Life in God’s Garden
Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. :25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Verse 24 gives the goal in marriage, based upon the unity expressed in verses 22 and 23. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
The creation of Adam and Eve teaches us much about the marriage relationship: (1) Marriage was instituted by God (vss. 22–24), not by man, thus God’s Word must give us the proper guidelines;
(2) marriage was, and is to be, monogamous; God gave Adam only one wife;
(3) marriage is to be heterosexual; homosexuality does not have a case in the light of biblical revelation;
(4) the husband and wife are to be unified physically and spiritually. The man is to leave his father and his mother. This would normally imply leaving them physically and emotionally to become, literally, “glued to his wife.” This implies the permanency of marriage;
(5) the husband is to be the head of the wife. The reason is that Adam was created before Eve (cf. 1 Cor 11:8–9; 1 Tim 2:13), and Eve was created as a helper for him. The chain exists because God instituted it, not because men are superior.
The first two chapters of Genesis record a great triumph for the Lord God of heaven. In six days He created all that ever was or shall be; He merely spoke the world into existence. All that has thus far happened evokes a note of joy. Suddenly, a note of sadness arises in the third chapter. This sadness is only broken by verse 15, yet that break is the silver lining behind the clouds.
The Temptation and Fall of Man
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
The words Now the serpent are placed at the head of the chapter for emphasis. All the stress falls on them. This is a real snake (literally in the Hebrew). He is a creature of God and is described as more cunning. To describe a snake in these terms seems to be taking the first step in going behind the scene and letting us know that there is more here than meets the eye. There is to be some connection between nakedness and subtlety. A subtlety is at work such as does not belong to snakes.
The fact that the serpent speaks constitutes a denial that God has made him (cf. 1:25 being made after his kind). Only man possesses the ability to speak. He probably approached Eve as the New Testament says, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Tim 2:13–14).
With the first words of the serpent it becomes apparent that an enemy of God is speaking; for he says, Yes, hath God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? The words form a question, which seems designed to cast doubt upon God’s goodness and yet, at the same time, seems to imply that if the serpent is misinformed, he is willing to be instructed in the matter (Do you really mean to say God has said you are not to eat from all of them?).
He implants the idea that God is unduly strict in not permitting Adam and Eve to eat from all the trees.
Another mark of his subtlety is that he has no desire to arrive at the truth. Certainly, the devil is using the snake (Jn 8:44; Rev 12:9; 20:2). Also, the serpent left out the name Lord (Yahweh) in his question, possibly emphasizing the harsh sovereignty of God (’Elohim), rather than a loving Redeemer God.
Genesis 3:2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; :3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
Instead of turning away, the woman engages in dialogue with the serpent, thereby revealing that she did not really realize that the serpent was her enemy.
In her reply she leaves out the word “all” from 2:16, and also the Hebrew phrase “eating thou mayest eat” relating the concept of freely and abundantly. She dismisses it with a mere We may eat. This is an incorrect impression of the truth. Eve’s representation of God’s command was not accurate, to say the least. She makes the command general, placing it in the plural. God had said, you shalt not, and she said, You shall not. And she adds, neither shall you touch it. This may not be an adding to God’s word as most take it, for in 20:6 and 26:11 the word expresses the taking of a person sexually to be one’s own. Thus, it may be translated, “You may not eat it, that is, consume it,” which would be a common Hebrew way of saying the same thing twice for clarification or emphasis.
Lastly, the penalty that God had threatened is stated in general terms, and its forcefulness is weakened. Eve merely says, lest you die, whereas God had said, you shall surely die (2:17). Eve’s answers reveal her feeling that God’s prohibition had been too stringent and her love for God, and confidence and trust in Him, had begun to waver.
Genesis 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. :5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Having won the first round, Satan is now in the position of delivering the knockout blow, the direct denial of God’s Word.
The negative comes first and receives all the emphasis, and Eve must now choose between God and the serpent. There is no halfway station, for Satan is condemning the concept of absolute authority.
In verse 5 he impugns the motives of God, For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes will be opened, and you will be as gods, knowing good and evil. The serpent implies that Eve is confined by her position of trusting God. The word gods is best rendered as God.
Satan is not interested in telling the man and the woman that they will attain the plane of divine beings. His point is to oppose the God of goodness. He would make it appear to Adam and Eve that, in reality, God is not good, but jealous. The serpent indicates that the path to knowledge is to bypass God’s word.
Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
This verse records the tragic story of the fall of mankind. There are four clearly defined steps that Eve took on the pathway to sin.
First, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food. Sin begins with the sight of sin (cf. 9:22; Job 31:1). The sight of sin itself is not sin, but that is where the pathway that leads to sin embarks.
Thus, as much as is possible, the very sight of sin ought to be avoided. How can we do this?
When the woman looked at the tree, she saw that it was a tree to be desired. Her second step on the pathway to sin was desire. Sight alone is no crime; but to desire that which we have innocently seen, if it cannot be ours, is sin (Deut 5:21; Mt 5:28; Jas 1:13–14; 1 Jn 2:15–17).
Eve’s third step on the pathway to sin occurred when she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat. She had already sinned by coveting that which was not to be coveted; but she deepened her sin by indulging, by taking that which was not rightfully hers according to the prohibition of God.
Desiring the forbidden fruit was covert sin; taking and eating of the fruit was overt and active sin.
Eve had now fallen into sin. She had followed the three inevitable steps that lead to sin: (1) sight; (2) desire; and (3) gratification.
McDonald, Knoll, Farstad; Hinson and Knoll