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(The study in Genesis 3 started in Genesis 2)

Recap:

So far we have looked at the account of creation. Last week we looked at Adam and Eve, The Garden of Eden, and Satan.


Read Genesis 3:1-7

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

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

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.


How pathetic to imagine they could hide their nakedness from Father God who had created them.

 

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”


Even more pathetic is their attempt to keep their sin from God’s all-seeing eye by attempting to hide themselves.

But do we still try to hide our sins from God today?

Why do we do that? Do we really imagine that God doesn’t see, or worse, that he doesn’t care?


Why is it said that all sin is a direct affront to the holiness of God?


10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

   The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”


We know we commit sin, but then our conscience is faced with a dilemma: do we face up to it or do we try to justify ourselves?

Romans 2:15 in the Revised Standard Version has ‘their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them’


Whether our conscience accuses us, or tries to excuse us, we have still committed the sin, and we know it! However, that doesn’t stop our sinful nature from trying to wriggle out of the consequences. It was the same with Adam and Eve. Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the Serpent. But each was guilty and each would be punished.


14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

   “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.


What did the serpent look like before it was cursed? Did it stand upright? Presumably it had legs? And arms? Was it attractive to look at?


To loose arms and legs and have to crawl in the dust is very symbolic of the impotence of Satan in the sight of God. The serpent had encouraged Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and doing so she would be contaminated – the serpent’s punishment is that now every mouthful of food that it takes will be contaminated. And Satan, that Bright Morning Star who would have made himself equal with God in the highest heavens, is reduced to crawling in the dust.


15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”


There is enmity between women and snakes, but also towards wasps, and rats! And I don’t see snakes as particularly having evil intentions towards humans. So who is this directed towards?


It is aimed towards Satan himself. See Revelation 12:17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.


This seems to speak particularly and prophetically about Satan and the offspring of Eve: Jesus Christ, who would ultimately crush Satan, but also suffer as a consequence. And not only Jesus, all who follow him naturally find Satan abhorrent. But Romans 16:20 encourages us: The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.


16 To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”


A hard punishment: The woman’s desire is for her husband but as a result pregnancy and childbirth will be unpleasant and painful. But how do we view the second part of that sentence: ‘and he will rule over you’?


From the beginning, Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.


This implies that woman would join man as helper in this rule over all created animals, but Eve is told that from now on Adam will rule over her, and by extension that man will in future rule over woman.


Women have rebelled against this, governments have legislated against it, even some translators of the Bible have attempted to make passages non gender-specific (mankind becoming humankind) but the fact remains that this was part of the consequences of Eve’s sin, and throughout the world, the place of woman has often been subservient to man. (This may well provoke discussion! Also see the notes at the end of this study)


But if man is to be ruler over women, he must accept that he is ultimately responsible for them and therefore for their actions. Even before this, Eve was only Adam’s helper – not his master, so Adam is held personally responsible for his sin.


And it is because Adam allowed sin into his life – and so to his descendants –   that the whole human race is now considered sinful:

1 Corinthians 15:21-22

21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.


And not only the human race, but the whole world is now corrupted:

Romans 5:12-14

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Adam represents mankind, and because Adam sinned mankind has become sinful, and death is the result. Romans 5:14 points out that even in the time between Adam and Moses, although people could not break any specific command, as none had been given, they were still sinners and they died as a result. We could say surely that is unfair, as there were no Commandments yet, but look at Romans 1:18-20 

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.


We could also argue that it is unfair that we should be represented by Adam and thus automatically declared to be sinful – but as Paul points out above (Romans 5:17), through grace, we are happy to be represented by Jesus and thus declared righteous!


For those who still think it is unfair that we are tainted by the sin of Adam, it is not Adam’s sin, but our own for which we will finally be held accountable before God. It is true that Sin entered because of Adam’s choice, but we have exactly the same freedom to make the same choice today – to either choose death, or to choose life through Jesus.


When Adam sinned, there were to be other consequences:


17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’  “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”


Until now, Adam and Eve had been picking fruit from trees in the Garden of Eden whenever they wanted. This was to change: the food they ate in future was now to be ‘the plants of the field’ and they would have to be planted, tended, and harvested at the appropriate time.


Obviously to start with, they could harvest any plants and vegetables that they could find, but unlike trees, in many cases the vegetable is the plant and unless others were left to produce seed, the seed collected and stored, and then planted, the plant would be no more. Again to ensure enough cereal seeds, planting fields would be the only solution.


And it would not be easy: v19 ‘By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food

and worse: v17 ‘through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.’

And they would also now have to continually battle against weeds.

Does that have a parallel as we seek to grow in our spiritual lives?


The serpent said (verse 4) “You will not surely die,” but now (v19) God shows how wrong they were to believe the serpent: for dust you are and to dust you will return – not only will they die, but in death they will to be seen to be only human, not God-like, and will return to the dust from whence they came.


20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.


Adam and eve were ashamed of their nakedness. They tried to cover themselves with leaves (v7) and they hid (v10). God knows that from now on they will need something better than fig leaves to maintain their dignity. Also leaving the perfect conditions in the Garden, man was now to face all the vagaries of climate and needed clothes. God, although angry with their disobedience still loved his creation, and spent time making suitable garments.


For this God had to kill an animal. Some say that as death entered the world for mankind as a result of Adam’s sin, this would be the first of God’s creation to die. But there is nothing in scripture to say that animals would not die, and Adam and Eve fully understood the concept of death before they ate the forbidden fruit.


I like to think that in the same way that the Lord provided clothes for Adam and Eve, he also gave them instruction in Farming – particularly the principle of saving seed for next year’s crop. I can’t imagine that the Lord was far away as they started out in their new life.


22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.


The choice of life had always been available to Adam and Eve but they chose the path that led to death. Now the way to eternal life would be barred. As we read on through the Old Testament we will see that God himself will initiate many attempts to bring man to himself, but ultimately it would only be the death and resurrection of his son Jesus that would be able to overcome sin and set us free.


Notes:


It is quite likely that there will be discussion on the place of Men and Women in society today. Also the question may be asked ‘Surely this has changed now we are Christians?’


Acts 2:17-18

17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions,
   your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.


Galatians 3:26-29

26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.


These passages confirm that all are now equal in God’s sight, equally made righteous by the blood of Christ, and are thus equally acceptable to God as heirs of the promise. But that does not change the created order for life on earth.


We still have the command:

Colossians 3:18-19

18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.





Genesis 2Genesis 4








Genesis 3:1-24 Sin and its consequences, and Women