By Henry Mahan
Chapters one and two of Genesis give an account of how God brought the world into being and created man in his own image (Gen. 1:26-29, Eccles. 7:29). God gave to Adam the law concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:15-17). How long Adam remained obedient we do not know, but chapter three gives an account of his disobedience and fall.
v. 1. Little is known about the serpent whom Satan used to tempt Eve. Some say that he was more naked, as they were, having no hair as the other animals. Some say that he was more beautiful, wise, and cunning (Matt. 10:16; 2 Cor. 11:3).
Some ask the question, 'Why would Eve stand and talk with an animal?' While there are many questions we cannot answer, several things are quite clear.
1. Satan (Lucifer, the devil) was a great angel with power, majesty, and glory before he fell (Isa. 14:15; Luke 10:17-18): and it was Satan who appeared and talked to Eve in this particular form called the serpent. He was behind the entire temptation.
2. Eve was evidently alone: no mention is made of Adam at this time. In all probability she was near the tree or even looking at it.
3. Satan's question to Eve may have suggested the following: 'You are superior creatures; the whole earth is supposed to be in subjection to you; yet you are not totally free nor fully blessed, for there is something God is withholding from you and will not allow you to have. Hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?'
vv. 2-3. Eve replied, 'We may eat of the trees in the garden, but not of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.' She knew the commandment and repeated it to Satan; although she added, 'Neither shall ye touch it' (Gen. 1:29-30. Gen. 2:16-17).
v. 4. 'Ye shall not surely die.' This is a direct denial of the word of God. This is today and always had been Satan's way--to deny the word of God.
1. 'This is merely a threat from God to keep you in subjection to him. He will not carry it out.'
2. 'God knows all things; and he knows that if you eat of this tree, the eyes of your understanding will be opened, and you will know things that you do not now know.'
3. 'You will be like God, or you will be gods yourselves and know good and evil. You will be greater and wiser, under no control from God.' He may have eaten of the fruit himself to demonstrate to the woman that she would not die, for he did not die nor change upon eating it.
v. 6. Eve, being deceived by the serpent (1 Tim. 2:13-14), was convinced that the tree was good for the flesh, pleasant to the eyes, and a fruit that would make one wise (1 John 2:15-16). She ate it. Probably nothing happened; for it was upon Adam's eating the fruit that the fate of man depended, not the woman; for Adam was the federal head, the representative of all our race (Rom. 5:12, 17-19; 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 45-48). She gave the fruit to Adam, and he ate of it willingly and knowingly.
1. 'Their eyes were opened,' not to advanced knowledge nor to things pleasant and profitable, but to things distressing--evil. They saw they had been deceived and had lost communion with God.
2. They knew they were naked, and they felt things they had never known before, such as shame, guilt, fear, and hate. The robe of purity and innocence had been stripped from their souls, and they were ashamed and afraid.
3. They began to try to cover themselves with leaves.
The death and damage were inward; outwardly they were unchanged as yet, but they were dead spiritually (Matt. 15:17-20; Psalm 58:3; Jer. 17:9 ). They fell out of God and purity into themselves, from partakers of the divine nature to a nature of evil and flesh only (John 3:5-6).
Adam's apron of leaves could not cover his true shame and guilt nor restore him to God's favor. His fallen nature produced guilt (v. 8), fear and shame (v. 10), selfrighteousness and hatred (v. 12).
v. 15. Here is the first promise in the Scriptures of our redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ--the seed of woman! All born into this world are the seed of men except Christ, who is born of the virgin (Isa. 7:14; Isa. 9:6; Luke 1:28-35).
Christ, the woman's seed, the God-man, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, shall come into the world, and by his life and death destroy Satan, all evil and death on behalf of his people. Satan shall bruise his heel; his human life shall suffer and die. But he shall bruise Satan's head, which is his power, government, and reign (Heb. 2:14-18).
v.21. Another picture and type of Christ is given here. God slew an animal, shed its blood, and made coats of skin for the guilty sinners. The first blood ever shed on earth was shed in sacrifice to cover a man's sin. Christ, the Lamb of God, must shed his blood and die to put away our sins and provide a robe of righteousness for us (2 Cor. 5:21). Since God is infinitely and unchangeably holy, sin can never be passed over without full payment and satisfaction of the justice of God (Exo. 34:7; Josh. 24:19).