We are introduced to a serpent- that is described as "more crafty than any other beast of the field", who then, is later portrayed as God's enemy. We aren't given too much information about the serpent to begin with, but as the chapter unfolds we can easily determine his role.
The serpent approaches Eve (by the way, Eve hadn't been named yet), and says, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" Before we continue, lets look back to Genesis 2 and see what God did say. Chapter 2 verse 16 says, "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.'" Did God say, you shall not eat of any tree in the garden, like the serpent asks? The answer is no. God just commands them not to eat of one tree- the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Let's continue... Eve responded to the serpent and said, "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.'" Is what Eve said true? The answer is no! God never said that if she touched the tree she would die, only if she ate of it. Verse 4...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.' So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was 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, (Emphasis mine) and he ate. Then they eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made for themselves loincloths.
This is extremely interesting. When you study God's Word, you are supposed to read it the way the author intended for you to understand it. They tell you things on purpose and leave things out if they are irrelevant. Notice the following things that are mentioned in this chapter that are important within a marriage.
First note, that the serpent approached the woman first.
I am a woman, and I can honestly admit that although we both walk with the Lord, I am easier tempted than my husband. I believe God gives a man wisdom to lead his home if they honor and follow Him. If this is the case with Adam and Eve, then of course the serpent went to the woman first! She was perhaps weaker in faith, and easier to deceive. How familiar is it to know of a woman (maybe I am speaking about you here...) who walks into a store, sees a sale sign, and immediately runs for the sale rack? I used to work at a furniture store, and we placed commercials purposely on channels women watched during the day, so that they would be convinced of our sale and want to buy furniture. Then they would drag their husband to the store with them, and hopefully make a purchase. It's statistical! Now whether we want to say 'tempt the woman to buy furniture with a sale and then entice her husband to come to the store' is maybe stretching it a bit- but I think not. Women like sales- it's inevitable! Even I am a sucker for online deals with free shipping!
The second thing to note is that the serpent changed what God actually said. He suggested that God said not to eat of any tree, which wasn't the case. This is a great example of how the evil one twists God's word in our ear. Do you remember the story of the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4? (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+4&version=ESV). In this story, the evil one even uses Scripture against Jesus, using it out of context to tempt Him. Satan will use whatever he can to make you believe a lie. Often times Satan says, 'Did God actually say...?'
I remember this clearly when God convicted me of my drinking habits. I remember many times, I felt God ask me to stop drinking completely. And I also remember listening to the devil say, 'Did God actually say not to drink at all? Are you sure He just didn't say not to get drunk? After all the Bible doesn't say not to drink at all...' I listened to the evil one's voice and because I did, I made many more mistakes after that. That is how my porn addiction started. I didn't need to be drunk to be tempted to look at porn- and Satan knew that. It was after I gave in to a few sins that I realized which voice I was actually listening to. The problem was, I had given the devil a foothold in my life. I had allowed myself to become weak in a few more areas, and he used them against me later in life. I should have listened to the One True Voice.
After Satan had changed what God said to deceive Eve, Eve then changed what God actually said too. God never told her that if she touched the tree that she would die, only if she ate of it. My study notes in the ESV study Bible say that this misquote of God may be intended to "convey that the woman views God's instructions as open to human modification." I am not sure that I completely feel comfortable with that footnote, although it could be true. My perspective on this is the serpent already had a foothold on her, she was starting to conform to his lies, and therefore wasn't thinking clearly. When we start listening to Satan's lies, we succumb to his way of thinking.
I can think of many examples in my own life, but I will be merciful and only tell you one! When I am being tempted to buy something I don't need with money I don't have I begin to justify my spending by coming up with reasons why I need what I want. I might justify it because we are getting paid in a couple days, I might justify it because it's on sale, or has free shipping, or I have surrendered to the thought that I can't live without it, and I honestly think I can't- which is idolatry. The closer I walk with Jesus, the more I see how I have made Satan's lies, which you see all over tv- normal. The closer I walk with Jesus, the easier it is to point out the foolishness. I believe at this point, Eve had already surrendered her thinking to his, which is why she had made it seem that God was restricting her even more. With my drinking, it was hard for me to think God wanted me to give up drinking completely. After all, I wasn't getting drunk. I wondered why God was restricting me completely from alcohol. After disobeying God's word to me, I realized I had been dragged into much more sin than just drinking against God's will. I think it's the same with Eve. She had already conformed her thinking with the serpents and felt like God was restricting her more than He should have, but she will soon realize as well, that she had been dragged into much more sin than just eating of the forbidden tree.
Next, the serpent completely denies what God says about not eating from the tree and actually contradicts it completely- by telling Eve that they will not die, their eyes will be opened and will be like God in knowing good and evil after they eat from it. This is very devious on the serpents part. The reason being- he isn't completely lying, but is definitely leading her dishonestly. Their eyes were opened- when they realized their nakedness and were shamed by it. They were knowledgeable of good and evil, when they realized they sinned against God- not exactly the wisdom she was looking for. And they did not die an earthly death immediately after eating of the fruit- but they were banished from the Garden of Eden, and God's presence. Whether they had eternal life or death when their earthly life ended is not known. Some may read this and think, well God misinformed Adam and Eve concerning the punishment received when they ate of the tree- and that's exactly what the evil one wants you to think. If you need to reread the chapter, and see God never once misled or lied- it was the serpent that twisted what God said.
The next important feature of this chapter is in verse six. 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 desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. If we look back to chapter two, starting in verse 16, it says, 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.' Yes, you say, we've read this verse umpteen times! But I want you to realize that God commanded ADAM concerning the tree. I am not restricting the instruction to him as if Eve was allowed to eat of it, but I want you to note that God instructed the husband about it. As a husband, and the head of the home, and the divine responsibility placed on him as a husband to guard his wife (Genesis 2:!5), he was responsible to lead his wife concerning this command. When verse six says that Adam was with her and ate also, he not only led his wife terribly- and in the complete opposite direction of God's will- but he too sinned. Did Eve tempt him? Did he just go along with it to save an argument? Regardless of why he chose to ate, he led his wife astray by not leading her and by following her rather than leading her by example. The proper thing to do would have been to say, "Eve, the Lord God told us not to eat of this tree. I don't completely understand why, but I need to trust in His word, and I would like you to obey Him as well." He then, would have held his side of the responsibility, and things would have been different. What if Eve still ate, but Adam didn't? What if neither of them ate? What great questions to ponder!
There are two choices of sin. Ones by commission, and ones by omission. A sin by commission is doing what you're not supposed to do. Example: getting drunk. A sin by omission is not doing what you're supposed to do. Example: knowing of someone in need and not helping. Adam committed both sins of commission and omission- he knew to lead his wife, and didn't (omission) and then ate the fruit that God commanded not to (commission).
After they ate of the fruit, their eyes were opened and they realized their nakedness and sin against God. They were also ashamed, and for the first time, they clothed themselves with fig leaves.
STAY TUNED FOR PART 3 COMING SOON!!