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GENESIS 3 -- Saturday, March 19, 2011

  • 1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"

Talking snakes. Now we are firmly in the genre of children's fiction. But there are millions of people who believe this really happened, exactly as written. They can do this because the Book of Revelation identifies the serpent as the Devil. The snake is possessed by an evil spirit.

  • 2-3 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

This is the first instance of a person adding to the Word of God. In chapter two, God merely said they may not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Here the unnamed woman says they weren't allowed to even touch it. She is the Bible's first legalist.

  • 4-5 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

The serpent's story is that in the day they eat the fruit they won't die, but they will attain the power of reason. God's story is that "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." The serpent is called a liar, but we shall soon see who is telling the truth.

  • 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Adam is right there with the woman, but it is the woman who is taking the initiative to investigate reality and verify the serpent's story, to test whether God was telling the truth or pulling a fast one. And after she has a bite of the fruit, she gives it to a passive Adam, who dutifully takes a bite as well.

  • 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Immediately after eating the fruit, they become fully human in the sense that we know now. Alone of all animals in the world, only human beings have awareness of our impeding doom. We know with certainty that someday we will cease to exist. And that is the essence of the "Fall"... before that time we lived in the bliss of not knowing our mortality. We lived only in the eternal now like the beasts.

  • 8 And they heard the voice 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 amongst the trees of the garden.

The early conception of Yahweh was that he was a physical being, not a spiritual one, a deity who could walk and enjoy his garden, and it was possible to hide from him.

  • 9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

This version of God was not omniscient, or if he was, then he was toying with Adam and Eve by pretending not to see them, the way a mother would let a child think he was successfully hiding from her.

  • 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Adam made the first confession of sin in history. But it was not a perfect confession, as soon becomes apparent. Yet Adam and the woman did not have moral culpability for disobeying God's commandment not to eat that fruit, because it wasn't until they ate the fruit that they knew it was wrong to disobey God.

  • 11-12 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

God began an investigation. Adam responded with an astonishing piece of footwork. He said, basically, the woman put the fruit in with a bunch of other fruit and I ate it unawares. It wasn't my fault, besides, you're the one who made this woman and gave her to me, I didn't ask for a partner, let alone a defective one.

  • 13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

The woman's defense is "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." But the serpent is innocent. Everything he said was true. They did not die in the day they ate the fruit, but some nine hundred years later. And their eyes were opened, and they became like gods with free will - the ability to know all the facts and choose accordingly.

  • 14-15 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

God punishes the serpent anyway, by removing his legs and causing him and all his progeny to go about on the belly. And he says that there will be eternal warfare between the race of serpents and the race of men, with no choice in the matter for either side. And if was the case that Satan possessed the serpent, the serpent is innocent of anything he "said" because that was the devil talking.

  • 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

The woman, who was the leader in this naughty misadventure, is placed into a subordinate position under her husband, and cursed with a painful and dangerous experience every time she gives birth.

  • 17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Adam, who previously ate whatever we put in front of his face, was cursed with the necessity to bust his ass for every scrap of food. All because they felt they were different from Yahweh in some vital way and tried to close the gap.

  • 20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

Adamu called the woman Hava, which is rendered in our Bible as Eve.

  • 21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

The first killing recorded in the bible was by God himself, when he provided furs for Adam and Eve to wear on their way out the garden gate.

  • 22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

God insisted that they leave his garden because they had indeed bridged a major gap between gods and men. Adam and Eve, in fact, were only one step away from becoming gods. The only missing ingredient was immortality, which would be conferred by the Tree of Life. That is a very important point. Some believe death only came after the fall, but in truth, Adam and Eve were already created mortal, otherwise God would not need to protect the Tree of Life.

  • 23-24 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Our translation says God posted cherubim to guard the way to the Tree, which retrojects the modern idea of angels into the text. Another translation says "winged sphinxes".

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