(Gen 3:1 NASB) Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
Gen 3:1: The philosophical question has always been asked, “How could a holy and loving Elohim who created such a perfect world allow evil and corruption to appear at all?” The only real answer to this question is that it was all in His plan.
What do we know about the serpent? We are quick to say that the serpent was Satan himself, but the book of Genesis does not tell us that. We are told of his identity in Revelation 12:9.
The theory that Satan is a fallen angel essentially states that sometime between the seventh day of creation and Gen. 3:1, Satan screwed up. Satan was filled with pride due to his beauty and brightness and was cast down to earth.
Personally, I do not espouse that theory of the origin and fall of Satan. I believe that Elohim created him to be who he is. Scripture says that Elohim created evil (Isaiah 45:7, Prov. 16:4).
Another popular question is “When did the first “sin” actually occur?” I think to tempt Eve and to question the Word of Elohim must certainly be considered sin. Then for Eve to add to the Word of Elohim by saying they were not even to touch the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil when that was not the command, would certainly fall into the category of sin. So then, why wasn’t death the result before they ate of the fruit? I have a theory on that and we will discuss it as we proceed through this chapter and the entire Book of Genesis.
Is it possible that some animals could talk before that sin entered the world? Such an assumption makes the text readable and explains why Eve was not surprised when the serpent spoke. It is also possible that at this time Eve was still innocent and did not know that the other animals were not capable of speech and she, therefore, was not alarmed when the serpent spoke. Either way, we cannot be dogmatic about such assumptions.
In this first verse of Chapter 3, we see that Satan used the same lies that he is using to this day. He asked Eve, “Are you sure that’s what Elohim said?” or “Did Elohim really say that?” He was trying to get Eve to doubt Elohim’s Word.
We can also see the implication by the serpent that Elohim is not as good and loving as they may have thought by mentioning that Elohim is withholding something from them by forbidding them from that tree.
These two lies of doubting Elohim’s Word and doubting Elohim’s love are rampant in today’s’ world. The majority of people doubt the truth of Elohim’s Word and don’t believe that a “loving god” would allow the pain, sorrow, and death they see all around them.
(Gen 3:2 NASB) And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;
Gen 3:2: Eve is, in a sense, trying to defend Elohim and the accusation against His loving nature by saying that they can eat from the trees of the garden.
(Gen 3:3 NASB) but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'”
Gen 3:3: Eve’s reaction to the serpent’s question was interesting in that she both added to and subtracted from Elohim’s Word in her response. Elohim told them that they may eat “freely” of any tree of the garden and He did not say anything about touching the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It appears as if Eve is questioning Elohim’s Word and Elohim’s love for them.
(Gen 3:4 NASB) And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die!
(Gen 3:5 NASB) “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Gen 3:5: Having first led Eve to question Elohim’s authority and goodness and to twist Elohim’s Word, Satan was now ready for the “kill.” Satan told Eve that Elohim’s warning was only because Elohim feared that they would learn too much. Satan was not content with merely altering Elohim’s Word, but was blatantly calling Him a liar.
“You will be like Elohim….” This was an irresistible temptation to Eve. But, whenever we start questioning His Word we are setting ourselves up to be gods ourselves.
Regardless of how “intellectuals” want to question this event in Scripture, the writers of the Brith Hadasha have placed their complete stamp of approval on it (2 Cor. 11:3, 1 Tim. 2:14, John 8:44).
(Gen 3:6 NASB) When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
Gen 3:6: Eve has now turned her attention to the forbidden fruit. She is not concentrating on Elohim’s instructions, but has been distracted with Satan’s temptations.
Why did Adam eat of the fruit? Was it because he felt sorry for his wife and didn’t want her to suffer the penalty of sin all by herself? I don’t think so because this makes him almost noble in his sin and I don’t think that was the case. He sinned just as Eve did and was just as guilty. As a matter of fact, sin brought into the world is credited to Adam, not Eve (Romans 5:12-14, 17-19). Why is that? Elohim tells us that, while we are all responsible for our own actions, husbands are ultimately responsible for themselves, their wives, and their families (not shown Eph. 5:22-6:4).
Eve struggled with temptation and tried to battle it with Elohim’s Word. However, she ended up both adding to His Word and subtracting from it. Yeshua Messiah battled temptation from Satan in the wilderness with the pure Word of Elohim. It is also interesting that Yeshua only used quotes from Deuteronomy. Yeshua is showing us that His Word is our only defense against sin and Satan. We should read it daily and know it explicitly.
Going back to the passage, it says that the tree was desirable for making one wise. It is called the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.” Eve and Adam ate of it and they were both aware that they were naked. Being “naked” in Scripture is often used as being caught in a sinful state (Isaiah 47:1-3, Lam. 1:8).
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is apparently Torah. When Adam and Eve ate of it, they saw their sinfulness for what it is. Paul seems to be describing this for us in his letter to the Romans. It certainly helps to explain Romans 5:12-14. Paul also tells us that when Torah came, sin became alive and he died (Romans 7:1-11). Paul goes on to tell us that Torah is holy and good and asked the question “How can something holy and good cause death in me?” Because of sin (Romans 7:12-14). The problem is not with Torah. The problem is with our sin. That was the problem with Adam also.
It is likely that Adam and Eve were not without sin so much as that sin was dead. But Torah gave sin life and then Adam and Eve died. This also explains what Elohim meant when He said they would die the very day they ate of the fruit (Gen. 2:16-17). Sin became alive and they died.
(Gen 3:7 NASB) Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
Gen 3:7: Because of their disobedience, they were now aware of their nakedness. If we still see the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil as Torah, then the term “the eyes of both of them were opened” is appropriate. Torah opens the eyes of man to good and evil. Scripture often equates “knowledge” with Torah (Hosea 4:6). Paul tells us that Torah is the embodiment of knowledge and truth (Romans 2:20). He also says that from Torah we receive knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20). This is exactly what Adam and Eve received knowledge of their sin.
They tried to make coverings for themselves, but nothing that man fashions can hide our sins from Elohim and His judgment.
(Gen 3:8 NASB) 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.
Gen 3:8: Adam and Eve were now afraid of Elohim. This was new to them. They feared the One whom they once walked through the Garden with. This is another indication that they now knew Torah because fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7, 9:10).
(Gen 3:9 NASB) Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
(Gen 3:10 NASB) And he said, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
(Gen 3:11 NASB) And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
Gen 3:11: Adam and Eve were created to enjoy fellowship with Elohim. Instead, they now had to hide themselves from Elohim. The very fact that they were ashamed of what they had done showed that redemption was possible.
The shame of nudity is no artificial inhibition brought about by white male dominated civilizations as many want us to believe today. The shame from nudity is an awareness of our sin. It is only discarded when our conscience is hardened and it loses all sensitivity to sin.
It is interesting that the armies in heaven are seen as CLOTHED in fine linen, white and clean (Rev. 19:14).
Was Elohim asking Adam what happened for informational purposes? No. Elohim was giving him a chance to confess his sin and ask for forgiveness.
(Gen 3:12 NASB) And the man said, “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”
Gen 3:12: Adam not only didn’t beg forgiveness, but he implied it was all Elohim’s fault for giving him the woman. Instead of praising Elohim for His goodness, he blamed Elohim for his troubles. Adam was acting foolish and immature.
(Gen 3:13 NASB) 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.”
Gen 3:13: Eve was responding in the exact same manner as Adam. She was trying to blame the serpent. There was no sign of repentance in either Adam or Eve. They were obviously sorry that they got caught and dreaded the consequences, but they weren’t repenting, only hiding.
(Gen 3:14 NASB) 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;
Gen 3:14: Why was Elohim punishing this varmint that Satan had used? He did this as a perpetual reminder to man as being the instrument of his fall and of the final destruction of Satan himself. What was the posture of the snake before this time? We don’t know for sure, but from this incident described in Genesis 3 it would appear that the serpent had legs, somewhat of an upright posture, and was possibly looking Eve in the eyes as he was talking to her. This curse seems to have changed all these wonderful features of the serpent and made him “cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field.”
(Gen 3:15 NASB) 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.”
Gen 3:15: While the curse was outwardly directed toward the serpent, its main sting is against the evil spirit controlling its body and speech (not shown Rev. 12:9). Satan had possibly felt that since he had persuaded man, who had dominion over the earth, to obey his word instead of Elohim’s Word that he could now raise an army through mans descendants and attempt an overthrow of Elohim’s throne. The woman had already shown her willingness to follow Satan and shown her control over the man in getting him to eat the fruit, even though he wasn’t deceived (1 Tim. 2:14).
If these were Satan’s intentions, then he was deceived more than anyone else. Elohim said he “put enmity between you and the woman” meaning that she would not become his willing ally. Neither could she rule over her husband (Gen. 3:16). Also childbirth would not come easy and rapid (Gen. 3:16).
Not only would victory be difficult, but Satan will be completely defeated and destroyed. Elohim says in this verse that there will come one who does not come from the seed of man and whom you will not have dominion over. Though you will succeed in injuring Him, He will completely crush you and all your evil ambitions. The seed of the woman, Yeshua Messiah, will crush Satan.
(Gen 3:16 NASB) To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you shall bring forth children; Yet your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”
Gen 3:16: Human reproduction, which was originally given as Elohim’s joyful purpose for women, would be marked by unique suffering which serves as a perpetual reminder of our sin. Children will be a source of sorrow for mothers. While they are also a source of the greatest joys, they are a source of the greatest sorrows (John 16:21). Elohim also said she will have lots of them. “I will greatly multiply … your conception.”
“Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Now that sin is introduced into the world, Elohim gave woman a subjective disposition toward her husband. While we often see this principle denied, it outlines the only successful method of human proliferation, the family. The family with the father at the head as provider and protector and the mother as the care-giver and nurturer. The role of women as defined in Scripture is eminently conducive to her highest happiness and fulfillment.
But the entire phrase is where the curse for the woman lies. Not just that her husband would rule over her, but that her desire would be for her husband’s position. Though she has the desire to rule over her husband, he is to rule over her. How often do we see the wife controlling her husband? It should not be that way in a family. The fact is, women are more easily deceived than men. That is easily demonstrated when asking a married woman, “look who you married…”
We see the man’s deception of woman today when it is now socially acceptable for a woman to live with a man. The man receives all the benefits of sex, house-cleaning, and security without having to commit to the woman in any way. Men can walk away from these relationships scot-free. And most modern women today celebrate this type of ridiculous relationship.
(Gen 3:17 NASB) 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.
Gen 3:17: Adam was to be the leader over Eve, but he listened to and obeyed his wife. The next time in Scripture that we see a man obeying his wife instead of Elohim, is Abraham obeying Sarah in that he take her handmaid for a wife and have the promised son from her (Gen. 16:2). This led to Ishmael and eventually, Islam.
Because of these men obeying their wives instead of Elohim, we see the fall of all mankind and what led to the eventual the fall of Israel.
(Gen 3:18 NASB) “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you shall eat the plants of the field;
(Gen 3:19 NASB) 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.”
Gen 3:19: Adam caught the brunt of the curse. This included all men and women who descend from Adam, the woman who was “of” him, and his dominion, which is the entire creation. Mans entire life would now consist of struggle against his environment which will eventually result in his death.
Did Elohim actually create thorns and thistles at this time? Probably not. It seems more likely that thorns and thistles, as well as claws and fangs in some animals, were the degenerative result of Elohim removing His sustaining presence from earth. These things were more probably due to genetic mutations which would now exist in a sinful world. Parasites and viruses may have developed in a similar manner.
Why was Elohim so “harsh” in His punishment so as to inflict death on all men? This was actually for man’s own good. It was better that suffering and death accompany sin rather than rebellion be permitted to thrive in a perpetual state. Without death, man would multiply in number and wickedness without limit. A holy and righteous Elohim could never be in communion and fellowship with sin. Earth will now “grow old like a garment” (Hebrews 1:10-12).
This dismal struggle with death and decay is so universal that about a hundred years ago, it was formalized into what is called the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This Law states that all things, left to themselves, become degraded and disordered. It could have been called the “Law of Thorns and Thistles.” It states that all things wear out. Energy, after being used, converts into a lower form of energy. To deny this, is to claim the discovery of perpetual motion (Encyc. Britt.) Things are no longer being “made” as they were in creation week, but are now being “unmade,” becoming disorganized and simple.
This curse has been lifted for us by Messiah who became the curse for us (Gal 3:13). The curse on us is fourfold:
1. Sorrow. “In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” (Gen 3:17(kjv)). Messiah was the man of sorrows because He bore our sorrows (Isaiah 53:3-5).
2. Pain and suffering. “Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee…” (Gen 3:18(kjv)). He wore our pain and suffering of thorns and thistles upon His head (Mark 15:17).
3. Sweat. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…” (Gen 3:19(kjv)). Messiah “sweat” like droplets of blood in order to bear our curse (Luke 22:44).
4. Physical death. “For dust thou art, unto dust shalt thou return.” Elohim brought His Son into the “dust of death.” (Psalm 22:15).
Yeshua Messiah bore our entire curse upon Himself. Not just part of it, but each portion of our curse was laid upon Him for our salvation.
(Gen 3:20 NASB) Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.
Gen 3:20: This verse clearly refutes those who claim that Adam and Eve were not two literal people but were symbolic of an entire race of human beings.
Eve was “the mother of all the living.” But her name was not really Eve. It was “Chavvah.” Eve is the name of an ancient fertility goddess.
(Gen 3:21 NASB) And the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
Gen 3:21: To provide these tunics of skin, Elohim probably killed lambs in front of them to show the significance of their sin.
(Gen 3:22 NASB) 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”—
(Gen 3:23 NASB) therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
Gen 3:23: We should thank Elohim that He did not let us live eternally in sin.
(Gen 3:24 NASB) 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.
Gen 3:24: A cherubim is a creation of Elohim that is of the highest order. We don’t know a lot about them but we are given some very intriguing descriptions (not shown Ezek. 1:4-28, 10:1-22, Rev. 4:6-8). It could be that Elohim kept meeting with Adam and His descendants at certain times if they expressed a desire to know Him.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas