Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, June 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 3

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-24

Chapter 3

Now the serpent was more subtle 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 ( Genesis 3:1 )?

Now the serpent was not always what it is today. It didn't always writhe along on the ground. That is a part of the result of the curse-living in the dust, eating the dust. What its mode of propelling itself was we really don't know. Whether or not it was in erect position, whether or not it had even the capacity to fly, we really don't know. But Satan coming in the form of a serpent first of all questioned the Word of God. "Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of all of the trees of the garden?"

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 ( Genesis 3:2-3 ).

Now that is Eve sort of interpreting or adding to what God said. God didn't say anything about not touching it. She's sort of adding to what God has said. God just said, "In the day that you shall eat of it, you will surely die." But God didn't say anything about not touching it.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die ( Genesis 3:4 ):

You see, first of all the questioning of the Word of God and then the second, challenging of the Word of God and this is always Satan's mode. The first thing that Satan does is he questions the Word of God. Satan is constantly seeking to create a question. Did God really say? Is that really God's word? And look at the attacks that Satan has brought against the Bible. "Hath God said?" Was it really God who said it? And he is constantly challenging the Word of God.

After challenging the Word of God, then he begins to question the Word of God. And then contradicts, "Ye shall not surely die." And then he begins his lie. Jesus said he is the "father of all lies". And this was the first lie, "Ye shall not surely die." That's a lie. That's deception. But you see, Eve didn't know evil, thus, she was deceived. The knowledge of good and evil didn't come until she ate the fruit. At this point all she knew is God said don't eat it. If you eat it, you will die. Now Satan is saying, You're not going to die.

For God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes shall be open, and you will be as gods, knowing good from evil ( Genesis 3:5 ).

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And that God is trying to really to protect Himself. Now the idea in the second thing here is the challenging of God's fairness. You see, he challenges the Word of God and then he challenges the justice of God. God is under attack. His Word is under attack. His justice is under attack. God doesn't want you to eat it because He knows that when you do, you're going to be as wise, you're going to be as gods, like He is, knowing good from evil. He isn't fair with you. He's trying to hold back from you something that is worthwhile, something that's desirable. God isn't really playing fair with you. He's trying to hold back to protect Himself.

How often Satan is challenging the justice of God; how can a God of love do this? How can a God of love allow this and so forth, challenging the justice of the fairness of God?

So 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 to her husband with her; and he did eat ( Genesis 3:6 ).

Jesus said, "All that is in the world," or I guess John said, "All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life" ( 1 John 2:16 ). Look at three: "lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, pride of life." Look how Satan hit her with a three-pronged attack. Lust of the flesh, was good to eat. The lust of the eye, it was pleasant to behold. The pride of life, a tree desired to make one wise as God. And so he hit her with a three-pronged attack, with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life; it was all there. And she ate. And she gave to Adam and he did eat.

Now the woman was deceived but Adam was not. Adam knew better. In the New Testament we are told that Adam-actually the woman was deceived, not Adam. That is, Adam knew what he was doing. Adam's was a deliberate willful choice against God's command; where the woman would had really been hoodwinked by Satan, she was deceived.

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 ( Genesis 3:7 ).

Suddenly the lust of the flesh, having been given into, they became very conscious of the flesh. The beginning of man's body awareness, for in this action there was an inversion. God is a superior trinity, a Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Man made in the image and likeness of God was made an inferior trinity of spirit, soul and body. The real me is spirit. I live in a body. I possess a consciousness or a soul made in the image of God, of the triune God, Father, Son, Spirit. Man the inferior trinity; spirit, soul and body and man met God in the spirit level.

With man's spirit uppermost, there was a beautiful communion and fellowship with God. But when man obeyed the body appetites, eating of this tree, man became inverted and he became body, soul and spirit. The spirit now out of touch with God is dead. It has lost the awareness and consciousness of God. It's lying here dormant and the uppermost thing that now rules the mind of man is the body and the body needs. The desires of the flesh now rule over man.

So "every one of us," according to Paul, "in times past walked according to the desires of our flesh, according to the prince of the power of the air, that even now works in the children of disobedience; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others" ( Ephesians 2:2-3 ). Because I was born in this inverted way, body, soul and spirit, my mind, my consciousness is now ruled as a natural man by the body appetites. It's all I think about. It dominates my mind.

Now Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Nicodemus, if you're going to enter the kingdom of heaven, you've got to be born again. You were born once after the flesh but you've got to be born again now of the Spirit"( John 3:5 ). There has got to be another inversion. And so being born again means that you are now born of the Spirit and there comes again this inversion to where once more, you come back into the original plan of God, where you are now once more spirit, soul and body, and the mind now in spiritual things.

They that are of the flesh do mind fleshly things, they that are of the Spirit do mind spiritual things. "The natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit: neither can he know them, they are spiritually discerned" ( 1 Corinthians 3:14 ). But the mind of the flesh is death. But the mind of the Spirit is life and joy and peace.

So my mind, my consciousness is ruled by either my body appetites, or by my Spirit. And when I am born again by the Spirit of God, the spirit becomes uppermost, my consciousness now is that of a God consciousness. And my spirit again ruling spirit, soul and body, I come back into fellowship with God. I am now alive in the spirit where I was once dead because of my trespasses and sins. But now God has made me alive again in the spiritual realm and it's a whole new life.

"The old things have passed away; everything becomes new" ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ). I'm a new creature. A creature that is now spirit, soul and body, in fellowship with God and now the mind of the Spirit and the awareness of God and the desire and the longing for the things of the Spirit and the things of God. And your friends that you used to run around with don't know what's happened to you. You're not the same person you used to be. You bet you're not the same person you used to be. You've been born again.

You're a new creature in Christ Jesus. And they can't understand your new life. Because "the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit, neither can he know it." What seems to be so clear, so plain, so obvious to you is a dilemma and an enigma to him. And when you sit down to explain it, you just become frustrated because he can't understand it. And yet it seems so obvious and so clear. Why? Because you have been born again of the Spirit. You now have a spiritual nature and you are alive and attuned to the things of the Spirit. "For he which is spiritual understands all things though he is not understood by any".

So here was the beginning of the inverted process where man in obeying the lust of his flesh became a servant to his flesh. He was now ruled by his flesh, and his mind was occupied by the needs and the desires of his flesh. And he came by, became by nature a child of wrath. And he remained that way until God made provisions through Jesus Christ for the process to be reversed.

Now it is interesting that it was by the tree that man lost his fellowship with God. The choice, free choice of the tree that man lost his fellowship with God. It is also interesting that you still have a free choice. And there are still two trees; the tree of life, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And we are always blaming Adam for making the wrong choice, but what about us? Who can we blame for the choices we make? God has provided again another tree; a tree whereby that which was lost by Adam's sin can be regained by our obedience.

The cross of Jesus Christ, the tree upon which He was crucified is the door that can lead a man back to God. But you must choose to come by that tree. God does not force you. Even as Adam exercised that capacity of free choice in eating of the tree going away from God, God has ordained that you must exercise that capacity of choice by partaking of that tree of life through Jesus Christ and coming into fellowship with God. It's your choice. But the provision is made through the second tree, the cross of Jesus Christ to reverse the process of Adam.

Now they heard the voice of the LORD God as He was 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 ( Genesis 3:8 ).

Notice now, it isn't God hiding Himself, it isn't God removing Himself, it's man removing Himself from God. God said, "My hand is not heavy, that I cannot save; my ear is not heavy, that I cannot hear: Your sins have separated between you and God" ( Isaiah 59:1-2 ). Here we find the beginning of it. Man hid himself from the presence or sought to hide himself from God.

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou ( Genesis 3:9 )?

Not that God didn't know. He wanted man to recognize it and confess it.

And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said unto him, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree, that I commanded you that you should 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 ( Genesis 3:10-12 ).

This is the beginning of buck passing. As Genesis, the book of beginnings, the first excuse. The first wife to get blamed for the husband's problems, not the last. Blaming his problems upon his wife. "The woman that You gave me." In a real technical sense, he's blaming God. You're the One that gave her to me. Cheerful. "The woman that Thou gavest me to be my wife, she did give to me, and I did eat."

And the LORD God said unto the woman, What have you done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat ( Genesis 3:13 ).

Passing it on down. And so now God's judgment upon man.

And the LORD God said unto the serpent ( Genesis 3:14 ),

And first of all, it begins where it ended. It begins with the serpent. The buck was passed to him so God starts there.

Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; and upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life ( Genesis 3:14 ):

So it's movement now upon its belly is a result of the curse of God. "Cursed above all cattle and every beast."

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; and it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel ( Genesis 3:15 ).

Herein is the first promise of God for salvation that shall come. And the hint is that the salvation will come through a virgin born child. For God is speaking of the woman's seed which she does not have. The woman has an egg that is fertilized by the male seed. But God speaking of the woman's seed is indicating and hinting of a virgin birth. Later God speaks of it more clearly in Isaiah, "Behold, I shall give you a sign, a virgin shall conceive, and bring forth a son, call his name Immanuel, which means, God with us. And he shall be great" ( Isaiah 7:14 ). And it speaks about His kingdom and His throne.

And so God's promise back at the beginning of the sorrows and the calamity from sin is that the day will come when the woman's seed will bruise the serpent's head. The head always being spiritually a symbol of authority and power. The seed of the woman to destroy Satan's power, the authority of Satan. And so Jesus Christ has destroyed the power of Satan over our lives and the authority of Satan over our lives.

However, "thou shalt bruise his heel," a reference no doubt to the cross of Jesus Christ.

And unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception ( Genesis 3:16 );

Notice how that God immediately associates sorrow with sin. Satan had associated pleasure with sin. Satan still associates pleasure with sin. The enticement into sin is usually held up as a pleasurable experience. Something to be desired as the fruit was a tree to be desired. And so sin looks very desirable. Satan always paints it in very beautiful colors as something that is good, something that is pleasurable, something that is desirable.

But though he may paint it in these colors, God paints it in its true colors. The true result is sorrow, not pleasure. So God immediately begins to equate the sorrow that shall come. Sorrow in thy conception.

in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten 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 ( Genesis 3:16-17 );

This is different from dressing the garden and keeping the garden that God had given. Now in sorrow he is to take his bread out of the ground.

Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the vegetables of the field; And in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return ( Genesis 3:18-19 ).

So your days are going to be filled with sorrow and sweat as you take your bread out of the ground that is cursed because of what you have done. The thorns and the thistles will come forth. They say that a thorn is an undeveloped blossom, thorns and thistles stunted development. What a picture it is of the result of sin. How sin stunts our real development in our relationship with God.

To me it is quite significant. Jesus who came, who is God's ordained King over the world, King really over the universe, King of kings and Lord of lords; Jesus, God's ordained King when He came was crowned with a crown of thorns. Where did the thorns come from? The curse of sin. He who came to bear our sin wore a crown of thorns representing the curse of sin. When you realize the mission of Christ at His first coming, nothing could be more fitting than a crown of thorns. When He comes again, it will be with a golden diadem to rule and to reign over the earth.

And so God's curse upon the serpent, upon the woman, upon the man, upon the ground. And that is why Paul the apostle teaches us that "all creation is groaning and travailing together until now. Waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, to wit, the redemption of our body" ( Romans 8:22 , Romans 8:23 ). The whole creation groans because of the curse of sin in the world today, waiting for that day when Jesus redeems that which He purchased when He died on the cross.

And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and He clothed them ( Genesis 3:20-21 ).

They sewed together fig leaves showing an endeavor by their own works to cover their guilt. It was not sufficient. God gave to them coats of skin showing that the covering of guilt must come by way of sacrifice. For the animals had to be slain by God for Him to give to them the coats of skin. And thus was the beginning of the concept of sacrifice and the shedding of blood for sins. Later God spells it out very definitely and clearly saying, "For without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins" ( Hebrews 9:22 ).

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: 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 ( Genesis 3:22-24 ).

Now the curse had come. Sorrow from sin. Getting your bread with the sweat of your brow. Man would be foolish enough and stupid enough to run back into the garden and grab the fruit of the tree of life so he could go on in this miserable condition. To save God, to save man from himself in his own folly, God drove him out of the garden and put the Cherubims to guard the way lest man would return and eat of that tree of life and live in this miserable sorrowful condition, because God wants us to live on an earth which is renewed, under the authority and power of Jesus Christ. And it is in that world that sorrow is gone and sin is gone that we will live and reign with Him.

But God had to protect man from him, from himself. The Cherubim there is not really as the judgment of God. It's the protection of God as God protects man against his own folly. It would be horrible to go on living forever in these corrupted bodies as the result of sin, and in this corrupted world that has been corrupted by sin. And so God protected man. But ultimately God transplanted that tree of life and now it is in the midst of the paradise of God. And Jesus said to those in Ephesus, "To him that overcometh will I grant to be with me in my kingdom and he shall eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God" ( Revelation 2:7 ).

And we are told of the tree that grows on either side of the river in heaven with twelve manners of fruit and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. There's a lot about horticulture that we do not know. There's a lot about our bodies that we do not know. A lot of interesting things in store for us as we follow after Jesus Christ who will bring us into that age where sin and its resultant curse and sorrow will be removed. Where we might live in a world that God intended to begin with, a world that is ruled by Jesus Christ in righteousness and in peace. A world that will rule that will not be governed by greedy men and destroyed by the greed of man, but rather living together in beautiful harmony. The whole realm of commerce will be done away.

Oh everyone that thirsteth come ye in and drink. Eat bread without money. The whole thing freely again receiving, just dressing the garden that God creates. So that which was wrought by Adam's fall, the potential of restoration is in Jesus Christ and those that are in Christ shall enter into the kingdom and we will live and reign with Him forever. But it's your choice. You don't have to.

Now the other place that God has prepared is not so comfortable. He really didn't prepare it for man. But you have the choice if you want to go there. He won't stop you. He'll try. But if He would stop you then the fact that He gave you choice would be meaningless. So ultimately you can be stubborn and resist every endeavor of God to stop you and you can end up there. But you can't blame God for your being there. He has done everything short of forcing your will to have you a part of His kingdom. But it's your choice. It's an awesome choice. It's a choice each of us make for ourselves. It's an inescapable choice.

Father, we thank You for Your love and for Your Holy Spirit who has come to reveal Thy love to us. We thank You, Lord, for the power of choice though sometimes we are almost frightened by its awesomeness. And we realize the capacity that we have in choosing eternal destiny. But we thank You Lord in the midst of it that we find that You have also made choices. And we thank You Lord that You have chosen us and ordained us that we should be Your disciples and that we should bring forth fruit and that our fruit should remain. Lord, we pray that Your Holy Spirit will help us as we seek to understand more fully Your plan and Your purposes. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Now we went twice as far as we did last Sunday night. Next Sunday night we'll begin with chapter four. We're not getting on that now. Just read, you know, on down the line. We're not even going to announce how far we're going to go, we'll just start with chapter four and we'll go until we come to a decent quitting point.

God bless you, fill your heart with an understanding of His love. Fill your life with the fullness of His Spirit. May He watch over you and keep you. And may the good hand of our Lord be upon you to bless you and prosper you in His way as you walk with Him in Jesus' name. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Genesis 3". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/genesis-3.html. 2014.
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