Genesis
Introduction 1 The Serpent 2-6 The Fall 7-8 Afraid for the LORD God 9-13 Called to Account 14-19 The LORD God Gives Judgment 20 The Faith of Adam 21 God Clothes Man 22-24 Driven out of the Garden of Eden
Introduction

The untouched nature and the state of innocence in which man has lived have been short-lived. As soon as God has finished His work to bless man, satan appears on stage in the form of a serpent. It is his nature to destroy what God has made. The Lord Jesus calls him “a murderer from the beginning” and “a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:4444You are of [your] father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own [nature], for he is a liar and the father of lies.; cf. Rev 12:99And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.).

Through man’s infidelity, satan has succeeded in breaking into the relationship between God and man. This is how everything that God has entrusted to man in grace and blessing has gone. The opportunity to do so always lies in the weak link in that relationship: the human being. If a man does not trust God completely, he will fall prey to the temptation of satan.

However, there has been a Man on whom satan has not been given a hold: the Man Christ Jesus. This Man is the guarantee that everything God has made will be restored and become as He intended.


The Serpent

1Now 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’?”

The deceiver comes in the shape of a serpent to Eve. Adam gave the animals names, thus showing his sovereignty over and his insight in the animals. Adam is along with Eve master of the animals and head of the whole creation.

The fact that animals cannot speak and an animal speaks here should have been a clear signal to Eve that this is not the voice of God. Satan uses the serpent as a medium to hide himself. This is the first medium in the history of mankind. Here the world of occultism takes its hold.

An important point is the nature of the snake. Do we have to see the serpent literally or figuratively? A ‘figurative’ serpent leads to an artificial interpretation of the text:
1. The qualification that the serpent was “more crafty than any beast of the field” remains in the air.
2. The judgment about this animal then does not really make any sense. Just look at the parts of it:
   (a) he has been cursed among all the livestock and all the field animals,
   (b) he shall go on his stomach,
   (c) he shall eat dust,
   (d) there will be constant enmity between the serpent and man.
3. The use of speech in other passages that connect to this chapter must be violated (Isa 65:2525The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD.; Mic 7:1717They will lick the dust like a serpent,
Like reptiles of the earth.
They will come trembling out of their fortresses;
To the LORD our God they will come in dread
And they will be afraid before You.
). When the Lord Jesus says to His disciples, “Be shrewd [or: wise] as serpents” (Mt 10:1616“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.), He certainly does not call us to imitate the “old serpent”, that is, satan!
4. In the case of a ‘figurative serpent’ you can no longer say that the (literal) serpent has deceived Eve by his craftiness, as Paul states (2Cor 11:33But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity [of devotion] to Christ.).

In short, we do not read the Scriptures as the open-minded reader does, who justifiably takes the statements about the literal speaking of the literal animal as they are given here.

Another question we can ask in this context is whether Paul is wrong when he compares the craftiness of the instrument used by satan in the garden of Eden – the literal serpent (2Cor 11:33But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity [of devotion] to Christ.) – with that of human instruments of satan (2Cor 11:14-1514No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.15Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.). However, there is no question about such a mistake.

That becomes clear when we read carefully. He speaks of the cunning of this instrument of evil as the opposite of false apostles, who are servants of satan. We also see a clear distinction between the literal serpent and the satan itself. It does not say that the serpent himself presents himself as an angel of light, but “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2Cor 11:1414No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.)!

If we say that in Genesis 3 the manifestation of satan would be a kind of mirage, something that took place in the brain of Eve, it undermines the historic fall into sin. In that case, this chapter only has an exemplary character, along the lines of: we are all tempted by satan and then we are faced with important choices. But then man is no longer a fallen creature!

Satan chooses Eve as the interlocutor and not Adam. He knows that she is the weak link in the whole. In his teaching on the behavior of men and women in the house of God, Paul refers to what is happening here (1Tim 2:11-1411A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.12But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.13For it was Adam who was first created, [and] then Eve.14And [it was] not Adam [who] was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.). Satan opens the conversation with a cunning question. With his question he tries to sow doubt and mistrust in what God has said. His stratagem succeeds. Many times since then satan has asked the question: “Indeed, has God said …?” He has thus defeated countless people.

Satan suggests that God has deliberately limited the blessing that man may enjoy in the garden by saying “do not eat of all trees of the garden”. Arithmetically this remark is consistent with what God has said to man (Gen 2:16-1716The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”). Indeed, God has forbidden to eat from one particular tree, that of the knowledge of good and evil. The cunning way in which the serpent represents the commandment of God comes down to the fact that man may eat from all trees minus one. In this way he suggests a restriction of human freedom.

But what exactly did God say? God has said: “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely” (Gen 2:1616The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;). In Hebrew it says ‘eating eat’. We can understand this as allowed to eat from the abundance of tree fruits. The serpent, however, uses a totally different, misleading formulation. He does not speak of the freedom and blessing of man, but shifts the emphasis to limitation. God did not say so.


The Fall

2The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3but 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, or you will die.’” 4The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make [one] wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

The serpent manages to mislead the woman by his cunning (2Cor 11:33But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity [of devotion] to Christ.). Eve no longer sees things as God has said, but as the serpent reflects them on her. Do we not often hear in connection with clear statements from the Word of God: ‘You have to see things differently’? He who surrenders to it loses God’s sight of things and becomes the prey of another. Instead of referring the serpent to Adam, she talks to the serpent herself. She is open to his suggestion. Her answer betrays that the suggestive speaking of the serpent has an effect.

Her answer shows that in her thinking the tree of the knowledge of good and evil stands in the middle of the garden (verse 33but 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, or you will die.’”), while God has placed the tree of life in the middle of the garden (Gen 2:99Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.). If man has another center than God, it always goes wrong. Her answer betrays another thing: she adds to the commandment of God. God has said that she shall not eat of it; she changes it into not to eat of it and not to touch it. She makes the commandment of God heavier than He has given it.

In summary, we see that the woman says six things that differ substantially from what God has said and intended (Gen 2:16-1716The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”):
1. She conceals ‘eat freely’ (eating eat), and only speaks of ‘eat’.
2. She does not speak of ‘any tree’, but of ‘the trees’.
3. She speaks of ‘the fruit of the trees’ instead of the ‘trees’.
4. In her view she places the tree of knowledge of good and evil “in the midst of the garden”, while it is explicitly mentioned that the tree of life stands there (Gen 2:99Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.).
5. She also says: ‘not touch it’, but God has not spoken about this with a word.
6. She says, “you will die,” while God has said, “you will surely die”, which is a much more powerful expression.

We can learn from this that we must follow the example of the Lord Jesus and respond to the enemy in the way He did. We must react spiritually alert and see where the twists and one-sides are; where the enemy “adds” or “takes away” (Rev 22:18-1918I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.). We may be aware of the power and presence of Him Who said: “The ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me” (Jn 14:3030I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;).

The woman’s reaction has given the serpent a wide opening to inject its deadly poison into her. He openly denies the goodness of God and presents Him as One Who withheld the good from man. In fact, he says, ‘God does not really love you.’ This is the greatest conceivable disgrace of God, Who is love: “God is love” (1Jn 4:8,168The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.16We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.). Satan has also achieved countless successes with this representation of God.

The woman is now so brainwashed that she takes over the ‘insight’ from satan. She entrusts herself more to satan, as if he has the best of intentions for her, than to God. She judges God according to satan’s lie. She looks at the tree and sees what satan has shown. It is indeed a beautiful fruit. And shouldn’t you be allowed to eat that? God can never have intended that. The desire to take from the fruit is born.

Through desire carried away and lured, satan’s desire for what satan has presented to her takes possession of her: to become wise and therefore to be as God. Desire gives birth to sin and sin brings forth death (Jam 1:14-1514But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.15Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.). She takes and eats and also gives her husband and he eats too. This is a tragedy with irrevocable, deeply tragic consequences. By their action, they indicate that they reject God for the enjoyment of a fruit.


Afraid for the LORD God

7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

The result of their deed is that they now indeed know good and evil, as satan had said. Only from this moment on they are no longer able to do good, but only evil. Their eyes are open, but they see only their nakedness, their own sinfulness. They realize that they can no longer face God in the same way they could before their deed. They find the covering they are looking for in homemade aprons of fig leaves.

These aprons of fig leaves are still made today by all who have a sense of God, but believe that they can exist for Him by observing religious obligations. But that is not a covering for God. In verse 1010He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”, Adam says, despite his apron, “I am naked. Neither dare Adam and Eve, despite their aprons, to face God. For fear of Him they hide when they hear from the wind that He is coming. God comes to seek fellowship with man, but sin has made this impossible.


Called to Account

9Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” 11And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman whom You gave [to be] with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” 13Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

While Adam and Eve have been hiding, the voice of God to Adam sounds: “Where are you? Thus God still seeks the sinner today and calls everyone by name to come out. Change begins with coming into the light of God. Adam knows God sees him and answers. However, it is not a direct answer, but more evasive. He speaks of his fear and nudity as the reason to hide from God. He does not talk about the cause.

He and Eve do not bow directly under God’s judgment. Therefore God continues to ask questions. He knows perfectly what happened, but he wants to hear it from the mouths of Adam and Eve. In the questions He asks, He puts in their mouths what they should say, as it were, because He wants them to confess their sin. By asking questions, God forces them to think about what they have done.

His questions reveal instead of an honest confession their selfishness and their search for justification of their actions. Adam blames Eve. By speaking of “the woman you gave to be with me,” he indirectly blames God. Eve also shoves the blame off and puts it with the serpent.


The LORD God Gives Judgment

14The LORD God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat
All the days of your life;
15And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
16To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.”
17Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18“Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
19By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”

In His response to the defenses of Adam and Eve, God first addresses himself to him who has been the instrument of temptation to sin. Without hearing the serpent God curses him. The serpent hears a direct verdict, without the possibility of a reply. Going on the belly indicates extreme humiliation and misery (cf. Mic 7:17a17They will lick the dust like a serpent,
Like reptiles of the earth.
They will come trembling out of their fortresses;
To the LORD our God they will come in dread
And they will be afraid before You.
; Psa 44:2525For our soul has sunk down into the dust;
Our body cleaves to the earth.
).

In the curse God also speaks of “the seed of the woman”. That is a clear reference to the Lord Jesus (Gal 4:44But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,). He will crush satan’s head, while satan will crush his heel. If the heel is crushed, it is impossible to walk. With the Lord Jesus this happens when people, led by satan, pierce His feet on the cross and kill Him. But just by the cross He obtains victory and crushes the head of satan (Col 2:1515When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.).

After the curse of the serpent and the prospect of victory over the leader, God also pronounces His judgment over man’s sin. He mentions the consequences of sin first for the woman and then for the man. They are not cursed. The consequences for them are an aggravation of the task God has given each of them.

It is God’s intention that the woman should have children, so become pregnant (Gen 1:2828God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”). Apparently until then pregnancy and giving birth are painless in origin. That will no longer be the case. Pregnancy will cause many inconveniences and giving birth to children is a painful experience. Sin has weakened the woman slightly, making pregnancy and giving birth difficult.

To this judgment is added the fact that her desire will go to her husband and that he will rule over her. This is the result of her self-perpetuating action by independently entering into conversation with the serpent without involving Adam. She has also drawn Adam into her sin by giving him the fruit. Instead of being a help to him, she has led him to commit sin. In this judgment God says that she will really depend on her husband and that he will tell her what to do. Therein lies her blessing at the same time.

The judgment on Adam is twofold. The earth is cursed for him, and he will return to dust, that is to say die of physical death. Adam, by listening to his wife, denied his principal position over creation. As punishment for this, from now on nature will be in revolt against him. Creation also shares in the consequences of the Fall, for it is “subjected to futility” (Rom 8:2020For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope). From that moment on, she also produces thorns and thistles. Adam will no longer be able to manage nature.

For his livelihood he will have to work the soil hard. “The earth, from it comes food” (Job 28:5a5“The earth, from it comes food,
And underneath it is turned up as fire.
), which is so necessary for his sustenance (Psa 104:14b14He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the earth,
). That will be his part, as long as he lives. But the moment of physical death comes. By transgressing the Divine Commandment, He has set God aside. By the judgment of returning to dust he must become aware of the void of his being (Psa 104:2929You hide Your face, they are dismayed;
You take away their spirit, they expire
And return to their dust.
; 103:1414For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are [but] dust.
; Ecc 3:19-2019For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity.20All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust.; 12:77then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.).

The assignment to work is still valid. He who does not work while he can, disobeys God and does not deserve to be fed: “When we were with you, we commanded you to do so: If anyone does not want to work, they will not eat either (2Thes 3:1010For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.). The Lord Jesus has worked (Jn 5:1717But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”). He prophetically even said that he worked in vain: “But I said, “I have toiled in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity” (Isa 49:44But I said, “I have toiled in vain,
I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity;
Yet surely the justice [due] to Me is with the LORD,
And My reward with My God.”
).


The Faith of Adam

20Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all [the] living.

Adam calls his wife “Eve” which means “life”. Here appears the faith of Adam. He accepts God’s judgment, but at the same time, in faith, lays hands on what God has said about the offspring of women. He focuses his eye on the future when he says that Eve is the mother of all living. “All living” are all those who, by faith, are connected with the offspring (or: the seed) of the woman: the Lord Jesus. Adam did not realize this, but we may know it by what we read in the New Testament (Gal 3:1616Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as [referring] to many, but [rather] to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.; 4:44But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,).


God Clothes Man

21The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

The fact that Adam and Eve have seen their sin before God is shown by the fact that God cloths them with skin-cloths. It does not say ‘hides’, but ‘skin’; it originally says a single word. Homemade aprons disappear. Clothes from a skin can only come from an animal that has been killed before. Blood has flowed.

They are clothes made from the skin of one animal. Here we see the truth that there is only through the blood of one Innocent salvation for the guilty man. It refers to the one sacrifice of Christ, to His blood and death, and that this sacrifice is given by God Himself (Jn 3:1616“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.). Only through the blood of the Lord Jesus is forgiveness of sins possible (Acts 9:2222But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this [Jesus] is the Christ.), only through the death of the Lord Jesus is a person reconciled to God (Rom 5:1010For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.).

As a result of faith in Him and His work, the believer is clothed with Christ, by which he is pleasing to God (Eph 1:6-76to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.7In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace). He is clothed with “the best robe” (Lk 15:2222But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;), with “garments of salvation” (Isa 61:1010I will rejoice greatly in the LORD,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
). This must also become visible in our practice, as shown by the exhortation to put the Lord Jesus Christ on (Rom 13:1414But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to [its] lusts.; Gal 3:2727For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.). Clothing speaks of our behavior, what people see of us. Do they recognize the Lord Jesus in our conduct and in us speak? Do we behave as He wills and do we speak as He wills?


Driven out of the Garden of Eden

22Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

The LORD God confirms what satan has said to Eve about being like God (verse 2222Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—; verse 55For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”). As said, the parable is only the knowledge of good and evil, while at the same time the possibility of using that knowledge in a divine manner is completely lacking. Man has been deceived by accepting the suggestion of satan.

After God’s gracious provision of the clothes of a skin they must leave paradise. As far as man is concerned, that has been lost forever. A return to the tree of life is not possible. The access is closed. This is also a proof of God’s grace, because with it God prevents man from having to remain in this state of misery forever.

The history of man shows that he is tireless in his attempts to open the way to paradise again. He will not bow under God’s judgment. But all efforts are in vain and will always be. The sword of the cherubs guards the way to the tree of life by God’s command.

Man is sent away to cultivate the soil, because the soil is no longer pure and no longer produces only good fruit. However much God sees the possibility of living with Him, the consequences of sin are not all taken away. A complete recovery to the old situation cannot take place. Later we will see that God has plans that go far beyond a restoration of paradise: the congregation will be eternally connected to the Lord Jesus and eternally with Him in the Father’s house.

Yet God’s plans for the earth will also be fulfilled once. But first man must be tested in every possible way to see if anything good can be expected of him. The outcome of this can be seen in the rest of Genesis and the books that follow.


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