Genesis 2011 - Lesson 3C

Chapter 3:7-19

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  • In the next part of the chapter, we examine what is easily the most important moment in Scripture, apart from the death of Christ –

    • The fall of man and woman, and the curses of God

Gen. 3:7 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 loin coverings. 
  • They knew they were naked and made effort to clothe themselves

    • What is the connection between sinfulness and clothing?

      • It would be understandable if we assumed that our universal desire to hide nakedness was merely a culturally-learned trait

        • But the Bible tells us that the practice of covering ourselves came instantly as a result of sin

      • The simple definition of sin is law breaking

        • So when we sin, we have broken a law and offended a lawgiver

        • That lawgiver promised that when they ate of the fruit, they would be due a penalty of spiritual death

        • And so as they eat, they experience a spiritual change, which leaves them feeling different about themselves and about their relationship with God

    • They now have shame: feeling that they have a reason to hide or conceal themselves

      • This is a feeling that accompanies the law breaking

      • We call it our conscience 

  • They instinctively recognize their unholiness before God

    • And they try to cover themselves physically to remove this shameful feeling

    • Here we see the dilemma of mankind’s spiritual defect

      • Their physical actions (i.e., disobeying God by eating the fruit) produced a spiritual change (i.e., death) that led to a physical change (shame)

      • But the reverse is not true

        • Now that we have a fallen nature, we cannot fix our spiritual defect through physical actions

        • Our spiritual nature cannot be “improved” through corrective actions

        • We can’t work our way out of a fallen nature

Gen. 3:8 They 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. 
Gen. 3:9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 
  • They hear God approaching them in the garden

    • What do they hear? Is God truly walking?

      • The word for walk is halak and generally means to access, go in, enter

      • So God entered the garden

        • As God is all Spirit, He doesn’t have a physical body to walk in the Garden

        • A better way to understand this moment is that God is making known His presence to the man and woman in the Garden

    • Moses adds that He enters in the cool of the day

      • The word for cool is ruach which means Spirit or breath or wind

        • It seems that God entered like the wind (not walking)

    • And importantly, He made His presence known (to be heard) like a wind rustling leaves

      • Clearly, God has made an overt effort to ensure Adam and Woman hear Him coming

      • He wanted Adam and Woman to know He was coming

    • Why does God want to make His presence known?

      • When they hear God, they hide themselves from Him

      • Why are they hiding?

        • As we’ve already said, their sin gave them reason to fear God

        • Instinctively, they knew they had offended the lawgiver and were afraid of confronting the holiness of God

    • So it seems God is showing grace to them by making sure they have opportunity to shield themselves from His presence

      • To come face to face with God while in a state of sin means death (eternal judgment)

      • Because God is compelled by His own perfect nature to judge sin and not ignore it

Ex. 33:19 And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and  I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” 
Ex. 33:20 But He said, “You cannot see My face,  for no man can see Me and live!” 
  • And God doesn’t want to destroy mankind, 

    • So to be sure they hide, God makes noise as He enters

  • Next, God calls out for them

    • Why does God ask “Where are you?”

      • Doesn’t He know? Yes

      • It’s grace again

        • An opportunity for repentance, so they could admit their guilt

        • They had an opportunity to answer back with a confession

    • Does Adam take the opportunity?Gen. 3:10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” 

Gen. 3:10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” 
Gen. 3:11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 
  • God asks where are you, but Adam answers a different question

    • Adam essentially answered the question why are you hiding?

    • He says he was afraid

      • Here we see how fear of the Lord comes upon man as a result of his shame produced by sin

      • Our sin has produced a debt before God, an instinctive reason to fear God

    • Adam explains he was fearful because he was naked

      • This is also a strange answer, because Adam has been naked from the beginning

      • Yet only now was he bothered by appearing before God naked

        • Ironically, he isn’t even naked now, because he’s wearing fig leaf shorts

      • Yet he still feels naked before God

        • Here we have a very visible proof that Adam’s spiritual change has created a physical change 

        • He feels shame over nakedness, but clothing his physical body hasn’t corrected his spiritual problem

          • He says he still feels afraid and still feels naked before God

          • Adam needs a spiritual solution for this spiritual problem, and only God can bring that solution

  • God asks who told you that you were naked?

    • Naked is nagad – made known, declared, made conspicuous

      • The real question is how did you come to know you were naked? What was the source of this knowledge?

      • No answer was necessary

      • Adam was showing proof that he had obtained the knowledge of good and of evil

    • God’s second question clarifies what He means

      • Have you done as I commanded you not to do?

        • Have you disobeyed? Have you sinned?

      • They broke the only rule they were given

        • They ate from the tree

  • In these questions, we see Adam’s second opportunity to repent and confess His sin

    • Adam’s response is classic – and needs virtually no commentary

Gen. 3:12  The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” 
  • Adam names the source of his knowledge

    • He says it was the the woman

    • And just to clarify, Adam adds “…the one You gave me”

      • Throughout the history of mankind, husbands have said some pretty stupid things concerning their wives

      • But Adam still holds the record

    • In one sentence, Adam manages to insult not only his wife but God as well

  • Adam points to Woman but in the process he tries to blame God

    • Since Woman was God’s gift to Adam, he tries to hold that gift against Him

    • This is classic shifting of blame

      • Adam is at fault, but he looks for someone else to blame

  • After first blaming the woman for handing him the fruit, and then God for creating the woman, finally Adam gives himself a little credit

    • He says “and I ate”

      • He has tried to minimize his own role

      • Stuck at the end, almost as a footnote

    • Adam doesn’t repent or seek forgiveness

      • He seems unconcerned about the penalty found in God’s promise (they will surely die)

      • After all, everything else God said has come true, so why isn’t Adam thinking about what comes next?

      • Because he’s still stuck in denial rather than repentance 

  • Next, God follows the chain of evidence and asks of Woman…

Gen. 3:13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 
  • He asks simply what have you done?

    • Unlike Adam, Woman’s response is largely accurate

      • First she responds that she was deceived 

      • Secondly, she admits her actions

    • Unlike Adam, Woman had legitimate reason to put her own actions at the end of the sentence

      • It was true that she ate as a result of deception

    • If not exactly a confession, at least it was truthful without excuse

      • Remember, deception was a legitimate reason for her actions prior to the fall

  • Now the fall has happened, as God knew and expected even before creation,  He is now faced with a dilemma

    • God had said Adam and Woman should fill the earth

      • And these people would serve Him in His creation

    • But now that they have sinned, they have a fallen nature which will produce after its own kind

      • When they have children, their children will also come into the world bearing the marks of their sinful choice

      • They are on a course to fill the world with sin and disobedience

    • God must judge sin

      • And when He pronounces judgement on sin, He must demand the just and right penalty

        • He must demand the death and eternal separation of these two from His presence forever

      • It’s not as though He can choose a different penalty

        • Eternal separation is the inevitable result of their sinful nature

        • But if God wants to preserve a relationship with Man, He will have to come up with a solution that doesn’t require judgment in this moment

    • So then God responds

Gen. 3:14 The 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; 
Gen. 3:15 And 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.” 
  • God works backward, beginning with snake and ending with Adam

    • Along the way, He pronounces curses

      • The word for curse in Hebrew is arar, and it’s used 70 times in the Old Testament

      • It always means a divine judgment of condemnation from God

    • For example:

Jer. 17:5  Thus says the LORD, 
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind 
And makes  flesh his  strength, 
And whose heart turns away from the LORD. 
  • The sense of the word is always damnation

    • The one who is cursed will go to Hell

      • There is no recovery from God’s curse

      • A curse is a permanent judgment that always results in eternal separation from God

    • Take special note of where God pronounces curses and where He doesn’t

  • First, God speaks to the snake

    • Actually, He speaks to both the snake (the animal) and to Satan

      • In v.14 we’re looking at the snake and in v.15 we’re looking at Satan

    • God begins by saying because you have done this…

      • Meaning participating in the deception in v.13

      • Cursed are you more than all cattle and beast, and on your belly you will go eating dust

        • Clearly God is addressing the snake (the host)

        • It appears to lose an ability to move upright, perhaps on legs

        • It suggests that snakes had legs originally, and some still show evidence of legs

    • Are we saying that snakes really eat dust?

      • It’s a Hebrew figure of speech that means having one’s face in the dirt as a sign of shame, as snakes do

      • If we jump forward to the Millennial Kingdom when God begins to restore creation back to His original design, we notice something interesting

Is. 65:25 “The 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. 
  • Even after the Kingdom arrives, the snake is still said to eat dust

  • You may be wondering why God curses the snake?  After all, it was just a unwitting host for Satan

    • It wasn’t guilty by association

      • God is changing the snake’s appearance and behavior as a memorial of this seminal event

    • Remember,God has complete authority over His reaction, to make it any way He wishes

      • And it makes no difference to the snake itself; it doesn’t know the difference

  • Verse 15 moves to Satan

    • We know it’s talking about Satan and not the snake, because enmity between snake and the woman makes no sense

      • Yes many women hate snakes, but so do men

        • And some women like snakes

      • Besides, what does God accomplish by creating dislike between women and snakes?  Nothing

    • The enmity is between women and Satan, the one who indwelled the snake

      • Why does God limit it to women rather than all mankind?

      • The answer is found in the next line

        • Between your seed and her seed

    • The enmity isn’t between just Adam’s wife and the serpent in the garden, but what each represents

      • The serpent represents Satan and his offspring

        • The corrupted, sinful children that his deception has produced and who belong to the Enemy

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.
1John 3:8 the one who practices sin is  of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 
1John 3:9 No one who is  born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is  born of God. 
1John 3:10 By this the children of God and the  children of the devil are obvious:  anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his  brother. 
  • There are two kinds of people in the world

    • Children of the Devil and children of God

      • And here we have their origins

      • One group follows the enemy and one God

    • And all of us start life born into the camp of the enemy

      • And by grace we receive the gift of faith and are born again as a child of God

  • Here God places enmity between the enemy’s children and God’s children

    • They will be enemies forever

      • Satan’s attacks will no longer come against unsuspecting targets

      • Satan will battle against an army of God’s choosing, equipping them to be wise to the enemy’s schemes

      • And who can never lose their inheritance again

  • Why does God say woman’s seed…why not Adam’s seed since seed is uniquely a male attribute?

    • First, it’s simply a reference to Woman’s unique role in birthing children

      • She has the honor to bring new life into the world, so seed refers to her children

    • Secondly, seed is implying something much greater to come

      • We call it the proto evangelium or the first gospel

      • The seed of woman is a reference to a virgin birth of Christ

Gal. 3:16 Now 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. 
  • According to v.15, each seed will bruise (shuph) one another

    • The two instances of shuph are sometimes translated differently because of the context

      • “He” bruises “you” (Satan) on the head

      • Conversely, “you” (Satan) bruise “Him” on the heel

    • He and Him refer to the coming Messiah, the Seed who must come by a woman to destroy the enemy

  • Note, a wound on the heel is not a fatal

    • The enemy gains a small victory over Christ on the cross

    • He bruises Christ – a short-lived, temporary blow

  • But Christ’s blow is to Satan’s head, a lethal blow

Gen. 3:16 To 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.” 
  • Then God turns to the woman (still working backward)

    • Many misunderstand this verse to be in judgment of Woman, disciplining her for her mistake

      • Instead, each case shows God’s grace

    • She will give birth to children in pain

      • First, this is an obvious act of discipline

      • It provides a memorial in the woman’s body as a reminder of the pain God must now endure on our behalf when he brings us new life in Christ

John 16:21 “Whenever a woman is in labor she has  pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a  child has been born into the world.
John 16:22 “Therefore  you too have grief now; but  I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.
  • Women carry in their body a reminder, though painful, of the work God did on the cross

    • Though this is chastisement in one sense, like all good chastisement, it is grace

    • Ultimately, the woman is being told that she will be given the privilege of giving birth to the Messiah

  • Next, Woman will have a desire for her husband and he will rule over her

    • Word here for desire is teshuqah – only appears in two places, here and in Song of Solomon

      • In Song of Solomon it means sexual longing

      • So should it not be interpreted here in the same way?

      • Instead, society twists this into the woman longing to rule over her husband - using the second half of the verse as a way to justify a fight

    • But family unity is critically important to God’s plan

      • And should center around the love a wife has for her husband

  • You may have heard that God curses woman, but notice there is no curse

    • Each of these decrees is actually a grace given to Woman

    • She goes largely unpunished, except that she will share in the punishments handed to Adam – to be covered next week