Genesis 3 (NRSV)
Now as we are coming into summer, Old Testament minor prophets and New Testament theological doctrine seem perhaps a bit heavy, demand too much thinking. So let’s go back to the great foundational stories of our faith — Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Let’s go back to Genesis! I encourage you to read the accounts of these Bible characters with new eyes, looking for the goodness of God, the presence of Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit. And let’s also praise the Lord for the examples to stir our faith within this “cloud of witnesses.”
And again, for subscribers — to get the full picture, click on the book and chapter at the top of your opened DWELLING (today it says 813.) Genesis 3) and that will bring you to our homepage, which makes it easier for you to read and see the pictures and get to the links and comment!
The First Sin and Its Punishment
Now the serpent
The text here does not, by itself alone, clearly identify the serpent as Satan, but the rest of the Bible makes it clear this is Satan appearing as a serpent.
Ezekiel 28:13-19 tells us that Satan was in Eden. Many other passages associate a serpent or a snake-like creature with Satan (such as Job 26:13 and Isaiah 51:9). Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 speak of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan.
The representation of Satan as a serpent makes the idea of Moses saving Israel by lifting up a bronze serpent all the more provocative (Numbers 21:8-9), especially when Jesus identifies Himself with that very serpent (John 3:14). This is because in this picture, the serpent (a personification of sin and rebellion) is made of bronze (a metal associated with judgment, since it is made with fire). The lifting of a bronze serpent is the lifting up of sin judged, in the form of a cross.
Ezekiel 28 tells us Satan, before his fall, was an angel of the highest rank and prominence, even the “worship leader” in heaven. Isaiah 14 tells us Satan’s fall had to do with his desire to be equal to or greater than God, to set his will against God’s will.
was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’“
4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.
So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the Fruit, she pluck’d, she eat:
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat
Sighing through all her Works gave signs of woe,
That all was lost.
–from Paradise Lost, by John Milton
“Take and eat” will one day become verbs of salvation, but only after Jesus had lived in the world of Adam’s curse and surrendered to death.
7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. 8They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
9But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
10He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.”
13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”
14The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Romans 5:18-19 (New Living Translation)
Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.
16To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
17And to the man he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
20The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
21And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.
22Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.
What is God’s definition of sin?
How does the idea of sin fit (or not) into today’s culture?
What are the results of my own sins?
“Lord Have Mercy,” sung by Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant.
Today Your Mercy Calls Us
Oswald Allen (1816-1878)
Today your mercy calls us
To wash away our sin.
However great our trespass,
Whatever we have been,
However long from mercy
Our hearts have turned away,
Your precious blood can wash us
And make us clean today.
Today your gate is open,
And all who enter in
Shall find a Father’s welcome
And pardon for their sin.
The past shall be forgotten,
A present joy be given,
A future grace be promised,
A glorious crown in heaven.
Today our Father calls us;
His Holy Spirit waits;
His blessed angels gather
Around the heavenly gates.
No question will be asked us,
How often we have come;
Although we oft have wandered,
It is our Father’s home.
O all embracing Mercy,
O ever open Door,
What should we do without you
When heart and eye run over?
When all things seem against us,
To drive us to despair,
We know one gate is open,
One ear will hear our prayer.
A powerful retelling of Genesis 3 by one of the greatest writers in the English language. Paradise Lost, by John Milton, 1667, “to justify the ways of God to men.” Try the new prose ‘translation’ by Dennis Danielson!
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.