Genesis 3 - Outline of Genesis (MENU page)
The Temptation and Fall of man (v.1-6) - The scene was set in ch.2 -
Why was it necessary that man be tested?
3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil {ie., subtle}
than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.
And he said unto the woman,
Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent,
We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden,
God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman,
Ye shall not surely die:
3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened,
and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food,
and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes,
and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise,
she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat,
and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
the serpent - Before it was cursed, this creature was unlike the snake of today. cp. v.14
Satan occupied the body of a beautiful creature to make his pitch to Eve. cp. 2Cor 11:14
Satan, the deceiver, is subtle, intentionally misrepresenting himself and his intentions.
The Bible gives us few details concerning Satan, his origin and fall. Just as God told us only what we need to know about creation, He has given us only limited information about this fallen creature. cp. Eze 28:12-15; Isa 14:12-17; Rev 12:9
But, God has told us enough to avoid Satan's deceptions. We would be wise to be content with that. Satan's promises of deeper knowledge are a lie (cp. v.5). Those who seek to know the powers of darkness are being led into the dark and unto destruction.
more subtle- Satan uses the same methods of operation today. cp. Joh 8:44; 2Cor 2:11
  1. he approached Eve apart from Adam (who had firsthand knowledge of God's Word).
    The fellowship of believers is a defense against temptation. cp. Ecc 4:9,10; Heb 10:24,25
  2. he presented himself as Eve's friend, and did not proclaim himself as God's enemy.
    A lion does not roar until after it has pounced on its prey. cp. 1Pet 5:8
  3. he raised questions concerning God's character and purposes.
Satan questions God's character and purposes -
  1. Yea, hath God said...? (v.1)
    1. Satan questioned-
      1. the authenticity of God's Word- ie., Did God really say this?
      2. the authority of God's Word- ie., What right does God have to restrict you?
        Today, such attempts to discredit the Bible come in the guise of science, scholarship, rationalism...
    2. Eve defended God's Word, as both true and reasonable (v.2,3).
      But she was dangerously unfamiliar with it.
      Note that she added the words ''neither shall ye touch it.'' cp. 2:16,17
  2. Ye shall not surely die...- (v.4)
    • Satan denied the truth of God's Word. At this point, Satan probably took advantage of Eve's misquote by placing a sample of the fruit in her hands, demonstrating its apparent harmlessness.
  3. For God doth know... (v.5)
    • Satan slandered God's motives, to suggest that God was withholding good things.
    • Satan told partial truths, hiding the sorrow that would accompany these things.
      1. your eyes shall be opened... - True (v.7);
        but they would also become spiritually blind, and things that had once been open would be closed to them. cp. v.22-24; Mat 6:23; 2Cor 4:4
      2. ye shall be as God... - True (v.22);
        but to be like God is not the same as being in unity with Him.
        • This is the essence of ''the lie''
          (a) with which Satan deceived himself (Isa 14:12-14),
          (b) with which men turn from the truth of God and love for God, to love & serve themselves (cp. Rom 1:25), and
          (c) with which the antichrist will deceive the world (2The 2:11).
        • There is only One who is eternal (having life in Himself), and who knows the end from the beginning. Apart from Him, a man's predetermined end is to perish.
      3. knowing good and evil... - True (v.22);
        but Eve already knew right from wrong (2:16,17).
        • God's Word made it clear, and there is no truer knowledge.
          She did not yet know the agony of bondage to sin & death.
          But God had told her all she needed to know, in order to avoid it.
        • Satan promised freedom from God's dictates, freedom to determine for oneself what is true or false, right or wrong. But such independence would be deadly for one designed to live in dependence upon Him.
          With this fleshly knowledge would come the inability to do good, or to please God (Rom 7:18,19; 8:7,8), and that would mean death (Rom 5:12-14; 7:24).
Eve's decision & action - was based, not on God's Word, but on fleshly wisdom. v.6
Satan still uses these three avenues of temptation to which mankind is susceptible. cp 1Joh 2:16,17; 1Cor 10:13 -
  1. The lust of the flesh: ...saw it was good for food.
  2. The lust of the eyes: was pleasant to the eyes.
    Fleshly desire misappropriates the good things which God has made. cp. 2:9,16,17
  3. The pride of life: ...{it was} desired to make one wise
    The second Adam also was tempted in each of these points. Heb 4:15; see notes at Mat 4:1-11
she did eat, and... he did eat - Eve was deceived. cp. 1Tim 2:14
But Adam knew what he did. (Eve didn't mix the fruit into their stew.)
  1. Why did he do it? -
    1. For her sake. He was bound to a sinner by love. He chose to suffer separation from God rather than separation from her (cp. v.17; 2:23,24), not realizing that separation from God would also break the oneness between man and wife, and bring death upon their offspring.
    2. Due to unbelief in Jehovah Elohim, the Everliving Strong One.
      If anyone could fix the problem, it was He. But Adam acted according to fleshly wisdom.
  2. What might he have done? - As the second Adam did -
    1. anchored himself upon God's Word, in the face of temptation. ''It is written...'' Mat 4:4
    2. appealed to God in prayer, in the heat of agony. -
      ''Father, if it be possible... yet, not my will but Thine be done.'' Mat 26:39
3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they [were] naked;
and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
3:8 And they heard the voice 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 amongst the trees of the garden.
3:9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou?
3:10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden,
and I was afraid, because I [was] naked; and I hid myself.
they knew that they were naked- cp. 2:25
  1. Their nakedness does not imply that the first sin was a sexual act.
    Although the word 'nakedness' is often used in a sexual context in the OT, improper sexual contact is not the issue here, because:
    1. God created them male & female. 1:27
    2. God instituted marriage. 2:24; Heb 13:4
    3. God instructed them to fill the earth. 1:28
    4. There was no shame in their nakedness before the fall. 2:25
    5. Adam & Eve partook separately of the forbidden fruit. v.6
  2. Nakedness reveals underlying difference.
    1. Before the fall -
      Adam & Eve were in oneness with God, and with each other.
      There was no difference of heart, thought or purpose to conceal.
      Eg., a man is not ashamed of his own body, because he is one with himself (cp. Eph 5:29).
      Shame comes with exposure before someone who is different.
    2. After the fall -
      They were no longer one with God. Their nakedness was the result of disobedience (v.11).
      They sensed a need to cover themselves from His eyes. cp. Job 31:33; Psa 90:8
      Their attempts at covering did not satisfy even their own conscience: they sought a place to hide. There was nothing they could do, and no place they could go, to escape His gaze. cp. Job 9:29-31; Heb 4:13; 1Joh 3:20,21
      They were unrighteous. They desperately needed to be clothed with righteousness. But their efforts (ie., their religious works) failed to remove the reality of their guilt. cp. Rev 3:17,18
      They were without Life, separated from the One who has Life in Himself. cp. 2Cor 5:1-5
    3. Naked {HB=arom} is related to Subtle {HB=aram, (or) arum, crafty, wise} -
      • The serpent was subtle because he had to keep himself hid. The lies he spoke would not survive the Light of God's Word. The purpose of his heart was opposed to God's revealed Will. To cover himself, he purported to uncover the 'dark side' of God (v.5).
      • Prior to his fall, Satan was the anointed cherub that ''covered,'' and who sealed up the ''sum'' {ie., pattern, likeness} of God (Eze 28:12-19). The cherubim are guardians of God's holiness (cp. v.24; Ex 25:18-22; 36:35; Rev 4:6-8).
        When a creature looks to himself for wisdom and righteousness, he is no longer covered by, but rather is exposed by the holiness of God.
Where art thou? - This is Grace...
While sinners attempt to hide (Psa 14:2,3; Rom 3:10-12), it is God who seeks fallen man (Eze 34:16; Luk 19:10).
I was afraid...- cp. Psa 76:7; 90:11; Heb 10:31
...I was naked... I hid... - Adam, though standing before God, is still hiding:
he confesses no sin, and admits no guilt. cf. Psa 51:1-4
But God will not allow the truth to remain hidden.
''There is a point where God and man must meet, whether in grace or judgment, and that point is where both are revealed as they are.'' [CHM]
3:11 And he said, Who told thee that thou [wast] naked?
Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
3:12 And the man said,
The woman whom thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
3:13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What [is] this [that] thou hast done?
And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
the woman whom thou gavest...-
''Man, even in his wretched condition, vindicates self, and accuses God as the cause.'' [CHM]
Both Adam and Eve attempt to pass the guilt from themselves to another.
Here is the beginning of alienation between man & man, and between husband & wife.
There was some truth in the 'she made me do it... he made me do it' argument.
But each person is responsible for himself. cp. Isa 3:10,11; Rom 2:1-11
God's righteous Judgment & Grace (v.14-24)
3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent,
Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field;
upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed;
it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
3:16 Unto the woman he said,
I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;
and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
3:17 And unto Adam he said,
Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife,
and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it:
cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life;
3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground;
for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.
The Adamic Covenant - sets conditions that govern fallen man (and the fallen creation)
until the Kingdom of the Messiah is established.
The Dispensation of Conscience begins here.
  1. The serpent cursed-
    1. The animal, which Satan used, is altered permanently (v.14; cp. Isa 65:25),
      and becomes a symbol of sin & Satan.
    2. Satan's destruction is foretold (v.15) -
  2. The woman judged (v.16)
    1. increased pain & sorrow in childbirth - Her pain would be a constant reminder of the sorrows of sin which she helped bring into the world. Yet, her hope, and the hope of the race would be in the promised seed that would be born to her. cp. v.15; Isa 26:17,18; Joh 16:21,22; 1Tim 2:14,15
    2. subservience to her husband - God imposed an authority structure for her protection. cp. Num 30:6-8,13; 1Cor 11:3; Eph 5:22-24; 1Pet 3:5,6
  3. The man judged (v.17-19) -
    1. tedious toil displaced pleasant labor (2:15,16) - because God cursed the earth 'for thy sake.' The creation has become marred due to man's sin.
      The earth which had been created ''good'' and had previously brought forth food abundantly, would now bring forth ''bad'' (inedible growth), and would have to be coerced into producing food. cp. Rom 8:19-23 (where 'creature' means 'creation'.)
    2. sorrow in life - cp. Job 5:7; Psa 90:10
    3. physical death, and decomposition.
      cp. 2:7; 5:5; Job 34:15; Psa 90:3; 104:29; Ecc 5:15,16; 12:7
      There would be no remedy until the second Adam. cp. Rom 5:12-21; 1Cor 15:21,22
3:20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins,
and clothed them.
Eve - means ''lifegiver.'' Yet, because of her sin, death had come upon them.
Adam's faith in God's promise (v.15) is shown by the name he chose for her.
the Lord God {made} coats of skins, and clothed them-
Because of their sin, they had become naked & ashamed before Him.
Because of their faith in His promise, God clothed them with garments He provided.
''Coats of skins'' required animal sacrifice. This is the first of the many OT sacrifices, which picture the price which the Messiah would pay, to clothe believers with His righteousness. cp. 1Cor 1:30; Heb 9:22; 1Pet 1:18-20; Php 3:8,9
3:22 And the LORD God said,
Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil:
and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
3:23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden,
to till the ground from whence he was taken.
3:24 So he drove out the man;
and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims,
and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
the man is become as one of us... -
Man remains like God in some ways, but he has lost His 'likeness.' Now, self-directed, he is no longer conformed to God's will. Fallen man lives in a state of spiritual death. Separated from God, man is also out of harmony with himself, with his wife, with other men, with nature...
{therefore} lest he eat, and live forever-
God acted in mercy to expel fallen man from Eden.
He intervened to ensure that man would not live for ever in his fallen state.
Apparently, the fruit of the tree of life had inherent life giving qualities. cp. Rev 22:2
the way of the tree of life-
Sinners who would approach the tree of life must die. Because the way is blocked by cherubim whose job it is to guard the holiness of God. But again, God would intervene to provide a mercy seat, where the way would be opened to sinners and His holiness would be satisfied, through Christ's death in our behalf. cp. Joh 14:6; Rom 3:23-26; Heb 10:19,20; 1Pet 2:24; Rev 2:7

Click here to continue the study in Genesis 4:1-
Return to Genesis - MENU page.

Limited permission is granted to copy & distribute these notes from

Go to The Book opening page.