The Temptation and Fall of Man


The Fall of Man by Lukas Cranach” by Lucas Cranach the Elder – 1. Unknown 2. derivate work of File:Lucas Cranach d.Ä. – Paradies (1530, Kunsthistorisches Museum).jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Genesis 3
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
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. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
8 And they heard the sound 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 among the trees of the garden.
9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
16 To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
21 Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—
23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.
24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

A look at the temptation and fall of the first humans.

The Serpent (not one of us!)
In the beginning the serpent was different! Appears it was intelligent and cunning! They could converse! Eve was not surprised at the serpent coherently speaking to her! Were they conversing regularly? Was Satan speaking through the serpent? This scene reminded me of Satan entering Judas in Luke 22:3 and John 13:27 leading him to betray our Lord and Jesus rebuking Peter as Satan in Matthew 16:23 and Mark 8:33!

This deception will cause divine retribution. The serpent will undergo physical changes in verse 14. Perhaps this is the reason this particular kind of serpent that deceived the woman did not pass along the ability to speak or may have even become extinct since the Fall.

The Humans
She was deceived by the enticingly pretty picture presented by the serpent in his choice of words and how he plays with them to create doubts in her mind. “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” [I have italicized and underlined the words for clarity.]

The woman knew what God had commanded. Except for the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden, they were free to eat the fruit of all the trees, which included the tree of life! In effect, they were commanded: Don’t touch it! Don’t eat it! Lest you die!

The serpent says, “You will not really die. God knows that when you eat of it you will be enlightened and be like Him, knowing good and evil.” [Paraphrased.]

Perhaps she and her husband had not paid particular attention to the tree since they were forbidden from touching or eating it’s fruit. Now we find her taking a second look at it. Let’s see what she finds! The tree was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and desirable to make one wise (verse 6). So she plucks its fruit and eats it! Not only that! She shares it with her husband and he eats it! He consciously participates in disobeying God’s direct command.

What happens? Innocence is lost. Well, they become conscious of their naked bodies! Illumination? Light bulbs go on in their respective heads? Why were not they conscious of this before? Innocence? Why didn’t they know this before? “They knew that they were naked” (verse 7). What caused them to know? Eating the fruit or the guilt of disobeying God?

What do they do? Not much really. They clumsily cover their nakedness by stitching together fig leaves. What were they really covering up? Their physical nakedness or their guilt / misdeed?

Verse 8: And they heard the sound 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 among the trees of the garden.

Listen! The Lord God is walking in the garden in the cool of the day!

Quick! Hide! He’ll see our nakedness! As though they hadn’t walked with Him in their nakedness before! They could not face the Lord God in their nakedness! They ran away and hid themselves from the joy of innocent fellowship with their Maker. The fellowship which they had enjoyed while walking and talking with the Lord God was broken by one deliberate act of disobedience.

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; 
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear. – Isaiah 59:2.

The Lord God calls out to Adam. “Where are you?” God knows what is happening here! He knows everything. Still, He wants them before Him.

How does Adam answer? “I heard your voice in the garden.” Then he says something curious. “I was afraid because I was naked.” He was afraid of being naked? Why was he really afraid? Nakedness was not something to be afraid of before! He was afraid of facing God with his new-found knowledge! He knew he had disobeyed God! That is the real reason of his fear.

“Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Of course God knew. He wanted an honest answer from Adam. Does he given an honest answer? In a roundabout way!

In verses 12 and 13 we find the start of the blame game that humanity has indulged in ever since to deflect their guilt for which Jesus had to be the sacrifice. Adam blames “the woman whom You gave to be with me” as the cause of his disobedience! He blames God for giving him a wife who hands him the fruit! How unfair is that?! However, he admits, “I ate.”

God says to the woman, “What is this you have done?” Do we detect a touch of anguish in this statement? The woman admits to have been deceived by the serpent and says, “I ate.”

Consequences and Pronouncement of Judgment
From verse 14 to 19, God pronounces judgment on the serpent, the woman, and Adam. Each of them would have to bear the consequences of offending God. However, the woman’s Seed, Jesus Christ, would crush the serpent (Satan who used the serpent as a tool) even as he would wound the Seed. God offers hope for the salvation of humanity.

Adam names his wife Eve, meaning the mother of all living. God does not destroy our first ancestors. He Himself now covers / clothes them both with garments of animal skin. In this act are revealed the mercy, grace, and tenderness of God.

Next we see a divine deliberation [verse 22] which results in Adam and Eve being driven out of the Garden “lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”. No one can eat of the tree of life while in a broken relationship with God. The way to the garden, specifically the tree of life, is now guarded by heavenly beings. Man is now “out in the world” to live his life in hardship, pain, and sorrow and eventually die. God had warned the first humans that disobedience would result in death {which is a separation}. They were separated from the Presence of God and their bodies returned to the dust in the absence of life.

Even as He locks one gate, He opens another for the redemption of lost humanity. The Lord God Himself, in the Person of Jesus Christ, the Seed of the woman, would step into time and this world, and by His life, death, and resurrection, provide the way back to the Father for fallen humanity so that we can be restored to a right relationship with, and be reconciled to, Him.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?” “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. – Romans 11:33-36.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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