Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
In the previous study we looked closely at the counterfeit that Satan offered to Eve so that we could better understand how to recognize and protect ourselves from the false teachings and counterfeit doctrines that Satan is successfully using against the Church. His plan is the same as it was then in the garden: to destroy God’s work in humanity. I would love to spend time in a study about the parallels between Satan’s efforts to destroy Adam through deceiving Eve, and his efforts to destroy Christ’s work through corrupting the Church. But in this particular study we’ll be looking at other things, and so I’ll have to save this study idea for some other time.
Eve was completely deceived by the counterfeit, so it would be very useful to understand how and why she was deceived. The problem with being fooled is that you don’t know that is what happened until it is too late to avoid the consequences that follow. Thanks God for His mercy that even then, we can be restored into a right standing before Him. But how much better would it be to not be fooled in the first place!
What happened to Eve was the same thing that happens to us, and we don’t fare any better than she did. Satan is a master con artist who carefully selects his victim (you), identifies your unfulfilled needs (especially ones you are not even aware of!), and then constructs his counterfeit skillfully to draw you away from God and into his con. A good con artist is not seeking only the weak and vulnerable. ALL character traits are fair game to a master con man. Whether they are strengths or weaknesses is immaterial if they can be exploited and manipulated. So what is it about human beings that we are so easily fooled? Here is what Scripture says:
- Proverbs 14:12 (NLT) There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
- But what is God’s design for man? Proverbs 16:9 says a man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
- James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
- In Galatians 5:16 Paul writes, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
- We need more than the physical essentials for life. Deuteronomy 8 reminds us that God’s commandments are given to us to give us life. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 when he overcame Satan’s temptation in the wilderness.
Our created nature (notice I am not referring to our fallen nature) is such that we are completely reliant on God to direct our steps, provide for our deepest need, and feed our souls through His Word. When we replace any of these for something else from a source other than God, we WILL be fooled into believing a counterfeit.
One additional thought before continuing: it would be dangerous to focus only on the devil and his role as we look into Eve’s deception and try to relate this to our experiences. There are three enemies that the Christian faces: the world, the flesh, and the devil. These three combine to form a powerful opponent to your soul. Billy Graham discussed these three enemies eloquently.
What did Eve see?
Notice the parallel between what Eve saw about the tree, and what is written in 1 John 2:16: For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. She was drawn to the tree because:
- It was good for food.
- It was pleasant to the eyes.
- It was desirable to make her wise.
Satan’s con job exploits three things that are not necessarily evil: the needs of the flesh, the inner desires, and “being somebody” and “having a purpose.” But as we see from 1 John 2:16, unless these things are fulfilled from the Father, they are of the world, and they are evil: Providing for the flesh becomes answering cravings, giving into desires becomes fulfilling lusts, and achievements and successes become sources of pride.
Genesis 3:6 also tells us that Eve gave some fruit to Adam, and he ate. While Eve was deceived into disobedience (1 Timothy 2:14), Adam is guilty of another crime. Romans 5:12 teaches that sin entered the world through Adam’s transgression, and it was through his offense that sin and death spread to all people. So what can we make of the sin of Adam? In the Old Testament, there are three Hebrew words that are translated as “sin”:
- Pasha – transgression, such as a rebellion , or trespassing
- Avon – iniquity, such as a fault or blemish
- Chattah – to miss, usually the typical definition for “sin”
All three of these definitions imply a meaning of “missing the mark” or below the standard of perfection. So what was Adam’s offense? From these three possible choices, Adam clearly crossed into the territory of rebellion, or willful disobedience (Romans 5:19). He knew what was right, and chose to do what was wrong. There are quite a few different teachings that look into Adam’s motivation for doing this. They are all conjecture, because we do not know Adam’s heart. Whatever the case may be, when we choose to do what we know is wrong, even if we have the best intentions, we commit willful rebellion against God’s sovereignty, just as Adam did.
Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
In Genesis 2:25, Adam and Eve were described as being naked and not ashamed. Now we see that an immediate consequence of their sin is that they could see their own nakedness. A lot of teachings spend a lot of time trying to explain what happened here. I think it is actually quite simple: sin changes how we perceive things. Having their “eyes opened” is a figure of speech, because we know that prior to sinning, they were not blind. But recall that Satan’s counterfeit to Eve included this detail: she would have her “eyes opened” and would begin to experience something that she was missing out on. This was actually a true statement. Sin does open our eyes but it is an opening to a perception of things that are unholy and evil. When we see things through the experience of sin, everything becomes corrupted, tainted, and dirty. Adam and Eve began to see nakedness as shameful, and that nakedness should be covered. It was their first attempt to deal with their sin, by covering up with something they made themselves. This is pretty easy to understand using our own experiences as sinners: sin often results in our futile attempts to cover it up. Jesus said in Luke 12:2 “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.”
Genesis 3:8 And they heard the sound 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 among the trees of the garden.
Adam and Eve were afraid, and Adam even said so in Genesis 3:10, although the reason he gives for being afraid is suspect. One of the things that sin opened their eyes to was guilt. Prior to sinning, they had a perfect relationship with their Creator, and the emotion of fear was nothing they could have dreamed of. But upon sinning, Adam’s eyes were suddenly opened to their guilt and shame at having disobeyed God’s command. Whereas before sinning, God was seen as a loving Creator, after sinning, their perception was that He was to be feared as a God of judgment. The question is, did God change, or did they change?
- Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
- Jeremiah 9:24 “But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord.
It was sin that changed Adam and Eve’s perception of God, who hadn’t changed His nature because they sinned. In their guilt and shame they now feared a holy, righteous and loving God.
Genesis 3:9-10 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
Was God not able to find Adam and Eve? Did He not know yet that they had sinned? Obviously He knew, but what we can see here is God’s heart in His question. When we sin, God doesn’t move away. Isaiah 59:1-2 says Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. Adam and Eve’s sin had hidden God’s face from them, and separated them from Him, and God was feeling the loss. I think Adam’s response gives further support to the idea that Adam and Eve’s perception of God had changed. They no longer saw him as a friend and comforter. If they had, this would be the time in their deepest sorrow and pain to run to Him seeking His love and nurturing. Instead, Adam took a defensive stance, and attempted to explain his fear was due to his nakedness:
Genesis 3:11-12 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” 12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
As a dad, I sometimes wonder if I being a little unfair when I catch my daughter in a “transgression” of a household rule and then I ask her what happened and give her an opportunity to either come clean or dig her hole deeper. Human nature being on display even in our kids, most of the time she digs the hole a little deeper. Adam could have said simply, “Nobody told me, and yes, I did eat,” and perhaps showed a little more character. But then again, human nature is often on display in me as well, and given a shovel I also seem to have no trouble digging that hole deeper. Adam did what came natural to his new fleshly nature: he blamed someone else. He also didn’t do what did NOT come natural to his new fleshly nature: he did not apologize, repent, and seek forgiveness. I guess we shouldn’t be too hard on him. He had, after all, very little time to become acclimated with the “new Adam” that he suddenly found himself in. He didn’t get any training time, didn’t get to try it out in a flight simulator, there were no training manuals, etc. I’m sure he was even listening to the words coming out of his mouth and not believing that he was actually saying these things. I find myself doing that often, so I know what he would have felt like. Paul puts it this way in Romans 7:18-19 (NLT): And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
Genesis 3:13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Following the great spiritual example of her husband, Eve points the finger to the right. To her credit, we can say that she answered with a true statement. The serpent had deceived her, and she did eat. However, neither Adam nor Eve took responsibility for their actions, but instead assumed the role of victims and looked for someone else to take the blame. Adam even had the gall to blame God for his predicament: “The woman whom You gave to be with me”. This is as far away as they could each get from true repentance and sorrow for being separated from God. Much human suffering ever since can be attributed to our fleshly nature’s selfish tendency to blame others and assume we were victimized. We focus on how we were mistreated, misjudged, treated unfairly, and this leads us into resentfulness, bitterness, and unforgiveness. We cannot escape this trap until we seek true repentance for our own sins. What does true repentance look like? John the Baptist preached about the “fruits of repentance” in Luke 3:7-15:
- Humility – We don’t deserve forgiveness: We were sinners when God saved us (Romans 5:8).
- Urgency – Repentance comes with the awareness of the seriousness of our sins, and our response is to want to get that taken care of immediately (Isaiah 55:6-7).
- A change – True repentance leads to a changed a heart, and there will be evidence in our works (James 2:26).
- Dependence – Repentance leads us to recognize our need to depend on Jesus and rely on His strength to keep going. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Too often we revert to the fleshly nature Adam and Eve found themselves in, and we hold others responsible for our sins and would rather focus on how we were victimized by other people or our circumstances rather than seek God’s forgiveness for our own sins. As followers of Christ, we can respond to God’s call for repentance and restoration to fellowship with Him with humility, urgency, a desire to be changed, and confidence that Christ will carry us through to victory. The bonus is that this fruit in our lives will result in the healing of relationships between us and the people in our lives.