In this blog post I would like to take some time to go through one of the most important chapters in all the Bible. The choices made in this chapter have affected every generation since this chapter and are replaying themselves out in different ways in each generation and each individual life down to this day.
The chapter is Genesis 3. The chapters before detail how God created the world and how all He made was good. But Genesis 3 changed everything. This is the chapter where “paradise is lost.” If you grasp the truths revealed in this chapter you will understand all of the Bible. If you do not take to heart and apply to your life the things discovered in this chapter, you will not understand the heart of God, the sin of man (yourself), the reality of Satan (the devil) and the grace of Jesus Christ. If you grasp the truths contained in this chapter, you will see God for who He truly is, the world as it truly is and yourself for who you truly are.
So let me take you through this verse by verse with an explanation and application to today.
Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Here is the first time we are introduced to the enemy of God (the devil or Satan) and all that is truly good. Satan is a spirit being who originally was known as Lucifer. Prior to Genesis 3, there was some type of angelic rebellion against God, led by “Lucifer.” But this isn’t the focus in this blog. Here we are simply seeking to understand how he operates in regard to his schemes against human beings, who alone have been created in the image of God and are loved by God with a special love in comparison to all other created things.
And the first thing we see is that Satan, like a snake, is cunning and crafty. We also see that his first line of attack was an attempt to cast doubt and distort what God had actually said to try to move Adam and Eve to disobey God and thus be able to destroy the fellowship and relationship man had with God and wreck destruction on the earth. We will see his plan succeeded…though not forever!
But let’s apply this to today. Satan’s first line of attack is to cast doubt in people’s hearts regarding God’s word and God’s heart. Isn’t it amazing how the Bible of all books comes under such attack and scrutiny? Isn’t it interesting how schools are terrified to use it and highly intelligent people criticize it more than any other book? Isn’t it amazing how even though so many people own Bibles, how few actually read it, including Christians? Do you not think and do you not see there is something more going on than meets the natural eye? Make no mistake Satan is still whispering to the hearts of human beings: “Did God really say?”
Because Doubting + Distorting God’s word and heart = Disobedience and Destruction.
But let’s back up to doubts and distortion because as we see in the next verse what Satan questioned was not what God had really said.
“The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”
Satan asked Eve if God had said they couldn’t eat from any tree. But as Eve replied, God had said they could eat from any tree, except just one tree.
Again do you not see and and do you not think there is more going on than meets the natural eye when people are focused on and fall back on the “restrictions” of Christianity instead of the freedom we have in Christ?
And once again what is being questioned is not just God’s word but God’s heart. God told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree because if they did they would die! This one rule, this one restriction was for their own protection and good! God is not out to rob us of joy and pleasure, but to keep us from loss and pain!
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
At this point Satan flat out contradicts God’s word. God had said they would die if they ate of the fruit of the one tree. But Satan tells Eve she won’t die, that God is lying and His word not true!
Again, humanity is falling hook, line and sinker for this same lie, that God’s Word is not true and He cannot be trusted. That God is holding back good from us. That God is restricting our own “progression.”
And here is the root of all rebellion against God; the desire to be our own God instead of depending on God.
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.”
This is how temptation works.
1. We look. We consider. We think about.
2. We focus on the benefits, the pleasure, the gain; instead of the consequences and pain.
3. We take and we eat.
Did you notice the battle is won and lost in the heart and mind first?
And isn’t it amazing how no matter how much we have, very few are content and want (have to) have more? Each generation grows discontent and “pushes” the boundaries, “breaks the chains” that are “restricting” them.
God gave Adam and Eve license to eat any tree in the garden except one; but it was that one she had to take and try!
How is it we get focused on what we shouldn’t or can’t have and forget about all we do have and can have? But this is the power of temptation!
“She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
Here is the picture of the passive man who failed to intervene on behalf of his wife and follow God. How many of us as husbands and fathers are sitting passively by while the enemy deceives and distracts and attacks our family? Worse yet; how many of us go along with it; being influenced rather than having an influence?
Secondly, here is a picture of how sin loves company. Sin is very inclusive. Sin wants to involve others. People feel better when others join with them in wrongdoing.
God intended that we share in His life together. That we agree together in prayer, not in sin. God intended that we fight with each other, not share in sin together!
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
Now we get to what we see all over the place.
Sinful man covers himself with his own righteousness. We sew our own fig leaves together to cover our shame. We try to suppress our guilt and atone for our sins, hoping our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds. We clothe ourselves and cover ourselves; trying to be our own saviors.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
Covering up and covering ourselves leads to hiding from the presence of God.
Jesus said in John 3:19-21 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”
Sin not only leads to shame but also an unhealthy fear of God instead of a true fear of God that keeps us from wrong. Natural man and sinful man is afraid of God because we have sinned and don’t want to be held responsible for our sin. So we cover our shame and hide from God; our sin separating us from fellowship with God.
In other words, we are a mess and have royally messed this is all up! And we are hopeless and helpless in and of ourselves.
But the story doesn’t end here. In fact this is where the Gospel (which means “good news!” kicks in!) God didn’t just shrug His shoulders and say oh well we lost them! And He didn’t just stand back and wait for us to come to Him. He came to us (in Christ) and called us to come out of hiding and into the light!
“But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
Don’t just quickly skip over this. Pause here…and let this sink in.
Can you hear the broken heart of God in this? Can you hear the pain in His voice in this question?
And think about this question. The first question He asked them was not “what have you done?” It was “where are you?” This is God weeping over the loss of communion, fellowship and relationship with mankind.
Why God even desires relationship with us is a mystery. Why God decided to redeem relationship with us is an even greater mystery! But the truth of the Gospel is; He is pursuing us. He is calling us out. He is drawing out of us a confession (Spoiler alert; while there will be consequences, the ultimate end is so that He can clothe us in His righteousness, rather than us try to atone for our guilt, sin and shame. Calling us to repentance is so He can reconcile us to Himself and restore fellowship!)
“He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Think about what Adam is saying and not saying here. Everything he says here is true. It’s just not the whole truth and the core truth. And so God calls him on it and draws out it out of him.
“And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
God didn’t blast him and attack him. He didn’t say “what have you done you dirty rotten scoundrel!”
But Adam is still going to try to wiggle out of this somewhat: “The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Once again this is true. But this is the classic blame game and “I’m not really the one responsible for my sin.” I may have done something wrong but someone else is really to blame and is responsible!
Again, can you not see this playing out all over the place in our culture and in your own life?
And Eve doesn’t do much better: “Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
It’s the devil’s fault!
Once again what she says is partly true. The serpent did deceive her. But she chose to disobey God.
Well after this the consequences are dished out in verses 14-19 because sin has consequences.
Sin always comes with strings attached. The first part of Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death…” And this does not mean merely physical death, but spiritual death (separation from God) and eternal death (separated from God for all eternity in a place called “hell”).
But that verse doesn’t end there because the rest of it says “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In fact in verse 15 back in Genesis 3 is found the first prophecy about regarding a future Messiah that would come to atone for man’s sin and deal thoroughly with this enemy of God, the devil. “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” This was fulfilled when Jesus was crucified as Satan struck His heel, but Jesus crushed His head (destroyed His power) through His death on the cross!
Colossians 2:13-15 tells us this: “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
In other words God has provided a covering for our sins: Christ’s righteousness.
Verse 21 of Genesis 3 hints at this when it says: “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”
Note: Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves; but now God made His own garments (of skin—implying a sacrifice) to cover them in.
Why did God do this?
Because man’s own “coverings” (righteousness, works and “good deeds”) are not sufficient. They do not adequately deal with sin and guilt and shame. We cannot save ourselves.
And so Paul writes in Romans 1:16-17 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
God has done for us what we couldn’t and given us what we don’t deserve. In fact someone came up with an acronym for Grace that goes like this:
There is nothing more precious than God’s grace!
Have you received His gift of grace?
Have you been clothed in Christ’s righteousness; receiving God’s righteousness by faith?
Are you covering up, hiding, diminishing your sin and responsibility before God, blaming others and suppressing your guilt; or have you come into the light and confessed your sin?
Do you understand the consequences of sin?
James 1:14-15 says: “…but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
But 1 John 1:9 says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” -Jesus
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.