Genesis 2011 - Lesson 3A

Chapters 2:25; 3:1-3

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  • God created the world in 6 literal days

    • He “rested” on the seventh day to establish a picture for men

      • The picture that only through God’s work can we enjoy true lasting rest

      • The Sabbath picture is eventually fulfilled in Jesus’ work on the cross

    • God carefully created two people who were clearly distinguished from the rest of creation

      • They enjoyed the benefit of an entire world created specifically for their use and enjoyment

      • They were granted the unique ability to relate to the creator and respond to Him

        • Their nature was free and innocent

        • They lacked the capacity to understand either good or evil,  in relation to the other

      • God desired to express Himself to fully to a creation capable of understanding and responding fully to that expression

        • So God gave a single prohibition to them, which became the test of their willingness to follow Him fully

        • It wasn’t a trap, yet without such a test, there could be no true relationship based on love 

      • This is the world God designed and desired

  • Man would live forever in this situation, multiplying and filling the world, he and his descendants giving God glory and enjoying God’s caring provision

    • Yet God’s word and His design of the world reflects an expectation that things would not remain as He established them in the beginning

      • Ephesians 1:4: reminds us that He chose us even before  the foundation of the world

      • Reflects reality that God expected there to be a fall, which necessitates a Messiah, who would come to die, and that in that relationship some would receive the grace that God offers

      • Design of creation itself also reflects this:

        • Tree in the garden, water suspended above world, the sea, night – all show us that God was preparing for a change in the world He created

  • That brings us to Chapter 3

    • In this chapter, we will see the fall of man from this place of privilege

      • But this chapter is also the place where redemption begins

        • In fact, the rest of the Bible is the story of God at work to return the creation to a place that’s even better than the one Adam knew

      • We will also see the way sin works and the techniques of the enemy

    • But first, we must examine a transition verse at the end of Chapter 2

Gen. 2:25  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. 
  • Moses offers us a bridging verse to end Chapter 2 and introduce Chapter 3

    • The Hebrew word for naked is arom

      • If we glance ahead to 3:1 we see the word crafty which is arum

      • They are very similar to the Hebrew ear

    • Moses uses the similarity of the two words to draw a connection and bridge the two chapters

      • Moses contrasts the innocence of man and the sinister nature of the enemy

    • Why mention this detail?

      • Moses connects evil with our tendency to be ashamed of nakedness, to teach that this relationship is more than learned behavior

        • It’s a spiritual issue that we will understand better later in Chapter 3

    • Meanwhile, the fact that man and woman could be naked in each other’s presence without shame is important to Chapter 3

      • It also pictures spiritual transparency and vulnerability

      • Transparency in a relationship means true and complete honesty

        • Whether before God or one another, we live in a transparent way when we act and speak with no intent to keep part of ourselves hidden

        • Literally, we have nothing to hide

    • True transparency is a by-product of holiness

      • Only someone who is truly right before God can live in a truly transparent manner

        • This was the state of Adam and Woman at the start of Chapter 3

      • Conversely, after the Fall we lost the ability to live with transparency with one another and God, because we lack complete holiness

        • The more we have to be ashamed of, the less we can be transparent

        • Our sin removes our ability to live fully transparent lives

      • We’ll address the clothing connection later in the chapter, but at this point it’s enough to note that man and woman are living  without shame as they were made, because they are innocent

Gen. 3:1 Now 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’?” 
Gen. 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “ From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 
Gen. 3:3 but 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.’” 
  • At some point, man and woman are confronted by a serpent

    • This event happens after the first week, but we don’t know how long afterward

    • Who is the serpent?

      • First, we know it is Satan

Rev. 12:9 And 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. 
Rev. 20:2 And he laid hold of the  dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and  bound him for a thousand years; 
  • Scripture also calls him the Father of Lies

John 8:44 “You 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.
  • Is this intended to be a literal snake?

    • The word in Hebrew is nachash: a serpent or snake

    • Moses says it is a beast of the field

    • So the natural reading of the text is that Woman saw a snake that was also Satan

  • What does Moses mean when he says the snake was more crafty than other beasts?

    • Is Moses saying that the snake as God created it is naturally sneakier and nastier than other animals?

    • We know this cannot be true because today we have poodles wink

  • Moses is telling us something about this particular snake

    • This particular serpent was the craftiest of all creatures

    • In other words, this is Moses‘ way of subtly explaining that a snake was indwelled by Satan and therefore it was made crafty 

    • In the same way that the antichrist can be described as the most evil of all men because Satan will indwell him as well

  • Crafty in Hebrew means sensible, prudent

    • It indicates a combination of a special, abnormal intelligence

  • Why did Satan take the form of a snake?

    • First, there is no indication that the snake was chosen for any particular reason

      • Had Satan chosen to indwell a poodle, today we would be saying that the poodle was more crafty than any beast of the field…and how appropriate that would be

    • Secondly, Satan must take some form when he appears to Adam and Woman 

      • So he chooses to come as an animal, talking and offering advice

        • Remember, in 2 Corinthians 11:14 Paul says the enemy comes as an angel of light

      • Why doesn’t woman run screaming when she sees a talking snake?

        • This suggests that the encounter with Satan happens very early in their existence

        • Before they have explored the world and come to understand that animals lack the ability to speak and interact with people

        • Based on Adam’s experience naming the animals, he would have known that a talking animal was an anomaly, but he’s not engaged at this moment

  • Before we go further in the storyline, let’s ask a more fundamental question: where did Satan come from?

    • He isn’t mentioned in the creation story

      • But we know he existed in the Garden before Satan fell in sin

Ezek. 28:12 “Son of man,  take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, 
“You  had the seal of perfection, 
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 
Ezek. 28:13 “You were in  Eden, the garden of God; 
Every precious stone was your covering: 
The  ruby, the topaz and the diamond; 
The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; 
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; 
And the gold, the workmanship of your   settings and  sockets, 
Was in you. 
On the day that you were created 
They were prepared. 
Ezek. 28:14 “You were the  anointed cherub who  covers, 
And I placed you there. 
You were on the holy  mountain of God; 
You walked in the midst of the  stones of fire. 
Ezek. 28:15 “You were blameless in your ways 
From the day you were created 
Until  unrighteousness was found in you. 
Ezek. 28:16 “By the  abundance of your trade 
You were internally  filled with violence, 
And you sinned; 
Therefore I have cast you as profane 
From the mountain of God. 
And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, 
From the midst of the stones of fire. 
Ezek. 28:17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; 
You  corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. 
I cast you to the ground; 
I put you before  kings, 
That they may see you. 
  • Satan was in the Garden, but the Garden wasn’t created until Day 6

    • So at a point in time, Satan was in the garden without sin

    • Another theory is that the Garden existed in an earlier form and was destroyed at the time of Satan’s fall

      • Then remade in the six days of Creation

    • This is part of the Gap Theory

  • Notice that evil existed before man’s sin 

    • Satan’s fall produced the arrival of evil and the Father of lies

    • He then becomes the instrument for initiating man’s fall

  • Why did God allow Satan to remain in the Garden and tempt man?

    • Would there have been a fall without Satan tempting man? 

      • We will examine that question a little later, but for now remember that God has anticipated and even prepared for the Fall from the beginning

    • Satan begins with a question

      • As we look at his question and the dialogue that follows, we also want to take time to examine the art of deception and the seductiveness of sin

    • Satan asks has indeed God said…

      • Notice right away that had God never given Adam a prohibition, Satan would have had nothing to challenge 

        • The mere existence of the tree makes this conversation possible

        • Without a tree, there is no starting point for disobedience

        • Paul makes the same point in Romans when he says:

Rom. 4:15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. 
  • Satan’s question is more than a question

    • It’s actually a statement

  • He implies that God has treated Woman unfairly

    • It makes woman feel disadvantaged, taken for a ride

    • Made a fool, made to seem naive

    • Satan impugns God’s motives

  • Satan’s method is often to bring us to a place where we doubt God’s character or purposes, by first questioning His word

    • But cleverly, Satan allows us fill in the blank with our own accusations against God

      • This is the way the Father of Lies works

      • He uses suggestion to weaken our resolve and obedience

  • Woman answers Satan

    • It’s interesting that she seems ready to have a natural conversation with a snake

      • Again, this would be expected if she had little experience to go on in dealing with the animals

    • Her answer is a defense on behalf of God

      • She tries to repeat God’s instructions to correct the snake

    • Does she get it right? No

      • How is it wrong?

    • Firstly, she makes God’s word more restrictive (adds to His word) while neglecting to emphasize the freedom God gave, and de-emphasizing the penalty (not surely die)

      • She says they cannot touch (God never said that)

      • And she forget to mention that they could eat freely from the other trees (2:16)

  • Obviously Woman is not familiar with or completely aware of God’s word

    • Here we see one of the dangers in failing to know God’s word well enough

      • When we don’t know the Word, we change it

      • And when we change it, we don’t tend to make it less restrictive

      • We actually tend to make it more restrictive (legalism)

    • When religiously-minded men depart from God’s word, they tend to insert their own rules and ideas and call them God’s ideas

      • Legalism is man-made restrictions masquerading as God’s law

    • Legalism leads to resentment and frustration and ultimately it drives people away from obedience to God

      • And it makes God to be an unkind taskmaster intent on robbing us of joy

    • Every word of Scripture matters, and when we change even small parts, we begin to depart from God’s path

Prov. 30:5 Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. 
Prov. 30:6 Do not add to His words
Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.
  • And as our memory fades, the enemy is quick to insert other meanings and confuse our understanding

    • And as this process takes hold, the result is a meaning that doesn’t edify and strengthen our walk

    • But rather we will be confused and weakened in our resolve and we may begin to question God’s motives

  • The antidote is a life-long pursuit of God’s word as a way of knowing and following Him better