Tag Archives: Deceiver

Responsibility

Studies in Genesis 3

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12 ESV)

How can we blame God for our rebellion? Can we blame God for the temptations which befall us?  God could have stopped the Deceiver from tempting the Woman but did not. God could have intervened in the discussion between the Deceiver and the woman, but did not. God could have made known His will, as she was reaching out, to not eat the fruit, but did not. When the man ate the fruit, God could have made Himself known and stopped him from eating, but did not.

Does this mean that because God did not do all of these things He is to blame for the actions of the Deceiver, the thought process and decision of the woman, or the unthinking actions of the man? Or, as creatures capable of making decisions, are each responsible for their own thinking, motivations, moral understanding and actions?

Part of being created in the image of God is the freedom to learn and act normally within the natural boundaries God set for the creature. Scripture does not suggest the Deceiver was created in the image of God. Scripture tells us Man was created in the image of God. With His image is the ability to act and behave like God, constrained only by the physical limitations of a created being. God gave His image so Man would know intimately their Creator, as well as having intellectual and moral knowledge of Him. Man would act in a manner which emulates God’s eternal character by knowing God intellectually, morally and intimately.

When the man blamed God and the woman for his rebellion, for his actions, he not only refused to take responsibility but his heart froze toward both his wife and God. Intimacy was destroyed. No longer could either God or the woman trust the man to make righteous decisions based on a wholesome moral understanding of right and wrong. The image of God in him did not change but his ability to know God and act in a manner which emulated God in the physical world was bent and broken. His obedience was natural to him. Now, rebellion and separation from others is natural. That which is bent cannot be unbent. It can be straightened but will always have been bent. That which is broken can be mended but will always have been broken.

Blame

Studies in Genesis 3

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12 ESV)

Everyone who reads this Genesis account knows the man is shifting the blame from himself to the woman and then to God. His answer is an obvious “it’s not my fault” response to God’s interrogation. He does admit he ate the fruit. But follow the progression of blame.

“The woman you gave to be with me” tells God He is most at blame. If He had not given the man the woman as an equal then the man would not have rebelled and eaten the forbidden fruit. Does he not remember his owns words after seeing the woman for the first time? He is given dominion over the earth. God presents to him all of the animals and he names them. But none of the animals are a suitable partner for man. None of the animals are equal to man and it was impossible for man to be fruitful and multiple with any of the animals. He needs a she. God gave the female to the male and made them one flesh

Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:23-24).

The man declares the woman “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” when she is presented to him by God. He knows from where the woman came. He knows that all of the animals he has named are male and female and God’s blessing for them is to multiply and fill the earth. Then God proclaims the spiritual condition of the pair, declaring them one, a unit, together making a whole. It is God’s intent that the man and woman be husband and wife and that their relationship be unique, healthy, whole, free from anything which might divide them. They are “one flesh.”

When the man indicates that the “woman you gave to be with me” was the cause and reason for his rebellion he was speaking truth. God did make the woman so the man would not be alone and would fulfill His blessing to “be fruitful and fill the earth and subdue it.” The woman did give the man the fruit she had plucked and eaten so he could also have a bite. But, the man was not forced to eat the fruit by either God or the woman. Even the Deceiver did not force any to eat the fruit. He ate of his own volition. Now, confronted by God while he is hiding, the man points his finger at the woman and says it is her fault while facing God saying it is also His fault.

Not only is the relationship between God and Man broken but also the healthy relationship between the man and woman.

Who Told You?

Studies I Genesis 3

He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:11 ESV)

God continues asking questions, with the purpose of drawing a response out of Adam to force him to honestly face his rebellion. Yet, God’s questions reveal more about eternity than is apparent.

“Who told you” begins the next question. It is apparent God’s intent is to show Adam he needs to repent through confession. God knows everything, including the answer to this question. Still, there are four personalities present. God, the Creator of all. Adam and Eve, the first people, created in His image. The Deceiver, inhabiting the serpent, also a created being, but without the image of God, yet intelligent, with an emotional understanding of morality, and a will to act. As far as we know, the Deceiver did not have dominion over anything. His deception was a grasping at dominion.

No part of the conversation recorded between Eve and the Deceiver suggested they were naked. It is likely the conversation was not short but long, possibly over a period of days. We do not know. We do know, from the evidence, that Eve and Adam were prepared to rebel against God. Rebellion is never spontaneous.  Misdirected thought and emotion, a looking for alternatives by thinking about self, turning needs into wants, always comes before rebellion.

“Who” is a pronoun for persons. We know God did not tell them they were naked. He created them naked and did not want them wearing clothing. The Deceiver, as far as we know, may have told them they were naked. We do not know because that part of the conversation is not recorded. Did they tell themselves? Somehow, they learned they were unclothed, naked to the world, exposed and vulnerable. This is a consequence of sin and rebellion. Everyone sins and everyone hides because everyone feels vulnerable and exposed to the dangers of the world and others. Being exposed is shameful until the conscious is seared and deadened and what is shameful becomes something which brings pride.

If we cannot hide from God then we must somehow change the rules to either exclude God or make the rebellious act legitimate.

 

Excuse

Studies in Genesis 3

And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:10 ESV)

Adam was terrified. He had a word for what he was feeling. “Afraid.” This is the first time this word is used in Scripture. Afraid means to dread, to revere, to stand in awe, to terrify. It is a legitimate emotion one who has rebelled against God should feel when coming into His presence. We are admonished throughout Scripture to fear God, both as our Creator and our Judge. Adam was afraid because he was coming into the presence of God having just sinned and rebelled against Him.

But Adam gives a different reason for his fear. He declares his fear comes from his nakedness. It is a slightly different word than the one used by God before they rebelled. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 ESV). Here, naked means bare and describes their state of being. They are not only unclothed before God and each other but they also have nothing to hide. God describes their nakedness within their environment as they “were not ashamed.”  They were secure in their home.

After the fall, when Adam comes into God’s presence he is ashamed. He has something he wants to hide. He has a secret he does not want God to know. He is not bare. He is naked. He does not mention the poor attempt at making an apron, which had probably fallen apart by this time.

Adam withdrew himself from sight because he could not cover himself adequately to feel secure. He was forced into hiding, not by God who wanted him to present himself, but by his own guilt which would not allow him to stand openly before God.

Adam’s explanation of being afraid to stand before God is an excuse meant to divert attention away from the true reason. He knew God well enough to know He is all powerful and all knowing. Still, he offered an excuse to God, a dishonest attempt to make himself less guilty before the One who declares guilt. There is no reason to declare innocence. In his innocent nature, Adam could walk bare before the world and have no fear. His shield and protection was God and he did not know he needed protection from anything. Adam was given dominion over the world. He was God’s authority over the Earth. Nothing on the Earth could challenge his authority. Though inhabiting an earthly creature, the snake, the Deceiver was not of the world, yet was still a creation of God. Adam knew his authority. So, for him to offer an excuse for hiding shows not only his relationship with God was compromised but also his authority over the Earth.

I have heard it said that “an excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.” None of Adam’s words are lies. But, his response is still not true. Instead of saying “I ate the fruit you forbade” and “I do not want to face you because I am ashamed,” Adam offered a half truth, “I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10 ESV). Lies are subtle, hidden within partial truth, designed to divert attention. Repentance is not soft but hard, designed to break the resistant will and conform it to God’s will. Adam was afraid and felt remorse because he got caught. Repentance fully faces wrong done while remorse hides behind excuses.

God Strolled in His Garden

Studies in Genesis 3

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

God enjoys His creation.

Some have suggested God is not present, having created and then left His creation to its own devises. They say, if there is a God, He wound up the universe and is letting it run down. That He is uninvolved. This verse shows the absurdity of such a belief. God does not create to then ignore. He is fully involved in His creation.

There are wonders in the universe only He will ever see. We can imagine these wonders, yet our imaginations are puny and miniscule compared to the eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent reality which is God. While this verse does not specifically state God shows emotional enjoyment in what He has done there is a strong implication in the words used that He feels such enjoyment.

God strolled in His garden during a comfortable and enjoyable time of day. Perhaps, there was a slight breeze bending the grasses and rustling the leaves. Nearby, the river flowed. The sun was setting, probably casting beautiful colors across the sky. His senses, unimaginably greater than ours, knew every sight, sound, smell, feel, taste and more than we can ever know. He used His sense to their fullest, eternal capacity.

Nor should we assume this was the first-time God strolled through His garden. He created man in His image for relationship. What better time to meet and talk and be with each other than as the days’ work winds down and a night of peace and rest awaits. He was always with them and His image in them may have given them a constant awareness of His presence, which makes their rebellion more grievous.

God knew what those created in His image had done. He watched Eve discuss the superstitious argument with the Deceiver. He knew her thoughts and motivations as she decided to rebel. He knew where the man was and what he was doing. He knew the Deceiver was in the garden inhabiting a snake and giving the creature a voice. He watched Eve pluck the fruit and take a bite and then watched as she gave the fruit to her husband who also took a bite. He was fully aware of their feelings and desire to hide behind a covering. He knows everything. He knew He was going to pronounce judgment which grieved Him.

And still He walked in the garden in the cool of the day enjoying His creation.

Covering

Studies in Genesis 3

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Genesis 3:7 ESV

As soon as Adam and Eve realized they were “naked” they tried to make coverings for their bodies. They used leaves because of the abundance of material and because they did not know how to make cloth or that they could kill and animal and use its skin.

Why did they see a need to cover themselves? Here are two possible answers.

First, they may have been ashamed and wanted to cover themselves to hide their shame. God has already told us they “were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 ESV). When they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, what they expected to happen did not happen. Their eyes were opened but they were not changed or made better by the act. Eve expected something that would make her like God. Her superstitious expectation, fueled by the lies of the Deceiver, were unreasonable and could never be fulfilled. Adam, on the other hand, had no expectations. He ate because he wanted to eat.

For the first time, they felt guilt and shame and did not know how to react. So, they hid part of their bodies behind coverings. There was remorse but no repentance. Repentance comes from acknowledging guilt and the consequences of rebellion and then mentally and emotionally turning away from the act and motivation. Instead of admitting to each other what they had done was wrong, that they should not have eaten the fruit, they tried to cover over their sin and rebellion with a superficial, self-made fix.

Second, they may have wanted to undo what they had done but did not realize they could not. After their willful act, when their eyes were opened to a new and uncomfortable perspective, they may have wanted to go back to their original state and life. They did not know how. Perhaps they were beginning to realize they could not undo what had been done. Yet, their sin, their transgressions, needed covering.

It is the insanity of man to try to fix the unfixable. Only God can do the impossible. Once a transgression, a sin, is committed it cannot be undone. Yet, by the image of God in them, they inherently knew their sin needed covering. God did not create Man and give His image to turn His back on any person. Because of His love and desire for relationship He would cover their sin and restore their relationship with Him. But in His way and at His time and at a great cost to Him.

It is the gospel which declares God has done that which Man cannot do.

Their Eyes Were Opened

Studies in Genesis 3

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Genesis 3:7 ESV

Immediately, after eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, everything changed. Their eyes were opened and they saw themselves and their environment differently. Physically, nothing had changed. Yet, mentally, emotionally, willfully, spiritually, everything changed.

When God initially created Man, as male and female, He did so according to His design and purpose. He gave them His image, placed them in a home and gave them dominion over their realm, the Earth. “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 ESV). This statement declares their innocence and is for us, for the reader of the account of creation. This statement declares their perfect state of existence.

But, then they rebelled and their eyes were opened. “Eye” does not mean just the physical eye that gives sight but the mental ability to understand what one is seeing. “Opened” means just that, to reveal, take the lid off, unlatch and open that which was closed. They saw each other with their physical eyes and something was different. Outwardly, nothing had changed. Everything they saw was exactly the same. Yet, their perception of each other and their world was different.

Before their rebellion, they were “naked and not ashamed.” After they rebelled, they saw they were naked. Nudity was their natural state. These means their perception of their natural state changed. Their natural state did not change but how they viewed their natural state was now compromised.

They were forced to view themselves differently. This was the intent of the Deceiver when it lied to Eve. The Deceiver wanted Eve, and ultimately Adam and all Mankind, to view themselves, not as they were made by God, but differently. Any way that is not God’s way of viewing themselves will do. “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).

Their disobedience immediately changed their relationship with God and with each other and with the world over which they were given dominion. Their rebellion created a schism between God, each other, and between them and the world and everything in the world.