Bible

Genesis 3:2-3 – Eve and a Word Dance

Genesis-3-420x330

Part 1 of this Genesis 3 study is here.

Welcome back!

Seeing as how I am not very good with small talk, let’s get right into it.

Remember our approach to this Bible study is to;

1) read

2) observe

3) discern

We left off with part 1 looking at Eve stumbling.

Before we go on to verse 2-3 let’s review the reality of evil. It has been established that we don’t know why God allowed Satan, in the form of a serpent, to tempt Eve, which led her and her husband to disobey God. A commentary titled, The Book of Origins: Genesis Simply Explained, says:

“Through the medium of the snake, the devil held a rational conversation with a human being. This suggests that what is at work here is more than an evil influence or power but an objective personal embodiment of evil. The temptation to go against God’s will is part of the evil work of the devil. This means that sin existed in God’s creation prior to the sin of Adam and Eve”

Woah. Let that sink in for a moment. The existence of sin existed prior to Adam and Eve committing that first sin with global/humanity scale ramifications.

It further states:

The mystery surrounding the origin of sin goes back to the devil and the evil spirits associated with him. Between the absolute beginning and the situation in chapter 3, there must have been a rebellion in the angelic realm, a matter only hinted at in the Bible. The important thing for us to know is that Satan was not originally evil, that he is not some evil power who has always existed in opposition to God. God alone is uncreated and all that exists has been created by him. Satan and his angels are creatures of God, answerable to God and judged by him (Rev. 20:10).

Satan, nevertheless, has amazing powers given to him (Job 1–2), and we need to take account of this invisible, spiritual dimension to sin and evil (Eph. 6:12). We shall not fully appreciate the meaning of Christ’s incarnation and atoning death if we do not accept the reality of a personal devil. The tempter who came to Adam and Eve in that lovely garden of God also came to Jesus, the last Adam, in the barren wilderness of Judea where the wild beasts roamed (Mark 1:13). Our Lord triumphed over the devil in his life and in his death on the cross (Matt. 4:1–11; John 12:31; Col. 2:15; Rev. 12:7–11).

The Son of God came into our world ‘that he might destroy the works of the devil’
(1 John 3:8).

Before his final end, the devil now comes to make war with the people of God as they journey through this earthly wilderness to the city of God (Rev. 12:17). [1]

We must not underestimate or dismiss the power of the Evil One.

Stop and thank God for the gospel armor that he gives to us, his children by praying Ephesian 6:10–18.

Father, thank You for helping me to be strong in who You are and in the strength of Your might.

Thank You for giving us Your whole armor, so that we may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil, knowing that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Therefore, help me to always take up Your whole armor Father God, so that I may be able to withstand evil days, now and in the future, and knowing that Your whole armor gives me the strength to stand firm.

Here I am before you, having fastened on Your belt of truth, and having put on Your breastplate of righteousness, and, as for shoes for my feet, I am able to put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace and in all circumstances, with Your strength I am able to take up the shield of faith, which can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.

Help me to wear the helmet of salvation with confidence, along with the sword of the Spirit, which is Your Word. 

Help me, Father, at all times, to rely on your Holy Spirit through prayer and supplication, which helps me keep me alert, with all perseverance, so that I am able to make supplication for all the saints today and my tomorrow’s.

In Christ Holy name….amen

Genesis 3: 2-3

And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die”

Compare this to Genesis 2:16-17, which is what God actually said and to whom he said it too:

You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

It seems as though we can speculate that Eve was not present at the giving of God’s very first directive to Adam in Genesis 2. It does not say that she was and it does not say that she wasn’t. It seems as though Adam may have been the one that told her what God said. If that is the case, we might assume that Eve did not hear about God’s prohibition directly from God, but through Adam, the messenger, at least scripture does not indicate that she did. Why is this important?

My reason for bringing up this potential speculation is due to the fact that I had a really hard time coming to grips with the reality that two brand new, good and perfect creations of God had sinned. The inquisitive counselor in me wanted to know how it was possible for two made-in-God’s-image people to sin so soon after being created?

Since I have learned to study behavior and the reasons why people do what they do in the first place, my default go-to answer will unapologetically take us back to the origin of sin, also known as, “original sin” or “the Fall”. The far-reaching consequences of Adam and Eve’s first sin delve deep into our psyche, affecting our thoughts, our motivations, our inclinations and our will, which is what propels us to act or behave in certain ways, good or bad, right or wrong.

Jeremiah 17:9 says

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Even our good seems to be laced with deceit or narcissistic tendencies.

But prior to Satan tempting Eve, causing her to disobey God, which led to her husband to follow suit, Adam and Eve were not living in the shadow of original sin or the Fall. The Fall was happening in present tense real time. How did this happen? Were Adam and Eve made with a flaw somehow that caused them to sin?

Let’s read and observe what the text says and see what we can discern. We will need to go back to back to Genesis 1 and 2 for this.

1) God created the heavens and the earth. It was without form, void, and dark. God’s Spirit was hovering over the face of the waters……but it was not yet good. (Day 1)

2) God created light and separated it from the darkness. God gave these two forms names, Day and Night, …….but it was not yet good. (Day 1)

3) God created a separation of the waters, from earth water to water in the heavens…..but it was not yet good. (Day 2)

4) God caused the waters on earth to be gathered together, creating a dividing line between water and dirt. God gives these forms names, Earth, and Seas. God determines that Earth and Seas were good and declares them good. (Genesis 1:10) (Day 2)

4) God caused the earth that he had made to produce vegetation, plants, and trees that gave food, flowers, and seeds, creating a continuous life cycle of abundance. Finally, on God’s third day of creation he declared it to be good (Genesis 1:12) (Day3)

5) God made signs and seasons, literally the first calendar (Genesis 1: 14), along with the stars, the sun, and moon, directing the sun to be greater than the moon and once again he declared this to be good (Genesis 1:18) (Day 4)

6) Another creation that God declared good was on the 5th day. This is when he made living creatures in the water and in the sky (Genesis 1:21), however, he did not just utter a declaration of goodness concerning them but gave them a blessing in the form of a directive. How can a blessing also be a directive to do something? God gave these creatures an innate instinct to “be fruitful and multiply”. The sheer fact that God interacted with his creation was a blessing in itself, even if the blessing came in the form of a direct command from their Creator. (Day 5)

7) On the 6th day, God not only made animals for the dirt he called Earth, but he also made man from the dirt. The animals he declared good (Genesis 1:25) but at the very end of Genesis 1, (vs. 31) we see a broad declaration of goodness over all creation, which included both male and female. (1:27), using the term “very good”.

Genesis 2 is not a second creation account, as some have speculated, but rather its a closer look at the special relationship that people have with God that the rest of God’s creation did not have.

Interestingly, God did not declare goodness when he created man alone. God declared everything that he had made good immediately……until he made man. Why wasn’t the creation of man alone good?

Instead of blessing Adam individually, God put Adam straight to work, cultivating and tending to God’s other good creation, namely the earth, the plants, and naming all the paired male and female creatures. It was not until God made Adam a helper did God declare his imago dei creation to be good. Only when a man had a helper did God declare goodness on all of humanity.

We can’t underscore this reality enough. Prior to the Fall, in order for man to be considered “good”, he needed a helper, a woman brought forth from his own rib.

Sadly, after the Fall, even marriage and the equal/helping/supporting role that woman was initially made for was no longer considered good. Marriage was now tainted, ruined and broken due to the Fall’s effects and we can see evidence of that throughout marriage relationships all throughout the Old Testament and even today.

When Eve answers the serpent, she clearly did not explain herself very well or maybe she did not understand Adam very well or maybe the serpent was just that shrewd and that crafty, to such a degree that in the simple act of the serpent questioning Eve, this caused doubt to rise up in her heart. This doubt was evident in her response to the serpent.

She seems to exaggerate God’s prohibition – God never said they could not touch the tree or the fruit
She minimized what God did allow.
She omitted the name of the tree that God prohibited.
She adds to God’s word by using the language of “in the middle of the garden”, which is not in God’s original directive.

We see that she may have clearly distorted or mistreated what God said due to the fact that she is face to face with the Great Deceiver.

Again, I keep going back to my original question – how did two perfectly made persons, who lacked nothing, feel inclined to sin and disobey their Creator. Did God make them imperfect somehow? With a flaw?  A sin flaw?

Scripture tells us that God declared what he made to be good so the theory that our first parents were imperfectly made becomes a mute point.

Genesis does not explain the origins of evil; rather, the biblical account, if anything, says where evil does not have its source. Evil was not inherent in man nor can it be said that sin was the consequence of “divine entrapment”. The serpent stands on the outside the the first couple, standing directly in opposition to God’s word. His career is obscure to the author of Genesis 3, who can only speak of the snake’s destiny (3:14–15). As we find elsewhere in Scripture, little is said about the source of evil. Old Testament thought consistently affirms God as the ultimate cause of all things, even the existence of the serpent (3:1), but it never attributes evil to God. He is not morally responsible for the sin of the first couple nor is he culpable for the serpent’s deceit. [2]

Calvin wrote that no human being escaped the “calamitous effects” of the sin of our first parents.

Scripture reveals that the consequences of disobeying God come swiftly for Adam and Eve, in spite of the fact that their impending death would come slowly. The tempter accomplished what he set out to do:

1) He planted seeds of doubt on the goodness and truthtelling character of God by asking Eve “Did God actually you shall not eat of any tree in the garden? (v. 1)

One scholar writes: It is to be supposed that the stealthy snake was lurking somewhere nearby when God initially instructed Adam (2:16, 17) or when Adam passed along the word to Eve. Satan is not omniscient. [3]

2) He succeeded in getting Eve to engage in a wagering game of sorts on the topic of forbidden fruit, which was her first major error. It is clear that she did not add to God’s command and she did indeed understand that going near the fruit was wrong, much less eat it. At this point, her only mistake was engaging with the tempter.

Superimposing neutrality on our first parents is a mistake. The reformed view of Scripture does not lean towards the idea of “free will” as if God was somehow caught off guard when they sinned. Scripture tells us that prior to the fall, man, along with his wife, God declared ” very good”. Scripture also tells us that man was not yet living under the consequence of the fall. It seems that God placed the first couple in the garden on a sort of “probationary period”.

Man could have chosen good, however, God did not create Adam and Eve’s goodness to include being sealed in righteousness. IF man and woman were sealed in righteousness, they would not have been able to choose evil through disobedience.

So we say that God allowed Adam and Eve a kind of permission to disobey, especially taking into account God’s hidden counsel and will.

An example of this hidden counsel is God declaring “do not murder”, but then we see Jesus being murdered and God allowing, even ordaining the murder of Christ, for a righteous and holy purpose.

God publicly told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree, but his hidden counsel was that he gave them permission to eat it……because well…..without the fall, without original sin, there would be no need for Jesus. Jesus was always part of the plan. Jesus was never a plan B.

Jesus was always Plan A.

Adam was deceived into choosing evil through Eve’s failure. She played a word dance with the great deceiver and lost……but Jesus ultimately won.

[1] Eveson, P. H. (2001). The Book of Origins: Genesis Simply Explained (pp. 88–90). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.

[2] Mathews, K. A. (1996). Genesis 1-11:26 (Vol. 1A, pp. 226–227). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[3] Culver, R. D. (2005). Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical (pp. 308–309). Ross-shire, UK: Mentor

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