Part C. Temptation and the Fall (3:1-24)
C1. Temptation by the snake (3:1-7) C2. Consequences of the Fall (3:8-19) C3. Expulsion (3:20-24)
† Here is the end of the ideal world. The paradise will not be regained until Rev 21.
3:1 crafty: “Crafty” may not be a negative characteristic. It can mean prudent (Pr 13:16), meaning acting out of knowledge to avoid foolish action. Here, however, it means of scheming or cunning.
Did God actually say?: The serpent compelled an answer by asking a question (interrogation), faking an expression of surprise that God would prohibit them from eating any fruits (misrepresentation).
‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’: The incorrect quote turned something from God that was good into something bad. Note that the change was so small that might trap the unsuspecting. This is a common tactic of the devil: using half truths to trap unsuspecting Christians. This has been the same story in almost every moral issue.
o The attack of Satan included 3 parts: [a] questioning whether God’s command was reasonable or not (v.1), [b] denying the danger of disobedience (v.4), [c] suggesting the benefits of disobedience (v.5).
3:2 Eve appeared to have changed what God commanded (Gen 2:16-17). The differences: [a] Eve’s “of the trees” to God’s more generous “of every tree”; [b] Eve’s “neither shall you touch it” was not from God; [c] Eve’s “tree that is in the midst of the garden” (could refer to one of two trees) to God’s “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” [d] Eve’s “lest you die” to God’s more definite “you shall surely die”. However, these accusations against Eve may not be justified because Eve perhaps got the command indirectly from Adam who might not have used God’s exact words.
3:5 Satan suggested 3 benefits for man’s disobedience: [a] eyes will be opened: seeing something not seen before; visual pleasure. [b] you will be like God: the main temptation: to become our own god. [c] knowing good and evil: morally autonomous; no need of being told by God what is good and what is bad, able then to make own judgment. These are the same with secular worldview.
Satan’s words were later shown to be both true and false—half truths. He spoke only about what they would gain, but avoided mentioning what they would lose in the process.
o [a] They did not immediately die physically, BUT their expulsion meant a symbolic “death”.
o [b] Their eyes were indeed opened, BUT they were rewarded only with seeing their nakedness.
o [c] They became like God in gaining moral independence, BUT they achieved isolation and fear.
o [d] They obtained knowledge of good and evil, BUT they were burdened with guilt and embarassment.
3:6 The plural “you” in v.1-5 as well as the phrase “her husband, who was with her” (v.6) indicate that Adam was at the scene (or close by) when the temptation took place. He did not intervene probably because he agreed with Eve. So, Adam had to bear the full responsibility for the Fall.
3:7 naked: new knowledge of old reality. It is possible that their bodies had actually changed.
3:8 walking in the garden: Since God is a spirit, it was probably the voice that was moving.
cool of the day: afternoon or twilight, when the cool wind blows.
3:9 Where are you?: God of course knew where they were. This is simply an expression of God’s concern for them. Perhaps He permitted the guilty to admit the sin and to repent.
3:10 afraid: afraid to face judgment and punishment befor a holy and just God.
because I was naked: The real reason for hiding is fear because they were no longer naked.
3:12 the woman whom you gave to be with me: Adam did not immediately admit his disobedience. Instead, he blamed Eve and then blamed God who created Eve for him.
o Adam tried to project himself as the victim, not the offender. He refused to be responsible. But sin was the deliberate choice of Adam and each person is responsible for his own sin (Jas 1:13).
3:13 What is this that you have done?: God again used a question to appeal to Eve’s conscience (not to get the facts which God knew). Eve’s response was similar to Adam. She did not admit her disobedience but blamed the serpent. At least she did not blame God for creating the serpent.
3:14 cursed: a pronouncement against someone by legitimate authority. Only God can actually impose this decree. Even spoken by a man, the power carrying out the malediction comes only from God. Note that only the serpent and the ground were cursed, not Adam and Eve.
The serpent’s punishment: [a] confinement to crawling on its belly and eating dust in a life of humiliation; [b] ultimate destruction by the wounded “seed” of the woman.
3:15 enmity: permanent enmity. It describes a life-and-death struggle between combatants.
you, your offspring, her offspring (literal: seed): all singular, though it may refer to a group.
3:16 pain in childbearing: birth pangs, the physical and emotional pain during pregnancy.
desire for husband: [a] “Desire” can have the meaning of “rule over”. It may mean a struggle for power. She would try to control her husband, but she would fail because God has ordained that the man as head in the family. [b] The women’s desire for love will be controlled by the husband.
The woman’s punishment: [a] painful and hard labour in childbearing; [b] a tainted relationship with her husband and with struggles.
3:17 cursed is the ground: thorns and thistles will make Adam’s farming work harder.
in pain: same word as Eve’s “pain”, needed to work harder to get food.
3:19 by the sweat of your face: not the addition of work but the increase in difficulty of work.
to dust you shall return: fulfilling His command that disobedience means death. The man’s punishment: [a] lifelong, toilsome labour; [b] death.
3:20 Eve: Hebrew word (hawah) is phonetically similar to the root for “life” (Heb. hayah).
3:21 garments of skins: The skins were from animals, thus involving death. Some take this as the sign of Christ’s salvation, pointing to the covering of human sinfulness through death.
clothed them: These clothes gave them protection to cover their embarassment and to preserve them in the new hostile environment. This shows God’s grace and mercy even in passing judgment.
3:22 Question: Can the fruit from the tree of life give eternal life? Answer: [a] No, the tree is only a symbol of eternal life. [b] Yes, it has a rejuventing power and man could live forever if they have continuous access. But God would not want them to live a miserable life in sin forever.
3:24 placed the cherubim: Cherubim were winged angels who served personally to God the Father. Their presence indicated God’s presence (Ex 25:17-22; Eze 41:18).
† Sin (e.g. the Fall) usually passes through a psychological process before the actual sinning: [a] questioning God’s word, [b] questioning God’s intention, [c] temptation by half truths, [d] temptation by material or emotional gains, [e] temptation to gain power and to gain autonomy from God.
† Satan made Eve forget all that God had given her and, instead, focus on the one thing she could not have. We fall into trouble when we dwell on the few things we don’t have rather than on the countless things God has given us. Don’t think about what you don’t have, but all you do have and thank God.