Genesis 3

Genesis 3
by Pastor Mark Hudson

I suppose we can this about every chapter in Genesis: this is a significant chapter for the rest of the Bible, Biblical theology, and a Biblical worldview.  But this is especially true of this chapter.  There is so much in this chapter that we will concentrate on just the first 13 verses of the chapter.  The serpent was more crafty (arum) than any of the other beasts.  This term “suggest wisdom and adroitness” and is used 8 times in Proverbs and twice in Job.  He is crafty (arum) but will soon be cursed (arur) in v. 14.   Sadly, Adam and Eve had all the good God wanted them to have.  In fact, it was very good (1:31).  But they wanted to be like God.

Notice that the serpent does not talk  much.  But sneaky, crafty he is.  He puts doubt in the mind of Eve.  Notice that the serpent speaks only twice.  He first speaks to the woman not the man.  He opposes God but he attacks what is precious to God: Adam and Eve.  He questions God’s command.  He twists it and asks, Did God actually say, as if to say would God say that?  When the serpent quotes God, he misquotes Him intentionally.

Eve gets confused by adding to what God said.  The serpent’s craftiness is getting inside her head.  Now the serpent contradicts God.  When Eve quotes God by saying “lest you died” the serpent makes a frontal attack.  In verse 4, “You will surely not die!”  The serpent goes from a question to an attack.  The serpent looks for a weakness in Eve and it looks like the serpent found it.

“The centerpiece of the story is the question of the knowledge of good and evil”  The snake implied that God was keeping the knowledge from the man and the woman  (v. 5) while . . . God was keeping this knowledge for the man and the woman ( 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31; 2:18)  (Sailhammer in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Vol 2 p. 51.  The central theme in chapters 1 and 2 is “God will provide the “good” for man if he will only trust him and obey him.

The serpent temps Eve in what she wants: she wants to be like God.   The tragedy is that God is giving them all the good they ever need.  But they wanted God apart from what God provided.  In v. 6, Eve saw that the . … tree was good.  Up to that point, that expression was always reserved for God, “he saw that it was good.”  The woman wanted to determine her own destiny.  She wanted to be wise and like God.  But Adam and Eve were already like God because they were created in His image (1:26)  (Sailhammer p. 51).

The serpent promised that they would know good and evil.  But they did “know” something.  They knew that they were naked.  As the narrative continues, they hear the sound of the Lord and hid.  In the Pentateuch to hear and obey is a common expression for obedience (Dt. 5:25; 8:20; 13:18 etc.).  “It can hardly be with purpose that the author opens the scene of the curse with a subtle but painful reminder of the single requirement for obtaining God’s blessing: “to hear/obey the voice of the Lord” v. 8” (Sailhammer p. 52).

In v. 9, when God calls to the man, “Where are you?”  It is not as if God did not know.  God is the great questioner.  God does not need to learn anything.  Nor did Jesus when He asked questions.  But He waits for the answer.  In v. 10, with their question for wisdom and their desire to choose their own good, they reap the consequences of their sin.  They realized they were naked for the first time in v. 7.  Now they are afraid of God because they are naked.  They are afraid of the very One who had given them all the good they every needed.

God still asks questions, know full well what had happened. “Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  How I wish Adam would have slowed down and thought about his answer.  But he gave a terrible response.  But sadly, we have followed in Adam’s footsteps.  Essentially, he blames God.  But he starts with the woman.  “The woman” is placed first closely followed by “whom you gave to be with me” is shifting the blame to God.  Adam who should have been standing up to the serpent let it fall on the woman even though he was there the entire time.  The woman is a gift from God not the reason for His fall.  And to think that God is to receive blame.  This is the ruinous nature and deception of sin.  The woman does the same thing.  And we all just perpetuate the blame shifting.

This is particularly ugly but as we read this, we should see ourselves when we are confronted.  Why is it so hard for us to admit we are wrong or did wrong?  Usually, our sin is obvious to others.  Many times, people who point out our sins actually want to help us.  If we would admit what we did and move on, God would forgive us, restore, and bless us.  Instead, we resist the Holy Spirit.

In the next section, we see how the three figures are treated as representatives.  In theological terms we consider Adam as constituting the federal head of mankind.  So, we can say that we are either sons of Adam or daughters of Eve.  As C. S. Lewis wrote in Prince Caspian, “that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth.”

Dear heavenly Father, we admit You have given us all we could ever want yet we still want more.  And our desiring is often to be away from You instead of drawing closer to You.  Help us to learn to allow You to provide us what You want for us.  Forgive our many sins and help us to look to the true Adam our Lord Jesus.  Amen.