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Chapter 3

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The Fall Of Man (ch. 3:1 - 24)


Genesis chapter 3 is one very important chapter in the Bible. It relates the fall of mankind that begins the conflict between man and his God. It also foretells God's solution to the fall of man.


Some liberal theologians suggest chapter 3 is actually an allegory.  I view this to be a real historical event.


Chapter 3 presupposes that there was a rebellion against God prior to this time.  Disobedience to God did not begin in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.   This is alluded to in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 in how it relates to satan.  Evil and sin existed in satan prior to Adam and Eve.  Just when sin entered satan is debatable.


The third word in chapter 3 is "serpent."   The Hebrew word translated as "serpent" means "hissing, whispering."  One thing we should note here that this serpent wasn't a snake. We will see later that he became a snake like creature. 


We need to note here that from a reading of Ezekiel 28 that satan was highly intelligent, beautiful, important, close to God, among other things.  In Ezekiel 38:12 we learn that satan was in the Garden of Eden.  God seemed to have placed him there.  So when we see satan in the form of the serpent here in this chapter coming to speak to Eve, we must think of him as being very attractive and charismatic.  The serpent wasn't just any old animal.  He might well have been very human like.


We seem from Ezekiel 28 that satan was created.  There isn't any passage of Scripture that I know of that tells us when he was created, or when evil was found in his heart.  We simply know that God did create him and at some point evil was found in his heart.    


This serpent was "craftier than any of the wild animal."  There's a couple of ways at looking at this.  Some believe that the serpent was a wild animal.  Others suggest that satan was craftier than the wild animals, but not one himself.   Whatever the case, I believe that satan became incarnate into this serpent, much like he entered Judas. 


The Hebrew word "craftier" means wiser. This serpent was wise. This serpent might well have been the closes thing to man in the animal world.   


We see in verse 1 that this serpent spoke to Eve.  Now animals today don't speak to humans, but that might not have been the case back then.  We know that Adam was given authority over the animals and they appeared to obey him, as it is seen when Noah had them enter the ark.


If animals didn't speak back then, it is at least clear that satan spoke through the serpent to Eve. 


The question might be asked, "why did the serpent speak to Eve and not to Adam, or not to both at once?"  We don't know the answer to this.  We can only guess, and my guess is that Eve did not hear the command of God directly.  God commanded Adam not to eat of the tree.  Adam would have then told Eve not to eat of the tree.  The second hand nature of the command to Eve might have suggested to the serpent that she was an easier target to seduce. 


The serpent began his conversation with Eve by saying, "did God really say…"   This is a question that was to produce doubt in the mind of Eve.  It would get her thinking that maybe God didn't really say that.  Or, maybe I misunderstood His command. Or, maybe I misunderstood Adam when he told me the command.  Often time doubt is the seed to sin, and it was this seed of doubt that satan was planting in the mind of Eve.


Notice how the serpent interprets what God said.  The serpent said God said, "you must not eat from any tree of the garden."  The way the serpent puts God's command is quite negative.  He says that God would not allow Adam and Eve just to eat of any old tree in the garden, but that's not really what God said.  The serpent twisted God's words to mean something completely different than what He intended them to mean.  That is what satan always does.  He twists the truth just slightly to get you believing a lie. When satan suggests that God would not let Adam and Eve eat from just any tree, he's suggesting that there might well be other trees they can't eat from.  That's the lie.


So what did God really say.  In chapter 2:13 God said, "you are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."  This is quite a different statement from which satan is putting in the mind of Eve.  God did not say, "you must not eat from any tree."   He said, "you are free to eat from any tree," except for one.  There was just one tree they could not eat from.  Any other tree was fine for them to eat from


So after the doubt was placed in the mind of Eve, then satan presents her with a false understanding of the truth to what God said.  This too is often the way satan works.  After we begin to doubt God's Word, he then presents us with a false understanding of God's Word.  This is what is happening in so many areas of the church these days, or so I think. We've devalued the Bible, doubting if it is really God's inspired Words, and then once we've accepted this, we understand the Bible in whatever way we decide. 


Verse 2 says, "the woman said to the serpent…"   That might well have been her first mistake, that is, responding to the serpent.  It would have been better for her to have ignored him and just walked away, but she didn't do that.  She entered into a conversation with the serpent, and it appears to me that his wisdom and craftiness was no match for Eve.


We often enter into a conversation with sin so to speak.  We hang around where sin is and sooner or later  it gets to us.  So the hanging around process could be called the conversation with sin. 


The first thing that Eve said to the serpent was that "we may eat from the trees of the garden..."   Eve doesn't put the word "any" in her statement, as in ," we may eat from any tree…," but that is what she is implying.  So Eve is right in what she said.


Verse 3 states what else Eve told satan.  She said, "God did say…"   By saying "God did say" she is emphasizing what God did really say and it wasn't what the serpent is presently telling her. 


She goes on to say that God said "not to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die."  We actually learn something here. We have no record  of God saying that the forbidden tree was in the middle of the garden, and we have no record of God saying not to even touch the tree.  So either Eve has it wrong and has added to what God said, or else we don't have all of what God told Adam recorded.  I believe that we don't have all of what was said to Adam in our record.  Yet on the other hand, some do believe that Eve added to what God said.  Maybe this addition came about from something Adam might have told her. 


We do learn that this tree was in the middle of the garden.  That may be significant, but I'm not sure what the significance is.  We also learn that Adam and Eve weren't even to touch the tree.  Touching is getting too close for comfort.  It's too close to withstand the temptation.  That's why Paul says, "touch not the unclean thing (2 Corinthians 6:17), and stay away from the very appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). 


Even if Adam and Eve would have touched the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they would die.  And as we noted earlier, the death spoken of here is more than physical death.  Adam and Eve did not die immediately.  They did eventually die, but not right away.  What death did come right away was spiritual death, their relationship with God.  They also died socially.  Their relationship with each other suffered greatly.  They no longer had the luxury to enjoy each other's nakedness.  They suffered shame instead.  They also became accusative to one another as seen later in this chapter. 


We should also note that all creation died at this point.  This can be seen in God cursing the ground.  It can also be seen in God killing an animal to cover Adam and Eve's nakedness.  As I've said before, all creation is eagerly waiting the day when it will be liberated from the decay man put it under (Romans 8:17 to 22).


The question is often asked, "was there something about this tree that was magical?"  "Was there some kind of magical chemical in the tree that would proved the knowledge of good and evil when digested?"  That's another question we don't know the answer to.  All that we know is that when the tree was touched, or when the fruit of the tree was eaten, mankind would die. On the other hand, if the tree of life caused man to live forever, then the tree of the knowledge of good and evil had some kind of properties in it that caused man to know the difference between good and evil.


The serpent responds to Eve in verse 4, and I see his response as being very quick and very forceful.  He said, "you will not surely die."  This is a very blunt, straight to the point and very defiant answer.  The serpent seems to be infuriated with the suggestion that God told Eve she'd die if she simply touched the tree.  The serpent said that both Eve and God has it wrong.  He only has it right.  His answer is meant to intimidate Eve and make her feel bad. 


The serpent first tries to put doubt in Eve's mind, and then presents a false truth, and now, intimidation.  He's trying to ware her down to the point she'll give into him.


Verse 5 is yet another false truth, yet with some element of truth in it made by the serpent.   He said, "God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened…"  This is true.  God wanted to protect Adam and Eve from knowing about good and evil, and if they ate from this tree, yes, their eyes would be open, and they would know good from evil and all the sadness that goes along with it.  So the serpent is right on this count, but he is using what is right for his own sinful purpose, as he always does. 


He then continued by saying, "and you will be like God, knowing good from evil."   The serpent speaks another truth here.  Eve would be like God, knowing good from evil, but I think the idea of becoming like God is what stood out in Eve's mind.  The serpent wanted Eve to think this.  The idea of knowing good from evil is somewhat secondary to becoming like God.  The serpent is suggesting to Eve that she can be like God, and that she should want to be like God. Why would anyone not want to be like God.  This is how the serpent is attempting to deceive Eve.  He knows that she only will be like God in one respect, and that's knowing the difference between good and evil, but he doesn’t make that point clear to her.   


If you read Isaiah 14:13 through 15 you will note what theologians have called the "five I will's of satan."  The ultimate "I will" found in the heart of satan is that he wanted to be as God.  He said, "I will be as God."  The same desire and sin that was in satan's heart, he was trying to put in Eve's heart here in Genesis 3.   


In verse 6 we see that "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."  She touched the tree, and she ate from the fruit, something she knew better to do.  She had just been deceived.


The text says that "when" Eve saw the tree.  It makes you wonder if this was the first time she actually saw the tree.  Had she seen the tree before, and if so, why wasn't she tempted to eat it them?  We don't know the answer to either of these questions.  It might well have been the first time she saw the tree.  If it wasn't the first time, then she probably was not tempted to eat, we can't be certain of that either.     


The text also says that Eve saw the fruit of the tree would bring wisdom.  I'm not sure if it means anything, but I don't think the fruit would being wisdom, just knowledge.  Maybe the serpent got her thinking twisted and she was mistaking knowledge for wisdom.  They're not the same.  One can have knowledge and have no wisdom.


We also note in this verse that Eve turned to Adam and gave him some fruit to eat as well.  He took the fruit and ate it, knowing it was wrong. 


The first thing that dawned on Adam and Eve after eating from the tree of the knowledge o good and evil was that they were naked.  They were now embarrassed to be in each other's presence with wearing clothes.  Death had entered their relationship.  The beauty of each others nakedness and turn into shame and sadness.  Their first reaction was to make some kind of covering to cover themselves.  This covering we learn later was from leaves.  I'm not sure how much of their body was actually covered by leaves, but at least some of their body was covered.


Concerning the clothes that Adam and Eve made themselves, the KJV calls them aprons.  The NIV just calls them coverings.  The KJV calls them aprons due to the fact that the Hebrew word suggests an apron.  This would suggest to us just what part of the body these aprons covered.  Some translations use the term "loin clothes."  It might well be that these clothes only covered the hip and waste area of Adam and Eve.  They might have felt that was sufficient. 


Many preachers have preached a salvation message with the use of this verse, saying that this was man's first humanistic attempt to cover their sin and fined salvation in their own strength.  There might well be some truth to this. 


In verse 8 we see the result of Adam and Eve's disobedience.  We see the first time they met their God after they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  It was "in the cool of the evening."  This obviously tells us that there was not a constant temperature in the garden, or on the earth.  It was clearly cooler in the evening and is a result of the sun. 


They heard God walking in the garden.  We don't know what that sounded like.  The text doesn't say.  This might well be anthropomorphic language.  Maybe this was simply God's presence hovering over them as seen in chapter 1 verse 2.  Or, maybe God who is spirit became a physical being in order to talk with Adam and Eve.  This would be anthropomorphic


We learn that Adam and Eve hid themselves from God.  This shows one way in which they had just died.  We saw that the relationship between Adam and Eve had just experienced death by the fact that they knew they were naked.  Their relationship clearly went through a change that was not for the best.  Here we see how their relationship to God had taken a turn for the worse as well.  To me, this was spiritual death.  They hid from God, something that is impossible to do.  You might wonder if their sound thought processes might have taken a turn for the worse as well due to the fall.  Whatever the case, they tried to hide themselves behind some trees.


We see the term "Lord God" in this verse, as we've seen since chapter 2.  Just to refresh your memory, Yahweh  means "I ma," and Elohim means the "all powerful One."


Verse 9 says that "The Lord God called to the man, 'where are you.'" I'm sure that God knew where Adam was.  But as is often the case, God makes us state certain facts about ourselves.  This can be seen in the repentance and faith process.  God wants us to verbally confess our sins and also verbally confess our faith.  Adam had to speak forth the fact that he was hiding from God because of the sin that had entered into his life.


Note that God asked Adam where he was.  He did not ask Eve where she was, and He did not ask Adam and Eve where they were.  He just asked Adam where he was because he was the responsible one.  He was in charge.  Eve was his helper.  She was not the responsible one.  God gave Adam, not Eve the command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, therefore Adam was the one who was to give account of the situation. 


In verse 10 Adam answers God by saying, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid."  Adam gave more of an answer than the question asked of him.  He was simply asked, "where are you Adam?"  Adam only said he had hid himself. He didn't say where he hid, but he did answer why he was hiding from God, and that was because he was naked. 


Adam was ashamed of his nakedness, even after he tried to clothes himself.  He now instinctively knew that his nakedness was not acceptable to God.  Prior to eating of the tree, the nakedness of Adam and Eve seemed to be acceptable, since they didn't know what was right or what was wrong.  Everything was right for them, including being naked.  There nakedness seemed to be a blessing for them.  What a state of blessedness that would have been, but now that was lost forever, and I don't think will return, even on the New Earth that is found at the end of the book of Revelation.  It appears that on the new earth we will be clothed in righteous robes. 


In verse 11 God answers Adam by asking two more questions.  The first is, "who told you that you were naked?"   How did Adam know anything about nakedness?  That was just a state of being prior to this.  That's just the way things were.  God then asks the important question.   "Did you eat from the tree I commanded you not to eat from?"   God knew why Adam understood nakedness.  There was only one way that Adam could understand being naked and that was because he had eaten from the tree that gave him the knowledge of what was good and what was evil. 


Once again some might ask, "was the fruit on the tree magical?"  "Was there something in the fruit that would produce a certain knowledge with Adam, or was it just the disobedience that produced this knowledge?"  I'm not really sure.  It would not surprise me if the mere fact of Adam and Eve disobeying God produced this new knowledge and this death.  Yet on the other hand it seems that there was something special about that tree that produced the knowledge of good and evil, and that's probably what we should understand.


In verse 12 we see the first finger pointing, the first time a person did not take responsibility for his own action.  Adam blamed Eve.  And even beyond blaming Eve, Adam was blaming God Himself.  Adam told God that "the woman you put here with me, she gave me some fruit and I ate it."  The proper answer that Adam should have given God should have been, "I ate the fruit you told me not to eat.  I am in the wrong," but Adam did not admit to that.  He did not express sorrow for his disobedience.  He did not express any sense of responsibility, even though he was the responsible one. He just pointed the finger to Eve and in the end, told God that He was the source of the problem.  And in one sense of the word Adam was right.  God put the tree in the garden in the first place.  If he had not have placed that tree there, Adam would not have eaten from it.  We can't say for certainty just why God put the tree in the garden and told Adam not to eat from it.  The most common reason people give for this is because God wanted us to have freedom of choice, and this might well be the case.  


Yet beyond God putting the tree in the garden, a more basic question is why did God allow satan through the serpent to have access to Eve in the garden?  Why did God even allow satan to enter the material universe?    In short, I believe this was all part of God's plan prior to Genesis 1:1.  I think the creation of the material universe has more to do with the conflict between God and satan than what we might think.


As God suggested to satan to tempt Job, He might well have suggested to satan to tempt Eve.  This temptation and the subsequent fall of man, and then man's redemption, and then satan's final defeat in the Lake of Fire , might well be why the material universe was created by God in the first place. 


Another thing to note here is that sin entered Adam.  Not only was he naked.  He is now not being honest.  Blaming Eve and not taking personal responsibility for his sin is sin in itself.    


In verse 13 we see that God turns to talk with Eve.  Once hearing that Eve took the fruit and gave some to Adam, God asks Eve, "what is this you have done?"  The question is ask of Eve so she, like Adam can make her confession.  We should note that Adam's confession of sin was not from a heart of repentance.  He simply passed the responsibility over to Eve when in reality, it was his responsibility. 


Eve answered by saying, "the serpent deceived me, and I ate."   So this is Eve's confession.  Like Adam, she passed the buck.  She blamed the serpent.  The one thing she did admit to was "being deceived."   Yet, being deceived is not exactly confessing your sin.  It's only saying that you were tricked into the sin, and if you had not have been tricked, you would not have sinned.  This is not a true repentant confession of sin. 


We've already talked about Paul saying that it was Eve who was deceived, not Adam (1 Timothy 2:14).  One reason why Paul said this is that Eve confessed to the fact that she was deceived. 


Another thing to note that both Adam and Eve were responsible for their own individual sin.  Even though God gave the command to Adam and held Adam responsible, both had to give account for their actions before God.  This is a Biblical truth.  We may be subject to others, but if we as the subjected ones participate in the sin of the one we are subject to, we will be held accountable just as Eve was. 


In verse 14 we note that because Eve directed the attention towards the serpent, God turns to him and speaks to him.  He does not ask the serpent why he deceived Eve.  I'm sure God knew the answer.  It is clear to all that satan had possessed this serpent, and God was well aware of satan and what he was up to.  Satan might well have been a tool in the eternal plan of God, as he often is. By this I mean that what satan does is often God's will.   He allows satan to do certain things for His own reasons and purposes. For example, God allowed a wicked nation in Babylon to capture His people and send them into Babylonian exile.  This exile by a pagan nation on God's people was to punish Israel.  So God used the pagans, back by satan for His own purpose.   He will also use the anti-christ at the end of this age for the same purpose. 


Because the serpent deceived Eve, God cursed him "above all the livestock and wild animals."  The word "above" is important because we will see later that god cursed all the animals.  As a matter of fact, he cursed all of creation, but the word "above" here means that the serpent was cursed more than the other animals. Apparently the serpent had legs. God cut off his legs and made him exist as one that crawled on the ground, eating the dust along the way.  There is no mention of the other animals being so cursed.


Many people believe that the serpent was most intelligent of all the animals that God had made. That might be why he was able to speak to Eve.  If this is so, God's curse suggests that the highest of all animals became one of the lowest of all animals.


Further judgment was placed on the serpent in verse 15.  God said that He "would put enmity between the serpent and the woman."  Many people believe that this means that women are afraid of snakes, but I don't believe that is what is meant here.  Not all women are afraid of snakes.  I think there is more to it than that and the next two phrases say why. 


The Hebrew word translated as "enmity" means hostility.  It doesn't really mean fear.  With this in mind we see that God goes on to say that the enmity is more than just between Eve and the serpent.  This hostility will carry on down the line, from Eve's offspring and to the serpent's offspring. 


God goes on to say that "he will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel."   This is the key phrase in understanding the enmity between the woman and the serpent that carries down the line through history. 


The serpent being forced to crawl on the ground comes into play here.  That's why the serpent will have his head crushed.  Someone, who is described as "he' in this verse will crush the serpents head.  Yet in the process of the serpent's head being crushed, the serpent will "bruise the heel" of the one who is crushing his head.  The question is, "who crushed the serpent's head?"  


The word "he" refers back to the word "offspring" in the prior phrase.  The KJV uses the word "seed".  We will see the word  "seed" used again in the Abrahamic Covenant where will understand the "seed", singular, not plural is really Jesus.  There's no real debate among conservative scholars here.  The "he" spoken of here is Jesus.  This is the first elusion to the cross of Christ and the salvation that was needed because of Adam and Eve's sin.  This is the first reference about the Messiah that would come to undue what Adam and Eve did in this chapter.  Another point to consider is that Paul makes a big deal about this singular word "seed" in Galatians 3 that confirms the "seed" is Jesus.


So this curse implies hostility between the serpent and Eve, and between all of her offspring, right down to Jesus Himself, which would include Jesus' spiritual offspring, which are believers in Jesus.  This is the beginning of the great human conflict, a conflict that had began prior to creation. Prior to creation satan and God  were in conflict, but now mankind is also brought into the conflict, and as we wills see, all of creation suffers because of this conflict.


Just a note here, not everyone believes that angels existed before creation.  Some people feel that angels, including satan were part of the six days of creation.   Then those who hold to the gap theory might suggest that satan was part of a prior creation on earth. 


In verse 16 God turns back to speak to Eve again and tells her how she will be cursed for her participation in the disobedient act.  The first thing that God said was that giving birth to children would be very painful.  It is clear then that labour pains were not part of God's creation.  Giving birth was probably a very pleasant thing, but this was something that we assume Eve never experienced, although we can't be one hundred percent sure of that.  We assume that Adam and Eve had no children to this point.   


The next thing God tells Eve is that her "desire will be to her husband and he will rule over her."   The Hebrew word for "desire" suggests a strong longing for, a stretching out after, a running towards, thus "to desire."   This strong longing for would be directed towards her husband Adam.  The question is obviously raised then, "did she not have this strong desire or longing prior to this?"  It might be hard to say for sure, but to me it suggests that this desire was not present prior to this.  The fact that Eve was created from the side of Adam, that signifies that she was meant to work along with him to be his helper as the text says, tells me that at creation they were more co-existent.  They were more equal than they were after the fall. 


The last part of this phrase might well suggest this as well.  Eve's husband would now rule over her, as if he was not created to rule over her in the first place.  This clearly sets the way husband and wife relationships would work after the fall, but being in the fallen nature as we are, even the fallen standard for relationships often don't work out.  We really can't redefine the word "rule" here either.  It means to rule or to have dominion over.  It's as simple as that.

In verse 17 God now turns back to Adam where he began.  God begins by saying, "because you listened to your wife…"  I don't believe that this is a put down of wives and women here.  God is just making a simple statement.  Adam listened to his wife instead of listening to God.   Obeying another person instead of God, and in this case that was Eve, was Adam's sin.  God is not pointing the  finger at Eve.  He's actually pointing His finger at Adam's refusal to obey Him.


The next phrase confirms what I've just said.  Adam listened to his wife and "ate from the tree about which God commanded him, 'you must not eat of from.'"  Adam with all understanding willfully disobeyed the command of God that was spoken to him By God.  No one deceived him.  Eve was tricked or deceived by the serpent.  Adam wasn't.  Eve did not try to deceive Adam.  She simply handed him some fruit and asked him if he'd like some.  There's no hint from the text that she tricked him into eating the fruit.


The first curse that God placed on Adam wasn't really on him, although it effected him greatly.  God cursed the ground.  He cursed the earth.  The earth did not sin but because of Adam's rebellion, the earth was brought down with mankind.  This is why Paul in Roman's 8: 17 to 22 speaks of all creation groaning, waiting for the day when all of creation will be redeemed.  There will come a day when all creation, not just mankind will experience redemption and restoration. All creation will be restored.


The way in which the cursed ground would effect Adam is that he would now experience hard work.  Prior to this his work was much like God's work.  God worked at creating all there is, but he simply spoke things into existence.  That wasn't hard work.  That would have been how Adam would have worked.  He would have ruled over, and looked after, the earth without any real effort, but those days were now over.  The NIV states that through pain and toil Adam would now eat from the earth.  As Eve experienced pain in childbirth, so Adam would experience pain in his work.


Verse 18 states that there would be "thorns and thistles" growing from the earth, something that wasn't there before.  Adam's disobedience thus produced such undesirable plants such as thorns and thistles.   It is clear that such plants did not exist prior to the fall of man. 


Also, in verse 18 it says that Adam "would eat the plants of the field."  Prior to this we should note that Adam ate see bearing fruit (Genesis 1:29).  Now he will eat plants of the field.  I'm not sure of the significance here but I believe there is something to this.  


Verse 19 says that "from the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are, and dust you will return."  Note that God says that Adam was dust, that's just dust.  Adam was formed from the dust of the earth, and from the dust, he would return in physical death some day. 


In verse 20 we see that Adam named his wife, as he named the animals.  His rational for naming her Eve was because she would be the mother of all living human beings.  That is what Eve means. Eve means "life giving." 


In verse 21 we note that God made clothes for Adam and Eve.  The clothes they made from fig leaves was not sufficient.  The clothes that God made for then were skins.  This is significant.  This shows the result of Adam and Eve's sin.  God said that in the day they eat from the forbidden tree, they would die, but they weren't the only thing that experienced death.  We've seen that all creation was cursed.  Man brought all creation down under the judgment of God.  Part of this death that entered our world is seen in this verse.  The clothes that God made for Adam and Eve were made from skins.  That meant, some animal must have been killed in order for these clothes to be made.  An innocent animal provided the covering of Adam and Eve's nakedness.  This is the first hint of the gospel message in the Bible.  Jesus was the Lam of God, and innocent Lamb.  He died to not only cover all of mankind's sin but to wipe them out from God's record book. 


The death of man and the death of an animal here in Genesis 3 begins the story of what death plays in the plan of God, and why Jesus' death was the only means of our salvation.  We often may wonder why Jesus had to die.  This is a hard question, but here we begin to see an answer.


Prior to Adam and Eve's disobedience there was no such thing as death, but disobedience produces death.  It's just a fact of life.  You might say that death is  just a natural consequence of sin.  If two people are perfectly joined in an harmonious relationship, and if one of these people do something that harms or hurts the relationship, death occurs.  That means the relationship suffers.  Man's relationship was seriously injured when Adam and Eve disobeyed God.  Death entered that relationship, as well as all sorts of other relationships man was involved in.


In God's mind, man's attempt at covering what was now sin for them wasn't good enough.  Someone else had to die to provide the proper covering, and that someone, at this time in history was an innocent animal.  You might well wonder what Adam and Eve thought about when they were provided with these clothes of skin that came from an animal that would have been their friend before the fall.


Concerning God covering Adam and Eve's naked bodies.  You might wonder why nakedness was bad now when it wasn't before the fall.  I have an idea, whether it is right or wrong, you can judge.  God might well have looked at Adam and Eve, saw their naked bodies, that is, saw them as they were in their totality, and was disgusted, because of what they had done.  So God might have covered them so to hide the thing that disgusted him.  Of course, God can see out nakedness anyway.  The idea might have been to cover as much of man as possible, because mankind was now sinful


In verse 22 God said that "man had now become like Him, knowing good from evil."  Evil was in existence before man's disobedience.  We know that. Satan had already sinned.  God made man in such a way that he did not understand or know the difference between good and evil.  All things were good and right for man.  There was just one thing that was wrong, and that was to eat from one certain tree.  Other than that, all was good, even being naked. Nakedness was completely good for Adam and Eve.  That all changed, and satan through the serpent was partly right when he told Eve that she would be like God.  Eve figured that she'd be like God in all sorts of ways, but there was only one way that she and Adam became like God, and that was knowing good from evil, something God wanted to spare man from. 


Verse 22 says that "the man has now become like one of us…"  Note the word "us:.  That's the plural nature of God.  Note also the word "man".  I'm not sure if this is the generic man, as in, men and women, or the singular man as in Adam.  It could mean that Adam has now become like God in this one respect.  I tend to take this generically, meaning, "mankind", all men and  women, have become like us.


Also in verse 22 we see that God did not want man, that is the generic man as  in Adam and Eve to eat from another tree, and that was the tree of life.  Apparently when the fruit from this tree was eaten, it caused man to live continuously, without experiencing death.  God did not want man to live forever with the knowledge of good and evil.  So in this since, death became a post fall blessing.  Man would escape knowing of good and evil through his death.  He'd also escape this new dilemma by death in another way, that would eventually be the death of Jesus, man's Saviour.


In verse 23 we note that God banished man from the garden.  Again, some may view the word "man' generically here.  God banished both Adam and Eve from the garden.  Others may see that God banished Adam from the garden and since Eve was now subject to Adam, she had to follow her husband out of the garden. 


Man was banished to the fields to hard labour, where he encountered thorns and thistles, and my guess is other things as well, like hornets, snakes and pest of all kinds.


Chapter 3 ends with God placing cherubim at the east side of the garden with a flaming sword to guard the tree of life.  Cherubim are very high powered angels of which satan is one.  This would surely keep Adam and Eve and any of their children away from this tree.  Yet even more than that, it would keep satan away from the tree of life, and I think that is significant.  God didn't just want man from having access to this tree.  He didn't want satan or any other angels to have access to this tree.  This tree would be reserved for a future age which we see at the close of the book of Revelation. 


Cherubim in the Bible are always around the throne of God.  Many scholars believe that these cherubim were at the east side of the garden, alone with the presence of God. God Himself lived at the gate of the garden, or at least you could say, His presence dwelt there. 


We need to note the word "cherubim" here.  This word is plural for "cherub."  There was more than one of these heavenly creatures here.  Jewish tradition viewed these angelic persons as encompassing the attributes of man, ox, lion, and eagle.  Cherubim are seen in a few other places in the Bible.  This is where they are first seen.


The obvious question raised here is, "where did the Garden of Eden go?"  It's clear that it did not last.  The most common answer is that it was destroyed in the flood in Noah's day. If this is so, and if it wasn't destroyed earlier, then God's garden was destroyed when mankind was judged.  The judgment of man did not only destroy man, animals and plants, it destroyed the Garden of Eden, the paradise of God.   But this paradise will return to earth when there is a new earth, and a new heaven, as seen at the clothes of the book of Revelation.


If you read the last two chapters of Revelation you will note the New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven. It appears to be the dwelling place of God on the new earth.  There are many similarities between the Garden of Eden  and the New Jerusalem.  You might go as far to say that the New Jerusalem is the Garden of Eden restored.


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