“… God called unto Adam…”
Mankind did not know about sin until Eve believed the serpent. Today, most men and women do not accept they have sinned, because of Satan. They live as though nothing was wrong, either believing they will enter some vague and nebulous after-life called ‘heaven’, or that God does not exist, or that He does exist, but after their own image. And amongst that vast worldwide number, there is a growing number who belong to cults, the occult and false churches.
They include the rapidly expanding charismatic churches, who teach a lie (called anathema by God, with many deceptive ‘spiritual’ activities and beliefs). I am often asked why I single-out charismatics. The reason is very simple; charismaticism is the prevailing spiritual deception in the world today. It mixes with every known cult, denomination, and even the occult, and has ruined countless churches.
Charismatics, very often, do not even have a ‘form of godliness’, for they range from the obviously wicked to the more benign Pentecostalists. Amongst them are genuine believers whose beliefs and actions have been stolen by Satan and manipulated to conform to his own brand of ‘Christianity’. But, the rest are unsaved, convinced by their evil leaders that they are bound for Heaven. It is these who, though attending ‘churches’, have no idea they are sinners, or that what they believe and do is evil. This lack of understanding is indicative of their lost state. (However, all lost people have a notion deep within that their lives are not right, and that God exists).
In this chapter we see Eve blaming the serpent for her failure to obey God. Many Christians blame others, or Satan, for their faults and sins. Yet, scripture tells us that we are, each one of us, individually to blame for our own sins and failings! We cannot blame someone else, not even Satan.
Satan can persuade, but he cannot force us to sin. No matter how much we think we are being led against our will, it is a lie. We sin because we want to, even though, when tempted, God gives us strength enough to turn our backs on the promised sin. We reject this doorway to safety because the temptation is aimed at our ‘Achilles heel’, the very sin that most entertains us. If Satan discovers this inwardly cherished desire (and he does), he will constantly introduce us to situations, people and things that will cause us to give in to temptation, and fail, leading us to misery and lack of inner peace. The decision to accept the temptation and then to sin is ours alone. We give in to temptation because we want to. Or, we resist, because we want to.
Some sins are entered into swiftly, with great ease and little guilt. Others take a very long time to come to fruition. Most who succumb to homosexuality go through a long period of thought and desire. They begin in their hearts and allow the sinful thoughts to grow until the person no longer wants to deny his or her ugly perversions.
All along they can reject the thoughts, but Satan gets to know the object of their desires, and fuels them as often as possible, until the thoughts become overwhelming and the guilt that accompanies them is subdued. Thus, by the time a person actually performs an act that is homosexual, he or she is already steeped in the desire to do so and does not really care about guilt or morality. These people always think it is their own idea – but it is not; Satan is exception in his ability to persuade and manipulate!
From that point the person will try to find as many excuses to commit his or her sin as they can. In the case of homosexuality, they will even try to change the law of the land so that they can sin with legal impunity. (2013 note: As we know, this came to fruition several years later). That is how far their hearts go; their desires permeate every fibre of their being so that they are addicted to their own sinfulness. This they try to excuse by blaming everyone else for their state. They accuse others of being ‘homophobic’ when all along it is they who are now ‘heterophobic’ – afraid of, and hating, normal sexual relationships!
Like Eve, they know that what they do is wrong. Like Eve they try to blame someone else for their condition. And, like Eve, their ploy does not work, for God condemns what they do. And the same applies to each and every sin Man can ever commit. I received a communication just before writing this introduction. It was a very passionate plea for me to ‘stop attacking the brethren’, ardent charismatics.
I had to tell the person that I never attack the brethren… true charismatics are not my brethren, but are deceived and deceivers. They believed the lie engendered by Satan, because it was attractive to them. They thought they could choose Christ for themselves, and so they rejected the scriptural truth that no man is capable of choosing good, and that salvation depends entirely on God’s predestination of souls.
In everyday life, too, genuine Christians fall to the lie. They are tempted and sin. They feel guilty and, often, blame someone else, including Satan, for their failure to obey God. They may even try to cling to their favoured sin, until it is exposed. Some will repent immediately, others will arrogantly retain their sin, and show bitterness toward those who rebuke them. Thus, Christians may repent and turn away from their sin, whilst others, now hardened, refuse to truly repent and so go to the end of their lives without full peace with God. They enter Heaven, but lose their crowns.
Do not blame others for your sins. Do not blame Satan for them, either. He is only the tempter. You sin because you wish to, tough as that may be to accept. Understand your own psyche! Know yourself! If you go through life always blaming others for your sins, you will never know true peace and will always be Satan’s target for temptation and sin. He will be as subtle as needs be, if only he can tempt you to sin!
Charismaticism is a huge temptation to men and women whose Bible knowledge is scant and whose lives are already weak. But, it all starts with thoughts and an inward desire to try it all out, at least once. This can even be in the form of reading relevant material from a charismatic point of view. Or, it can be in the form of a friend or relative who is charismatic… a continuous ‘drip, drip’ of friendly chats and slow indoctrination will follow, whether recognised as such, or not. And so deception grows in the heart. Like dry rot, it grows secretly in the darkness, its silky strands of ruin covering everything in the soul until the disease erupts publicly.
After that, the person will blame the churches for their coldness and for ‘putting God in a box’. It is true that many churches are cold, and that they mentally restrict God. But, this is not an excuse for their own bad beliefs and practices. They sin alone! The churches and Christians they have left behind have their own sins to contend with, but they are not responsible for another person who moves away from the light and into the darkness of charismatic error. They do this all on their own, because their hearts have been marred by Satanic lies and they prefer lies to the truth.
Another massive fraud today is the existence of terrorism as a way of life. In particular, Islamic terror. Blame is put on the corrupt West. Or, on Christianity. Or, on imperialistic countries. Or, on Israel… the list is endless! In reality, Islam is a false religion and people want it to be true. Satan convinces them to kill in Allah’s name. (Make no mistake, the Koran DOES have teachings that cause hatred).
They do it, being promised dozens of women in the after-life, and Allah’s approval. So, they blame everybody for their murderous actions. In reality, they are individually accountable before the true God. Today I had a long email from a Muslim, telling me that we are all really similar, for at least they believe the Old Testament. I had to point out that they do NOT believe the Old Testament, for in the very first chapter of Genesis (as you have already seen), the very name of ‘God’ shows us a God of several persons, not just a God of one person!
In politics, the Labour Party blames the Conservative Party, and the Liberal Party blames them both! Failures are always someone else’s fault, not their own. Which is why most people nowadays cannot see the difference between any of the parties.
The list of blame goes on and on, but sin remains the full responsibility of those who commit it. Once a Christian recognises this, he or she can then repent and turn away from their sin, no matter how much of a hold it has on their lives. Turning away temporarily will not bring about a release from its grip. Nor will the fantasy idea that we will never again be troubled by the same sin. If we do not fill the gap it has left with holiness, then it will return seven times worse!
I remember, many years ago, boasting to myself that I was free of a particular sin. I had genuinely prayed about it and repented. But, I failed to acknowledge that I was still human and therefore still a target for Satan. He managed to lead me toward my favoured sin by another route and – lo and behold – I sinned again! It was a salutary lesson in my own stupidity and lack of knowledge.
Every one of us can commit the worst sins imaginable. From the most holy of men to the most wicked. It is because we each have a propensity for sin. Even those of us who are saved have this vestige of wrongness (the ‘old man’) to contend with. It will not go away until we die and enter Heaven. Paul recognised this in himself and often had to fight himself throughout his life.
In many ways, Christians can win most of their battles against Satan and sin, but they are never immune from sin. Our battle continues and we must daily prostrate ourselves before Almighty God, seeking the protection of the Holy Spirit in every dealing. This is not as arduous as it might appear, for God says that if we obey Him we shall have His blessings.
Do not, then, blame others for your sins and do not blame Satan. He is the greatest created being that has ever lived and his might, strength and power are supreme. But, though he is greater than men, he is less than God, and Christ has the victory! That is why, when we are tempted, we should call on Jesus Christ to give us His strength and wisdom. Like the archangel who fought Satan, we must hand over the fight to Him, and not attempt to win in our own strength (Jude 1:9).
Satan, then, cannot make us do anything, if we are rooted in Christ. Everyone else will be cast violently about, unable to resist. Are you saved by grace, or not? If you are saved you will have immense power through Jesus Christ your Saviour and Lord. This cannot be manufactured or imagined. It cannot be yours through mere sincerity or belonging to a particular church. It is yours if you have been elected to salvation by God the Creator. That is what scripture tells us. Do you believe it?
This chapter shows us the origin of sin in the human race. Ever since Adam and Eve, mankind has sinned and got worse. It got so bad that God eventually had to destroy the whole world and kill all its people, except for Noah and his family. One day soon He will finally get rid of the current world and the entire universe, and replace it with something far greater and holy. Even so, Christ came to save us, and sent the Holy Spirit to guide us, though we are sinners.
We now come to post-creation times, when man, and woman (not named until this chapter), lived in a glorious garden made especially for them by God. They had simple tasks to perform: such as gently watching over the plants and animals. Then came a day that would shake and affect the whole world for millennia…
“Now the serpent was more subtil 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?
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.
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.”
Certain theologians and other Christians have a variety of beliefs concerning who/what this serpent was and what he/it looked like. What does scripture say? As usual we will adhere to the text itself.
We know that God created many animals, serpents included. What or who is this serpent? The word for serpent is nachash. It means ‘snake’, but it can also mean the image of a snake. This can mean either that the serpent in this text was an actual snake, or it was something that took on its appearance. The word itself is taken from a root word, nachash (same spelling but different emphasis), which suggests a link with (later) occult practices. (It is also similar to another same-spelling word meaning ‘enchantment’ – something this serpent was able to perform on Eve).
In their natural form, snakes seem to have a particular penchant for craftiness, subtlty and slyness, as the word subtil’, `aruwm, tells us. This raises some questions concerning animals in general, for it suggests that they can have varying degrees of attributes normally ascribed to human beings, including thought. On the other hand, this may be reading too much into the words used; perhaps they just refer to an ability that has been put into them by God; what we sometimes refer to as ‘instinct’. At any rate, the snake seems to have had a particular ‘edge’ over other animals.
A snake ‘said to the woman’. That is, ′amar. It means to literally speak, to utter, to say. It could mean to say it in the heart, inwardly, to think. But, if it is an inward thought, it would mean the snake communicated with Eve psychically. This is unlikely, given that in later texts we see such activity as being part of the occult realm. The meaning is, then, literal.
So, we can take this text to mean that a snake spoke actual words to Eve. We need not suppose that all snakes spoke, even though Eve does not seem to be surprised by a snake talking with her. Animals who have never encountered mankind accept the presence of men when they first come amongst them. In the same way, as a ‘freshly created’ creature herself, Eve may not have come across an animal that could speak and so simply accepted it as normal. It is my opinion that this may be the case, for if animals normally spoke, it would imply powers that are associated with mankind and which separate men from beasts.
On the other hand, some animals/birds can mimic speech, though they may not initiate it as part of a thinking process, i.e. do not understand their own sounds. Inevitably, unbelievers will pounce on my interpretation of a snake speaking, and say that it is proof of ‘fundamentalism’ and intellectual suicide. My response is to say that this is a matter of faith; scripture is God’s word and God cannot lie.
Therefore, if He tells us that a snake spoke, I accept it as true, without reservation. Part of this acceptance is the fact that the text is not figurative but uses language that makes the incident literal. That is, the snake actually spoke. With my belief in God’s verity, I cannot read the text in any other way. Criticism only serves to show me the critic’s faithlessness, not his or her intellectual superiority!
Whatever the actual details, a (male) snake spoke to Eve. He asked Eve if God had really banned man and woman from eating the fruit of a certain tree. He knew this was a fact, but his rhetorical question had a more evil intent behind it.
Eve responded by saying that man and woman could eat of any tree in the garden, except for the tree set in the middle. She repeated God’s warning to the snake, “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” (Note how similar this command is to the touching of the Ark? A simple touch was sufficient to kill a person). Thus, Eve knew the command of God and had no excuse for her actions.
Pushing the point further, the snake refuted God’s warning; “Ye shall not surely die.” This is behind many sins: an unbelief in God’s verity and punishments, and even a disbelief in God Himself. If we claim to believe in God, how can any man or woman act against His commands? If we truly believed He exists, why do we insist on sinning so freely? It is more than our frailty; it is probably due to our lack of belief in God as a real entity. This is extremely serious for anyone who claims to be saved!
The snake threw out a doubt to Eve: God did not say you would die! In my ministry I come across ‘Christians’ who constantly say that God ‘meant’ something else, other than what is obvious in scripture. We have already alluded to homosexuals: there are many so-called Christians who side with this grave sin (which it is) and who think that condemnation is not found in God’s word. All this proves is that the critics have no discernment or understanding of God’s word.
A similar lack of discernment and understanding is found in all charismatic churches – and many other kinds. Hence, their often appalling beliefs and activities. I would urge all readers to look again at how I approach the matter of interpretation. It is based on a very direct route of investigation, taken from what scripture itself says. Once we look outside scripture for our interpretation we are bound to encounter disbelief and wrongness, and doubts will creep in where none should be.
The snake then threw out a challenge to Eve (verse 5), that she should ignore what God said, so that she and the man would be like gods. The word for ‘gods’ is exactly the same as the name for God in the first chapter, ′elohiym. This time, by using ‘gods’ we see that the serpent is indirectly acknowledging the plurality of ‘God’, and is applying it to the man and the woman. In this whole situation we see that the serpent is actually acknowledging the existence of God and His real power.
You should note that the word is the plural of another word, ′elowahh. It can have one of only two meanings – either God, or ‘false god’. This is itself probably from ‘el, which means to be god-like, or a false god, or ‘imaginations’. (It can also refer to the true God, but not in this case). Working backward through several other roots, we come to a meaning of ‘belly’ or ‘contemptuous’, ′uwl.
Overall, then, the snake attempts to make Eve believe she could be like the true God in wisdom. Really, this is pathetic, for how can a created-being honestly think he or she can become like the creator, Almighty and eternal? The very fact that we are created should make us think it is impossible, which it is. See, though, that the serpent only promised them to be ‘like’ gods and not God Himself. Many charismatics today think they can be ‘gods’, and they are correct, for the word means ‘false gods’ in such a context! It is not intellectual suicide to believe utterly in the true God, but it is intellectual suicide to believe that as created beings we can become God!
In truth, the serpent is playing with mankind in this text. Behind his words we have the knowledge that mankind would fall into the trap of wanting more power than God gave them. Like any good marketing man, Satan made them feel greater than they really were, promising them a power they could not have. Hence the ulterior meanings of the word ‘gods’, which Eve seemed to be completely ignorant of. She thought she would become as her Creator, but the serpent was secretly saying “You shall become false gods, fools”. Charismatics – learn!
To know the difference between good and evil was irrelevant to man and woman when they were created, for they were made perfect. They had no sin, so knowing the difference was useless and without any purpose. Behind this was God’s purpose: that they should just obey His every command. If God wished them not to have such knowledge, then that was His prerogative, one that mankind had no right to question or disobey.
“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.
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.”
By anyone’s standard, what Eve then did was akin to playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun! She was dealing in her possible death! Yet, she went to the tree and saw that it looked good, with fruit appearing to be tasty and good. Sin always seems to be good and attractive! That is how it gets people hooked. The question often asked, “Where did this sin come from, if God did not create it?” is irrelevant to us. It is not that I wish to hide from it, or that I ignore it; it is just that God does not tell us, and so any speculation on my part is useless. (See separate Article on the subject).
The very beauty of the tree and its fruit led Eve to think of it as chamad – to be desired. Very often, what is wrong for us is also desired by us, as we have discussed above. To think that something desirable is always good for us is a fallacy. Rather, what looks good may be poison itself, and destructive.
Eve reached up and took a fruit off the proscribed tree. She ‘took’ it, laqach, with her hand. The word can also mean to steal, or to snatch. Both of which are pertinent, but secondary to the main meaning. Then, she ate the fruit, ′akal. This is another literal meaning – to eat or consume. Interestingly, the word can also mean to waste or destroy the flesh. She then gave a fruit to the man. Nothing in this context suggests that he had to be persuaded, so such a meaning is conjecture. All we know, is that her husband ate the fruit, too.
We then have a figurative meaning, for their ‘eyes’ were opened. Obviously, they could see physically before this, so here the meaning of ‘eyes’, `ayin, is to do with a mental and spiritual ability. That is, to see the difference between good and bad.
At that very moment they knew they were naked, yada`. They learned or perceived they had no clothes on. Another meaning is that they learned by experience, but more than that they knew carnally, as another meaning of the word tells us. This is the real significance of the action they took; they became carnal beings and no longer relied only on God. Now, they had knowledge they should not have had, a knowledge that could only be theirs through an act of sin. But, note that the action followed the thought in Eve’s mind.
This ‘knowledge’ can be traced through `eyrom, back to `aram, meaning to be shrewd, crafty… which links them to the craftiness attributed to the snake. Their nakedness then was much more than just having no clothes on; it was to do with their state of soul, which became more like that of the serpent rather than that of God. We know from later texts that the serpent was, or led by, Satan, though this is not given in the current text.
Thus, Christ could say of mankind that we are of our “father the devil”. The fact of nudity was not the real issue; that was only a symbol of a spiritual fall (‘naked’). The problem was that their act of defiance led them to have knowledge they should not have had, which took them away from total reliance only on God, to a partial reliance on the serpent (Satan).
Like every other human born since, the two made primitive clothing for themselves, again being symbols not of their nudity but of their newly acquired sense of prohibited wisdom. They took the leaves of a fig tree and sewed them together, to make aprons. We are accustomed to the idea of these being little leaves stuck to the private parts, but the word ‘aprons’ is chagowr, meaning a girdle or loin-covering/loincloth. The word can also mean armour, so these loincloths were wrapped around the lower body, not just to hide private parts but also as a perceived spiritual defence against God, which was, of course, ludicrous.
Note that Adam and Eve were not stupid. Their brains were perfect, as was their intellect. Like all people since, they fell to a lie, propagated by Satan, the cast-out but greatest arch-angel of them all. They did so with their minds uncluttered by inborn sin. If this could happen to them, it can easily happen to us, weighed down as we are by inborn sin!
“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?
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.
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.”
Part of the reason for making aprons, was a suddenly experienced sense of fear. Theirs was a proper fear, and one that all of us should have as Christians. It is the fear of opposing The Creator with our sins and receiving His wrath.
Soon after they made the aprons, the man and the woman hid behind the trees in the garden, in a futile attempt not to be seen by God. They both heard, shama`, God’s voice. This word tells us that they heard actually, with their ears. It also means to understand language. Thus, they literally heard God speaking and understood what He said, for He spoke to them with literal human words, not in an ‘angelic’ language.
There is an odd notion in reformed circles that God does not speak in actual language today (i.e. using actual audible words we can hear). I do not know why this is so. But, I do know that some who say they have heard an actual voice refuse to admit to it openly because of this notion commonly held by their peers. In this text we are clearly told that God spoke in human language and that it was heard by Adam and Eve! They heard Him talking to them, and they hid.
We have another remarkable fact, that God spoke to them as He was ‘walking’ in the garden. The word used is halak and it means to go, to walk, to come. It means to move. It can mean ‘manner of life’ but such a figure does not fit the context, which is all literal. It means to traverse or to walk about. There is no reason to reject the idea of God actually walking, for the text says He walked.
Also, we do not know if ‘God’ here refers to the Christ, Who came to this earth as a man, later. Whatever we may think, there is no reason to reject the possibility of God actually and literally walking as men walk. Really, it makes a lot of sense, for God made the first two human beings and could have conversed with them often, as neither had the sin that separates later mankind from God.
God cannot tolerate sinful beings in His presence, but He can have sinless beings in His presence, e.g. holy angels, Christ, ascended saved humans. Adam and Eve were created without sin, so it is very possible that God actually walked with them in the garden. Not just possible – for the language is literal.
We know this because the couple attempted to physically hide from God. This brings us a picture of God (whatever He looked like) walking through the garden calling for them. They are hiding and God continues to walk until He sees them behind the trees. Remarkable though it seems, it is how the account is given, an actual, literal account. He walked in the ‘cool’ or wind, or breath, of the day. This may mean the evening, or a part of the day.
The couple hid, chaba′, from God That is, they withdrew themselves from obvious view. They drew back because of their new shame or guilt, to avoid being face-to-face with God (‘presence’). Already, they had senses they should not have had!
God called out to Adam, “Where art thou?” The word ‘called’ is qara′, which has quite a forceful meaning, that of calling out loudly, in this text, as a summons to appear before God. It also means to call someone by name and this appears to have been the case.
God, of course, knew exactly where Adam was. His calling out was rhetorical. He wanted Adam to tell Him, to confess what he had done. Adam could not lie and immediately confessed the truth. “I heard you and I was afraid”. The fear Adam had was that of dread, yare′. This was a proper response, for he was facing the God Who had created him and Who warned him not to do something. All Christians should have this dread, so that they do not enter so easily into sin. Indeed, the word here means Adam was ‘terrified’.
The reason Adam was afraid is made explicit: “I was naked; and I hid myself.” We have already seen what ‘naked’ means both superficially and spiritually. Adam knew what his action had done and how it had changed him.
God was not going to let Adam get away with a simple answer, and asked ‘Who told you you were naked? Did you eat the fruit of the tree I warned you not to touch?’ God knew what had happened, but, again, He wanted Adam to confess his disobedience. This is a lesson for us all. When we sin we must confess it to be sin, and what we have done. Only then can we repent and have forgiveness.
Adam gave an honest factual reply: Eve had given him the fruit and he ate it. On its own this might suggest that Eve did not tell him what fruit it was, so he ate in ignorance. But, this is hardly likely, given their responses and sudden realisation. As Christians we must always beware, and search out the spirits of things we do and hear and think, to see that they are true.
It is sheer folly to just follow on without looking into what is behind what we do. Charismatics are told not to think, but just to do. That is where they fail and enter into sin. Whether we sin deliberately or out of ignorance, it makes no difference, for all is sin and all sin is punishable.
Some think Adam was pushing his guilt onto Eve, or, that he was trying to accuse God, by saying it was His fault for giving him the woman. But, the text does not tell us this. Adam simple said that the woman had given him the fruit. As has been said earlier, we all try to blame others, or circumstances.
When Adam told God what had happened (though He knew anyway), God turned to Eve and demanded to know what she had done. Adam said the woman gave him the fruit, but, in turn, Eve told God that the serpent had beguiled her. ‘Beguiled’ is nasha′, meaning to deceive. It is probable that she knew she had been deceived almost immediately, hence the clothing and the hiding. But, the damage had been done and could not be repaired.
It is our duty to try to avoid deception and not to listen to lies. The serpent directly opposed what God had said. It was therefore the duty of Eve not to listen. In an earlier text I warned of this… no matter what scientists, theologians, or any other man (including myself) tells you, if it contradicts what God says, you must always believe God, not men. Even if you have no immediate background Biblical information, and even if the information given by men sounds ‘good’. If you know men contradict God, just ignore what they say.
“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:
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.
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.
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.”
You will note that God did not ‘counsel’ Adam and Eve. He did not seek to ‘get alongside them’, or ‘try to understand their motives’. No, He made a declaration. Human counsellors are badly in error by trying to understand ‘why’ a man has sinned. Men sin because that is their nature. And when they sin they are guilty. There is nothing to talk about – a man who has sinned has to repent immediately and turn back from his wrongness.
The serpent who deceived Eve was there, and God turned to him and said, ‘Because of what you have done you are cursed above all other animals. You will now crawl on your belly in the dust for as long as you live.’ This suggests that snakes at that time either had legs or they could support themselves on a coil. But, this does not exactly fit the situation or what God said. A snake cannot move on its coil. Today, snakes move by wriggling through the dust. To be able to move otherwise, would need legs. Again, this is my opinion, and not a strong one at that!
What this text also shows, is that the serpent was not Satan, but was an animal used by Satan for his own ends. Even so, God condemned it to slithering in the dust. God tells the serpent that there would be enmity between him and the woman, her seed and his seed.
This text speaks of what was to come. Satan (the snake being the figure) would forever try to hurt humankind. There would be enmity between them, ′eybah, hatred, as from an enemy, ′ayab. This text is often taken to be predictive or prophetic. That is, it speaks of the hatred of Satan not just for mankind, but also for Jesus Christ, whose ‘heel’ he would ‘bruise’. ‘Seed’, zera′, can mean offspring, or descendants. It can also figuratively mean ‘a practitioner of righteousness’. In this text, then, there is no direct way to link this with ‘Jesus Christ’, though we might imply it from later texts in scripture.
During the passage of earth’s time, the ‘head’ of Satan will be ‘bruised’ by the woman’s seed. ‘Head’ is ro′sh, meaning the physical head, or the ‘chief’, or the position of head. It would be ‘bruised’, shuwph – bruised, crushed, fallen upon. In return Satan will bruise the woman’s seed’s ‘heel’, `aqeb, rear or footprint (a good analogy, as the serpent is on his belly). Some suggest this means that whilst Christ would vanquish Satan, Satan could only cause minor damage to Christ. This is a meaning given to the text from a particular viewpoint and not by direct interpretation of the text. (Though such a meaning is feasible given later texts in scripture).
The most direct meaning would be that Satan will not win the battle, but would only inflict temporary damage on the children of Eve, by sniping at them and trying to hold them back, `aqab. Jesus Christ would then save some, so Satan would not win altogether. The simplest way to see this text, though, is to say that Satan will have success, but will suffer total defeat in the end. Until then, he will cause trouble for all human beings.
Eve did not escape lightly. God told her that for her disobedience, He would bring pain and suffering upon womankind when in labour. To ‘greatly multiply’, rabah, is to become great or to increase dramatically, her ‘sorrow’, `itstsabown (pain, labour, hardship, toil). This means to lie in wait or to lay an ambush that would overcome the woman when she is pregnant, herown.
The second use of ‘sorrow’ is a different word from the first, but is essentially the same, `etseb, meaning pain, hurt, labour, hardship, offence, from `atsab – grieve, pain, vex, even torture. Thus, like it or not, God actually commanded that women should know pain and vexation when pregnant and in labour, as a direct result of the mother of all mankind’s sin. Like the concept of hell and non-election, this is another fact of God’s truth that few accept.
Another judgement upon the woman was that she would now be subject to her husband. Really, this is more general, and applies to the man-woman relationship as a whole. It means that the woman will ‘crave after’ or long-for, the man, but it also refers to the reverse: the longing of a man for a woman. Though given in the context of a specific circumstance, it shows that proper coupling is between a man and a woman, not people of the same sex. The text tells us that women have to seek the interests of their husbands before their own.
Also, the man would hitherto rule over the woman, mashal, have dominion over, reign over her. Again, this is general for all humans, as well as specific to Adam and Eve, and husband and wife. The modern way, of women reaching positions of power over men, is therefore unbiblical and should not be encouraged. This is not my ‘theory’, or a desire to dominate women, but simply obedience to scripture and God’s command and judgement. It is what lies behind the command for women to remain silent in the churches.
These two judgements tell us that woman was not originally created as ‘secondary’ to man, or subservient. She was his helper, an equal. But, after her sin, she became his subject, to be ruled by him. It might be thought that, as an equal, Adam should have received the same kind of judgement. But, it still stands that man was made first and woman was made from man.
For listening to his wife, and for eating the forbidden fruit, Adam was also punished (verse 17). The ground was cursed by God. God had made the garden beautiful for mankind, but man broke God’s trust. So, that same garden would now be cursed and mankind would have to gather food himself, under conditions of hardship, toil and misery. Hard work was never the intention for man!
Another punishment was the introduction of thorns and thistles – weeds – and that man should eat the herbs of the field. Does this refer to plants he must cause to grow himself? Does it mean man ate animals until then? We cannot tell.
Man would henceforth work hard, and sweat for his food, until he died. Then, his body would degenerate back into the same dust from whence he came.
“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.
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.
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
For the first time we have the names of Adam and Eve, who He said was the ‘mother of all living’. That is, all humankind are the seed of Eve. Though judged by God, God now made them coats of animal hides. This was not because of a sudden climate change, but as a reminder of their newly fallen state.
God spoke to Himself (as the Trinity), saying that as Adam had broken his ‘agreement’ to obey, and was now in danger of taking the fruit of the second tree (of life) also, which would mean he would have eternal life, Adam must be evicted from the garden. I do not pretend to understand this fully (nor does anyone else), but must teach it as it is written.
God evicted Adam and Eve, and Adam had to start providing for himself, by growing and harvesting plants. God ‘drove’ him out of the garden. This literally means Adam was driven out or thrust out, garash. Then, as a sign of His determination, God placed angels, cherubims, to guard the entrance to the garden. We are not told how many there were.
These angels, k@ruwb, stood flanking God’s throne, and also flanked the ark of the covenant. Each had a flaming sword as a sign of their rank and purpose. The ‘flame’, lahat, is specific to angelic swords and it scorches anything touched by it. The swords were constantly turned in every direction as a warning not to enter and to guard the tree of life. Such was the judgement of God against Adam for his sin.
© January 2005 (Revised November 2013)
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
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