Tag Archives: Adam and Eve

Deceived and Purposeful

Studies in Genesis 3

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Gen 3:6 ESV)

Adam was with his wife. She gave him a piece of fruit she had picked and eaten from, and he, too, ate the fruit. Did Adam watch the entire transaction and conversation between the Deceiver and Eve? Every sermon I have ever heard has Adam standing passively next to his wife while she deliberately disobeyed the command of God. Either he heard the discussion or Eve told him of the discussion. Or she didn’t tell him, because he was not there and simply offered him a piece of fruit when he arrived and he ate.

In Genesis 3:6 the word “with” can mean beside. It can also mean against and in spite of. Like many of the words in the first three chapters of Genesis this is the first time this word is used. We assume Adam and Eve were together all of the time. This does not necessarily have to be true. We can know for certain he was present when she gave him the fruit. Whether he was present during the discussion with the Deceiver and then when she actually picked and ate the fruit is only assumed.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse for disobedience. Adam knew he was to not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Either he ate knowing the fruit was from the tree or he ate not knowing from which tree the fruit came. Either way, he ate the fruit which God has specifically forbidden from eating.

Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. (1 Timothy 2:14 ESV)

There are many implications from Paul’s statement. The woman was deceived by the Deceiver. Adam was not deceived, by either the woman or the Deceiver. His rebellion was purposeful. He knew the consequences of his rebellion. We know nothing of his thinking or feeling which brought him to the action of eating the fruit. We are reminded daily of the consequences. For the consequences of Adam’s purposeful rebellion is abundantly clear and always present. It is sin and death.

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12 ESV)

“For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19 ESV)

Desiring Versus Coveting

Studies in Genesis 3

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6 ESV)

We do not know what Eve and Adam were feeling when they ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We do know Eve’s thought process. Eve talks with a snake who is controlled by the Deceiver. She believed the Deceiver’s lie about the fruit having a special property other than simple nutrition. She believed the first superstition that actually eating this fruit would give her wisdom and insight and make her like God.

Eating the fruit showed her bent toward rebellion. She and Adam were instructed by God to take care of the tree of the knowledge if good and evil but to not eat its fruit. She wanted something only God could have, to be like Him in all ways, not just with His image, and acted upon this desire. Adam and Eve were given dominion over the Earth. This dominion did not extend to God. He has ultimate authority over all He has created.

Eve and Adam coveted that which was God’s and not theirs.

God uses the word “covet” in this verse. Most translations of the Scripture use the word “desired” but it is the same word used in the tenth commandment in Exodus and Deuteronomy. The word used means to desire, take pleasure in or to delight in. It is something which is desirable or precious. Its first use is in Genesis 2:9 when God creates every tree “pleasant” which means “desirable” and is also translated “covet.” “And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9 ESV). Covet is used in both a good and evil way in Scripture. God made the fruit of the trees desirable and precious.

Rebellion takes that which is designed for pleasure and makes it an object of desire which must be had at all cost. That which is desirable becomes the object of lust. Coveting is wanting a thing more than wanting God. Coveting becomes wanting what someone else owns for your own, which includes wanting what God owns, and planning how to acquire that thing.

Coveting that which belongs to God or others is the foundation of sin. That which drives sin and rebellion is to have what belongs only to God by planning to take it away from God. After the fall people are so completely bent by sin that their natural tendencies are always away from Him. For most there is no conscious thought of God. For Adam and Eve God should have been in the front of their minds. As the ruling authority over the earth, coming under the authority of God, Adam and Eve should have been aware of both their position under God and His position over them. Ignoring or forgetting God is not wise.

God Commands

Studies in Genesis 3

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:5 ESV)

The Deceiver is telling Eve, and Adam, that eating from this specific tree will give them knowledge they do not yet have. They will know good and evil. God called all He made “good.” He called nothing “evil” other than naming a tree. God named two trees. He called one the tree of life and the other the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9 ESV)

There was nothing magical about any of the trees. All of the trees that bore fruit were food for Man. Every tree was pleasing to the eye and the fruit of every tree was edible and would not damage or hurt anyone who ate the fruit. Yet, God forbade Man from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as part of His teaching them about obedience and disobedience, about good and evil.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “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.” (Genesis 2:16-17 ESV)

God does not have to explain to anyone why He gives a command. Remember, God commanded Man to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He did not ask. God never asks anyone to do or not do something. Man’s obedience to God’s command is expected. If I am correct in my thinking God would have eventually allowed Man to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But Adam and Eve were in training. They were growing in the discipline of knowing and serving God. They were not told to refrain from eating from the tree of life. Once they were mature in the thinking of their hearts they would eat from both trees.

Knowing the difference between good and evil is intimately knowing the reason for obedience and the consequences of disobedience. Why would those created for service to God even think or feel they could, or should, not serve Him? Either the seed of disobedience and rebellion was already planted in Man by God or it was planted in Man by a force other than God. That force other than God need not be the Deceiver. It could be Man, themselves. Some will say that inherent in the image of God given is the possibility of rebellion. But is this true? None living now are perfect. We cannot know the state of being of Adam and Eve. We can know that they had the tools needed to make specific decisions and the freedom to carry out those decisions. They could choose to obey out of intimate love for their Creator or to rebel and begin hating Him by focusing upon themselves. Genesis is telling us they were influenced to think of rebellion by the Deceiver and they listened to him. Their actions will either finish his deception or show that it failed. We know what happens.

The First Superstition

Studies in Genesis 3

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:5 ESV)

We are shown the birth of the first superstition. By eating the forbidden fruit, the Deceiver implies two things will happen. First, Eve’s knowledge will become complete. Secondly, with the addition of complete knowledge will come divinity. The Deceiver is saying she will be another God. This is a lie.

Superstition is an absurd religious belief or practice meant to manipulate either nature or God, or both, into doing that which is against both the laws of nature and the person of God. Such superstition relies upon the misinterpretation of evidence and willfully believing something which cannot be true. Adam and Eve had enough knowledge to know the fruit of the tree, any tree, was meant only for food. They also had enough intimate knowledge of God to know they could never be completely like Him in His person. They had those qualities which allowed them to know God both intellectually and intimately. They were His authority on the world but had no authority anywhere else.

Here, we learn something about the Deceiver. We already know he (I am moving away from the term “it” for the Deceiver is called “he” in Scripture) was created by God. We know he was able to enter and control a physical animal. We know he did not have the image if God, yet was intelligent, understood morality and was willful. We can surmise he did not have dominion. We now know he was in rebellion against God, had done something forbidden him by God because he wanted to be equal to God. I draw this opinion-conclusion from his words to Eve. He wants her to rebel against God just as he rebelled against God. He wants her to think she can be like God just as he thinks he can be like God. This line of thought and action suggests a hatred for God and everything God has created, including himself.

David, in Psalm 7, gives us the formula followed by the Deceiver, and consequently by all who are in rebellion against God. “Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies” (Psalm 7:14 ESV). First comes the desire to rebel against God. This desire is not instant nor arbitrary but deliberate and focused. Next, is the time needed for the rebellion to grow to viability. Both “evil” and “mischief” are translated “trouble.” But “evil” includes idolatry and wickedness while “mischief” suggests deliberate labor toward a specific end or conclusion. Finally, the result of active rebellion is deception, fraud and betrayal.

While the Deceiver was already in rebellion against God he planted a seed of rebellion in Eve. Either Eve, and Adam, were already contemplating their place before God, questioning their relationship with Him, or he, the Deceiver, spent some time cultivating, planting and feeding the superstition. Both concepts are possible. But, we do not know. Genesis tells a story of a single meeting between the serpent and Eve. We must be careful to not add to God’s words.

“For God Knows”

Studies in Genesis 3

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5 ESV)

What does God know? He knows everything. God is omniscient. He knows what will happen as well as what could have happened. Yet, this is not what the Deceiver means by “for God knows.”

“For God knows” suggests God is fully aware that the consequences of eating the fruit against His direction is not undesirable death but something desirable. God is actively keeping Man away from that which may bring a benefit by suggesting a negative will happen. Nothing in the garden, or created by God, is designed to harm or hurt. All of the trees of the garden which bear fruit are good for food. There is no reason to not eat from every tree other than God said do not eat from a specific tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Deceiver is telling Eve it knows something about God she does not because God has kept it from her.

There is nothing magical in the fruit. There is no reason for Eve, or Adam, to believe the fruit is anything other than food. If the fruit had no magical properties, but was simply nutritious and good for food, then God, in giving the command, is not concerned about Man’s physical body but the thinking of Man’s heart. Awareness of good and evil is a perception and understanding of the moral-emotional self that would affect every aspect of life, physical, mental, emotional, willful, and spiritual. It is not the physical properties of the fruit which are being denied but the willful disobedience to a command given by God is being encouraged.

The Deceiver turned God’s command on its head by implying the physical properties of the fruit had some unknown magical element which would give something, some unidentified quality, missing from Man. God obviously did not finish what He had started when He created Man, even in His image, and was malevolently denying Man that which would complete them.

God’s image in Man includes the intellectual, the moral-emotional, the will, dominion and many other spiritual qualities. The Deceiver’s statement challenges every aspect of God’s relationship with Man. Intellectually, the challenge is to learn that which is supposedly being withheld. Morally, the lie states God is the liar and cannot be trusted. Trust is an emotional response sandwiched between intellectual beliefs and the will. People will do that which their heads (the intellect and beliefs) and their heart (the emotions) tell them to do. Finally, God gave Man dominion over the earth and everything in and on it. By withholding the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil God has limited that dominion.

God’s purpose in embedding His image in Man is for relationship. Man is not God but like Him enough for each to relate to the other. By subverting the relationship, suggesting it is not and cannot be what God has made, the Deceiver seeks to sever the relationship and subvert the image of God in Man. These statements show deliberate intent to do that which is contrary to the will of God.

Answer with Truth

Studies in Genesis 3

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Genesis 3:2-3 ESV

When questioned by the serpent, or whatever was inhabiting the serpent, Eve responded with a vague half-truth. She did not identify the tree from which they were to not eat and she added to the command of God. When God gives an explicit command, we do not have the authority to alter His words into something vague and imprecise. Nor is it ever our place to speak for God by putting words in His mouth. Eve could have countered the deception of the serpent with the exact words of God.

Notice what Jesus does in Matthew 4 and Luke 4. When tempted and tested by the devil He does not respond in generalities but with the actual words of God.

Why is this important?

When we allow the thinking of our hearts about God and His commands to descend into generalities we open ourselves to believing compromise is essential and begin adding boundaries, exclusions and misinterpretations to what He said. We begin to believe He did not say what He really said. This gives us a false view of God and of ourselves in relation to Him. This would be like an “editor” randomly adding clarification to someone’s writing without knowing the person, what has already been said or agreeing with the message, working with the intent to steal the message away from the author and make it their own. God said “you shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13 ESV). This command has for some, morphed into not allowing justified killing of the criminal or killing during a justified war. The most prevalent use of compromising the word of God is the justification of murdering a baby in the womb because the baby is not considered a person. God’s words are twisted to fit our insane beliefs.

God is not mysterious and vague in His Words to Adam and Eve. He spoke to them directly, face to face. He embedded His image in them so they had the inherent tools and abilities needed to understand Him and intimately know Him. Having His image gave them an absolute advantage over every other physical or spiritual creature. Both the snake, a physical creature, and the spiritual being inhabiting the serpent were created by God. Eve had a conversation with a dumb, unable to speak, physical creature being used by a different, intelligent and morally compromised spiritual creature. Physical creatures are separated from physical creatures by flesh and blood and bone. It is possible a spiritual creature could inhabit, or take up residence, in a physical, as evidenced by Jesus confronting the myriad of demons who had taken possession of people. Adam and Eve had all they needed to know something was amiss and that whatever was in the serpent was not speaking the truth to them.

We do not know why Eve did not counter the lies of the serpent with the truth of God. We know that she did not specifically identify God’s true statement, and that she added to His words. The serpent set her up to fail, gambling that she would fail. She failed almost immediately.

Out of Dust

Studies in Genesis 2

Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Genesis 2:7 ESV)

God shaped the first Man out of the same stuff from which the earth is made. “Dust” is loose earth, clay or ore. “Ground” is a plot of land, the substance of the earth, soil. The dust of the earth is loose soil, which lies on top of the ground, easily gathered into your hand and tossed or moved about. God gathered up a pile of loose dirt and changed that pile into a Man.

“Formed” means to shape or mold, to squeeze into a shape, to manipulate. God formed the Man from the dust of the ground. He took a substance He had already made and from it He changed that substance into something completely different. He took something which was designed to sustain life and from it created that which is alive. Only God can do this.

But God didn’t just fashion the likeness of a Man and make him alive. He breathed into him the “breath of life.” God blew into the Man’s nostrils a puff of breath and Man came to life. God tells us what He has done singling out Man for special treatment. He sets Man apart from the rest of His creation. We assume God created every creature from the material on hand. We assume God gives breath to every creature. Yet, He is not telling us about every creature. He is telling us about ourselves.

A Scriptural illustration may help us understand what God has done. “But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8 ESV). The potter takes a lump of clay and prepares it, then fashions it according to his will and design. The clay has nothing to say about what is being done. “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” (Romans 9:21 ESV).

Some have suggested that because Paul uses the words for “honorable” and “dishonorable” use, God creating some people of more value and importance than others. Yet, God gives Man a dignity and place in creation He gives no other creature. He intimately knows each person yet places them in different circumstances and directs them in different ways but never makes one more valuable than another. All are created in God’s image and given a specific purpose. God’s purpose fits His character and all are created eternally valuable. There is no lesser or greater.

Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:5-6 ESV)

Adam and Eve were created to fulfill the purpose of God and given a nature for that end. Every person is given the same purpose and nature.