Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Genesis 3:1-7 Deception vs. Truth: The Fall of Mankind

"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 surely die,' the serpent said to the woman.
'For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'

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 3:1-7 (NIV)

Some observations:

  • "The serpent"  (Genesis 3:1):  This verse makes it sound like God created the devil as a serpent from the beginning.  However, Satan is a spiritual being, a former angel who tried to usurp God's authority.  He used to have a high position, but lost it, since God threw him (and the 1/3 of the angels who joined Satan in his rebellion) out of heaven.  Apparently he just assumed the form of a serpent when approaching Adam and Eve.
  • "Did God really say...?" (Genesis 3:1):  Satan first tried to distort God's Word.  He made it sound like God had forbidden Adam and Eve from eating from any tree in the Garden.  Actually, the truth is nearly the opposite of this.  They could eat from any tree in the Garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
  • Eve corrects this distortion.  (Genesis 3:2-3)  She correctly asserts that she and Adam could eat from the trees of the Garden.  However, she acknowledges that they were forbidden to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  She also adds something to God's Word by saying that they were not to even touch that tree.  It would probably be a good idea to avoid the temptation by staying away from the tree.  However, as far as we know, God had never said this to her.
  • Satan's next move is bolder.  (Genesis 3:4-5)  He insists that Adam and Eve would not die if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  This is in direct opposition to what God had told them.  Not only that, but Satan accused God of not wanting Adam and Eve to share in the wisdom which eating the fruit would impart.
  • Eve fell for it.  When she saw that the forbidden tree's fruit was good for food and looked good and would give her and Adam a source of wisdom which would be independent from God, she took and ate some of it.
  • Adam fell, too.  He also ate from the forbidden tree.  Notice that Genesis 3:6 says that Adam was there with her during these proceedings.  Adam was also the one to whom God had originally given the command to not eat from the tree.  (Genesis 2:15-18)  At that time, Eve had not even been created.  So, far from being deceived, Adam also knew that what he was doing was wrong.  Check out these other Scriptures which deal with this matter:
2 Corinthians 11:3 (NIV)  "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ"

I Timothy 2:14 (NIV)  "And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner."

Now before someone accuses me of anything, let me say that all Scriptures must be understood in their context for the fullest picture of what is taking place.  However, one main point which Scripture seems to be making is that Eve was deceived, and Adam wasn't.  They both ate, so they both sinned, but somehow Adam did it with a fuller recognition of what he was doing.  Does that make it a worse sin on his part?  Actually, I think that all sins are equally rebellion against God and thus equally evil, so in a way it doesn't matter.  Both sinned.  Furthermore, why did Eve give some to her husband?  Why didn't Adam try to stop Eve from acting upon the Devil's lies?  We do not know.

  • At any rate, Adam and Eve's eyes were opened, but not quite in the way that Satan had implied.  Although they had known the difference between right and wrong even before they sinned, they had sought an independent wisdom, a wisdom which they could grasp for themselves instead of the wisdom which God gives.  However, now something was terribly wrong.  Instead of wonderful insights and lofty wisdom, they realized with some sense of embarrassment and discomfort that they were naked.   Immediately they sought to remedy the problem by constructing coverings for themselves out of fig leaves.  Anything in a pinch, I suppose, but to me those garments don't seem like anything which would last.
  • One more thing:  God had said that if Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would die. (Genesis 2:1-17)  I think we can safely assume that this applied to Eve as well, for at some time after her creation Adam must have told her of these matters.  She certainly seemed to know all about it when she was answering Satan.  Yet there they were after eating from the tree, alive and sewing their fig-leaf garments.  Well, God hadn't said that they would drop dead immediately.  However, they would eventually experience physical death, which they wouldn't have if they had not sinned.  Also, as we will see in the coming passage, their relationship with God was fractured.  From the moment they had sinned, they were in some sense separated from God, and spiritually dead.  
  • As usual, Satan had lied and deceived, while God had told them the truth.     

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