Teaching Notes are Bible studies we taught before GraceLife Ministries began publishing articles online in 1995. Some were presented as sermons, others as group studies.
Our hope is that these older studies will be a blessing to you in your life and ministry. Please use them in any way God leads you.
These teaching notes are from a series of studies about the Book of Genesis.
[These notes are from a study from almost 45 years ago.]
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?
We are introduced to a new personality in this early account of man’s first days on earth. He is a “serpent.” The Hebrew word is nāḥāš. It is possibly from an onomatopoetic meaning “to hiss.” (1)
This nāḥāš was an extremely “crafty” wild animal. We learn at a later time in Scripture that the angel Satan entered this nāḥāš and tempted man through it.
We don’t know how long a period of time transpired between Genesis 2:25 and 3:1. It could have been one day, one year or a thousand years. However, Adam and his wife were told to be fruitful and increase in number, but their first child was not born until after they were dismissed from Eden. I think that Satan moved in within hours or days of the forming of woman.
It’s interesting that Satan approached the woman rather than the man. We may get more insight to the reason why in later passages of Scripture.
First, Satan questions God’s Word through misquoting. He knew very well what God said, but is starting the process of doubtful thinking on the woman’s part. That’s part of Satan’s deceptions.
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit 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.
The woman answered Satan correctly except for one small addition. God had not said anything about “not touching” the tree. Man would die if he “ate” of it. This is the beginning of defeat for mankind. For some reason, she was not careful in listening or misunderstood God’s words or deliberately changed the Law. It might have come second-hand from Adam. However it happened, we know from 1 Timothy 2:14 that the woman was “deceived.”
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 flatly denies God’s Word. God said man would die; the serpent said they would not die. It’s plain and simple. The serpent also lied about God’s motives and man’s potential to be like God, knowing good and evil.
Man was already :like God.” Genesis 1:26-27 says that man was created in the likeness of God – Body, Soul and Spirit. Eating the fruit would take away the perfect image likeness. Satan was a liar from the beginning.
Their eyes were already opened. They knew what was good and they knew what was evil. They knew that disobedience was evil and would be punished. They however, had not experienced evil personally.
Satan did not say one thing that was true.
It’s interesting to note that the generic name for God (Elohim) is used in the first five verses instead of the more personal name, Lord God (Jehovah Elohim).
Satan wouldn’t have spoken of God in a personal way, but it’s interesting that woman didn’t even use the name either.
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. 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. 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.
God made trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food, but the serpent promised a special wisdom through the forbidden fruit. The woman was attracted and ate the fruit. She gave it to Adam who also ate.
1 Timothy 2:14 says that woman was deceived and became a transgressor (sinner). Adam was not deceived. He knew what he was doing when he chose to eat the fruit. One belief is that Adam chose to be like his wife rather than God. It’s also been termed misdirected love.
When did sin enter the race? Was it when Eve took the first bite? Was it when Adam ate of the fruit? 1 Timothy says that Eve became a sinner. I believe she sinned the instant she believed Satan rather than God. Sin is committed with the mind/thoughts. Actions of sin are simply the living out of the original sinful thought.
Now they both had experience sin (disobedience to God’s Law/Command). They realized that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. In Genesis 2:25 there was no shame over the nakedness, now there is. They sensed for the first time guilt. They had disobeyed God and would die. Things wouldn’t be the same anymore. Something terrible had happened to their bright and happy world.
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. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 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, 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Though God asks where man is, He, being God, knows. Adam answers honestly that he was afraid of God. What a change! God had been his closest and dearest friend, but now sin had brought fear into the relationship and divided man from God.
Satan, as we learn later, wanted to be like God. For that desire he was cast from his heavenly position. Maybe he tempted man in order that he, Satan, would become a god on earth. As we learn through Scripture, Satan is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). In a sense, Satan received his wish.
In response to God’s question, man admits to eating the fruit that woman had given him. It’s interesting that Adam uses the phrase “the woman whom thou gavest to be with me.” It’s almost as if Adam is trying to throw ultimate blame on God for starting the whole mess.
The woman responds to God by admitting that she had been deguiled (nâshâʼ) by the serpent. The Hebrew words means “led astray, deceived.”
Jehovah Elohim does not ask the serpent any questions. He simply curses him. I believe there is both a physical and spiritual reality. The physical serpent would crawl on its belly and eat dust the rest of its life. The spiritual serpent (Satan) would someday strike the heel of the woman’s Seed, but be crushed by Him (Christ).
It’s interesting that the promised “Seed” is of the woman and not the man. This is the first hinting of Messiah and His virgin birth.
The woman would have increased pains in childbearing. It may be that before the Fall a woman’s pains would have been minimal — a slight discomfort. After the Fall child birth is the most painful experience women have physically. She would also take a new position in sinful society. Whereas she had a pre-Fall position of complete equality, now she would be under the rule of her husband. This was probably more for her own protection and security than for punishment.
The ground from which Adam was formed was cursed because of his sin of disobedience. Adam would not receive freely from the ground, but would have to toil to eat of it. A new creation came forth for this occasion — thorns and thistles. These are weeds which would continually plague man in his work to grow food. Man would sweat (zê‘aṯ) to eat until he died physically. The spiritual death had already occurred at the instant of sin.
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 clothed them. 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. 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 clothed them. 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.
Adam gave his wife a name — Eve (ḥawwāh). The name means “life.” She would be the mother of an entire race — mankind.
Verse 21 may intimate the beginning of animal sacrifices. God clothed Adam and Eve. I see here the grace of God in motion. He judged them for their sin, but also showed mercy towards them.
God expels man from the Garden. He doesn’t want them to eat from the tree of life because their state of spiritual death would be forever.
Cherubim and a flaming sword were placed at the entrance of the Garden to keep man from entering. Many later civilizations had similar images of this guarding.
The famous Adam and Eve Seal from 3500 BC (estimated) was found in 1932 by Dr. E.A. Speiser near the bottom of the Tepe Gawra Mound, 12 miles north of Nineveh. It is an image of a naked man and woman, walking as if utterly cast-down and broken-hearted, followed by a serpent. The seal is about an inch in diameter, engraved in stone. It is now in the University Museum at Philadelphia. (2)
Most likely Adam told and retold this story of life in the Garden and the Fall to his sons and daughters and their sons and daughters and their sons’ sons and daughters. The Garden may have been a constant visual aid until the Flood. All generations through Noah could visit the place where life and death began — but they couldn’t enter.
(1) ISBE – IV, pg. 2737
(2) Halley’s Bible Handbook, pgs. 68-69
We will look at Genesis Chapter 4 in the next part of our special series.
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from almost 45 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your life and ministry.]