and Eve now knew it was not a condition they wanted to be in and live forever. In this sense God has mercy on them so that they won’t live forever. So God banishes them from the Garden of Eden. He had promised that they would die if they disobeyed, and though that physical death was not immediate, it did come (cf. Gen. 5). Their spiritual isolation from God was immediate however.

            Verse 23 is a sad documentary of what God did with mankind, the pinnacle of His creation. They were taken out of the Paradise of God and placed in the world at large to cultivate the ground – the very ground Adam had be made from. It must have been something like moving from a ritzy 7-bedroom home with new cars to a one-bedroom apartment and having to take the bus. They still had life, but the life they once had so good was only a memory because of sin.

            Verse 24 is a commentary on what God did in banishing the first couple from the garden. God “drove the man out” – the same single Hebrew word used for a member of King Solomon’s council when he dismissed him from service. In today’s vernacular – God fired Adam from the greatest job in the world – working the ground in the Paradise of God. He goes from a high level position to the lowest rung on the ladder, as it were. And, in order to keep the man from returning to this paradise, God puts angels – cherubim – on the east side so as to prevent anyone from entering. “The flaming sword which turns in every direction” pictures the sword as moving from one end of the garden to another to prevent anyone from entering lest they be cut to shreds.

Food for Thought

            The elusive happiness people long for today through immoral & unethical behavior never comes to pass. Adam and Eve originally tried it, but we just can’t seem to learn. God is still in the business of forgiveness however, and the fact that the tree of life appears again in Revelation 22 where all believers in Jesus Christ do eat of it and live forever attests to this. That amazing tree, that according to Revelation 2:7 currently resides in the Paradise of God, will be eaten from again but only by those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins.

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