FROM CREATION TO THE FALL
A VERSE BY VERSE EXEGESIS
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
The serpent was "more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made." The serpent was therefore one of the wild animals and not SATAN himself (The Garden of Eden may not have been the natural habitat of the serpent as the King James Bible calls him "a beast of the field." In other words, he could have been an intruder.) The fact that God judged the serpent in Genesis 3:14 meant that he had a 'personal' free will and that he willingly allowed himself to be a tool of Satan (Satan had to be the author of the first sin as it was originally a sinless world.) The serpent was "crafty" or "subtle". In this context it means to be "cunningly deceitful". The target of the serpent's attack was not Adam but the woman (who has not been named yet). As mentioned before, being formed or created first gave Adam the position of headship (1 Timothy 2:12,13) and this concept of man being the 'Head' and his wife being the 'body' is further emphasized in 1 Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians Chapter 5 verses 23 and 28. It is not unfair to say that "Satan certainly knows where to attack i.e. through the back door!" His first line of attack is to make Eve doubt the Word of God. It can be inferred from Genesis Chapter 2 verses 16 and 17, that God had intended that the man pass His (God's) commandments to his wife (Being the head, he has the responsibility of making sure she heard it correctly!)
2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
Since man had been given dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:28) it would be imprudent for the woman (who had 'delegated authority') to engage in any kind of discussion aimed at casting doubts on God's Word especially from a sub-ordinate.
3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"
In verse 3, the woman added to God's Word by saying "you must not touch it". Adding to or subtracting from God's Word is the first step towards the path of deception and destruction (God's Word being THE INDEX of Spiritual Truth. Revelation 22 verses 18 and 19 says it even more clearly......
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.
19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
(NIV) Take a look also at Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32
The last phrase in verse 3 says "or you will die". The King James version says "lest ye die". In modern english it could be paraphrased as "for fear that you will die". This is in direct contrast to what God originally told Adam when He said "YOU SHALL SURELY DIE." (Genesis 2:17). This, in essence, is omitting from the true meaning of God's Word (a form of subtraction).
4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman.
Here the serpent directly contradicts God's Word which says "......YOU WILL SURELY DIE." (Genesis 2:17.) This is the first lie in the Bible.
5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Satan's modus operandi has always been to mix lies with some truth (and/or half truths). There was no mention of "their eyes being opened" before Genesis 3 verse 5 but Satan knew that this would happen if they ate the fruit (and disobeyed God.)
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it......
Straying away from God's Word opens the first door for deception to enter and Eve's eyes of faith was replaced by her lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and her pride of life (1 John 2:16). Every false religion in the world today is the end result of adding to or subtracting from God's Word.
THE THREE-FOLD LUSTS
Notes on the above table
Lust may be defined as an inordinate or uncontrollable desire for that which is normally allowed. The Bible calls Satan's three-pronged strategy the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Lust of the flesh is an appeal to the basic appetite of Man (not intrinsically wrong by itself.) In the case of Adam, it was not his appetite for food which was "sinful" but his succumbing to the temptation of eating the fruit against the commandment of God. When Jesus was confronted with the same temptation, He put aside His basic appetite and used the Word of God to overcome it. Lust of the eyes is an appeal to what is attractive to Man. Genesis Chapter 2 Verse 9 says God made trees that were pleasing to the eye, in other words, trees that were attractive to look at. Beauty, the appreciation of beauty and what attracts Man, by themselves, is not sin. The devil asked Jesus to throw Himself down from the top of the pinnacle, surely a sight to behold and an attractive proposition (in the eyes of men.) Jesus did not succumb to the temptation but once again used the sword of the Spirit to overcome it (Matt 4:5-7.) The Pride of Life appeals to man's ego, pride of what he has or what he is. Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world and their splendor (Matt 4:8.) Notice that the kingdoms of the world had their own "splendor or glory" like an irresistible magnetic force which attracts. Once again, position and power are not wrong by themselves if they are given in accordance with God's will. Joseph was governor of Egypt only next to Pharoah in position and power and Solomon was ruler over one of the greatest of kingdoms of the Ancient world. The point to be made is that "the kingdoms of this world and all their splendor" are not to be acquired by "bowing down and worshipping Satan (Matt 4:9)" as many have done and will continue to do but are given according to God's Sovereign Will and purpose. Jesus did acquire all the kingdoms of this world and more, after accomplishing God's Will and purpose on planet earth (Matt 28:18.)
.......She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (NIV)
She gave some to her husband (a deceived person will go on to deceive others).......
2 Tim 3:13
13 In fact, evil men and false teachers will become worse and worse, deceiving many, they themselves having been deceived by Satan.
Adam, however, was not deceived (he ate wilfully)....
1 Tim 2:14
14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.
........AND HE ATE IT. Sin is the transgression of God's Law or command and eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was their first "sin" because the very act transgressed God's Word which was stated in Genesis 2:17. Eve's foregoing conversation with the Serpent and Adam's silent but consenting presence next to Eve were not 'sins' by themselves because no laws or commands of God were transgressed upon up till then. Adam had abdicated his role as the head of his family. He kept "mum", so to speak, whilst the serpent communicated with Eve and did not correct the additions, subtractions and distortions of God's Word in the ensuing conversation.When the man does not play the proper role allocated to him by God, he virtually opens up the door for the devil to attack his family. Eve had declared her independence from Adam when she ate the fruit and Adam had declared his independence from God when he ate the fruit. As an afterthought, could Adam had refrained from eating the fruit after Eve had already tasted it? I don't think so. Adam was a willing collaborator and very likely had the same thoughts as Eve. Besides he was one flesh with Eve. Both being perfect, they would have moved in perfect unity.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
This refers to their "spiritual eyes" being opened as they could obviously see visually before this event. Prior to this they had no problem being naked because they were spiritually in right relationship with God i.e. they were God-conscious only (God providing a spiritual covering.) After they sinned by disobeying God (thereby renouncing their total dependence on Him), they became self conscious and at the same time lost God's spiritual covering. Nakedness is the physical manifestation of this loss of God's covering (with shame following). As in the case of all unregenerate men, they sewed fig leaves to cover themselves- a product of man's righteousness. In the final scenario, the saints will be wearing white robes washed in the blood of Christ (Rev 7:9, 14)-the principle of covering being an eternal principle.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
"Cool of the day" is translated as 'evening' in the Living Bible. This was presumably the regular time when God came down in a theophany i.e. a visual manifestation of the presence of God, to fellowship with them. The fact that they "heard the sound of the Lord God" supports a theophany as opposed to God's spiritual omnipresence. "They hid from the LORD God...." - thieves hide from policemen, honest men do not. This was probably the beginning of the sensation of FEAR in man.
9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"
God is omniscient (knows everything). The fact that He asks "Where are you?" does not mean that he does not know where they were. After Cain killed Abel, God asked Cain "Where is your brother Abel?" (Genesis 4:9) but in verse 10, He clearly states "your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground." In other words, God was fully aware that Abel was killed (by Cain). The purpose of asking a question is to evoke a "repentant" response from the person questioned so that proper restituitionary measures can be instituted.
10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
There is a relationship which goes like this- sin leads to shame and fear which causes a person to hide (to avert the consequences of his sin or sins). This is the reaction of any natural man. A regenerate person, on the other hand, acknowledges his sin, repents and asks for forgiveness (from God and man).
11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
Here again, God asks questions to evoke a "repentant" response but fallen man always shifts the blame somewhere else....
12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me-- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."
Notice he says "the woman you put here with me". It is always God's responsibility to provide a help-meet for us to help us, not someone for us to "pass the buck" to. Notice also that he said "she gave me some fruit" not "a fruit". She was probably having a feast (of something forbidden) and wanted her husband to share her misguided joy. The worldly way of portraying an apple as the forbidden fruit is wrong as the Bible never named the fruit. Again take note that God spoke to the man first (he, being the head of the woman and also the person who was given dominion over the animals including the serpent). Contrast this point with my comment on verse 1, where Satan spoke to the "woman" first.
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
If Adam as the head had admitted his sin and the sin of his wife, there would probably be no need to speak to the woman. To "deceive" (nasha' in hebrew) means to "lead astray". A deceived person bears full responsibility for his or her actions. Nowhere in the Bible is it said that the sin of Eve was lesser than that of Adam (both were punished by God in line with their functional purposes.) God has given both men and women the free will to decide on his or her course of action. If you were to analyse this statement carefully, you will find that there are actually only two options to choose- to follow Gods way, or to follow your own way. Following your own way is as good as following the devils way for the simple reason that our way and the devils way are opposed to Gods way.
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
Notice that God held the serpent responsible for his actions even though he may have been just a tool of Satan. Why was'nt Satan punished? Simply because he had already been judged (Luke 10:18; Matt 25:41). Notice also that God did not ask the serpent any questions. Why? because animals unlike man, are not capable of repentance. When an animal "sins", the law (of Moses) states that it must be punished accordingly.
32 If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull must be stoned.
Some commentators believe that the serpent was an upright animal before the curse was imposed on him. All the Bible says is "You will crawl on your belly...." implying that the serpent did not crawl on his belly before that. It could have been a four-footed beast like a lion. Lions don't crawl on their bellies and they are also not upright. One other point to mention, is the fact that the serpent was a fairly intelligent being with the ability to reason with Eve (though under the guise of deception). What did God mean when He told the Serpent "you will eat dust all the days of your life?" A basic rule of Biblical interpretation is to, wherever possible, use Scripture to explain Scripture. In Isaiah 49:23, licking "dust" is used to imply a servile state. Since serpents do not literally eat dust, this figurative meaning is preferred.
23 Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed."
LAW OF DOUBLE REFERENCE(14)
This refers to a scripture which has a spiritual reference even though the subject addressed to is physical in nature.
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
Here there is a spiritual reference to the relationship between the "serpent" as the representative of Satan and the woman who will be God's representative to bear the messiah (even though the subejcts addressed to are the serpent and the woman physically.) The word "enmity" means "hatred" and it does not necessarily have a physical meaning as women (in the natural) fear snakes more than they hate them. Besides, men also fear snakes (Moses ran when his staff became a snake in Exodus 4:3), so why is there no enmity between serpents and men? The phrase following "between your offspring (singular) and hers" (addition mine) clearly points to the messiah and the representative of Satan. For JESUS will deal a fatal blow to 'Satan' (crush your head) whilst any damage done by Satan to our Lord will be only minimal or of no significant value. Crushing a person's head permanently incapacitates a person; striking a heel only temporarily incapacitates a person.
Gen 3:16 (a)
16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.......
Pain appears to be the product of the fall of man (mankind). The implication here is that childbirth was supposed to be a joyous (not painful) affair for God did command man and woman to be fruitful and to multiply. In the final stage of redemption, however, there will be no more pain.....
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Gen 3:16 (b)
......Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." NIV
The word "DESIRE" is Teshuwqah in Hebrew. MacArthur's New Testament Commentary on Ephesians says "The term comes from an arabic root that means to compel, impel, urge, or seek control over-" Page 281, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago 1986. The same word is used in Genesis Chapter 4 verse 7. It speaks of sin wanting to control Cain because of his disobedience to God...
7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
So here it is not a case of a wife pining for her husband but one of a fallen woman attempting to dominate or control her husband. Here God is pronouncing a cursed situation and "longing for one's husband" is certainly not a curse. The phrase "....he will rule over you" speaks of the despotic rule of man over his wife. Instead of the New Testament concept of a husband loving his wife as his own body (Ephesians 5:28), we have a situation of a husband keeping his body (wife) under slavish subjection.
17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. (NIV)
Listening to one's wife is not a sin. Adam's sin was listening to his wife against the commandment of God "not to eat of the fruit." In the case of the serpent, he was personally cursed but in the case of Adam it was the ground that was cursed. In the garden of Eden God did the planting (Genesis 2:9) and the trees were mature and productive enough for Adam to eat of its fruits. In the cursed situation, man must do the planting before he can harvest.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
One must remove thorns, thistles and weeds before a useful plant can take root. Here God defines the meaning of "painful toil" mentioned in verse 17. It looks as though the whole of nature is pitted against us-the things we do not want (thorns, thistles and weeds) tend to flourish by themselves whilst edible and useful plants have to be carefully nurtured to survive.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
Man has been sentenced to relatively "hard" labour for life. As a result of the fall his productivity will be limited or hindered by "thorns and thistles", natural disasters, pests and the like (against these he must sweat to overcome.) Man will never be able to completely rid the earth of pests like locusts and rodents or completely stop destructive hurricanes and floods. The phrase "...dust you are and to dust you will return" is a grim reminder of our temporal outward nature which according to Apostle Paul perishes day by day......
2 Cor 4:16
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
The inner man must take precedence over the outer man which ultimately returns to dust.
20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
Eve is chavvah in hebrew which means life-giver (Biblical names generally have meanings).She is the mother of all the living- all fallen men and women from the time of Adam onwards. Unlike Genesis 2:23, Adam now gave her a personal name.
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
When Adam and Eve sinned they did "surely die" as God said, but spiritually. They were instantly separated from God the moment they disobeyed his commandment. The garments of skin were temporary coverings for them (two animals presumably had to die in their place and their blood shed for them) until they eventually died physically. It is not mentioned how often Adam had to make the animal sacrifices but credit must be given to him for passing the instructions to Abel (Gen 4:4).
22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."
Bible commentators have described this stage as the dispensation of conscience when man began to know good and evil. In other words, man's conscience was kindled when he took the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and his children will also have this inner light telling them what is right and what is wrong. An unregenerate man only has a conscience; a born again believer has a conscience and also the Holy Spirit in him.
".........and live forever." The man and woman, apparently, could have taken of the tree of life and lived forever before they sinned (only the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was forbidden). But after they have sinned, it would be disastrous if they took the fruits of the tree of life. Why? Simply because wickedness would have multiplied to an intolerable level with time. Imagine Adolf Hitler living forever..........can anyone imagine the level of wickedness that would have been generated by this man if he had continued to live forever! See also Genesis 6:5.
The differences between the Holy Spirit, His Ministry and Conscience are tabled below....
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE HOLY SPIRIT, HIS MINISTRY, AND CONSCIENCE
Notes on the above Table.....
Conscience is an inborn sense of right and wrong common to all men. The Apostle Paul calls it "a witness" to God's laws (Rom 2:15.) Conscience accuses or excuses MAN. It cannot, however, override his free will and hence can be stifled or "seared" as with a hot iron (1 Tim 4:2.) The dispensation of Conscience began when Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit and ended with the Flood of Noah after God saw "how great man's wickedness on the earth had become......." (Gen 6:5 NIV.) MAN did not yield to the promptings of his conscience but instead continued to yield to the depravity of his fallen nature. Wickedness begats more wickedness (Rev 22:11 Living Bible) until the cup of iniquity runneth over, thereby calling forth God's judgement.
The New Testament Christian has both conscience and the Holy Spirit. He is called to live up to higher spiritual and moral "laws" (Matt 5:28;43) because of this. Of primary importance is the role of the Holy Spirit in convicting a person of sin (thereby bringing forth repentance)- a role that conscience has not ever been endowed with.)
23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. (NIV)
23 therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.
Banishment in the Bible is always equated with the judgement of God on sin. The Israelites were banished from their own land (forcibly taken into captivity for 70 years-Jeremiah 25:11) because of their sins. The word "Eden" means "delight" whilst the word "till" in the New King James Version is 'abad in hebrew which means "to serve". Adam and Eve were taken out of the garden of delight where the ground served them to a place outside Eden where they had to serve the ground.
24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Before man fell God only gave His commandment "not to eat of the fruit". After the fall of man, physical restraint had to be applied (cherubim and flaming sword) to stop man from breaching God's commandment. Policemen only came into being after the fall for unregenerate men often only respond to a fear of punishment.
14. Dake's Annotated Reference Bible by FJ Dake, page 42, Dake Bible Sales Inc, Georgia USA 1963
About the author.....
Dr Eddy Cheong is a Born-again, Spirit Baptised Christian who reveals God's Word with a deep, new spiritual insight (This is the Lord's gift to His humble vessel). He is author of the Books "Man's Life Span according to God's Word" and "Deceiving the Elect". Dr Cheong is a medical specialist by profession.
Dr Eddy Cheong
© Copyright 1997
FROM CREATION TO THE FALL-PART ONE-CREATION (GENESIS CHAPTER 1): http://www.agape.com/creation.htm
FROM CREATION TO THE FALL-PART TWO-CREATION EXPANDED (GENESIS CHAPTER 2): http://www.agape.com/expanded.htm
Other Articles by the same author:
"Is tithing compulsory for the New Testament