Post Author: Bill Pratt
Genesis 3 describes the rebellion of Adam and Eve against God and the immediate consequences of that rebellion. In verses 1-7, we see Eve being tempted by a serpent, which the author describes as crafty. Later in the Bible, in the book of Revelation, this serpent is identified as Satan. The serpent tells Eve that she can become like God, knowing good from evil, if she will only eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the tree that God forbade Adam and Eve to eat from. The serpent also denies that Eve will die, as God warned.
In essence, Eve wants to gain wisdom that she thinks God is withholding from her. She takes the fruit from the tree and then gives some to Adam, who also eats the fruit. Instead of becoming like God in wisdom, disaster occurred. Before eating the fruit, they were unashamed of their naked bodies, but after eating the fruit, they became ashamed and hid themselves from each other and God.
God had already given them every good thing they would ever need, but they instead desired to know good and evil apart from God. They thought they could improve themselves by eating from the tree that God had forbidden. They doubted God’s promise of the consequences of their disobedience, and they believed the serpent’s lies.
In verses 8-13, God confronts Adam and Eve with their disobedience. Notice what has changed. Before, Adam and Eve conversed with God openly in the garden, and now they are hiding from him, out of shame. Their newly gained knowledge of good and evil has not made them more like God, it has distanced them from God. Not only are they distanced from God, but Adam now blames Eve for giving him the fruit, and he even blames God for creating Eve in the first place. What a difference!
In verses 14-19, God explains to Adam and Eve the consequences of their disobedience. The serpent is cursed, but in this curse God promises that Eve’s offspring will battle with the serpent’s offspring, and one day Eve’s descendant will crush the serpent – a foreshadowing of Jesus’s victory over Satan on the cross.
There were also consequences for Eve and all women after her. First, the joy of childbirth would now be mixed with extreme pain. Second, the perfect marital relationship that Adam and Eve possessed would be corrupted. As Eugene Peterson paraphrases God’s message to Eve, “You’ll want to please your husband, but he’ll lord it over you.”
There were also consequences for Adam. Because of his disobedience, the ground would be cursed, which meant that he would have to work extremely hard to get any food out of the ground. In the garden, food was provided by God, but now man would have to “sweat in the fields from dawn to dusk.”
Finally, in verses 20-24 God banishes Adam and Eve from the garden so that they cannot eat of the tree of life, and live forever. In addition, they would also be cut off from God’s immediate presence they had enjoyed in the garden. The one silver lining is that God did not destroy the garden, so we are left with hope that some day we will be able to re-enter it.