Scriptures

Genesis 3

Introduction

‘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 woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 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.’ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ Genesis 3:1-5

When it comes to the topic of Satan people have all kinds of weird and wonderful ideas, as to where he came from and how he operates today. Some believe that he still works in the same way he worked during the time of Jesus and the early church, but the Bible orientated Christian knows that evil is in the world and they know where all this evil is coming from.

The name Satan

In the original language the word Satan simply means an adversary, but we need to remember that this word isn’t always used to mean the person of Satan. In the Old Testament, for example we read that King David said that the sons of Zeruiah were behaving as an ‘adversary to him when they advised him to kill Shimei.’ 2 Samuel 19:22.

Note that word, ‘adversary’ is the word Satan in the original language. A few years later Solomon proclaimed that God had given him rest on every side and that there was ‘neither adversary nor misfortune’. 1 Kings 5:4.

Again, the Hebrew word for ‘adversary’ in this verse is the word Satan. This word also means to ‘accuse’ or ‘resist.’ The psalmist complained that those who rendered him evil for good were acting as ‘adversaries to him.’ Psalm 38:20. Again the word Satan is used in the original language.

In the Old Testament in the King James Version, Isaiah writes, ‘How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!’ Isaiah 14:12

This is the only passage that uses the name Lucifer to refer to Satan. This name doesn’t come from Hebrew but Latin. Perhaps this translation into English was influenced by the Latin Vulgate, which uses this name. In Latin, Lucifer means ‘light bringer.’

The Hebrew is ‘heylel’ and means ‘light bearer,’ ‘shining one,’ or ‘morning star.’ Many modern translations translate this as star of the morning or morning star. In this passage, ‘heylel’ refers to the king of Babylon and Satan figuratively.

Some believe that Lucifer was a heavenly or angelic name that was taken from Satan when he rebelled. The Bible doesn’t explicitly state this, though Satan is nowhere else referred to as Lucifer but instead is called other names like the devil, Satan, etc.

In the Old Testament Satan as an individual is always pictured as an adversary against God’s people either by attempting to seduce them to do evil or by accusing them before God for their sins. But in each case Satan’s power is limited and he acts only within God’s permissive will. Please take a moment to read Job 1 and 2 where we first find his name being mentioned and notice that Satan can’t do anything without God’s permission.

Is Satan Real?

There are some people who simply believe that Satan is just some kind of figure of evil and that he’s not a real and living entity that exists as a literal singular individual. But anyone who knows their Bible know this is utterly fantasy, or wishful thinking, Christians are very aware or should be very aware of the account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness by the person of Satan, Luke 4:1-4.

Notice in this text see a singular individual referred to as the ‘Devil’ speaking to Jesus. In Jesus’ rebuke of Satan’s request for worship on that occasion, Jesus specifically referred to the Devil as Satan, we see this Matthew’s account of the same event, Matthew 4:10.

You see, Jesus wasn’t visited and tempted by a figure of evil, He was visited and tempted by a singular individual who he referred to as ‘Satan’. And make no mistake about it, the Satan that opposed and tempted Jesus is real, he exists, and he’s a force to be recognised, understood and dealt with. Now, there are many uses of the word ‘Satan’ in Scripture, but the one I would to focus on is the Satan which is identified as the Devil or the ‘evil one’.

How did Satan come to exist?

We must remember that God is the only eternal self-existent being represented in the Bible, Isaiah 41:4 / Isaiah 45:6-7.

As we enter the New Testament we find some text which will help us see that Satan is in fact a created being, Colossians 1:16-17. When we read this text, we can’t exclude the person of Satan from being included in the description of those things which were created by Jesus Christ, so the only obvious conclusion is that Satan is a created being.

Was Satan Created Good Or Evil?

‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.’ Genesis 1:31. It’s clear that since God created Satan and everything that God created was ‘very good’, then we can specifically say that this included Satan, who was also created ‘very good’. He was obviously given the choice whether to do good or to do evil, just like mankind was, and he chose to do evil. We need to remember that God didn’t force Satan to deceive Eve in the garden, that was Satan’s decision and he acted upon it.

And so, from this we learn that all beings created by God were given the freedom to make the choice whether or not to obey God. As the creator of all things, God has the right to expect the obedience of those who He created but Satan chose to reject obedience to his creator and chose evil and because of that, he fell and was cast down.

Indications Of Satan’s Fall

There are Scriptures which lead us to believe that Satan was in fact an angel who originally stayed in heaven, but he and other angels decided to rebel against God and as a result they were thrown out of heaven, 2 Peter 2:4 / Jude 6.

Remember what we looked at earlier, Satan has different names, and in Matthew 12:24, he is referred to as ‘the prince of demons’, and refers to ‘the devil and his angels’, in Matthew 25:41. We can’t read these texts without coming to the conclusion that he is leader of this rebellious group of angels who were thrown out of heaven and will eventually spend eternity in hell, Jude 6.

We don’t know exactly when, but at some point, in time, these heavenly messengers left their own habitation, which we generally believe to be heaven, and the place they forsook heaven for is generally understood to be right here on Earth.

They left their heavenly home without any authority from God and since we have plenty of Biblical evidence that puts them here on earth, we can come to the conclusion that the earth is where they went that got them into so much trouble.

When speaking to Jews, Jesus spoke of the Devil and notice what He said in John 8 ‘You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!’ John 8:44-45.

From these verses we learn the Devil was the evil force which came to the garden in Eden in the beginning and became the father of lies here in the physical realm. In Revelation 12, we see all three designations for Satan used in the same context, Revelation 12:9.

Everyone knows that the person who deceived Eve in the garden was the Devil, named Satan in the form of a serpent. Notice also that the writer of Revelation made a reference to Satan’s angels, you see, Satan wasn’t just deceiver of mankind either.

He also deceived some of the heavenly hosts and they unwisely chose to follow him in opposition to the will of God which brings us to Satan’s rebellion in heaven which was the reason he and his angels or followers, were cast out, Revelation 12:7-9.

Back in Genesis 3 notice the conversation between the serpent and Eve, when the serpent says, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’

Look closely at Eve’s response. She says, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 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.’

What did God actually say?

‘And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’ Genesis 2:16-17

Do you see the difference?

In Genesis 2 God says, ‘don’t eat’, but in Genesis 3 we find Eve saying, ‘don’t eat AND don’t touch’. We don’t know why she has come to that conclusion, maybe it was just extra security to stay clear. Also notice that Eve says, ‘We MAY eat fruit from the trees in the garden’, which was true but then she fails to say that God granted them permission to eat freely, the only restriction was on that one tree.

In Genesis 3 we find the first recorded lie of human history, and thus Satan identifies his deceiving nature, John 8:44. But notice his life, he says, ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’

Now you might be wondering what’s so interesting about this statement, but this idea of ‘bring like God, is something which Satan tried to himself before being cast down from heaven, Isaiah 14:12-15.

Although these verses are describing the King of Babylon, the text is describing him as having the same mind-set as Satan and notice the phrase, ‘I will make myself like the Most High’, Satan is trying to get Eve to do what he failed to do, become like God.

‘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. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 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.’ Genesis 3:6-7

What is sin?

Sin has 3 characteristics that make its essence and the first one is unbelief. Satan’s chief strategy is deception, why? We know he’s the father of lies but why does he use that strategy? Because he cannot over power God, he tried, he gathered together some angels, he tried to topple God off the throne and he lost, he cannot over power God. So he can’t take us on that way, he must use deception and trickery.

He moved in with a mixture of questions and contradictions in order to persuade Eve that disobedience would bring blessings. I want you to notice that God allowed the forbidden fruit, its full appeal. She looked at it, it looked good, it was nice to look at, it was nice to smell, it was nice to touch, everything about it was appealing.

John reminds us of the three things that work against us. ‘The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life’. 1 John 2:16. Notice what the Bible says in Genesis 3:6. Lust of the flesh, she saw it was good for food. Lust of the eyes, she saw it was pleasing to the eyes. Pride of life, she said it was desirable for gaining wisdom.

There was appeal there. You see if there is no appeal, there’s no temptation, sin had an appeal. Hebrews talks about ‘the fleeting pleasures of sin’. Hebrews 11:24-26.

God allowed sin to have an appeal, if there wasn’t an appeal, there would be no temptation and if there wasn’t temptation there would be no freedom of choice. Now I don’t think this was the first time Eve had seen the tree of knowledge of Good and evil. I think it was the first time she seen it through Satan’s eyes. What Satan wants to do is, to take something that God says is wrong and get you to see it through his eyes, and she did, and she was seduced, 2 Corinthians 11:3.

Paul understood, Satan still operates the same way, he wants to deceive you, seduce you with lies, 1 Timothy 2:13-14.

The Bible doesn’t say Adam’s sin was deception, it was Eve who was deceived. Now that doesn’t excuse Eve because I want you to remember the root of deception is in unbelief. Satan dangled before Eve a statement that couldn’t be proven until after the fact and God’s warning wasn’t motivation enough to stay away.

It still works that way, Satan says try it; you’ll like it, God says NO, stay away, Satan says Oh, it will bring you blessings, it’s good for you. And the only way you can know if Satan’s telling the truth is to disobey God.

And so, the first thing we learn about sin, is that it’s taking somebody’s word over God’s, its unbelief. Let me say again, the issue that is in the Bible is not; do you believe in God? The issue is, do you believe God?

Eve didn’t sin because she stopped believing in God, she sinned because she didn’t believe God when it came to the fruit. She took some else’s word. Now I think it’s significant that the Scriptures never says Adam was deceived.

The roots of his fall are explained in the second thing we learn about sin. And that is in its essence its rebellion. Adam was not duked by devilishly clever arguments; in fact, it’s almost insulting. Satan had to work on Eve, he had to come back two or three times with clever lies. The Bible said, ‘she took some and gave it to her husband and he ate.’

Adam’s fall was not due to ignorance, it was arrogance. It’s not that the rebel doesn’t know the truth; it’s that he doesn’t care. Adam was not fooled; he was deliberately defying God’s right to set limits. There was something about that tree that bugged him. Granted he had a paradise, he had a beautiful climate, he had a wonderful wife, he had all of the trees to enjoy and cultivate.

But there was this one tree which God said he couldn’t have, and it bugged him. He thought to himself, so long as that one tree stands in the garden as a symbol of my creature-hood, reminding me that I am not tenement, I hate it.

Adam was making a statement we make, when we knowingly sin, and if we were truthful, most of our sinning is knowingly. Most of our sinning is not because we do not know what God said on this but because we don’t care.

Adam was saying ‘no one tells me what do to, I’m the master of my fate; I’m the captain of myself’. That’s why I believe the Bible assigns the guilt for the fall of the human empire on Adam.

Notice 1 Corinthians 15:21 says ‘Death came through Adam’, ‘the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man.’ But as in Adam all die so in Christ all will be made alive, it came through Adam’.

I think it’s significant that Eve sinned first, I’m not making light of Eve’s sin, she didn’t take God’s word, and she sinned. It’s significant that she sinned first because she couldn’t say later, ‘well, I was just following my husband’s lead.’

No, she sinned, she was deceived, and she didn’t believe God. But the fall of the human race was never blamed on Eve and Jesus is never called the second Eve, he’s called the second Adam.

You see the issue here is not what to have for lunch; the issue is how are we going to relate to God? God offered Adam and Eve everything except hostility, Satan came along and said, ‘I know how you can be like God,’ and they bit.

And that leads to the final and most important thing we learn about sin, sin at its core, the essence of sin is pride and the Bible says, ‘What pride goes before fall.’ It goes before destruction; pride went before the fall of the human empire.

For Eve it was trust in her observation over God’s word, she decided ‘I think based on what I see about this fruit, how it looks to me, based on my observation, it seems to me that God was wrong.’

For Adam, it was his desire for independence from God’s rules. For both, it was a decision to place confidence in their own will instead of God’s. And for people this is going to be the temptation that is going to be in front of every creature who has their own will. Do you want to be Lord, instead of recognising one?

That’s what sin is and that’s why God hates it and that’s why the consequences are so devastating because at its very core it comes back to this. Will you have a Lord or will you be your own?

Behind every temptation there is a struggle not so much between good and evil but between God and self and the essence of temptation is my will or his will. Let’s fast forward a few 1000 years to another garden, another absolutely sinless man and the exact same choice.

Jesus said, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done.’ Luke 22:44. I want to say to you; every day we have a choice, over here its fruit and over here is the cup and we have to decide which we’re going to choose.

My will or His will?

Will it be your life over God or will it be God over your life? Most people choose the national religion of hell and they bow down to the altar of self. And so, the human empire remains fallen and paradise remains lost, and it’s going to remain lost. We’re not going to have Eden again until sin is gone. The absence of sin will only exist when God’s will is the only will, that’s what’s going to make Heaven, Heaven.

Remember Jesus said, ‘Pray like this, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.’ Matthew 6:10.

On earth we have about 6 billion wills and it is chaos and it is evil and its death. In heaven there is one will. Now we cannot undo the consequences of Adam’s choice on our bodies, this body of mine is mortal. God and his grace might give it extended years but it’s going back to dust unless Jesus comes. I cannot undo the consequence of Adam’s choice on my body and neither can you. When temptation comes we have a choice, James 1:13-15.

Notice that Adam and Eve, ‘sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves’. This was not how God intended them to live. Genesis 2:25. ‘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. But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so, I hid.’ Genesis 3:8-10.

Because of guilt, Adam and Eve hid themselves from a visual presentation of God. God called to Adam, not because He didn’t know where Adam was, but to give him an opportunity to confess their sin. Adam’s fear when God approached manifested that separation had now come between God and man as a result of sin. Isaiah 59:1-2. This was the very first act of confessing sin.

‘And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’ The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’ Then the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’ Genesis 3:11-13

The blame game

Its amazing how popular the blame game is, even today, even as a child I remember blaming my brother for things which I did, and he blamed me for things he did. Adam knew full well, what God commandment concerning the tree, Genesis 2:15-17, and so he was without excuse.

However, he wouldn’t take the responsibility for his own sin, he shifted the responsibility to his wife and in stating that it was God who created the woman, he was seeking to shift responsibility back to God. Then Eve also went on to blame the serpent, making it seem that the serpent played her for a fool. The fact is that the soul that sins will spiritually die, Ezekiel 18:20.

‘So, the LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, ‘Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 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.’ Genesis 3:14-15

In Genesis 3 we see the first temptation, the first human sin, the first pronouncement of judgment and the first promise of redemption, which is the Gospel, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

The extent of the sin is here revealed by the intensity of the punishments that were issued by God. The fact that the serpent’s curse was more than the rest of the animals assumes that all animals were in some way cursed as a result of the sin. But the curse of the serpent was humiliating, for he was given the lowest status of life among all creatures, Psalm 72:9 / Isaiah 49:23 / Micah 7:17.

This is the first reference to Christ and Paul’s reference to the crushing of Satan surely refers to this first prophecy of the future work of Jesus to rectify what was here lost in the garden in Eden, Romans 16:20.

From the time of this first sin, the curse was that there would be hostility between the offspring of Satan, Matthew 13:38-39 / John 8:44, and the eventual offspring of woman, the Redeemer. Nevertheless, the Seed of woman, Jesus, would eventually crush the head of Satan by His death on the cross, and so, freeing man from the control that Satan has over man through sin.

In crushing the head of Satan on the cross, Jesus would bruise His heal by His own death. However, His heal would only be bruised because He would be raised from the dead. We need to keep in mind that beginning with the seed of woman in this context, to the time of the cross of Jesus, Satan launched an attack to destroy the seed of woman that would eventually lead to the Seed who would give His life for the sins of all men, Galatians 3:16.

Satan would make every effort to destroy that which would eventually lead to his own destruction, Matthew 25:41. The seed-line war of Satan against the seed of women would become so intense that at one time in human history, almost all humanity was wiped from the face of the earth in the days of Noah. Nevertheless, the seed-line from Eve would prevail. From the seed of woman would eventually come the Seed of woman into the world for the salvation of man. Hebrews 2:14-15.

‘To the woman he said, ‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labour you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’ Genesis 3:16

Eve, as the mother of womanhood, brought upon herself and her posterity quite the opposite of what she sought in Genesis 3:6. Childbearing was originally supposed to be a pleasant experience for women but now God says giving birth to a child will be a painful experience. John 16:21. For her presumptuous act without following the headship of her husband, her desire would always be to the man who would rule over her. 1 Corinthians 11:3.

‘To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 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.’ Genesis 3:17-18

Man had been given the pleasant responsibility to work the ground, Genesis 2:5, but now after the curse, the work would no longer be a joy. By cursing the earth, the fruit of the ground would come forth only as a result of the intense labour of man. Thorns and thistles would be his enemy in receiving the fruit of his labours.

Though not immediate at the time of the sin, physical death would be the second greatest problem of mankind after his spiritual separation from God by sin. For his sin, Adam immediately suffered the guilt of his sin, for he was spiritually separated from God, Isaiah 59:1-2 / Romans 5:12.

For his sin, he would also suffer the consequence of physical death, since he would be driven from the tree of life, 1 Corinthians 15:20-22. Because he couldn’t eat of the tree of life, the natural processes of his body growing old would continue until he physically died.

Death is the opposite of life, separation of the soul from the body is the physical part and the body returns to dust. Separation from God is death for mankind, Romans 5:12. Spiritual life is conscious existence in communion with God, but spiritual death is conscious existence in separation with God.

‘Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.’ Genesis 3:20-21

Eve is named Havah, the mother of all humans and notice that God clothed them. This is the first recorded sacrifice in the Bible by God, which tells us that blood needed to be shed because of the sin. Jesus said we can be clothed with righteousness, Philippians 3:9.

The coats of skins meant that some animal had to die in order to rectify the nakedness of man. And from this time on we would assume that animals were commissioned to die for sacrifices for the sins of men until the final death for all sin on the cross of Calvary, Romans 3:25 / Hebrews 10:1-4.

There was hope of a posterity through Eve, ‘life’, since she, through childbearing, would be the one through whom humanity would be preserved.

‘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.’ So, the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 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.’ Genesis 3:22-24

It wasn’t that man became in nature and character as God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It was only that man learned the guilt and consequence of rebellion against divine law that only God can establish. Death has entered the world and they have been banished from the garden.

The word, cherubim is plural, they were winged creatures with feet and hands and they represent the presence of God. They were embroidered onto the Ark of the Covenant curtains on the Holy of Holies, Exodus 26:1, two cherubim overlaid with gold with outstretched wings were placed facing one another on the cover of the Ark in the Tabernacle, Exodus 25:18-20 and their task here was to defend the presence of God.

Sin always drives us away from the presence of God, we need to repent, or we will be continually separated from God.

Go To Genesis 4

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD."

Isaiah 55:8

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