Genesis 3 could be called the pivotal chapter of the Bible. In Genesis 1 and 2 we find man in innocence, everything is perfection and there is fellowship between God and man. But in chapter 4 through chapter 11 you find all kinds of bad things happening for the first time and the resulting sin is followed by God’s judgment. As far as man is concerned, sin began here.
Man’s alienation from God and God's grace to man start here. Here Satan offers man the same temptation that caused his own fall, the desire to be like God, not just to be with God.
Since Adam and Eve were the only persons in the world at that time, their sin severed fellowship with God for them and all who would come after them, until Christ's death provided a way of reconciliation back to God. The first man sinned and consequently all men fall short of God’s glory. Romans 3:10-12 “There is none righteous, no, not one: 11: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12: They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
The awful judgment that man brought on the human race can have a happy ending for the individual, however. God told Adam and Eve to pack up their fig leaves and get out of the Garden. Then He did a wonderful thing. He set in motion His plan of redemption. Romans 5:18-19, “Therefore as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19: For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
Jesus, the promised offspring of Eve, would come as the Suffering Messiah and be crucified for the sins of all mankind. I’m sure that caused a celebration for Satan, but it actually was a blow to his head. All who have trusted Christ for the forgiveness of their sins are no longer slaves to Satan and the world, but are children of God in Christ Jesus.
Jesus paid all our sin debt to God with His blood and Satan was condemned to hell for eternity there on the cross. Galatians 4:4-5 says, “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5: To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
After God made man, he considered all that He had made very good. God created human beings with a free will, He doesn’t control us like robots. Sadly, in the Garden of Eden man did the only thing God forbid him to do. God's creation didn’t go wrong, man chose to sin and the wages of sin is death.
The tendency of all human nature is to hide our sins with our own handiwork and that started in the Garden. That’s also where God’s provision to save us from our unrighteousness was promised. The prophecy of a Redeemer begins here and runs all through the Scriptures. It also shows us that man can only approach God through a mediator.
In chapters 1 and 2 we see that man was created innocent, but man wasn’t created righteous. As the Creator, God rightfully laid down the conditions that man was to live by.
Genesis 2:17. He said to man, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Man was responsible to obey God.
Genesis 3:1. "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
Here is a serpent that can talk telling lies that Satan wants a woman named Eve to hear. Later on in the Scriptures we find a donkey that can talk telling the truth that God wanted a man named Baalam to hear. (Numbers 22:28-31)
This serpent wasn’t a slithering snake like we think of snakes today. Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 give us an altogether different description of him. At this time, this creature has tremendous appeal and ability.
Verses 2-3. “And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
Satan intended to cast doubt on the Word of God in verse 1 by asking this question, "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" He raised doubt in Eve’s mind and got her curiosity up. In verse 2, Eve added something, “neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” God didn’t say anything about touching the tree. (Genesis 2:17)
Verses 4-5. “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
Somebody is lying here. God says you’ll die if you disobey Him and Satan says you won’t. The serpent very subtly contradicts God and substitutes his word for God's word. Satan is still lying today and getting people to doubt God and believe things such as “If God is a loving God, He wouldn’t let such and such happen.”
Eve added to the Word of God and God doesn’t allow that. Satan tries ever so hard to make man distrust God. The book of Romans teaches that doubting God leads to disobedience and Satan wanted Eve to doubt God. Here he very subtly contradicts God and substitutes his word for God's word. This is how the religious cults of today operate.
Incidentally, some religious cults were started by women influenced by Satan.
Verse 6. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
The tree was good to eat, the tree was good to look at, and the tree was to be desired to make one wise. These are things of the world.
Jesus said that these sins of the flesh come from the heart of man. This is where Satan is making his appeal and he succeeded. For once, Satan told the truth. He told them they would know good and evil-and what happened? They knew good from evil immediately. Innocence was gone forever.
Verse 7. “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”
Innocence is when you have no knowledge of evil. Conscience tells you right from wrong. They were no longer innocent. Now they had a conscience.
Verses 8-9. “And they heard the voice 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 amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”
God knew full well where Adam was physically. He knew exactly which bush he was hiding behind. God wanted Adam to admit where he was spiritually, to confess his guilt. Adam was lost spiritually, and it is God Who is seeking man and not man seeking God. It’s still that way in the world, God is seeking man, not man seeking God.
Adam and Eve didn’t confess their sin, they just attempted to cover it up. They weren’t ready to admit their lost condition even when God confronted them.
Centuries later, Jacob, the man God chose to father the Nation of Israel, wrestled with the Angel of the Lord all one night until the Angel of the Lord made him admit who he was. The Angel knew who he was physically but He made Jacob face up to where he stood before God spiritually and to the fact that he was a sinner.
1 John 1:9 states “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Sooner or later, each one of us has to face up to God and admit that Romans 3:23 is also true of us; “For (we) all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Just like Adam and Eve (and Jacob) we need a Redeemer.
In verses 10-12, Adam is on stage, his audience is God, and he comes to what might be called show and tell, or in today’s slang, “show time!”
Verses 10-12. “And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”
Adam didn’t confess to anything, he just blamed someone else for his sin. So God took the inquiry to the one who enticed Adam, the woman, and got the same song, second verse.
Verse 13. “And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” This man and woman God had created chose to follow a leader other than God, and God judged that disobedience. And, I might add, all we descendants of this man and woman came under the same judgment from this time on.
God rightfully was disgusted with Adam and Eve by this time and now He confronted Satan.
Verse 14. “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.” The serpent had been a beautiful creature and now look what disobeying God got him. God pronounced a judgment on Satan that also has had a tremendous effect on man and everything in all creation.
Verse 15. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Here is the first prophecy of the Messiah, the Savior Who would come into the world. It says "her seed," not the man's seed. Here also is the suggestion of the virgin birth of Christ.
Verse 15 promises the struggle between good and evil that is still going on and it’s caused by the enmity between Satan and his angels and the descendants of the woman.
The Lord Jesus made this statement in John 8:44: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
Verse 16. “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” This is God’s judgment on woman. She can’t escape pain in childbirth and she is to be in subjection to her husband. Contrary to God’s Word, Satan has been very successful in encouraging women to assume leadership of the family as well as the church and to join moves dedicated to female domination such as political office and the Women’s Liberation Movement.
Verses 17-19. “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field: In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” This is the judgment on man. From now on man would have to contend with a hostile environment to produce a livelihood from the earth for himself and his family and in death he would return to that very earth. God said, “I made you out of dirt and you’ll return to dirt.” The prevailing dirge throughout the Old Testament genealogies is “he lived this many years and he died.”
Physical death is the separation of the body from our real identity, our soul and spirit. Our soul and spirit live forever. Not so with our body. Ecclesiastes 12:7 says: "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
The disposition of our spirit and soul after our physical death is in God’s hands. Man ultimately has to answer to God whether he is saved or lost. If you’ve trusted in His Son for your redemption you’ll spend eternity with Him. If you haven’t, that means you’ve chosen Satan as your spiritual leader and you’ll spend eternity in the Lake of Fire with him.
Adam died spiritually the moment he disobeyed God; sin caused his separation from God and he needed a Redeemer. We all descended from Adam so we are born spiritually dead and need a Redeemer. Adam didn’t die physically until over nine hundred years later.
Verse 20-21. “And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
Here’s the first mention of the blood sacrifice. These skins weren’t from road kills! Animals had to be purposely sacrificed to provide a temporary covering for their sin. God requires a blood sacrifice for sin and He made it clear that man’s way is not God’s way. He rejected man’s attempt to cover their sin with something that didn’t involve the shedding of blood.
When Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden they looked back on a blood sacrifice that looked ahead to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God for them and all who would come after them. That sacrifice would include the covering of our sins for you and me. The blood bought covering of skins that God had given Adam and Eve pictured the robe of righteousness God provides the guilty sinner through the shed blood of the Lamb of God. That covering is available to us on the basis of faith alone.
God made no provision for Satan’s redemption. Satan is condemned to the Lake of Fire eternally. God made the Lake of Fire for him and his angels and all who follow him. Matthew 25:41. “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”
Verses 22-23. “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.”
I thank God that He didn’t let man stay there and eat from the tree of life and live eternally in sin. I’m glad He provided a Savior for us instead. That is really a blessing!
Verse 24. “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim’s, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
The way for man to come to God was open, but it was no longer through the Tree of Life. Salvation would have to come through a blood sacrifice. When the first man and woman left the Garden of Eden, they looked back and saw the blood of the sacrifice that was offered on their behalf. When we look back today we see a much greater sacrifice that was offered on our behalf, the perfect and sinless blood of Jesus Christ, that He willingly shed on the cross for our sins.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4: And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
The seed of the woman has bruised the head of Satan with a fatal blow, as prophesied in Genesis 3:15, and redemption for all mankind is now possible through faith in Jesus Christ.