The Searching the Scriptures
“Search the Scriptures…they are thy which testify of Me. (John 5:39)
Author: Bob Moses
Genesis Chapter Three
What we have had before us at the ending of Chapter two is often referred to as the “age of innocence”: “Vs. 25. “And they (Adam and Eve) were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed”. This “age of innocence” began from the creation of Adam until the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. They became no longer innocent after partaking of the fruit of good and evil. Therefore this “age of innocence”; will change as we get into the message of Chapter 3.
We have so much to learn regarding this Chapter, that I feel it necessary to first record the entire Chapter and then begin our commentary. Much of the commentary will reflect the research I conducted and incorporated by my favored mentors: Larkin, McIntosh, Pink, the Morris Study Bible, Dr. Scofield, and of course Unger’s Bible Dictionary; not to mention, Webster’s College Dictionary.
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman: Yea, hath God said: Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent: We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit tree which is in the midst of garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it; lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman: Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him: Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said: Who told thee that thou was naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou should not eat? And the man said: The woman whom thou gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman: “What is this that thou hast done” And the woman said: The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shall bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shalt it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field: In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground: for out of it was thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the Lord God said: Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life”.
Thus the Commentary begins:
“Now the serpent was more subtil (subtle). Meaning, according to Webster’s New World Dictionary: “mental keenness, crafty; sly, delicately suggestive; not grossly obvious; working insidiously, not easily detected; making or noticing fine distinctions in meaning, etc. a thinker”. This is our first introduction to the character of Satan, Lucifer, the Serpent, etc. recorded in Holy Writ. We will explore more closely this “Satan” in a future article. For now, let us consider that he was most intelligent, some say he walked upright, just as man. It is obvious that he was able to speak because he had a conversation with Eve. Most everyone thinks of “the Serpent” as a snake, but remember he did not become a snake until after the curse. Therefore whatever this creature was, it allowed Satan to enter its being and take over. And then it became a part of Satan, and through it, Satan spoke unto Eve, and after the curse; God required it to slither upon its belly and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. Vs. 14.
Gen. 3: 1—3: “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said: Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die”. What jumps off the page is Satan’s tantalizing question and Eve’s response. Satan’s question; “Hath God said?” Immediately casting some doubt upon what God had said. And then Eve’s response: “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shalt ye touch it”. Satan cast a doubt and Eve added “to” the Word of God. This is so common even unto this very day. Man “adds to” the word of God or often “takes from” the Word of God, to make a point; totally absent from the true meaning of the Scriptures. Thus the admonition “Study, to show thyself approved unto God … rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2nd Tim 2:15. What do we glean from this? The root of all sin is doubting God’s Word. Satan used this approach successfully even with one who had never sinned before and who had no sin-nature inclining her to sin. Satan merely implanted a slight doubt concerning God’s truth and His sovereign goodness. The approach, so successful in this case, has provided the pattern for temptation ever since.
The record of the Fall deserves close scrutiny. Abler pens than ours have called attention to the different steps which led up to the overt act. First, the voice of the tempter was heeded. Instead of saying, “Get thee behind me, Satan,” Eve quietly listened to the Evil One challenging the word of God. Not only so, but she proceeds to parley with him. Next there is a tampering with God’s Word. Eve begins by adding to what God has said—always a fatal course to pursue. “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it.” This last clause was her own addition. Proverbs 30: 6 states: “Add thou not unto his words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Next she proceeded to alter God’s Word. “Lest ye die.” Finally, she altogether omits God’s solemn threat, “Thou shalt surely die.” How true it is that History repeats itself. God’s enemies today are treading the same path: His Word is either added to, altered, or flatly denied. The forbidden fruit is now looked upon, desired, taken, eaten, and given to her husband. This is ever the logical order. Such, in brief, is the Divine account of the entry of sin into our world. The will of God was resisted, the word of God was rejected, the way of God was deserted.
The Divine record of the Fall is the only possible explanation of the present condition of the human race. It alone accounts for the present condition of the human race. It alone accounts for the presence of evil in a world made by a beneficent and perfect Creator. It affords the only adequate explanation for the universality of sin. Why is it that sin is universal, that there is no empire, no nation, no family free from this awful disease? Reject the Divine explanation and no satisfactory answer is possible to these questions. Accept it, and we see that sin is universal because all share a common ancestry, all spring from a common stock, “In Adam all die.” The Divine record of the Fall alone explains the mystery of death. Man possesses an imperishable soul, why then should he die? He had breathed into him the breath of the Eternal One, why then should he not live on in this world forever? Reject the Divine explanation and we face an insoluble enigma. Accept it, receive the fact that, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans. 5: 12), and we have an explanation which meets all the facts of the case.
The Divine record of the Fall of man is an unequivocal refutation of the Darwinian hypothesis of evolution. Instead of teaching that man began at the bottom of the moral ladder and is now slowly but surely climbing heavenwards, it declares that man began at the top and fell to the bottom. Moreover, it emphatically repudiates the modern theory about Heredity and Environment. During the last several decades socialistic philosophers have taught that all the ills to which man is heir are solely attributable to heredity and environment. This conception is an attempt to deny that man is a fallen creature and at heart desperately wicked. The record proves that man has already been tested under the most favorable conditions (the Garden of Eden) and was found wanting. Man is not an independent creature, for he did not make himself. Having been created by God he owes a debt to his Creator. As an intelligent, responsible creature, man is subject to the Divine government. The creature became self-seeking, self-centered, self-willed, and as the result he disobeyed, sinned, and fell. Even today we have the environmentalist worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. How sad a state of affairs we find ourselves in. Omitting God and protecting whales, trees, and advocating climate change. God created the earth and all within it; I am confident he does not need any help from man to maintain it. What he needs and seeks is the worship of himself, from mankind, and the humbleness, and gratitude which he so richly deserves. If we would seek him to solve our despair we would be richly blessed indeed.
Verse 4 & 5: “And the serpent said unto the woman. Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”. This is very curious and says much about Satan. Let’s refer to Isaiah 14: 12—14: “How are thou fallen from heaven O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit”. We see here the five I wills of Satan. What is important in this is the fact that Satan’s sin led him to desire to be as God, and this was the desire he placed in Eve’s mind. In fact, when one questions or changes the Word of God, he is, for all practical purposes, making himself to be “god”. Satan’s deceptions are always most effective when they have some truth in them. Through eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve would indeed come to “know good and evil”, but not as gods! As a matter of fact it caused them to lose their first estate, in the Garden of Eden and the loss of innocence. Now they discovered, they were naked.
Verses 6 & 7: “ And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit, thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her: and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons”. Where is mention of an “apple” in this verse? It is commonly held that Adam and Eve ate an apple, but as is so often the case; it is not in the Book. The Holy Canon says they ate of the “fruit”, we are not told what fruit.
We must heed a special hidden agenda of Satan in his temptation of Eve. A threefold appeal was made to Eve corresponding with tripartite nature of the human constitution. “The woman saw that the tree was good for food.”—appealing to the bodily senses; “and that it was pleasant to the eyes”—appealing to the desire of nature, the emotions, which have their seat in the soul; “and a tree to be desired to make one wise”—appealing to the intelligence, which has its center in the spirit (1 Cor. 2:11). Thus we learn here a deeply important fact, namely; that Satan works from without to within, which is the very reverse of the Divine operations. God begins His work in man’s heart, and the change wrought there reacts and transforms the outward life. But Satan begins with the external and through the bodily senses and emotions of the soul works back to the spirit—the reason for this being, that normally he has not direct access to man’s spirit, as God does. This same line was followed in reference to our blessed Lord. “Command that these stones be made bread”—appealing to the bodily senses; “Cast Thyself down”—a challenge to His courage or an appeal to the emotional nature of the soul. “Fall down and worship me”—an appeal to the spirit, for we worship the father “in spirit and in truth.” So Satan’s challenge to Eve was the very same as his challenge to our Lord upon His temptation in the wilderness, after 40 days and 40 nights. Forty, of course throughout Scripture, being the number of testing. The Apostle John warns us Christians of these very same hindrances. 1st John 2: 16—17. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world will pass away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God shall abide forever”.
So Adam and Eve have had their eyes opened and they realize that they are naked. Along with this comes the realization that their descendants, as well as themselves, would suffer the effects of this original sin. The ability and instruction to be fruitfull, given by God as a unique blessing now would also convey the curse of sin and death. Adam was the federal head of the human race and it was “through the offence of one many be dead” (Romans 5:15). Romans 5: 19: “For as by one man’s (Adam) disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous”.
Vs. 7; “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons”. A brief observation here before we move on. The hasty fabrication of fig leaf aprons might conceal their procreative organs from each other; but could hardly hide their sin from God. Neither will the “filthy rags” of self-made “righteousness” cover sinful hearts today. (Isaiah 64. 6): “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away”. Man’s self-righteousness, will not cover us before our Creator. Only God can provide that, just as he provided coats of skins for Adam and Eve. More on this later.
Vs. 8—11; “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him: Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said: Who told thee that thou was naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou should not eat?” Let us begin by identifying the “voice, of the Lord God, walking in the garden in the cool of the day”. We turn to the Gospel of John, Chapter one 1—4: “In the beginning was the Word (voice), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Jesus). The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In Him was the life; and the life was the light of men.” To verse 14: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”. This is not a crude figure of speech, but an actual appearance of God. The “Word of God” Christ in His pre-incarnate state, who obviously appeared regularly in the garden for fellowship and communication with His people. How long this period of fellowship endured is not stated, but it was long enough for the satanic rebellion. Since it was not long enough for Eve to conceive children, however, and since she and Adam had been instructed by God to do so, it was probably of a somewhat of short duration. How do we know that this was before Eve had children, because verse 16, which we shall come to; God states to the woman; “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children”. This was a part of Eve’s portion regarding the curse.
“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” Beautiful indeed is this record of Divine grace. This was not the voice of a policeman seeking an arrest or the apprehension a criminal, it was the call of a yearning love of one missing and seeking his dear friend. W. Griffith Thomas has forcibly summed up the significance of this question in the following words: “God’s question to Adam still sounds in the ear of every sinner: “Where art thou?” It is the call of Divine justice, which cannot overlook sin. It is the call of Divine sorrow, which grieves over the sinner. It is the call of Divine love, which offers redemption from sin. To each and every one of us the call is reiterated, “Where art thou?”
“Everything recorded in Genesis 3 has far more than a local significance. God’s attitude and action there were typical and characteristic. It was not Adam who sought God, but god that sought Adam. And this has been the order ever since. “There is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11). It was God who sought out and called Abram while yet an idolater. It was God who sought Jacob at Bethel when he was fleeing from the consequences of his wrong doing. It was God who sought out Moses while a fugitive in Midian. It was Christ who sought out the apostles while they were engaged in fishing, so that He could say, “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.” It was Christ who, in His ineffable love, came to seek and to save that which was lost. It is the Shepherd who seeks the sheep, and not the sheep that seek the Shepherd. How true it is that; “We love Him because He first loved us.” (A.W.Pink).
Vs. 10 & 11: “And he (Adam) said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he (Jesus, the Word), said: Who told thee that that thou was naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou should not eat?” Let us inquire how far Adam and Eve had gained the advantage of having their eyes opened, knowing good and evil. (vs 5). “They received what the Lord God had protected them from, that in and of the fall, man should get what previously he had not, and that was, a conscience, a knowledge of both good and evil. This, they evidently could not have had before. They could not have known aught about evil, inasmuch as evil was not there to be known. They were in a state of innocence, which is a state of ignorance of evil. Man received a conscience in and by the fall, and we find that the very first effect of conscience was to make him a coward. Satan had utterly deceived the woman. He had said, “your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”; but he had left out a material part of the truth, namely, that they should know good without the power to do it, and that they should know evil without the power to avoid it. Their very attempt to elevate themselves in the scale of moral existence involved the low of true elevation. They became degraded, powerless, Satan-enslaved, conscience-smitten, terrified creatures. The eyes of them both were opened, no doubt; but, alas! To what a sight!—it was only to discover their own nakedness. They opened their eyes upon their own condition, which was “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” They knew that they were naked; sad fruit of the tree of knowledge! It was not any fresh knowledge of divine excellency they had attained-no fresh beams of divine light from the pure and eternal fountain thereof—alas! No; the very earliest result of their disobedient effort after knowledge, was the discovery that they were naked.” (C. H. Mackintosh).
“Blessed be God, there is something beside the conscience of what I am. There is the revelation of what He is; and this latter the fall of man really brought out. God had not revealed Himself fully in creation: He had shown “His eternal power and God head”: but He had not told out all the deep secrets of His nature and character. Wherefore Satan made a grand mistake in coming to meddle with God’s creation. He only proved to be the instrument of his own eternal defeat and confusion, and his violent dealing shall forever come down upon his own pate. His lie only gave occasion for the display of the full truth in reference to God. Creation never could have brought out what God was. There was infinitely more in Him than power and wisdom: there was love, mercy, holiness, righteousness, goodness, tenderness, long-suffering. Where could these be displayed but in a world of sinners? God, at the first, came down to create; and then, when the serpent presumed to meddle with creation, God came down to save. This is brought out in the first words uttered by the Lord God after man’s fall. “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, “Where art thou?”. This question proved two things,--it proved that man was lost, and that God had come to seek,--it proved man’s sin and God’s grace. “Where art thou?” Amazing faithfulness! Amazing grace! Faithfulness, to disclose, in the very question itself, the truth as to man’s condition: grace, to bring out, in the very fact of God’s asking such a question, the truth as to His character and attitude in reference to fallen man. Man was lost; but God had come down to look for him—to bring him out of his hiding-place behind the trees of the garden, in order that, in the happy confidence of faith, that he might find a hiding-place in Himself. This was grace. To create man out of the dust of the ground was power; but to seek man in his lost estate was grace. But who can utter all that is wrapped up in the idea of God’s being a seeker? God seeking a sinner! What could the blessed One have seen in man to lead Him to seek for him! Just what the shepherd saw in the lost sheep, or what the woman saw in the lost piece of silver, or what the father saw in the lost son. The sinner is valuable to God.” (C. H. Mackintosh).
Vs. 11 & 12: “And He (the Lord God) said: Who told thee that thou was naked?” Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou should not eat? And the man said: The woman whom thou gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” God’s questions were not to obtain information, but to encourage Adam and Eve to confess their sin. Instead of repentance, however, they responded by feeble attempts at the self-justification, each blaming someone else. In this, they behaved like most of their descendants unto this present day. Here we find Adam actually laying the blame of his shameful fall on the circumstances in which God had placed him, and thus, indirectly, upon God Himself. This has ever been the way with fallen man,--everyone and everything is blamed but self. In the case of true conviction, the very reverse is exhibited. “Is it not “I” that have sinned?:” is the inquiry of a truly humbled soul. Had Adam known himself, how different would have been his style! But he neither knew himself nor God, and therefore, instead of throwing the blame entirely upon himself, he threw it upon god. Here, then, was man’ terrible position. He had lost all. His dominion, his dignity, his happiness, his innocence, his purity, his peace—all was gone from him: and, what was still worse, he accused God of being the cause of it. There he stood, a lost, ruined, guilty, and yet self—vindicating, and therefore God accusing sinner. But just at this point, God began to reveal Himself and His purposes of redeeming love; and herein lay the true basis of man’s peace and blessedness. When man has come to the end of himself, God can show what He is; but not until then. The magnitude of that which had to be done, proved the sinner’s total inability to do it. Sin had to be put away. Could man do that? Nay, it was by him it had come in. The serpent’s head had to be bruised. Could man do that” Nay, he had become the serpent’s slave. God’s claims had to be met. Could man do that? Nay, he had already trampled them underfoot. Death had to be abolished. Could man do that” Nay, he had, by sin, introduced it, and imparted to it its terrible sting. Thus in whatever way we view the matter, we see the sinner’s complete impotency, and, as a consequence, the presumptuous folly of all who attempt to assist God in the stupendous work of redemption, as all assuredly do who think to be saved in any other way but “by grace, through faith.” However, though Adam might, and, through grace, did see and feel that he could never accomplish all that had to be done, yet God revealed Himself as about to achieve every jot and tittle thereof by the seed of the woman. In short, we see that He graciously took the entire matter into His own hands.” (C. H. Mackintosh).
Vs. 13: “And the Lord God said unto the woman: What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said: The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. (At least she was honest). And the Lord God said unto the serpent, because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity (bitter hostility, animosity, hatred) between thee and the woman, and between thy seed (Satan’s seed; the Anti-Christ) and her seed (Jesus the Christ); it (Jesus) shall bruise thy head (the head of the Anti-Christ) , and thou (Satan) shalt bruise his (Jesus the Christ) heel (at the Cross)”. The author paraphrased this for a better understanding as we move further in our expansion of these verses.
Vs. 14: “And the Lord god said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:” It is interesting to note that God’s curse first fell on the serpent, representing man’s great enemy, the devil, as a perpetual reminder to man of his fall. All other animals plus the whole creation were also placed under the curse, as part of man’s dominion, as Paul tells us in Romans 8: 22; “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now”; but the serpent was cursed above all others, becoming a universal object of dread and loathing. Whatever may have been its original posture, it would henceforth glide on its belly, eating its prey directly off the ground, and covered with the dust of the earth.
Vs. 15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel”. This curse was directed towards the serpent, but its real thrust was against the evil spirit possessing its body, “that old serpent, called the Devil” (Rev. 12: 9). Satan may have assumed that he had now won the allegiance of the woman and all her descendants, but God told him that there would be enmity between him and the woman.
“Here again we behold the exceeding riches of God’s grace. Before He acted in judgment He displayed His mercy; before He banished the guilty ones from Eden, He gave them a blessed promise and hope. Though Satan had encompassed the downfall of man, it is announced that One shall come and bruise his head. By woman had come sin, by woman should come the Savior. By woman had come the curse, by woman should come Him who would bear and remove the curse. By woman Paradise was lost, yet by woman should be born the One who should regain it. O what grace—the Lord of glory was to be the woman’s Seed! The “seed of the woman” can only be an allusion to a future descendant of Eve who would have no human father. Biologically, a woman produces no seed, and except in this case biblical usage always speaks only of the seed of men. This promised Seed would, therefore, have to be miraculously implanted in the womb. In this way, He would not inherit the sin nature which would disqualify every son of Adam from becoming a Savior from sin. This prophecy thus clearly anticipates the future virgin birth of Christ.
Further, we have here the beginning and germ of all prophecy. This is the first prophetic statement made in Scripture. Three things should be carefully noted. First, it is announced that there should be enmity between Satan and the woman. This part of the verse is invariably passed over by many commentators. Yet it is of profound importance. The “woman” here typifies Israel—the woman from whom the promised Seed came—the woman of Revelation 12. The children of Israel being the appointed channel through which the Messiah was to come, became the object of Satan’s continued enmity and assault. How marvelously this prediction has already been fulfilled all students of Scripture know full well. The “famines” mentioned in Genesis were the first efforts of the enemy to destroy the fathers of the chosen race. The edict of Pharaoh to destroy all the male children; the Egyptian attack at the Red Sea; the assaults of the Canaanites when in the land; the plot of Haman, are all so many examples of this enmity between Satan and “the woman,” while the continued persecution of the Jew by the Gentiles and the yet future opposition by the Beast witness to the same truth.
Second, two “seeds” are here referred to—another item which is generally overlooked—“thy seed” and “her seed”—Satan’s seed and the woman’s Seed—the Antichrist and the Christ. In these two persons all prophecy converges. In the former of these expressions—“thy seed” (Satan’s seed) we have more than a hint of the supernatural and satanic nature and character of the Antichrist. From the beginning the Devil has been an imitator, and the climax will not be reached until he daringly travesties the hypostatic union of the two natures in our blessed Lord—His humanity and His Deity. The Antichrist will be the Man of Sin and yet the Son of Perdition—literally the “seed” of the serpent—just as our Lord was the Son of Man and the Son of God in one person. This is the only logical conclusion. If “her seed” ultimate’s in a single personality—the Christ—then by every principle of sound interpretation “thy seed” must also ultimate in a single person—the Antichrist.
“Her seed”—the woman’s Seed. Here we have the first announcement concerning the supernatural birth of our Savior. It was prophetically foretold that He should enter this world in a unique manner. “Her seed—the woman’s seed, not the man’s! How literally this was fulfilled we learn from the two inspired records given us in the New Testament of the miraculous conception A “virgin” was with child and four thousand years after this initial prediction “God sent forth His Son, made of a woman” (Gal. 4: 4).
In the third item of this marvelous prophecy reference is made to a double “bruising”—the woman’s Seed shall bruise the Serpent’s head, and the Serpent should bruise His heel. The last clause in the prediction has already become history. The “bruising” of the heel of the woman’s Seed is a symbolical reference to the sufferings and death of our Savior, who was “wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.” The first of these clauses yet awaits fulfilment. The bruising of the Serpent’s head will take place when our Lord returns to the earth in person and in power, and when “the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan shall be bound for a thousand years (the Millennium) and cast into the bottomless pit (Rev. 20: 2, 3). Again, we say, what a remarkable proof this verse furnished us of Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures.” (A. W. Pink; Gleanings in Genesis Chapter 5).
Vs. 16; “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee”. Had Eve not sinned, the experience of childbirth would have undoubtedly been easy and pleasant, like every other experience in the perfect world God had made. The curse, however, fell in a peculiar way on Eve and her daughters, and the pain and sorrow of birth would henceforth be greatly multiplied. “Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Eve who had acted independently of her husband in her desire for the forbidden fruit must henceforth exercise her desires through her husband, and he would be the ruler of the family. This prophecy has been fulfilled throughout history, in every time and nation. To the woman who knows God, however, especially in the full light of Christianity, her role of submission to God and to her husband becomes her means of greatest fulfillment and happiness. The “rule” of a true Christian husband is not one of harshness and subjugation, but one of loving companionship and caring responsibility (Eph. 5: 22—23; Col. 3: 18—21, 1ST Pet. 3: 1—7).
Vs. 17—19: “And unto Adam he said: Because thou has hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground, for out of it was thou taken; for dust thou art, an unto dust shalt thou return”. The full force of the curse fell on Adam, as the responsible head of the human race and on all his dominion. Instead of believing God’s Word, Adam had “hearkened to the voice of his wife,” and she had been beguiled by the voice of the serpent. It is always a fatal mistake to allow the words of any creature to take precedence over the Word of God. The “ground” is the same word as the ‘earth”. The very elements of matter, out of which all things had been made, were included in the curse, so that the “whole creation” was brought under bondage to a universal principle of ‘corruption” (literally “decay). That is, all things had been built up by God from the basic elements of matter (the dust of the earth), but now they would all begin to decay back to the dust again.
Let’s spend a moment on the phrase “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” The curse on Adam had four main aspects: (1) sorrow; because of the futility of endless struggle against a hostile environment; (2) pain, signified by the thorns; (3) sweat, or tears, the ”strong crying” occasioned by the labor necessary to maintain life and hope; and (4) eventual physical death in spite of all his efforts, returning back to the dust. But eventually who comes forth to relieve man of this terrible outcome? None other than the “Redeemer” Himself. Christ, as the second Adam, has born the curse for us (Gal. 3:13), as the “man of sorrows” (Isiah 53: 3), wearing the thorns of the Cross and suffering the greatest pain. (Mark 15:17), acquired by strong crying (Heb. 5:7), to sweat as it were drops of blood before being finally brought into the dust of death (Ps. 22:15). And because He so suffered for us, once again someday God will dwell with men, and “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Rev. 21:4). Indeed there shall be “no more curse” (Rev. 22: 3). (Henry Morris Study Bible).
Vs. 21; 22: “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to is wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” This verse 21, gives us a typical picture of a sinner’s salvation. It was the first Gospel sermon preached by God Himself, not in words but in symbol and action. It was a setting forth of the way by which a sinful creature could return unto and approach his holy Creator. It was the initial declaration of the fundamental fact that “without the shedding of blood is not remission.” It was a blessed illustration of substitution—the innocent dying in the stead of the guilty. The Lord God clothed Adam and Eve with skins, and in order to procure these skins animals must have been slain, life must have been taken, blood must have been shed! And in this way was a covering provided for the fallen and ruined sinner. The application of the type is obvious. The Death of the Son of God was shadowed forth. Because the Lord Jesus laid down His life for the sheep God can now be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. How beautiful and perfect is the type! It was the Lord God who furnished the skins, made them into coats and clothed our first parents. They did nothing. God did it all. They were entirely passive. Man had no role in this. Had man participated in any way, he could then boast that he helped in his own righteousness. Impossible, only God can provide for man what he cannot provide for himself. This same blessed truth is illustrated in the parable of the prodigal son. When the wanderer had taken the place of a lost and undone creature and had owned his sin, the grace of the father’s heart was displayed. “But the father said to his servants: Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him” (Luke 15:22). This errant son did not have to furnish the robe, nor did he have to put it on himself, all was done for him. And so it is with every sinner. “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2: 8). “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my god; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isa. 61: 10). The clothing provided by God required shedding the blood of two animals, probably two sheep, who were thus the first creatures actually to suffer death after Adam’s sin, illustrating the basic biblical principle of substitutionary atonement (or covering), requiring the shedding of innocent blood as a condition of forgiveness for the sinner. We have before us in figure, the great doctrine of divine righteousness set forth. The robe which God provided was an effectual covering, because He provided it; just as the apron was an ineffectual covering, because man had provided it for himself. Moreover, God’s coat was founded upon blood-shedding; Adam’s apron was sown together by his own hand. So also now, god’s righteousness is set forth in the cross, man’s righteousness is set forth in his works—the sin-stained works—of his own hands.
Vs. 22—24: “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever; Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life”. “The man is become as one of us”. Who is represented in the “us”? God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, of course. It was the same three who declared “Let “us” make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; make and female created he them.” (Gen 1: 26--27). Man’s ultimate restoration required his full instruction in the effects of sin and separation from God. Sin always results in separation. “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you:” (Isa. 59: 2). “Here we see the fulfilment of God’s threat. He had announced, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Die, not only physically—there is something infinitely worse than that—but die spiritually. Just as physical death is the separation of the soul from the body, so spiritual death is the separation of the soul from God.—This my son was dead (separated from me) and is alive again—restored to me. When it is said that we are by nature “dead in trespasses and sins,” it is because men are “alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4: 18). In like manner, that judicial death which awaits all who die in their sins—the “Second Death”—is not annihilation as so many are now falsely teaching, but eternal separation from God and everlasting punishment in the lake of fire. In Ref. 20 after the unsaved are resurrected, they are still termed “dead”—forever, dead to God even while they live.And so here in Genesis 3 we have God’s own definition of death—separation from Him, evidenced by the expulsion of man from Eden.
The baring of the way to the tree of life illustrated an important spiritual truth. In some peculiar way this tree seems to have been a symbol of the Divine presence (see Prov. 3:18), and the fact that fallen man had no right of access to it further emphasized the moral distance at which he stood from God. The sinner, as such, had no access to God, for the sword of justice barred his way, just as the veil in the Tabernacle and Temple shut man out from the divine presence. But blessed be God, we read of One who has opened for us a “new and living way” to God, yea, who Himself is the Way (John 14:6). And how has that been accomplished? Did justice withdraw her sword? Nay, it sheathed it in the side of our adorable Savior. Doubtless that solemn but precious word in Zechariah 13:7, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd” looks back to Genesis 3:24. And because the Shepherd was smitten the sheep are spared, and in the Paradise of god we shall eat of the fruit of that three from which Adam was barred (see Rev. 2:7).
Summing up, then, this important division of our subject—God and the Fall—we discover here; An exhibition of His condescension in seeking man; and evidence of His mercy in giving a blessed prophecy and promise to sustain and cheer the heart of man; a demonstration of His grace in providing a covering for the shame of man; a display of His holiness in punishing the sin of man; and a typical fore- shadow of the urgent need of a Mediator between God and man.” (A. W. Pink).
Before concluding our examination of Chapter 3, it would be incomplete without meditation upon several passages which link together Adam and Christ, and therefore it behooves us to carefully compare and contrast them as offered by A. W. Pink. “In thinking of Christ and the Fall a threefold line of thought may be developed. First, a contrast between the first man and the second man in their characters and conduct. Second, Crist Himself bearing the Curse of the Fall. Third, Christ reversing the effects of the Fall and bringing in the “better thing.” Let us take up these thoughts in this order. Adam cast reproach upon God’s love, God’s truth and God’s majesty. Created in the image of his Maker: vitalized by the very breath of Deity: placed in a perfect environment: surrounded by every blessing the heart could desire: put in complete authority over the works of God’s hands: provided with a suitable companion and helpmeet: made an example to all the universe of Jehovah’s goodness and love, and given one single command that he might have opportunity to show his appreciation by an easy observance of it—yet, he gives ear to the voice of the tempter and believes the Devil’s lie.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.” What did Satan wish these words to imply? They were as though he said: Did God tell you not to eat of this tree? How unkind! He is withholding from you the very best thing in the garden. He knows full well that if you partake of this fruit your eyes will be opened, and you yourselves will become as God. In other words, it was an appeal for them to distrust God, to doubt His grace, and to question His goodness. Thus in eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam repudiated and dishonored God’s love.
Moreover, he questioned and dishonored God’s veracity. God had plainly warned him. In unequivocal language He had threatened, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Adam knew nothing of death. He was surrounded only by living creatures. Reason might have argued that it was impossible for death to enter such a fair land as Paradise. But there rang the Word of Him who cannot lie, “Thou shalt surely die.” The serpent, however, boldly denies Jehovah’s Word—“Ye shall not surely die.” He declares. Which would Adam believe—God or Satan. He had more confidence in the latter: he dared to doubt the former, and the fell deed was done. Thus, in eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam repudiated and dishonored God’s Truth.
Further: he rejected God’s authority. As the Creator, God possesses the inherent right to issue commands, and to demand from His creatures implicit obedience. It is His prerogative to act as Law-giver, Controller, Governor, and to define the limits of His subjects’ freedom. And in Eden He exercised His prerogative and expressed His will. But Adam imagined he had a better friend than God. He regarded Him (God) as austere and despotic, as One who begrudged him that which would promote his best interests. He felt that in being denied the fruit of this tree which was pleasant to the eyes and capable of making one wise God was acting arbitrarily, cruelly, so he determined to assert himself, claim his rights and throw off the restraint of the Divine government. He substitutes the Devil’s word for God’s law: he puts his own desire before Jehovah’s command. Thus, in eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam repudiated and dishonored God’s Majesty. So much then for the character and conduct of the first Adam.
In turning to the last Adam we shall find that everything is in direct antithesis. In thought , word and deed, the Christ of God completely vindicated the love, truth, and majesty of deity which the first man had so grievously and deliberately dishonored. How He vindicated the love of God! Adam harbored the wicked thought that God begrudged him that which was beneficial, and thereby questioned His goodness. But how the Lord Jesus has reversed that decision! In coming down to this earth to seek and to save that which was lost, He fully revealed the compassion of Deity for humanity. In His sympathy for the afflicted, in His miracles of healing, in His tears over Jerusalem, in His unselfish and unwearied works of mercy, He has openly displayed the beneficence and benevolence of God. And what shall we say of His sufferings and death on the cruel tree? In laying down His life for us, in dying upon the cross He unveiled the heart of the Father as nothing else could. “God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In the light of Calvary we can never more doubt the goodness and grace of God.
How Christ vindicated the truth of God! When tempted by Satan to doubt God’s goodness, question His truth and repudiate His majesty, He answered each time, “It is written.” When He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day it was to read out of the Holy Oracles. When selecting the twelve apostles He designedly chose Judas in order that the Scriptures “might be fulfilled.” When censuring His critics, He declared that by their traditions they made void “the Word of God.” In His last moments upon the Cross, knowing that all things had been fulfilled He said, “I thirst.” After He had risen from the dead and was journeying with the two disciples to Emmaus, He “expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” At every point, and in every detail of His life He honored and magnified God’s truth.
Finally, Christ completely vindicated God’s Authority. The creature had aspired to be equal with the Creator. Adam chafed against the governmental restraint which Jehovah had placed upon him. He despised God’s law, insulted His majesty, defied His authority. How different with our blessed Savior! Though He was The Lord of Glory and equal with God, yet He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon the form of a servant. O matchless grace! He condescended to be “made under the law,” and during the whole of His stay here upon earth He refused to assert His rights, and was ever subject to the Father. “Not My will” was His holy cry. Nay, more: “He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Never was god’s law so magnified, never was god’s authority so honored, never were God’s government claims so illustriously upheld, as during the thirty-three years when His own Son tabernacle among men. Thus in His own Person Christ vindicated the outraged majesty of God.
We turn now to contemplate Christ Himself bearing the Curse of the Fall. What was the punishment which followed the first Adam’s sin? In answering this question we confine ourselves to the chapter now before us. Beginning at the seventeenth verse of Genesis 3 we may trace a sevenfold consequence upon the entrance of sin into this world. First, the ground was cursed. Second, in sorrow man was to eat of it all the days of his life. Third, thorns and thistles it was to bring forth. Fourth, in the sweat of his face man was to eat his bread. Fifth, unto dust man was to return. Sixth, a flaming sword barred his way to the tree of life. Seventh, there was the execution of God’s threat that in the day man partook of the forbidded fruit he should surely die. Such was the curse which fell upon Adam as the result of the Fall.
Observe now how completely the Lord Jesus bore the full consequences of man’s sin. First, Christ was “made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). Second, so thoroughly was He acquainted with grief, He was denominated “the man of sorrows” (Isa. 52:3). Third, in order that we might know how literally the Holy One bore in His own body the consequences of Adam’s sin, we read “Then came Jesus forth wearing the crown of thorns” (John 18: 8). Fourth, corresponding with the sweat of his face in which the first man was to eat his bread, we learn concerning the second man, “And His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). Fifth, just as the first Adam was to return unto the dust, so the cry of the last Adam, in that wonderful prophetic Psalm, was “Thou hast brought Me into the dust of death” (Psalm 22:15). Sixth, the sword of justice which barred the way to the tree of life was sheathed in the side of God’s Son, for of old, Jehovah had said, “Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My Fellow” (Zech. 13:7). Seventh, the counter part of God’s original threat to Adam, namely, spiritual death (for he did not die physically that same day), which is the separation of the soul from God, is witnessed in that most solemn of all cries, “My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mat. 27: 46). How absolutely did our blessed Savior identify Himself with those which were lost, took their place and suffered the Just for the unjust! How apparent it is, that Christ in His own body, did bear the Curse entailed by the Fall.
In conclusion we shall now consider Christ reversing the effects of the Fall. God alone is able to bring good out of evil and make even the wrath of man to praise Him. The Fall has afforded Him an opportunity to exhibit His wisdom and display the riches of His grace to an extent which, so far as we can see, He never could have done, had not sin entered the world. In the sphere of redemption Christ has not only reversed the effects of the Fall, but because of it has brought in a better thing. If God could have found a way, consistently with His own, character, to restore man to the position which he occupied before he became a transgressor, it would have been a remarkable triumph, but that through Christ man should actually be the gainer is a transcendent miracle of divine wisdom and grace. Yet such is the case. The redeemed have gained more through the last Adam than they lost through the first Adam. They occupy a more exalted position. Before the Fall, Adam dwelt in an earthly Paradise, but the redeemed have been made to sit with Christ in heavenly places. Through redemption they have been blest with a nobler nature. Before the Fall man possessed a natural life, but now, all in Christ have been made partakers of the Divine nature. They have obtained a new standing before God. Adam was merely innocent, which is a negative condition, but believers in Christ are righteous, which is a positive state. We share a better inheritance. Adam was lord of Eden, but believers are “heirs of all things,” “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” Through grace we have been made capable of a deeper joy that unfallen spirits have known: the bliss of pardoned sin, the heaven of deep conscious obligation to Divine mercy. In Christ believers enjoy a closer relationship to God that was possible before the Fall. Adam was merely a creature, but we are members of the body of Christ—“members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” How marvelous! We have been taken into union Deity itself, so that the Son of God is not ashamed to call us brethren. The Fall provided the need of Redemption, and through the redeeming work of the Cross, Believers have a portion which unfallen Adam could never have attained unto. Truly, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (A. W. Pink: The Fall Concluded Pgs. 47—55; Gleanings in Genesis. Moody Bible Institute of Chicago 1922.)
Genesis Chapter Three