Read Genesis 3
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the groundfrom which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming swordflashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Think about the most beautiful place you have ever been–one of those places in nature that still feels “natural.” When this chapter begins, everything is that way. Birds are chirping in the sky, Adam and Eve are married, and there’s a beautiful garden for Adam to tend. Literally, nothing has ever gone wrong! By the end of the chapter, everything has changed. Things aren’t perfect anymore. Humanity now has to start dealing with the ramifications of sin (which we’re still dealing with today).
How did we get here? According to the passage, Satan (the serpent) knew exactly how to tempt Eve: he promised her the opportunity to be like God. And from that moment on, this has been the tool that Satan has used time and time again. It plays out a number of different ways, but at the root of most sin is our pride. Our pride tells us that we, not God, know best, and so we’re going to do whatever we want to do. Instead of this making us like God, it drives a wedge further and further between us.
As sobering as this chapter is, we also have two reasons for hope. First, notice God’s approach towards Adam and Eve towards the end of the passage. Yes, there are repercussions for their sin, but at the same time we still see God’s provision for them. He provides them with animal skins to cover themselves (which is also the first time we see the blood of an animal shed to cover their sin). Second, this is also the first time that we start to see the promise of a Savior. God tells Satan that someone will be born that will crush his head (even though he will wound His heel). It is going to take a while to get there, but this is the first reference we have to Jesus coming to redeem what has now been broken. Let us never forget that in spite of the brokenness around us, Jesus came to put it all back together.
How does Satan go about tempting Eve? How have you seen Satan tempt you in similar ways? What is the modern-day version of you being like God?
What do you notice about Adam’s response in this passage? What sticks out to you?
What do you learn about the gospel in this passage? What hope do you feel as you read it?
Did You Know?
The end of chapter 3 is the first of over 90 references to cherubim angels in the Old Testament. They almost always serve to protect what belongs to God or even to protect God’s presence. Here, the cherubim is tasked with guarding the way to the Tree of Life.