- The Serpent’s Subtlety and the Act of Disobedience (3:1-6)
- The Aftermath: Conscience and the Curse (3:7-20)
- God Works because of Sin in His Creation (3:21-24)
The Serpent’s Subtlety and the Act of Disobedience (3:1-6)
It would appear that the original creation (Gen. 1:1) was committed to the hands of angels, over which Satan was the chief. It was an earthly paradise, called “Eden, the garden of God”. Satan was not a serpent then, but “the anointed covering cherub”, clothed with the reflected glories of God (Ezek. 28:14). But when unrighteousness was found in Satan, his heart lifted up because of his beauty, he was ejected from the angelic company (Ezek. 28:17), taking with him his demons; “the host of the high ones” (Isa. 24:21). It would appear that, under Satan’s influence, “the earth became without form and void” and remained so until God intervened. As soon as the reconstruction was complete, and Adam given the headship of creation, Satan immediately began his efforts to get the earth back under his influence.Read more…
- Satan spoke to Eve, not Adam. Satan was very crafty, and he spoke to the woman. The apostle Paul picks up on this in 1 Tim. 2:13-4, saying; “Adam was formed first, then Eve: and Adam was not deceived; but the woman, having been deceived, was in transgression.” This is brought out in connection with the woman’s place, which is not to teach or usurp authority over the man, but to be in quietness. Satan tried to draw Eve, the “weaker vessel” (1 Pet. 3:7), out of her place. We have no reason to believe Adam was absent… he very well could have been standing by her side. Adam’s failure was in not taking the place of headship. He was not deceived.
- Satan cast doubt on the Word of God. The enemy of our soul is always looking to cast doubt on the simple declarations of God. “Hath God said?” is the age old technique of Satan. Before this, the matter of the forbidden fruit was very simple. Satan seeks to complicate it. The apostle Paul picks up on this when writing to the Corinthians; “But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craft, so your thoughts should be corrupted from simplicity as to the Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). The command from God to man was simple, but Satan’s line of attack was to fabricate some hidden plot (vv.4-5), to complicate and confuse the matter.
- Satan twisted the Word of God. Satan knows how to use the Word of God, but to present it in a twisted way. He says, “Is it even so, that God has said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Satan turned the commandment of God around backwards… God had given general permission, saying “Of every tree of the garden thou shalt freely eat”, with one prohibition (Gen. 2:16). He turned the Word of God around backward, into a general prohibition. We see Satan doing the very same thing in the temptation of Christ (Matt. 4:6). We need to be warned about the danger of twisting God’s Word.
- Open denial of the Word of God. Satan openly denied the Word of God by saying “Ye will not certainly die”. God had said “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). The enemy of our souls doesn’t come in immediately with a flat denial or contradiction. He added to the Word of God in v.1, and he takes away from the Word of God in v.4.
- Casting doubt on the goodness of God. Satan purported that God had lied to Adam and Eve, and that He was holding something good back from them. The opposite was true! God had met every need and given them every pleasure, but had prohibited the one thing that could spoil it all. How clever was the serpent! Eve should not have continued dialoging with this one that questioned the goodness of God.
- Promoting Self-exaltation. Satan tempted Eve with the very thought that was in his own heart; “I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:14), and he tempted Eve by saying, “ye will be as God”. We see the very opposite in our Lord Jesus Christ… He was “equal with God”, but in humility and obedience took “his place in the likeness of men”. Christ Jesus did not seek His own glory, but God has “highly exalted him” (Phil. 2:5-9). What a contrast between Adam and Christ!
- Telling only a Partial Truth. Jesus said of Satan that “he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). The serpent was correct that they would be as God in knowing “good and evil”, but he did not tell Eve that they would be powerless to choose the good, or to refuse the evil. Satan often holds out higher knowledge as a temptation to man; “your eyes will be opened”. To be preserved from this we must be ready to cast down “imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God”, and lead captive “every thought to the obedience of Christ”, which is the same obedience that Christ had to His Father (2 Cor. 10:5).
The Aftermath: Conscience and the Curse (3:7-20)
Man’s conscience (v.7)
God Seeks Hiding Man (vv.8-13)
Reconciliation (Col. 1:20-22; Eph. 2:16; Rom. 5:11; 2 Cor. 5:18-19) has to do with God's work of bringing lost and guilty sinners back to Himself. Reconciliation deals with alienation, and the feelings of enmity that are in the heart of the sinner. Alienation and enmity are the result of man's sin. The fault is on our side... God's heart has remained unchanged! God does not need to be reconciled to man, but man needs be reconciled to God. Alienation is the moral distance between God and man. How does alienation occur? First, in Eph. 2:3 we find that man is at a distance from God; "by nature the children of wrath". Second, in Col. 1:21 it says we were "alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works". Not only is man at a distance from God by nature, but he travels farther away by his own actions. The alienation is on both sides: we couldn't be in God's presence, and He couldn't be in ours. Enmity is the opposition that arises in a sinner toward God. To emphasize, God had no enmity toward man, but man does toward God. How does enmity arise? Man commits "wicked works", and then has a bad conscience about those works. He then begins to think of God as his enemy. That is why men are called "haters of God" (Rom. 1:30) when God has done nothing against them. The enmity is in "the mind" of man. Therefore, reconciliation to God is needed.We see the budding of this enmity here in the garden… alienation has already occured! Read more…
- Conscience. No person had told Adam that he was naked. He knew because he had a conscience. It was a bad conscience.
- The Word of God. Adam had directly transgressed a known commandment. It is called in Rom. 5:14, “the similitude of Adam’s transgression”. A transgression is a double sin, because it is not only lawlessness, but positive disobedience.
The Serpent Cursed (vv.14-15)
The Woman Cursed (v.16)
The Man Cursed (vv.17-20)
God Works because of Sin in His Creation (3:21-24)
Coats of Skin (v.21)
Expulsion from the Garden (vv.22-24)
- “Only God can have in Himself the knowledge of good and evil, without leaving the good and falling under the power of the evil. If the creature, left to itself, have the knowledge of good and evil, the result is that the evil overpowers and carries him away: he gives up the good, and falls a prey to the evil.” – Kelly, William. Glory and virtue. The Bible Treasury, Volume 13, pp.12-14.
- Sandeman, R. See mercy, mercy from on high. Little Flock Hymnbook #186. 1718-1771.