Genesis 3 is one of the most important chapters in the Bible. This describes the fall of mankind and here, the Judgment of God. Without it, we can’t even begin to understand the darkness that blankets the earth. With it, we can catch a glimpse of the light, which shines in the darkness. Have you seen the light?
God’s Account of the Fall in Genesis 3
Last time, we studied verses 1-7. This described the interaction between the serpent and Eve. We discussed how Eve succumbed to the temptation of using her senses and doubting God. We also discussed how Adam was with her and trusted in the words of the Serpent rather than the Word of God.
Today, we will begin in verse 8 and study down through verse 19. We will see how God provides an opportunity for confession.
Invitation to confess (Genesis 3:8-13)
When God approached Adam and Eve, His question “Where are you?” was a rhetorical. It was really an invitation for them to confess and repent (you can read this in Genesis 4:9-10). The novice sinners responded to God in ways that are all too familiar to us today.
First, they felt shame, resulting in concealment. (In verse 8, we see they were the first people to try and use camouflage as they tried to go unnoticed by an omnipresent Creator by blending in with the surrounding vegetation)!
Second, they felt fear, which resulted in an attempt to escape God’s presence (verses 9-10).
Third, they felt guilt, but then compounded their offense by shifting the blame (verses 12-13).
Adam blamed both Eve and God (“the woman . . . you gave me”).
Eve blamed the serpent (“the serpent deceived me”).
Instead of owning up to their mistake and repenting, they played “the blame game.”
In contrast to Adam and Eve, God did not invite the serpent to repent. Instead, God decreed a series of three judgments—first upon the serpent, then the woman, and finally the man.
Judgment upon the serpent (verses 14-15).
Because the serpent had “destroyed” (or ruined) the human race, the serpent would be destroyed by a member of the human race.
The enmity between the woman and the serpent and their “seed” (or offspring) involves more than future hatred between women and snakes. The Hebrew term translated “enmity” applies not to animals but to moral agents. Here we see a clear indication that Satan is behind the serpent, especially in light of Revelation 12:9. Though Satan will cause suffering to the “seed of the woman,” he will be dealt a mortal blow by that seed.
The Gospel in Genesis 3:15?
Genesis 3:15 is known as the “first gospel”—a prophetic picture of the time when Satan would be defeated by the woman’s triumphant “Seed.”
The text itself invites us to find an interpretation that goes beyond mere biology. Satan, a spirit being, cannot produce seed; and clearly a woman does not produce seed. So, even at the simplest reading of this pronouncement, the seed apparently refers to a spiritual being who has the serpent’s same attitude.
Based on other scripture, it appears that the serpent’s “seed” refers to those who willfully set themselves against the seed of the woman. The age-long conflict between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan will continue until the end of time when Jesus wraps this whole thing up.
“He” that crushes the serpent’s head refers to a future descendent of the woman and is a singular noun—which is a reference to Jesus.
Judgment upon the woman (verse 16)
Because Eve manipulated her husband, she will struggle in domestic life. Difficulty will plague her role as a mother (multiplied pain in childbirth) and as a wife (marital conflict with her husband).
The phrase “Your desire shall be for your husband” refers not to sweet marital communion but to an ongoing struggle. The battle of the sexes has begun!
Judgment upon the man (verses 17-19)
By eating the forbidden food, Adam abandoned his headship over his wife and his dominion over creation. Besides domestic struggles, Adam will now struggle to eat. And all of his labor will include toil. The domain of man is cursed and will no longer yield its fruit easily.
Finally, in contrast to the serpent’s promise that “you will be like God,” Adam is told he was made from dirt – and to dirt he will return in death. He was initially to have dominion over the ground, but now the ground will resist and finally devour him. God’s promise that “you shall surely die” in Genesis 2:17 was, tragically, going to come true. He died instantly in terms of his spiritual relationship with God, and he began to die physically.
Next time, we will look at the four lessons we can learn from the fall as described in Genesis Chapter Three.
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