2596.) from Genesis 3

“Adam and Eve,” by Lucas Cranach, 1526 (The Courtauld Gallery, London)

from Genesis 3  (NRSV)

The First Sin and Its Punishment

For Holy Week we are looking at prophecies of the Messiah’s suffering and death that appear in the Old Testament.

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.

–David Guzik (and all following comments in blue)

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.

Eve surrendered to this temptation in exactly the way John describes in 1 John 2:16. First, she gave in to the lust of the flesh (saw that it was good for food), then she gave in to the lust of the eyes (pleasant to the eyes), then she gave in to the pride of life (desirable to make one wise).

Gen3 red-apple-

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 (NLT)

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.

The context of this verse is the fall of Adam and Eve. God is speaking to the serpent who is a personification of Satan. God desires no coalition between himself and Satan. The two are mutually exclusive.
        “Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed.”
God draws a distinction between “your seed” (Satan’s seed) and “her Seed” (Jesus). “Her Seed” refers to the humanity (incarnation) of Christ. Notice that this passage does not say that the “Seed” was of Adam. This is an inference of the virgin birth. The New Testament calls Jesus the “Seed” (Galatians 3:16).  
        “He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
God is predicting the defeat of Satan by the coming of Christ, the Messiah. God is drawing the battle lines between himself and Satan.
“He shall bruise your head” is a mortal wound. The power of Satan is crushed by the cross of Christ.

Yet even at the moment of the first fall, God promises a solution to their sin. At the fall Satan bruised the heel of Jesus. Sin was the cause of Christ going to the cross. At the cross Christ will crush Satan’s head. One is a non-lethal and the other a lethal act. At the cross Jesus dealt Satan a fatal blow. There he paid for the penalty of sin fully.

–Grant Richis

_________________________

Music:

Fine Lenten Hymn for today:  HERE  is “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” It was written by Isaac Watts and published in Hymns and Spiritual Songs in 1707. This performance is by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge.

“When I Survey” is a hymn which is saturated with theology and a call for an emotional response from the singer. It is a statement of faith that crosses denominational lines and generations. According to hymn scholar Lionel Adey, the lines “‘All the vain things that charm me most / I sacrifice them . . .’ have a meaning personal to each singer, one that might require either action or renunciation.” The three pledges at the climax of the hymn (“my soul, my life, my all”) are a sacrifice that had once been required only of those taking monastic vows.

–Rachel Tillay

_________________________

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.

Images courtesy of:
Cranach.  http://static.artbible.info/large/cranach_adameva_1526.jpg
apple.  http://thesmilecenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/red-apple-bite-300×299.jpg
Thank you, Jesus.   http://i.myniceprofile.com/202/20262.jpg
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