The third chapter of Genesis sets forth woman's deception, man's treason, and the fall of mankind which results.
First, we see how the serpent, Satan, sets the scene to deceive the woman by misquoting God's command to Adam found in Genesis 2:15-17:
"And the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and guard and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'You may freely eat of every tree of the garden, except of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and of blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.' "
Note above that God presented His command to Adam in a "positive" way -- i.e., that he may freely eat of all trees but one. Satan, on the other hand, subtly turned it around when he spoke to Eve in Genesis 3:1, and presented God's command in a "negative" way:
"Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, 'Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?' "
At this point, Eve remembers basically what God had commanded, as well as the essence of its gravity, but it's evident that this first misleading statement from Satan begins to muddle her memory, for in Genesis 3:2,3 she misquotes God's command, as well:
"And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, except of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.' "
Eve added to God's original command, adding that they should not touch the fruit as well as not eating of it, which is not what God had said.
Satan used Eve's misquote of God's command as an opportunity to plant some questioning doubt as to the reality of its consequences, in Genesis 3:4,5:
"But the serpent said to the woman, 'You shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day that you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be as God, knowing the difference between good and evil, and blessing and calamity.' "
The word "serpent" comes from the Latin word serpo, "to creep," which suggests stealth. The way a serpent moves -- writhing, without the aid of hands or feet -- beguiles and fascinates the watcher; and as such the serpent, or Satan, is the "fascinator" of men. All of his works and temptations are based in deception. Satan watches us for weak spots before coming to us with temptation. Just as the woman was beguiled, it can be very difficult for Christians living in this age to live in pure devotion to Christ with no contamination, just as Paul warned the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 11:3. In the case of Adam and the woman, Satan knew which one to approach, which one would be deceived, and either hoped or assumed -- correctly -- that Adam would follow suit, with devastating results.
Watch what happens next in Genesis 3:6. Satan used the same three temptations here with Eve that he continues to use with all mankind:
"And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable and pleasant) for food," (1st temptation, lust of the flesh) "and that is was delightful to look at" (2nd temptation, lust of the eyes) "and a tree to be desired to make one wise," (3rd temptation, assurance in one's own resources as opposed to having faith in God, Who is unseen, and living according to His will; Dake's calls this "the pride of life" 1 (see Notes) "she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate."
After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the fourth chapter of Matthew gives an account of how He was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. In Matthew 4:3, Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread to relieve His hunger (lust of the flesh); in Matthew 4:6, Satan tempts Him to prove He was the Son of God by throwing Himself from a turret of the temple (self-assurance, or "pride of life"); and in Matthew 4:8,9, Satan tempts Him with ownership of the world's kingdoms and with its beauty (lust of the eyes). Satan knew Jesus was hungry, His not having eaten for forty days. He also knew Jesus had come down from heaven to live on earth in the flesh for a time, and attempted to influence Him to "try" God's power by jumping from a turret, with reliance on His angels to bear Him up. Lastly, Satan tried to deceive Jesus into worshipping him in exchange for ownership of the world and its splendor. It's noteworthy that in Jesus' case, similar to Eve's, Satan cunningly twisted the Scriptures and perverted their meaning in an effort to trip Him up. But Jesus was well-versed in scripture and strong in faith, and in each temptation came right back at Satan with God's Word, accurately quoted and with full understanding. He was fully God and fully man, filled with grace and righteousness, and was unable to be deceived.
Eve, on the other hand, was able to be led astray by Satan's deceptive reasoning. He does the very same thing today, using those same three temptations. The apostle John explains this in the first of his three letters (1John 2:15-17):
"Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification], and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one's own resources or in the stability of earthly things] -- these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life, abides (remains) forever."
It is comforting to know that when we resist the devil, he will flee from us (see James 4:7), which is exactly what happened in Matthew 4:11 after Jesus had successfully resisted his temptations:
"Then the devil departed from Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him."
At the end of Genesis 3:6 we learn that the woman ate the forbidden fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate. These two actions are significant, for many unseen things then instantly took place.
First, we know that Adam was there with her and watched this whole event transpire, without comment or intervention. (There are different opinions regarding Adam's actual presence during Eve's encounter with Satan, but the King James clearly states that he was there with her, and the Amplified translation implies it as well.) Paul tells us in his first letter to Timothy, in 1 Timothy 2;14, that Adam was not deceived as the woman had been. As Dake's notes, Adam was "without excuse. He should have spoken up and protected his mate and his dominion." 2 (see Notes) So Adam,fully aware of what was taking place, willfully partook of the forbidden fruit after his wife had done so, even though he knew that his action would result in physical and spiritual death.
Now, as it stands, Adam has completely shirked the responsibility God gave him in Genesis 2;15, which was to "keep" the garden in which he lived. The Hebrew word used to "keep" is shamar, which means "to hedge about, guard, protect." 3 (see Notes) Instead, Adam let an intruder -- Satan -- invade his property. Here is man's first and greatest failure. As a result of his treason and willful sin, man would now have to deal with the largest consequence of his action, which was separation from God and His peace. The earth would no longer yield to him easily to provide food, shelter and raimant for him and his family. Adam and his wife would now live in a fallen state, still eating the fruit of the earth for sustenance, but with it's coming forth only in sorrow and toil.
Genesis 3:7-11 reveals that Adam and his wife now had a "sin-consciousness;" a knowledge of carnality and their fleshly nature:
3:7 "Then the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves apron-like girdles.
8 And they heard the sound 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 among the trees of the garden.
9 But the Lord God called to Adam, and said to him, Where are you?
10 He said, I heard the sound of You [walking] in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And He said, Who told you you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?"
In addition to their knowledge of the sin itself, Adam and Eve now instinctively knew of their sin against God which resulted in this knowledge of good versus evil, for in verse 10 when Adam spoke to God, he said he was afraid because he was naked. It's also interesting to note that, in verse 11, when God asked Adam who told him he was naked, He immediately asked if Adam had eaten of the forbidden fruit, implying that this knowledge could only have come from God or a God-source: the tree of knowledge. When their "eyes were opened," it was with shame and fear that they now saw the law of their flesh warring with the law of their God-given conscience, and felt a new disorder in their spirits.
Now watch as Adam immediately attempts to diffuse the blame in Genesis 3:12:
"And the man said, The woman" (defense one) "whom You gave to be with me," (defense two) "she gave me [fruit] of the tree," (defense three) "and I ate."
So now the Lord turns to the woman (Adam, no doubt, heaving a sigh of relief), and asks her about this terrible thing she has done. The woman also tries to disown the blame in Genesis 3:13, saying:
"The serpent beguiled (cheated, outwitted, and deceived) me, and I ate."
The apple has been eaten; the deed is done. Next, watch the progression of admonitions from the Lord. Just as Jesus told us in Matthew 18:6,7, it is the one who causes another to sin that is held in higher accountability. With that in mind, in Genesis 3:14 we see that God deals with the serpent first. He curses the serpent above all other animals, domestic and wild, and sentences him to eat and writhe through the dust on his belly all the days of his life. Dake's notes that, "the serpent will still bear the curse after it is removed from other animals (Isaiah 65:25)" 4 (see Notes)
In Genesis 3:15, God is still dealing with Satan:
"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise and tread your head under foot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel."
God's words in this verse imply a future Redeemer, Christ, Who would suffer pain at the hands of Satan (temporal afflictions and His crucifixion: the "bruising of His heel"), but Who would ultimately destroy Satan ("crushing his head"). God put enmity between Satan and the woman, between his and her offspring, which is blatantly evident in Herod's killing of all Hebrew children in Bethlehem under the age of two after Christ was born, in order to destroy the Messiah, the King of the Jews (see Matthew 2:16). In Galations 4:4, Paul speaks of Jesus and says that God sent his Son, at the proper time, born of a woman.
God then deals with the next accountable culprit, Eve, in Genesis 3:16. In this verse God sentences her to greater distress and travail in childbearing than what she would have experienced within a state of grace. God goes on to say that the woman's desire shall be for her husband. The hebrew word used here for "desire" is the same as that used in Song of Solomon 7:10, where the Shulamite woman refers to Solomon's longing for her. It is more than just physical; it is a desire for union in body and soul. On a much deeper level, this desire a wife would now feel for her husband refers to a longing for redemption; a longing for restoration of the original relationship they shared before the Fall, for in the last phrase of verse 16, God declares: "... and he" (your husband) "shall rule over you."
The woman's role in marriage is now to submit to her husband and recognize him as her head. Her fleshly nature will rebel against this, wanting to instead control him and, in essence, partake in his leadership role, or even usurp it altogether. Feminism tells us we must do this; that we must fight for equality at all costs. Let's consider those costs:
- Higher numbers of day-care, latch-key, and unsupervised kids at younger and younger ages, so that mother can pursue her own career just like father;
- Continual rise in divorce with broken families and children bearing the full force of not having a mother and a father together at home;
- Increased single-motherhood, from divorce, yes, but also from a choice women feel they can now make; that they can indeed "do it all" and have and raise children on their own, without the direction and devotion of a loving father;
- And perhaps the highest cost of all, the millions of babies aborted every year throughout the world, so that a woman can put her needs and wants before the life of her child.
God's command to women, on the other hand, is simple: to submit to our husband's leadership and support him in his life and work, always as "second in command," so to speak, to love our husbands and children, and to do all of this willingly and lovingly as unto the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Genesis 3:17-19, God tells Adam that for his having listened to his wife's voice and eating of the tree of knowledge instead of heeding His command, the ground would now be under a curse and, as a result, in toil and sorrow would Adam now bring sustenance out of the ground. In other words, survival wouldn't be easy anymore. Before the Fall, the earth yielded easily to Adam in bringing forth good fruit. Now, although it would still yield sustenance, the earth would also bring forth thorns and thistles. God didn't make any other provisions for man's food inspite of these new conditions; in the latter part of verse 18, God told Adam that he would continue to eat of the plants of the field as before. It's noteworthy that as thorns would now choke the physical growth of man's bread to eat, so also do thorns choke the "bread of life" -- Christ as the Word -- from growing in men's hearts (see Mark 4:18,19 in the parable of the sower). Dake's notes that "thorns are a sign of desolation." 5 (see Notes) The desolation here, in a cursed earth, was God's absence.