I’m so excited to have you back with me as we study through the book of Genesis. Part 1 of this study is over chapters 1-11. We are on the third chapter in Genesis.
Chapter three begins with a fact-filled statement: “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God (Yahweh) had made.” This tells us that the serpent is the most cunning creature at this specific time, and it was created by Yahweh.
Verse one closes out with the serpent speaking. It is a ploy to get the woman to question God and His wisdom.
And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (v.1)
Can serpents speak? Presently no, but could serpents and other animals speak in the Garden? Anything is possible. Let’s make some observations based off the woman’s reply:
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
The woman is having a conversation with the serpent. Is she fearful? No. If a serpent spoke to you, would you be fearful? I know I would. The Fall had not yet happened, although it is close. Since the woman is still innocent, she has nothing to fear of the serpent.
I wonder if there could have been previous conversations with the serpent, or other animals. It is possible. We do have animals capable of mimicking voices, so there is something in them which they can use to make those voice-like sounds. It is possible they possessed the ability to talk, but we can only speculate since we do not have more information on this subject recorded in Scripture. We do know of another instance in which an animal spoke, but it was God who spoke through the animal (Balaam’s donkey).
Reread the woman’s response. What did she add to what God had said about the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?
Nor shall you touch it.
Genesis 2:17 says: “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” There is nothing about not touching it. Right? The woman added to what God said.
The serpent was being used as the mouthpiece of Satan, and undoubtedly accepted being used by Satan to deceive the woman. The serpent was a willing participant and would pay for his willingness in a few verses. He was doing his job: making the woman believe something contrary to truth. He planted a seed of doubt in her mind by questioning what God had already said.
Then he goes in for the “kill.” What does he say to the woman? “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (vv. 4b-5).”
That was a lie. Isn’t that like Satan? He plants a seed of doubt and once that seed of doubt is there, he tells a lie. Satan is the great deceiver, the first liar. John MacArthur says it like this: “Here you have the first lie, as far as we know, ever told. And that is what Satan does, he lies. And mark this down. He lies about two things…one, he lies about the character of God, and he lies about the Word of God. And that’s where his assault is inevitably directed.”1
Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). He used the woman as the weaker vessel to bring about the Fall of man. The serpent (Satan) was indeed cunning.
And the woman fell for that deception.
Verse 6 tells us the woman’s reaction. The woman saw the tree was good for food. In addition to appealing to the eyes, because of Satan’s lies, she also believed it would make her wise. She takes it from the tree. She ate it. Lastly, she gives it to her husband. We have the temptation (saw), the participation in the appeal of the temptation (takes) and then the fulfillment of the temptation (she ate it). However, she doesn’t stop there. She brings (gives) someone else into her sin, her husband, who just happens to be with her, and stood by her silently while she is lured into sin by Satan. Adam seals the deal; he ate too. He participates in the sin, willingly without coercion, and without caring about what God had told him in Gen. 2:17. He had fallen for Satan’s lie too.
Note again that Adam was with Eve (v.6). We aren’t 100% clear on the timeline but at some point Adam was with Eve. Why did he choose to stay silent? What if he had have said, “Wait a minute, my dear. God told us we can’t eat that fruit. I will not eat it.” We could be looking at a whole different outcome. Got Questions has a few other scenarios to this section of Genesis 3. They are all good viable possibilities. But the bottom line is Adam could have refused the fruit, but he did not and as Adam and Eve were about to discover: we can’t hide our sin from God. He knows. And there are always consequences.
This whole issue could have been only an issue between the woman and God. It would have been Eve’s sin alone if Adam had refused to eat, but because he did not, the consequence of the sin fell on his head. He was the head of their home and the primary responsibility to guard his home was on him. Adam failed not only God, but he failed to safely guard his wife. Notice also, it was not until Adam ate that both realized their nakedness. Out of their shame they sought to cover themselves (v.7).
Formed as morally innocents, Adam and Eve were now sinners. (Our introduction to the Doctrine of Sin.) Adam was the first man who in the beginning he was made perfect, but by choice he became imperfect. At this point in time it was only Adam and Eve. Eve had not yet had children, so now because of Adam’s sin, his seed would be born as sinners; all offspring would be born into sin. (Please note: Jesus Christ was not born sinful. He being fully God, while being fully man was the ONLY exception.) Death had entered humanity because the first man, Adam, had willfully sinned, or rebelled, against God.
Then “they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden…” Can you imagine Adam and Eve’s fear at the sound of THE LORD God’s presence in the garden? They had just gone against God’s one law for them. They knew they were wrong (they had sinned) because they hid (v.8), and they were afraid (v.10).
God calls out to Adam, “Where are you? (v.9)” Did God not know where they were? Of course, He knew. He’s God. God wanted Adam to know where he (Adam) was. Adam knew where he was, too, even though he lacked the guts to declare the truth. Think about it: If he didn’t know where he was spiritually then why did he hide? Adam was very aware of his sin against God.
Adam responds with a half-truth. “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” That’s how we do it, we tell half-truths, so we don’t have to admit we’re wrong. Ask a child what they’ve done wrong, and they’ll beat around the truth, not wanting to own up to what they’ve done. Your sweet child knows. They do their best to hide the facts, but their attempts to cover the truth reveals what you already know. They are guilty.
God knew Adam was guilty. The LORD God says: “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” (v.11) God goes straight to the heart of the rebellion.
Adam still isn’t ready to ‘fess up, and worse, he places the blame elsewhere. He deflects the truth of the matter hoping to place the quilt somewhere else and off himself. He tells God it was the woman who did it. She’s the guilty party because she gave him the fruit, but he blames God, too, after all God had given Eve to Adam. Adam was trying hard to convince God he wasn’t fully to blame as he confesses, finally, to the deed.
In verse 13, God addresses the woman asking her what she had done, but, following the example of her husband, she places the blame squarely on anything other than herself. She blames the serpent due to his deception before she admits to eating the fruit.
In the next few verses (14-21) we see what is called by most scholars as the Adamic Covenant*, or the covenant with man, which contains the conditions of the Fall of humanity.
Serpent is cursed (v.14). The serpent allowed itself to be the tool by which Satan caused man to fall. The serpent would lose its ability to walk since it was cursed to move around only by its belly on the ground. Some biblical scholars assume the pre-Fall serpent most likely had legs and could possibly walk upright. (I believe they are correct.) Verse 15 points out the fear between mankind and serpents, but it also references Satan (see condition 2).
Satan would be ultimately judged (i.e. bruised head) although he would be given opportunity for limited success on earth (in terms of deceiving many). “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Enmity also means hostility. There would be hostility between those who followed Satan (your seed) and those who followed Christ (her Seed).
Verse 15 is also a prophecy of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. He is the Seed of woman. God applied His grace as only He can do when Adam (and Eve) sinned by disobeying. Jesus Christ would bring reconciliation to God upon faith in Christ. As in the first Adam all men die, but by the second Adam redemption is provided (See also Romans 5, 1 Corinthians 15:45-49).
Conditions 4 and 5:
Verse 16 points out two things about offspring through the woman. First, childbirth would be painful (#4), and conception would be multiplied (#5). Because of sin bearing children would be painful to not just Eve, but to all women who follow her. Also, since death entered the world through sin, more humans would be necessary to fill the earth.
Women everywhere would be under their husband’s authority. It doesn’t mean women are lesser vessels but that her position would be one of subjection to her husband. And… there would be conflict. Her desire would be to rule over her husband (v.16), but she would have to be submissive to his authority and protection over her. Due to sin’s entrance into the world, and since Eve was primary in bringing sin into the world, the husband and wife relationship would change to one of conflict over who was to in control. God did not mean that men have a right to dominate over women, but conflict would exist between the sexes because of original sin.
In the New Testament God gives us His ideal relationship between a man and his wife. Let’s remember that Eve was made from man. She was made from material from Adam’s side (rib and possibly more). It can be said that a woman was to walk side by side with her husband in a harmonious relationship. That’s what God intended, but sin entered and changed everything. (Read Ephesians 5 to see how God intends for a marriage between a man and a woman to be.) A good marriage takes hard work. It takes much effort to love one another unconditionally and to be mutually submissive. Just being real: I battle internally for control of my marriage. I fail miserably at this at times. I’m just thankful for a husband who loves me and seeks to protect me, even though sometimes I fight it. He constantly reminds me that he alone will answer to God for how he heads our home. He makes me laugh too, because he tells me he might be the head, but I’m the neck. LOL (Get it? Wherever the neck turns, the head turns with it.) When we allow God to work in our marriage, and within our God-given roles marriage is a beautiful thing and a beautiful picture of Christ’s relationship with the Body of Christ, His Church. Shouldn’t that take some of the pressure off? It should, and Ladies, we should rest in that. Let your husband be the head of your home. Love him. Mutually serve one another and love each other. Let your husband do what God intended for him to be in your marriage.
Conditions 7 and 8:
In verses 17-19 God tells Adam, since he allowed his wife to have authority over him, and chose to listen to his wife, it wasn’t going to be an easy future for humankind in terms of providing sustenance. The ground was cursed because of sin (#7). To satisfy their need for food, it was going to take hard work. No longer would he be living the easy life of tending and eating from God’s garden, but from now on he would have to contend with weeds, thorns, and sweat to be able to eat (#8). Man would have to cultivate his food and not leisurely take it from the trees of the garden.
If you’ve ever tried to sow your own garden for food, you’ve probably realized how hard it is. It’s like the ground grows rocks. Right? Where we live, the soil is full of rocks. When I gardened at our old house each year it seemed like more rocks would rise to the surface as I tilled the dirt to prepare it for new plantings. No matter how many rocks I pulled (or tossed) out of the ground there were always more. Plus, no matter how hard I worked to eradicate the weeds, more would pop up. It was a constant job and lots of sweat, but how delicious were those “fruits” of my labor.
In verse 19, God relays to Adam the final condition of sin’s entrance into the world: death. Adam and Eve had originally been made to live forever, but now because of sin they would die, and be returned to the ground. Although death wasn’t eminently fulfilled after the Fall, Adam and Eve would still face the penalty of their sin just as God had promised in Genesis 2:17. Yes, they would surely die, but God’s longsuffering and His full-on grace would allow them to live life. God was still going to allow them to carry out the “Be fruitful and multiply” mandate of Gen. 1:28.
In verse 20, Adam finally names his wife, Eve, which means mother of all living. Through her humanity would continue, and through her Seed, redemption would be provided to redeem mankind back to God.
God performs the first sacrifice to provide proper clothing for Adam and Eve (v. 21). The fig leaves (v.7) were not enough to cover them properly. The animals (possibly two) He sacrificed were innocent, and this foreshadows the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who was also innocent, but died for man’s sin guilt. The shedding of blood came about because of sin. This is the perfect picture of God’s Grace to mankind. God sacrificed on Adam and Eve’s behalf when He could have just killed them and started over, but He already had a plan in place.
The plan of Redemption (Doctrine of Salvation) was already in action before the foundation of the world was established. 1 Peter 1:20 says: He (meaning Christ) was foreordained before the foundation of the world…” God is sovereign and all-knowing; He knew what would happen and what was required to make things right with Himself. (Take a few moments and read 1 Peter 1; it will encourage you.) Mankind CAN NOT make things right with God, only a perfect, unblemished Lamb can cancel the sin debt we owe. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God is the only spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God (1 Peter 2: 5). It’s only through Jesus Christ can one be made right with God.
Read what Romans 3:21-26 has to say:
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.2
If not for grace we would all wander lost from the heart of God.
Because now Adam and Eve had knowledge of both good and evil, we read in verse 22 of God’s continued watch care over them. Here we see the pronoun “Us” again, which is a refence to the Trinity (Doctrine of the Trinity). There had to be a way to guard Adam and Eve from eating from the Tree of Life which would have caused them to live endlessly in their sinful state. To live that way would have been a despairing existence. Their innocence lost, they could no longer live in the Garden of Eden.
God sent them to live out their lives away from the garden (v.23-24). From that time forth Adam would have to work to provide for them (v.23). Cherubim (plural) holding a flaming sword were to stand guard to the way to the tree of life (v.24) to ensure man did not and would not have access to the tree of life.
Although God forced them out of the garden, He still was about the business of caring for them and continues to care for us today.
Thought I’d leave you with the words to the song, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” It’s a great reminder to keep our focus on Christ and be mindful every day of His all-consuming Grace, in spite of the daily battle we have against sin and we will have as long as we are on this earth. (Scroll below for suggested memory verse, homework, questions and extra information you may want to explore.)
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.3
Homework assignment for this week:
Scripture Reading: Genesis 4
Suggested Scripture memorization:
“Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.” Genesis 4:4-5, NKJV
1.Eve means mother of all living (Gen. 3:20). In Chapter 4 is the first recorded birth on earth. What was the curse mentioned in Chapter 3 in regard to birth?
2.What was the name of Adam and Eve’s first child? The second child?
3.According to verse 2, what were Cain and Abel’s occupation?
4.Verses 3 and 4 references the offerings of the sons of Adam. From whom did they learn the act of worship through sacrificial offerings?
5.What was Cain’s offering? Abel’s?
6.There is a noticeable difference between the offerings. What is God’s reaction to the offerings?
7.Does Scripture record a response from Abel? What could be a reason for Abel’s silence or the Scriptures lack of giving us Abel’s response to God’s praise?
8.What was Cain’s response? What does Scripture tell us about his countenance? What does that mean?
9.What did the LORD tell Cain in verses 6 and 7?
10.What does the LORD mean when He tells Cain, “…And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”?
11.Retrospective Question: Does sin rule over you, or do you rule over sin? How can sin ruling over you destroy your life?
12.Cain’s sin changed his life. What was his punishment? How did he respond to his punishment?
13.Cain felt doomed and feared for his life, how did God supply grace to Cain even in his punishment?
14.Retrospective Question: Have there been times God has applied His grace even in punishment toward you for sin? How did it make you feel? Did that cause you to cling to God or turn away from Him?
15.Where did Cain go? Scripture notates he went out from something/someone. List that something/someone. What did that represent for Cain’s future?
16.Verse 17 tells us Cain knew his wife. Who was she if there was only one family line on the earth at this time?
17.Cain built a city and named it after his son, Enoch. List Enoch’s sons and grandsons.
18. Which grandson are we given more information about? How many wives did he have? What were their names?
19.List Lamech’s sons and their occupation.
20. What news did Lamech reveal to his wives? Did he think highly of himself? Was he godly or ungodly?
21. Who was Seth? What did Eve say about him?
22. What is Seth’s son’s name?
23. What is the last sentence in Chapter 4? What does it tell you about the culture of that time?
24. Fill in the Blanks:
Cain’s lineage was ____________________________________, but Seth’s lineage was ___________________. (If you need a clue, your headings in your Bible for vv. 16-24, and vv. 25-26, will probably give you the words for the blanks.)
For further exploration:
Could the serpent speak?:
Adam with Eve:
Knowledge of Good and Evil:
1John MacArthur sermon: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-238/the-fall-of-man-part-1
2Romans 3:21-26: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+3%3A21-26&version=NKJV
3Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing: http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/c/o/comethou.htm
*You can find a wealth of information in the notes in your Bible. I found great notes from my NKJV Bible (p.9). It’s The New Open Bible Study Edition published by Thomas Nelson Publishers in Nashville, TN. (Copyright 1990). If you don’t have a study edition, I recommend one. I hope to get an additional one sometime soon.