Posted by: Ety W. | July 25, 2008

Genesis 3 – So What Happened?

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Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” Gen. 3:1 (NASB)

I don’t know about you, but the first question that pops into my mind, is “why the woman?” Much is made of this fact in teachings about the roles of men and women. What we need to do however, is to follow the principles of inductive Bible study, and see what Scripture says before jumping to any conclusions.

We should note that the serpent misquotes the Lord God by saying “any tree.” Of course, since the serpent is crafty, we know this is deliberate. But in looking at Eve’s answer, we see that she misquotes as well.

And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'” Gen. 3:2-3

Eve added “or touch it.” We can speculate as to the reason, but the text doesn’t give us this information.

Another disturbing fact is found in this verse,

…. she took its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Gen. 3:6b

“With her.” Again, questions! Did Adam observe the entire interaction between his wife and the serpent? It doesn’t say she took it to her husband. And why did he eat too, knowing that God had said don’t? Again, we can only speculate. We do know from chapter 2, that the command about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, was given to Adam before Eve was created. Yet we also know, from what she told the serpent, that she knew of the command as well.

To make matters worse, both Adam and Eve blamed someone else when confronted (verses 12 & 13.) Adam blamed his wife and Eve blamed the serpent. But she also says something very revealing,

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What have you done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.” Gen. 3:13

I’d like to take a closer look at that word, “deceived” next time, but for now, we just need to understand that there are consequences for disobedience. In verses 14 through 24 God spells out those consequences, which unfortunately didn’t only affect Adam and Eve. They have and continue to affect us as well.

The worst of these consequences is the knowledge of good and evil. Now, ordinarily we think of knowledge as being a good thing. But let’s take a look at the Hebrew here.

To Know – Strong’s 3045 – ידע – yada = to know, to ascertain by seeing. Among other things, used of God’s knowledge of man, and of the sexual experience between man and woman.

What we see then, is not a simple knowing about something, as in reading a book about it. We see knowing on a very personal, intimate level based on mental, emotional, and physical experience. And that is one of the saddest consequences of sin, the experience of evil.

We usually think of death as being the consequence for sin and we give thanks to Jesus for releasing us from sin’s penalty. Yet between birth and death we experience the knowledge of evil. We live out the consequences of choices made; both our own and those of others. Sadly, one’s choices always effect others. Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s not hurting anybody” to justify their actions? The problem is that it only looks that way in our finiteness. Eve could well have said the same thing.

Because we have free will, we spend our entire lives making choices. We can choose to be obedient to God’s Word, or we can yield to some tempting reason to disobey. It is difficult because obedience truly requires faith. It requires trusting God on an unseen level, one often in contradiction to our thoughts and feelings. Yet so much rides on it.

Next time we’ll take a look at “why the woman,” and see if we can find anything in Scripture to answer that question.


Responses

  1. ” Yet between birth and death we experience the knowledge of evil.”
    This is SO true! And we know evil intimately.

    ” We live out the consequences of choices made; both our own and those of others. Sadly, one’s choices always effect others”

    True too. And I believe that the more authority we carry in a choice, the more we will be held accountable.
    My children (while still children) will make choices that affect me negatively, but because they are children and have less wisdom, they are held less accountable for the damage than If I make choices that hurt them.

    ” obedience truly requires faith. It requires trusting God on an unseen level, one often in contradiction to our thoughts and feelings. Yet so much rides on it.”

    This is very, very true. You hit the nail on the head.
    I think that’s why God also says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If we truly fear Him, we will make wise choices. If we don’t, can we even expect wisdom?

  2. Excellent points, Madame.

    In reading your comment, Luke 12:48 comes to mind,

    “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. ”

    Simply understanding that accountability exists in the first place is definitely a step toward wisdom.


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