THE SADDEST DAY IN HUMAN HISTORY
Genesis 3:1-8 We have here the entrance of a 4th character into the story of this young creation, the serpent who is described as the most crafty (subtle) of all creatures. It doesn’t naturally occur to us that at this time that the serpent was not in the form that we presently know it to be today. From all indications the serpent might have been a most beautiful, colorful, and intelligent beast that the man and his wife had grown fond of spending pleasurable time with. See how Satan is specialized in selecting that which is usually most enjoyable to man as an instrument of his attack against man. Somehow Satan had found a way to possess the serpent as a camouflage to launch his attack against the first family. Firstly, we see the cunning and mischievous disposition of the serpent that predisposed it to be inhabited by Satan. That should serve as a warning to those who are predisposed to mischief, craft, and cunning. Satan is still seeking vehicles with which to further his work. And what is worse in this our particular case is that the man and his wife must have built a trusting relationship with the serpent.
Now observe that Satan (through the serpent) does not direct his attack to the man whom he must have considered a stronger target than the woman. Additionally notice that Satan’s strategy mainly consisted in casting doubt upon God’s word. The implication of his statements to the woman was that God was being deceitful to both the man and his wife, keeping something good away from them. Satan caused the woman to doubt God’s love; he made her suspect the One who had bestowed her with the breath of life, with wonderful features and faculties in His own image and likeness, and placed her and her husband in a garden paradise. Satan made the woman to believe that she was less than the image of God. Satan stimulated her by the lust of the eyes (the fruit was pleasing to the eyes); he stimulated her by the lust of the flesh (the fruit was good for food); and he deceived her by means of the pride of this life (the fruit was desirable to make one wise – to attain equality with God).
What a tragedy that the woman fell headlong into this deception, and yet it was an even greater tragedy that her husband stood by passively and observed as this drama transpired. The passage reads, “She gave some (of the fruit) to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.” This Genesis 3 brings up many knotty questions within us;
1) Why did the man under-educate his wife about the fruit of that tree? So that her response to the serpent betrays gaps in her knowledge of God’s original commandment to them. Eve modified the original command, adding the part of not touching the fruit, and removing the emphasis of surely dying from the disobedience to this command. And so that we too might take heed concerning the matter of modifying God’s commandments today in order to rationalize sin.
2) Why did the man, as the responsible and more informed leader, take the silent and passive position of listening while it was his wife who engaged the serpent on such a sensitive conversation?
3) Why, after the woman had eaten the fruit and given to her husband, whom scriptures affirm was not deceived like the woman was (1Timothy 2:14), did he eat and plunge the entire humanity into the chaos of sin and disobedience? Was it that the man chose to identify with his wife more than trust God for pardon and rescue?
In fact the answer to these questions have engaged all Christians and students of the Bible throughout human history. But please permit another set of additional questions; what does it really mean when it says “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked?” So how did the knowledge they had so injuriously acquire profit them? And where, now, was that serpent who had plunged them into this irreversible predicament?
It is true that the man and his wife did gain sight, but it was sight to their loss of God’s shekinah glory (Rom 3:23) that had previously clothed them, and now they were naked, exposed, weak, frail, mortal, carnal, fretful, mistrusting, and duplicitous. Not only had the man and his wife plunged themselves into this loss of dominion, they had also sentenced all of their descendants to subservience, and to vulnerability to corrupt fleshy nature open to satanic manipulation. Romans 8:20-21 tells us that the first man subjected the entire creation to frustration, and bondage to corruption. Now even the animal kingdom that man had named now turned against, and were contrary to him. Adam and Eve’s sin altered both the atmospheric and geological formations of the earth and allowed for the entrance of the curse upon creation; now even the weather and elements of the earth were contrary and harmful to them. Diseases, bacteria, and pests could now propagate. They felt nothing but cold, fear, insecurity, and shame. And their attempt to cover up their nakedness with sewn fig leaves was such an effort in frustration that when they heard God walking in the garden they fled to hide themselves from Him who had originally created and endowed them with His image and dominion now lost.
Man who was the crowning glory of creation was now hiding from his maker among the trees of the garden. And our natural response to this scene is for us to cry “Why???” Why didn’t God just show up earlier and stop this wicked scene from playing out? Why did God permit Satan into the garden if He knew His man was going to fall for the deception? But my question to us is “Why not???”
Had not God endowed man with His own image, dominion, and glory? Had not He charged the man to guard the garden? Did not the man recognize that he was himself a visible representation and extension of God’s presence and authority on earth? So great was the authority that God had bestowed upon man, and so great was the catastrophe that man had brought upon the entire creation; and God was bound to honor that transaction that His man had made with the satanic serpent. Man’s dominion was lost, and now Satan is in charge of the earth, but Satan cannot rule effectively until he gets man to sin again and again in order to keep reenacting the curse. So that with each sin event, another element within the created order gives way to chaos and decay.
Genesis 3:9-13 Let us here consider the full results of this horrible and sad story as it further unfolds. The man (with his wife) hiding from God’s call to him replied, “I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And in answer to God’s question whether or not he had eaten from the forbidden tree, the man deflected the blame to his wife, and even accused God for giving him the woman who gave him the fruit to eat. Of course the woman did the same, and passed the blame on to the serpent.
Genesis 3:14-19 It was now time for sentencing, and God started with the serpent who is reduced to a crawling beast that will eat dust, and God sets a mutual enmity between the serpent’s offspring and that of the woman. Strange sentence indeed; for one, we know that the serpent does not literarily eat dust, but here his carnivorous diet is predicted, and fallen man would be part of that diet, for Satan would attack and afflict (devour) men at his will (1Peter 5:8). Secondly the woman literarily does not produce any offspring or seed. By her design, the woman is a carrier and nurturer of seed, and not a progenitor. Cleary there is prophecy contained here in this sentence, so that with this first sentence God foretells of a seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent, even though he would suffer bruises to his feet in the process. This Seed of the Woman is none other than the Messiah whom the Jewish people would look forward to his coming throughout Old Testament history.
The woman’s punishment would be multiplied sorrow and pain in childbearing, and jealous subservience to her husband.
And to Adam, for listening to his wife and eating fruit from the forbidden tree, a curse was let loose upon the ground; a curse that would transform the once agreeable soil into one full of obstacles, and treacherous, and contentious, so that productivity and food can only come through contending with the soil in toilsome and laborious sweat against the contrary forces of nature. This was to be the lot of him and his offsprings until they return back to the earth (in undignified decay) from which they were taken.
Genesis 3:20 Adam had named his wife Eve as she would become the mother of all the living. This must have corresponded to the time that God had originally presented the woman to him.
THE TURNING POINT IN THIS STORY
Genesis 3:21-24 With these harsh judgments for sin also came God’s mercy, grace, and compassion. God clothed the man and his wife with animal skins. So Adam and Eve witnessed the first death of an innocent animal who had to give up its skin so that they could be clothed to cover their nakedness. They learned the principle of substitution within animal sacrifice. They also learned the art of clothe making. They must have witnessed how painful and unpleasant it was for that animal to give up its own life, and had a better understanding of the contract of death that they had just signed with the serpent, a foretaste of the bitter death that awaited them too.
God in an act of mercy drove Adam and Eve out of the garden to prevent them from eating from the tree of life, and remaining perpetually trapped in a corrupt fallen nature. God placed a cherubim (warrior angel) with a flaming sword to guard the tree of life and keep man out of the garden. Man experienced intimidation and terror from those stronger than him.
At this point, the only way out of this accursed situation seemed to be the ugly and painful death that awaited him; and yet that would not solve his problem, but would further aggravate his situation, for he (man) was now spiritually separated from God, and was doomed to the sentence of an eternal separation from all that is good and loving. What a double tragedy and an eternal doom was man’s. He could neither save himself either by living or by dying. This is why it was an act of love for God to drive him and his wife out of the garden and keep them from eating the tree of life in their present state.
From this vantage point the New Testament biblical gospel of redemption shines in glory and praise to God, because we can see that God had always had a master plan in advance, and was miles ahead of the satanic serpent in pre-ordaining the redemption of those that would be born to the first Adam by the substitutionary death and atonement of the last Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was slain from the foundation (katabole) of the world (Eph 1:4; Heb 4:3; Heb 9:26; 1Pet 1:20; Rev 13:8).
LIFE APPLICATIONS FROM GENESIS 3
1) Adam and Eve fell into temptation while keeping company with, and carrying on conversation with the devil. This should speak volumes to us in regards to the company and associations that we keep. We need to be sure that a serpent is not speaking through the voices that come our way every day.
2) Notice that Satan begins by negotiating the authority of God’s Word in order to cast doubt; then he moves to dismiss both its authority and relevance in our lives today. Any culture or philosophy that downplays God’s Word has it’s origin from Satan, and we must take heed to the things that we open our minds and give our attention to.
3) The exact details and sequence of what went wrong in the garden of Eden is even to this modern times of biblical exposition somewhat sketchy; but one thing is clear, there was a breakdown in the order of the first family, and so married couples should work in concert to keep that old serpent out of their homes.
4) We live in a world full of suffering and pain because of the curse of sin, but we must live in a faith and triumphant perspective because of the last Adam who has redeemed us from the curse of sin and disobedience; but we must do our part to live faithful to God, depending on Him to weather the storms that daily living in this world brings along our paths.
5) Even though we as believers in Christ are redeemed from the curse of corruption, we still have the reality of our sinful nature to struggle with, and that is why we need God’s Word, prayer, and dependence upon the Holy Spirit in largely sufficient measures to bring the corrupt sinful nature under subsection.
6) Most thankfully we can see, from rightly dividing God’s Word (the scriptures), that no situation takes God unawares. God had plainly foreseen that the first Adam would fall, and that was why (eternally ahead of the devil) the last Adam was already slain before the foundation (katabole) of the world (1Peter 1:19-20; Rev 13:8). We need to draw strength from this perspective as we go forward in life knowing that nothing overtakes us which that God has not foreknown and made prior and adequate provisions for our victory, even if we have to put up with some discomfort that this world brings our way.
This list is by no means exhaustive. You can add to it from your own unique perspective. Please feel free to contribute, comment, and interact with this post.
- The Tree of Knowledge
- No problem: exit God stage left, enter the ‘serpent’, stage right.
- Here was Eve’s dilemma
- Who was lying, Adam or eve?
- Did you notice that Satan has not mentioned either the tree of life or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?
John 8:44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, [ye] heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned
1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
Luke 4:5-8 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Supposed Location of the Garden of Eden, were the four rivers meet.
FACTS ABOUT THE GARDEN OF EDEN
According to the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, the Garden of
Eden was an earthly paradise where the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, lived 1. Genesis has the main story of the Garden of Eden, but other Old Testament books reference it, such as Ezekiel 2 and Isaiah3..