Genesis 3:1 “…the serpent…”
Debate on whether a real serpent was involved here. No reason to think otherwise. The fact that it spoke to Eve could simply be that it was being used by Satan. The punishment that God pronounces addresses both a physical and spiritual serpent, thus a physical one had to be present.
1 “…Has God indeed said…”
The heart of all sin. Disbelief in God and His word. Seeing a lot of that today. All institutions created by God are being questioned simply by saying that God doesn’t exist or that if He does, He didn’t say it.
3 “…nor shall you touch it…”
Touching the fruit wasn’t mentioned until this point. I’ve heard some say Eve was embellishing what God had said. We have no indication of anything specific. Perhaps it was the way Adam described it to her, exaggerating a bit for emphasis. They weren’t supposed to eat it so best not to even touch it.
4 “…You will not surely die…”
Satan’s method. First question God and His word then give a complete lie about Him. Instill a seed of unbelief which opens the door to an alternative path. Makes the other path seem logical. Why it is so important to know the word of God and His truth. No reason to consider other options if they don’t agree with Him from the start.
5 “…God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”
Satan followed the lie with a bit of truth to make his lie sound legitimate. He used the same method with Christ during His temptation in the wilderness.
6 “…woman saw that the tree was good for food…pleasant to the eyes…desirable to make one wise…”
Here is the beginning of walking down the wrong path. She knows the truth, that she shouldn’t eat of the fruit, period. Therefore, she had no business even being around it or talking to the serpent about it. Yet, she chose to listen to him, then consider what he said, then to look at the fruit. Each step brought her closer to the sin which she eventually did. Had she compared her position and actions to the truth at each stage, she could have turned, but she did not. This is the same path we take when we sin. We consider things we know to be contrary to God’s will, we covet things we know are forbidden to us, we begin to think we have been slighted, that we deserve what we think we see. In the end the sin never delivers what was promised.
6 “…and he ate”
Wondered what would have happened had Eve given the fruit to Adam, but instead of eating it, he chose to believe God and not eat it. How would that have worked within creation? We think they were so different from us because they were perfect and innocent, but perhaps there’s not as much difference as we think. At least not in the areas that deal with decision making and personal relationships. While Adam certainly knew what he shouldn’t do, his relationship with his wife persuaded him otherwise. How important it is that God be part of all of our relationships. If any part does not honor Him, we need to question the relationship, not God.
7 “…they knew that they were naked…made themselves coverings”
No longer innocent, physically or spiritually. Destroyed their relationship with each other and with God. They attempted to deal with their situation on their own by hiding from God and by covering themselves with things that can’t cover adequately. That’s our problem. We can’t do anything that can take care of our sin. We must have someone do it for us which is why Jesus had to die for us.
12 “…The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate”
He not only is blaming his wife for his sin, but God also. Man is responsible for his own sin, he can’t pass it off on anyone else. Just speculation, but I’ve wondered if he was also somewhat responsible for the woman’s sin as he wasn’t there protecting her when the serpent enticed her. Wouldn’t reduce the woman’s responsibility for her own sin, but may add to his.
13 “…The serpent deceived me, and I ate”
She passed the buck too. Serpent doesn’t have anyone to blame.
14-15 “…Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
Judgment on the serpent, both the physical and the spiritual. The physical shall be hated and feared more than any other animal and shall be the lowest of the low. The spiritual shall be the same, but the conflict between it and man shall result in man’s descendent destroying it. Christ, the seed of the woman, destroys sin and Satan by dying and rising again. First mention of the hope we have in Christ.
16 “…I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”
Judgment of the woman. Multiply your sorrow is mostly obvious, but I’m not sure on the conception. Why is this different from what she would have experienced before the fall? Is it actually a negative? Are all aspects of the curse supposed to be taken as a whole as opposed to items on a list? Checked other commentaries. Most agree the first two deal with her life as a mother, the third as a wife, the two aspects of being a woman. Many consider the first joined, the multiplied sorrow would be part of the multiplied conception. Since some women never conceive, this can’t be taken by itself. Perhaps a comparison to what was will make it easier to see. To bring forth offspring should have been nothing but a joyous affair, both in physical experience and in prospects of the children. Now, having offspring will include much suffering. Physical will include the uncertainty of conception, the uncertainty of bringing a pregnancy to term, the many pains associated with a pregnancy, and the pain of delivery. Afterward, there is the knowledge of what the child will have to face being in the same fallen condition as the parent. As to the role of wife, she was to be an equal partner, a helpmeet for her husband. Now, there will be conflict between the two as each will want their own way with the man ruling over the wife. In a sense, her desire will be for her husband’s position, but he will rule over her, thus the conflict. I have nothing to back up the idea, but I also wonder about another relational idea which is in taking all of the curse as a whole. If the relationship had remained perfect, she would be equal with her husband and be able to expect complete adoration and affection from him as his helpmeet. Now there is the possibility of her being treated as nothing more than a means of producing offspring, and instead of a position of safety and affection, she is now relegated to having her husband rule over her which doesn’t guarantee safety or affection. I don’t want to read more into what is actually said so that is pure speculation. However, those conditions do indeed exist in couples’ relationships now, unfortunately. I can say with certainty they are a result of man’s sin even if not part of the stated curse. One other thought on the multiplied conception, also purely speculation, that it wasn’t a negative. If woman reproducing could no longer be a certainty, then the ability to have many conceptions would be a blessing. There would certainly be much sorrow associated with each, but there would be hope that reproduction would actually occur.
17-19 “…Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
Judgment of the man. Immediately have hope thrown in with the curse. The ground is cursed for the sake of the man. Although man’s work will now be laborious, doing it will actually help the man. Will give him a purpose and activity other than sin. Whereas the work man was intended to do was created to be easy and enjoyable, now it would require much labor and toil. It will also sometimes be fruitless, bringing thorns and thistles, worthless plants instead of the food that was intended. And the curse of death which God warned him about in the beginning. Many have debated over the years regarding God’s warning about on the day you eat of it you will surely die, and then the man apparently didn’t die immediately. Nothing but a misunderstanding of man’s makeup, his three-fold existence, being created in the image of God. Man is a living soul with a spirit body to commune with the spiritual realm and a physical body to commune with the physical universe. The day he disobeyed God, man’s spirit died, and his body was transformed to be mortal. It would now age and decay and eventually die. That is the condition man is now born into, with a dead spirit and a physical body cursed with a sin nature. Only through belief in Christ as payment for sin can the spirit be resurrected by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and hope and assurance be given that one day when the mortal body dies, it will be resurrected into an immortal one. Sin results in death of the spirit and body. Christ’s sacrifice gives new life to both. Since the spirit is already dead, its resurrection is immediate. The resurrection of the body will take place after it has died, or if it is still alive at the return of Christ, it will be spontaneously transformed.
20 “…Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living”
From a Hebrew word meaning life.
21 “…the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them”
Man could not even adequately clothe himself because of his sin. God had to do it for him. And something had to die in order to cover up man’s nakedness due to sin. First sacrifice. As the book of Hebrews tells us, without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Life is in the blood, therefore blood must be shed to pay for sin. The blood of animals can temporarily cover sin, but cannot pay for it. A perfect, sinless sacrifice would be required for that, which is why Christ had to come to earth as a man.
22 “…Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”
Commentary had an interesting point here. God isn’t speaking out of irony or contempt. Well, man has really messed up now, guess we need to get him away from the tree of life before he does more damage. Instead it is from sadness and compassion toward mankind. Due to man’s fallen condition, it is best that he be kept from the tree of life so that he doesn’t eat of it and stay in his fallen condition forever. Man was immortal, and the tree was there for that affirmation. Now he is not. He doesn’t deserve that affirmation any longer, nor should he have access to the tree to possibly keep him in his fallen state. Because of Christ and His sacrifice, death has actually become our hope of ultimate freedom from sin. I’m not going to have to live in this fallen, broken-down body forever. One day it will be free from its sin nature.
24 “…He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden…to guard the way to the tree of life”
Actual occurrence, but symbolizes more of man’s separation from his previous state. Similar to the veil in the temple separating man from God’s presence. Christ removed that separation with His sacrifice, which is why the veil tore during His time on the cross. We have now been redeemed back to God if we accept His gift of redemption. I doubt the cherubim is still there. I imagine Eden was destroyed and the tree of life removed during the flood.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.