By the way, I suppose I could take a second to address my opinion on the debate of whether God is a man or woman. Since gender is solely designated (by God for man) for the sake of reproduction, and God has no need to reproduce, gender would be irrelevant. The fact that God is referred to in the masculine may have something to do with the gender roles during Biblical times. We’ll get into all that later though. Back to Eden….
Genesis 3:1 starts by identifying the serpent as the most crafty beast of the field that God created. Genesis 3 never refers to the serpent as the Devil or Satan…it’s not until later in the Bible that such a reference is made. As for now it’s just a serpent (snake-like reptile). And just like in the sunday school story the serpent tells Eve that God is wrong, and she can eat from the Tree of good and evil and be just like God; knowing good and evil. She falls for his deceit and eats, then gives some to Adam. Gen 3:6 doesn’t specifically say if Adam knew what he was eating; that it was forbidden. It just says “she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate,” but you can assume that since he was with her, he knew what was going on and was just as guilty as Eve (this verse becomes important later on). They both instantly realize they’re naked and make some loincloths out of fig leaves to cover themselves.
Genesis 3:8 says “and they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden…” I’ve always been under the impression that God was an omnipresent being with no real physical form (sorry, I don’t think the dude with a gray beard chilling on a cloud is a very accurate representation.), so this verse confuses me. Let me take a second to reiterate that I am not a Biblical scholar. I don’t know everything about the Bible or it’s history. I wish I did, but I don’t have an answer for everything (like why a snake was talking to Eve), but that’s the purpose of this venture; to discover and learn as much as I can about the Bible and the true meaning of it’s words. For whatever reason and by whatever method, God is a physical being in Genesis. My best assumption is that God chose a physical form so he could be near to his creation in the beginning. Not unlike walking alongside the bike while you teach your kid how to ride it.
Gen 3:14-17 : As punishment for what happened, God curses the serpent above all other livestock and beasts of the field, and puts enmity between him and women. Basically saying that he and his offspring will always be despised by man and man’s offspring. As punishment for Eve (who is still referred to as “the woman” until Gen 3:20), God multiplies woman’s pain in childbearing, and says her desire should be for her husband and he will rule over her. Adam, because he listened to the voice of his wife and ate of the forbidden tree, is sentenced to a life of painful labor for food; “in pain you shall eat of [the ground] all the days of your life.”
Gen 3:20 : Adam names his wife Eve because she is the mother of all living (Eve sounds like the Hebrew for ‘life-giver’ and resembles the word for ‘living’).
(one of my favorite verses) Gen 3:21 “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” I love this verse because it shows the powerful grace of God. It shows that no matter what wrongs we commit, God will still be there to clothe us…but not before we face the consequences of our actions. Genesis 3 as a whole is an excellent chapter to reference the relationship God has with us – he’s our provider, but he’s also just. He may punish us for our wrongs, but he’s still going to be there for us when in need.
Gen 3:22-24 “Then the Lord God said ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever–” Again, this verse has God referring to himself in the plural, but this verse offers a little more insight…He says “like one of us in knowing good and evil,” and considering only God knew good and evil prior to Adam and Eve’s little mishap, it would suggest that “us” is God and….God. This verse negates my theory that God was referencing himself and the beasts of the land in Gen 1:26, but still doesn’t clarify who “we” and “us” are. It’s been suggested as a reference to the Holy Trinity, but the Trinity is comprised of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Since the Son isn’t born until 1400 years after the book of Genesis is written, I would say that “we” and “us” more likely only refers to God and the Holy Spirit. However, going back to Genesis 1:26 and 27, God says that man was created “in our image,” which opens up the question of what does the Holy Spirit look like? I had always figured the Holy Spirit was imperceptible; without image. In verse 27, Moses seemingly contradicts the previous verse by following up with “God created man in his own image” and referencing God in the singular. All I can say is that I am at a loss with this for now. If you have any insight with some solid supporting references, I’m all ears.
And finally God sent man from the garden and placed a cherubim (angel) and a flaming sword at the east of Eden “that turned every way” to guard the way to the tree of life. Basically, man was sent to sleep in the bed he had made, never to return to Eden.
The story of Adam and Eve is a classic sunday school story, but there’s so much more to it than you may have learned from it growing up. It’s a powerful testament to God’s grace and love, while also showing that God has no problem punishing us for our wrongdoings. God’s love is firm, and that works for me.
Sources: bibleinfo.com, blueletterbible.org, and my ESV Bible.
Next: Chapter 4: Cain and Abel