Genesis 3 | The Fall
(Gen.3:1-6) The Adversary
3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. The serpent was beautiful and likely a reptilian creature. Before being cursed, it had legs. In this text, the serpent is possessed by Lucifer.
Lucifer was a beautiful angel created by God and possibly the leading angel of music (Eze.28:13). As a guardian of God’s throne, he stood in the presence of the Lord day and night (Eze.28:14-15). Then God stationed him in “Eden” -the garden of God (Eze.28:13a). No longer a guardian of God’s throne but of His footstool, this is where Lucifer’s rebellion occurred. Disguised as a serpent, we witness him make his move as he tempts Eve to eat the fruit.
Lucifer lusted for power and prestige; to be worshiped alongside God (Isa.14:12-14). Demoted from God’s throne to the Garden of Eden, he became proud in his heart and his pride led to his fall. In the garden, he sees his chance. Can he get Man to serve him and join his rebellion against God? Maybe even the other Angels will join him. If only he can get Adam and Eve to obey him over God.
Humanity joined the Devil’s rebellion against God when Adam ate the fruit. Lucifer became the father of all those born in sin. This is what makes our sin so great. Our fall was not a separate incident. We gave Lucifer the fuel for the fire; the followers to build a rebellion against the Lord, and we were the first to sign up.
The serpent was cursed to crawl on its belly -Satan was cast down to the ground; hurled out of heaven to wander to and fro through the earth. He awaits an eternal death sentence in the lake of fire. We were driven out of the garden; out of God’s presence to wander the earth along with Lucifer. We await an eternal death sentence in the lake of fire.
But thanks be to God that He has extended His mercy. Though Lucifer is beyond forgiveness God has extended His grace to us in Christ. He has defeated death and the Devil on the cross. He can free us from the power of sin and death. We can become adopted sons of God: once children of wrath, now children of God’s eternal covenant love.
3:1 Cunning (‘aruwm) means subtle, shrewd, crafty, sly, and sensible. Lucifer is coming to Eve under the guise of a snake. He is a liar and deceiver. It is interesting to note, that God is entirely aware of what is transpiring.
3:1 Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’? The serpent proposes a simple question. He wants her to talk to him; to entertain twisted questions about God. Satan’s first objective is to draw us out of fellowship with God.
3:2 The woman (Eve) said to the serpent. This was Eve’s first mistake. She should not be engaging in a conversation with the serpent. Lucifer’s question “has God said” (v.1) was his bait. Eve took the bait and is lured in by a question that challenges God’s truthfulness.
3:3 God has said … Nor shall you touch it (v.3). God never said not to touch it (Gen.2:16-17). Eve is now adding to the Word of God. Lucifer’s intention is to create doubt and distrust by making it seem like God is restricting her from something good. Eve is falling for the trick and is already adding more restrictions to the command. This is arguably the first sin (though not intentional). When we entertain temptation, our first inclination will be to add to or take away from God’s command in order to justify our actions.
3:4 You will not surely die. A lie. This is in direct opposition to God’s warning. Lucifer doesn’t deny that God said this, he says that God is lying. He says there will be no consequence. The Father of lies is accusing the God of Truth of lying. Satan still uses this lie: that there is no consequence to sin. In fact, he makes us believe there are benefits to it. Every time we choose to disbelieve God we are making a similar judgement against God. Satan still uses this lie: that there is no consequence to sin. In fact, he makes us believe there are benefits to it.
3:5 Your eyes will be opened. That they would become all-seeing. He implies that God was hiding something good from them.
3:5 you will be like God, knowing good and evil. In Isa.14:14b Lucifer says to himself “I will make myself like the Most High”. He is now tempting Eve with the same evil -to be like God. The implication is that they will become omniscient. The temptation is to become Autonomous (self-ruled).
3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree desirable to make one wise … she took of its fruit and ate. Every tree in the garden was good for food and pleasant to the eyes (Gen.2:9). The only difference with this tree is the restriction and temptation attached to it. It looked pleasant to the eyes and good for food because of what Satan’s temptation supposedly offered.
Sin begins with ungodly desires. Our three enemies -self, Satan, and society- seek to use those desires and lure us away from God. When we entertain them, the desire grows, and we eventual act out in sin. When sin is full grow it brings forth death (Jas.1:14-15). This is the process Satan has always used: He targets a sinful desire in us, tells us that God is lying; that there is no harm in it and that it will benefit us, and as we entertain the desire it grows and leads to acting out in sin.
3:6 She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Eve was deceived. Adam’s rebelled. Adam was with her the entire time. He never interceded, warned, or said a word. As the head of the family, it was his responsibility to stop Eve and obey God. For this reason, the sin is charged to his account (Rom.5:14, 1Cor.15:22, 1Tim.2:14). The “Transgression of Adam” was one-of-a-kind. He had no sin nature nor desire to sin. He sinned in his innocence.
Original sin does not refer to Adam’s first sin, but to the effects and consequences that his sin has had on all humanity. As descendants of Adam, we have inherited a sin nature (Inherent Sin). We are born into sin (Ps.51:5). The inclination of our will is now against God and for sin. There is no ability in us to desire the true God, to incline ourselves to Him, or to produce an authentic desire for Christ (Radical Depravity). In short, we are dead. The same guilt that Adam incurred is passed on to us (Gen.6:5, 8:21; Ps.14:1-3, 51:5; Isa.48:8, 64:6; Jer.17:9; Rom.1, 3:10-20, 5:12-14).
If God does not intervene in the life of the sinner there is no hope of salvation. He must act. In His Mercy, God makes us alive in Christ. He draws us to His Son for salvation. Granting us faith and repentance that leads to life, we willing trust in Jesus for our salvation. Jesus called Lazarus out of the grave, “come forth”. He calls us out of spiritual death into life, “Come to Me!”
God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved (Eph.2:4-5)
(Gen.3:7-10) Universal Guilt
3:7 and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. Adam and Eve saw their sin and tried to cover it up by making for themselves clothes out of fig leaves. But fig leaves could never cover the guilt of their sin. Only could He provide such a covering (Atonement).
3:8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. God made known His presence. It was time to confront Adam and Eve. Similarly, God will hold the World accountable for their sin: “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Heb.4:13)
3:8 and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. First, they hid their nakedness from one another; now, they are hiding from God altogether. The human response to guilt is to hide from God. We love the darkness. “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” (John 3:20).
3:10 I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself. Guilt carries with it the fear of Judgement and death. Adam’s attempt to hide from the all-knowing, all-seeing God was ridiculous. We can run, but we cannot hide.
Sin and Shame
Genesis 3:7: Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
What happened to Adam and Eve? How were their eyes open? What was wrong with being naked? Why were they ashamed? And what is happening to us? Why do we live in a generation which is unashamed of nakedness?
Satan told Adam and Eve that their eyes would be opened and they would be like God knowing good and evil when they ate the fruit. But he told them a half-truth. They (and we) now know what it looks like to sin. We not only see the pure purpose of God in the things that are made, we see the possible sinful uses we could make of them. There’s nothing wrong with nakedness; there’s something wrong with our heart. Instead of seeing nakedness with pure unadulterated eyes, we now see the possible sinful uses of them.
Shame comes from the knowledge of the Holy God and our sin in comparison to Him. The more we know about God and His law, the more sinful our sin will appear. Adam and Eve knew God personally. They had walked with God and talked with God. They had lived in pure innocence. In comparison to their previous sinless condition, their sin brought the full effect of shame upon their conscience. Adam bore the weight of the world’s sin upon his shoulders.
So our eyes are opened. We see the possible sinful uses we can make of the things that are made. But sin has also blinded us. This is God’s judgement: “let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see” (Rom.11:9). In His judgement, God has permitted the sinner to continue in spiritual blindness. We only vaguely see the truth of God, His law, and His own holiness. Unlike Adam who had a perfect comparison between his sin and the holy God, we have almost no point of reference to compare our sin.
For the sinner, this isn’t so bad, because we do not feel the full weight of shame that our sin should bring. We can continue in sin without much guilt of conscience. Though we know there is a God and that He is holy; though we know that we are sinners and deserve to die, it is very easy to brush aside this eternal reality since there is no great present distress over it. But in the end, this is very bad. This spiritual blindness confines the world in the judgement of God. The law of God looms heavily over us, guaranteeing our condemnation but providing no means of salvation.
Our rejection of God has only dulled our conscience ever more. Any point of reference to a holy standard is all but lost. Pornography, immorality, sensuality, and lust are the result. We are almost completely unashamed of it. God has given us over to a depraved mind (Rom.1:28). The judgement of God will not delay.
The responsibility of the Christian parent to teach their child the law of God is crucial. It is not to show them how to be good but to prove to them that they are not. The law is a means of grace whereby God awakens them to their exceeding sinfulness and the need for salvation. It is a point of reference that will bring the necessary shame that leads to a repentance by faith in Jesus alone for their salvation. Don’t force feed them Christ. Share the law and be ready to share Christ when God awakens them to the exceeding sinfulness of their sin.
Adam felt the full weight of his sin and of sinful humanity that would proceed from him. Christ bore the full weight of our sin -a sin not his own. He felt a greater weight of guilt and shame than any man has ever born. He had a perfect point of reference for holiness, His own, and that of His Eternal Father. Christ carried the full weight our sin, guilt, and shame when He died on the cross. He consumed the full wrath of God against our sin.
We are all under sin and judgement. But God has chosen to intervene. In wrath, He shows mercy. And in mercy, He reaches down and shows us our sin and need for a savior. Through the message of the gospel, He breaks into the heart of His elect and arrests them for Jesus. He is the only Savior. And it is only by His grace that we have been saved. When He conquers us in Christ, we see the beauty of Him, rather than the shame of our sin.
(Gen.3:11-24) Curse and Promise
3:11 Who told you that you were naked? No one had to tell Adam that he was naked. The consequence of his sin was evident. His innocence was gone and he was now fully aware of his fallen self. The consequence of sin is much of the time more evident than the sin itself. We can trace most of our shame and suffering back to its source… sin.
3:12 The woman whom You gave to be with me. By stating “the women whom YOU GAVE ME”, Adam wasn’t just blaming the women, but God. In other words, if you hadn’t given her to me then I won’t have done this. This is still the accusation we hurl at God. We blame our sin on the negative circumstances of our life that God could have prevented.
3:13 The serpent deceived me, and I ate. Eve blamed the snake and we do the same. And like Eve, if we can’t blame God, or someone else, then we blame the devil: the devil made me do it. Eve didn’t possess a sin nature; she had no inherent inclination to choose evil over good. Yet she still disobeyed. On the contrary, we were slaves to sin. Nevertheless, this is never an appropriate excuse to sin. Even though we were slaves of sin we were still accountable before God for our sin.
“As the salt flavors every drop in the Atlantic, so does sin affect every atom of our nature.” –Charles Spurgeon
Some call it “Radical Depravity”. Others describe it as “Moral Inability.” In short, Total Depravity refers to the effect of the fall in the garden. It describes how sin has corrupted the whole Man -heart, mind, will, and body. This is why it’s described as total. Within every human being is the ability to commit any sin, every sin, and all sin.
“The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds” (Isaiah 1:5-6).
Total Depravity does not mean that we are all violent criminals or serial killers. Yes, sin has corrupted the whole person, and anyone of us could become a serial killer if left to ourselves. However, in grace, God’s restrains us. He keeps us from the sin we are capable of. This intervention of God is called Restraining Grace.
How has sin affected our free-will?
The human Will is like your decision-making factory. What you desires to do, and consequently, what you choose to do is your Will. Just look at your pattern of choices and you will soon discover it. When Adam rebelled against God by eating the forbidden fruit, Sin became the owner of his Will. It was a hostile takeover. And like Adam, Sin now manages our every desire and decision. We have to sin and we want to sin.
We have free-will and we are free to choose what we want. Sadly, there is nothing inside a dead sinner that would want Christ. If left to ourselves, we would have stayed to ourselves; we would have never turned to Christ. But there came a day when God awakened us to His Son. We chose Christ because God first chose us. We love Him because He first loved us. And we now desire Him because He gave us a new heart capable of such desires.
Salvation doesn’t ultimately rest on the decision of a man; Salvation ultimately rests on the decision of God to seek and save the lost.
-by Jonathan Michael Dean
3:14 On your belly shall you go. This is literal and symbolic. The snake was a real creature and God was actually removing its ability to walk. As well, this was a Judgement on Lucifer. This is likely when He was cast out of heaven. The snake being cast to its belly coincides with Lucifer being “cast down to the ground” (Isa.14:12). There is an unavoidable connection. The snake would be a visual reminder to Adam, Eve, and their descendants of God’s Judgement on Lucifer and sin.
3:16 I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing. Childbirth was not originally intended to be painful. The pain of childbirth would be a reminder to Eve of the pain that her action brought upon humanity. Paul references this curse when writing to Timothy: “Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (1Tim.2:14-15). This “saved” does not refer to salvation, but to God’s intention for the curse. It would keep her humble and submissive, reminding her of her sin and frailty. It would save her from the inclination to usurp God and her husband.
3:17 Cursed is the ground because of you. This was a gracious act of God. He knew that sinful men needed something to work at. Complacency breeds sin. The toil of farming would keep men busy and dependent on God.
3:23,24 The Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden … He drove out the man. God removed His blessing of eternal life. Along with Adam and Eve, humanity would now wander the earth and toil in it. God gave them up (Rom.1:24, 26, 28). Just as He cast Lucifer out of heaven, our curse, for our sin, is that we have been cast out of God’s presence (Isa.59:2, Ps.66:18).
Genesis 3:15: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
The Covenant of Redemption
Genesis 3:15 is the first prophecy in the Bible. It is referred to as the Protevangelium, meaning first gospel. In this prophecy, we see God’s curse on the devil and the promise of deliverance for His chosen. God declared war on Lucifer. There would never be peace between His regenerate children and the unregenerate children of the devil. It was a battle to the death. The women would one day give birth to a child that would crush the serpent’s head. This woman would be Mary. And this child would be Jesus.
God, who sees the end from the beginning, declared the final defeat of sin and the final redemption of His elect. This promise begins here and travels through redemptive history; through Abraham, Moses, David, and the Prophets. But God would not accomplish this in the way one would think. He could have crushed Lucifer under the weight of His wrath at any moment for any reason. Instead, He gets in the ring with Lucifer and beats him in his own boxing match. He defeats death with death.
Christ received God’s curse of death upon Himself that we might receive God’s promised redemption. Under God’s curse, Jesus took the full weight of God’s wrath against sin (Isa.53). God punished the sins of His elect on His own Son (Ps.22:1). Christ’s sacrifice was as a satisfactory and vicarious atonement for sin. It was satisfactory because Jesus was perfect and God required a sinless sacrifice. It was vicarious because Jesus was taking God’s wrath against our sin, not His own. As a substitute, He took our curse.
“The Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them (Gen.3:21).”
Christ was, in fact, innocent. His atonement for sin was accepted by God. In raising Him from the dead, the Father declared that Jesus’ payment for sin was accepted. Through faith in Christ, we can be accepted by God. As God made tunics for Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness, Jesus too can cover our sin with His righteousness. His Atonement is actual and permanent. God will see our sin no more when we trust in Christ alone for our Salvation.
But why would God do this for us? Why would Jesus go to such extremes to save rebellious, unthankful sinners? It wasn’t because of anything He saw in us. Christ came to save us because a covenant made between Him and His Father in eternity past. The Father gave His Son a Bride. But She would fall into sin, and the purchase price for this Bride would be His life. Salvation is possible, not because of our faithfulness to God, but because of Christ faithfulness to His father, and His covenant love for us.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant (Heb.13:20).