Knowledge of Good and Evil
Adult 1 Sunday School Class Genesis 3:8b-17 September 15, 2013
(Due to Youth Program last Sunday, both lessons Sept 8th and 15th will be discussed)
Theme: Everyone at times has given in to lust or greed instead of making a right choice. Genesis 3 informs readers that when temptation confronts them, God gives them the freedom to make choices.
Understanding and Interpreting the Scripture (responses are in bold print)
Please explain the meaning or significance of the following verses
* Genesis 3:8b, "And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden." This is the result of sin; they were ashamed of their deed and hid from God. Sin separates us from God. Trees have significance. It is the instrument of temptation that lured Adam and Eve into sin, and the place where they sought to hide from God. They were subsequently cast out of the garden and barred from the tree of life (v.24).
* v.9, "And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" God came to Adam, as a compassionate father would a child by calling out, "Where art thou?" He knew where Adam was, for He was God. This allowed Adam to consider his misdeed and the gulf that now existed between man and God, and the gulf that God would have to mend. This is the theme throughout the Bible; God takes the initiative, searching out sinful humanity. It is the ultimate expression of the ministry of Jesus, who came to seek those who were lost in sin (Luke 19:10).
*v.10, " And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." Righteous men, in later Bible testament, would later walk with God, but Adam being the first, chose to hide. Instead of confronting his sin, Adam, like many sinners today, makes excuses for their actions. He says that God's voice scared him. Here are the consequences of sin: 1) it brings alienation, and 2) It brings shame. In trying to be like God, they were in a state of wickedness and nakedness. Thirdly, sin brings fear and judgment. All three of these consequences of sin still exist today. Instead of the exemption of punishment and death which God had promised them, they had been deceived by Satan, and God's wrath followed.
*v. 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?" God brought Adam into accountability by asking these two direct rhetorical questions. GOD DOES NOT OVERLOOK SIN, he gently confronts the sinner(s). The first question illustrated that Adam did not need to be told of his shame, true guilt comes from a violated conscience. The second question about Adam's nakedness was linked to his sin concerning the tree from which he was told not to eat (Gen 2:16-17). Together, these questions brought Adam a sense of shame. God allowed Adam to make the best of a bad situation by confessing and repenting of his sins right on the spot. He did not confess nor repent.
*v. 12, "And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." Adam did not answer either of his questions. Instead, he tried to shift the blame to Eve, and then to God. He acknowledged his culpability, but not as the direct offender. Since Adam did not pick the fruit, but it was given to him, in his eyes he was guiltless when he said, "She gave it to me." Few people today confess their sins or acknowledge their guilt. People make excuses for their crimes; "the devil made me do it", "I was abused as a child", or the natural weakness of their own mind against the strength and subtlety of the tempter. When we use excuses for our actions, we limit the possibility of repentance, and more importantly forgiveness from God and the salvation which He offers through His grace.
*v. 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 passed on the blame to the serpent (i.e. snake) and admitted prior to eating, that she was beguiled (tricked, fooled, and deceived). However, unlike Adam, she admitted correctly that she had been a victim of deception, and still felt that she had done nothing wrong.
*v. 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:" 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." 14. The confrontation began with Adam, and the judgment began with the serpent. Because of the serpents key role (used by Satan), he would be consigned to the ultimate shame for bringing sin to humanity. So now the serpent would live under the feet of humanity. God rendered harsh judgment upon the serpent. God does not render judgment arbitrarily, but makes the punishment fit the crime. The curse upon the serpent, was not to suggest that the serpent had once walked on legs, but that to "eat dust" was an expression demonstrating "total defeat" of the creature (Isaiah 65:25; Micah 7:17). 15. God would put "enmity" (long lasting intense hostility) not only between man and woman, but also between the human race and the offspring of the serpent will be at odds forever. This verse is known in Christendom as "the first good news" because it is the first foretelling of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God announced here that a descendant would someday deal the serpent (meaning Satan) a fatal blow on the head (Rev 20:2, 7-10). The N.T. writers understood Christ to have fulfilled the prophesy (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8). The N.T. also indicates that God would work through the church–those indwelt by the Holy Spirit to destroy the works of the devil (Romans 16:20). The statement that the snake would only strike the opponent's heel, foreshadows Christ's wounding on the cross would not be permanently fatal. (This is why biblical resource material is required to fully understand and appreciate the KJV. I don't know many, if not any, who could derive that understanding of verse 15 without outside assistance. I know that I couldn't.)
*v. 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." God now pronounces judgment upon the woman in this verse and upon Adam on v.17. Here, even though Eve was deceived, she is still being held accountable. Two penalties were imposed; first He struck at the heart of a woman's role in life, He would increase her pain (Jer 31:8) at childbirth. Second, she will still have desire for her husband, but He would create inequality and subjugation. This is not what God originally planned for marriage. The effects of sin are demonstrated in the man-woman relationship, but this is not a prescription for abusing one's wife. The N.T. teaches that marriage should reflect the relationship that Christ has to the church (Ephesians 5:24-25), and the husband's understanding of and respect for his wife (1 Peter 3:7). We must recognize the Fall and the subsequent relationship between man and woman, and that the N.T. tries to balance who we are in Christ (Galatians 3:28), and what we continue to be as a result of the Fall (Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1).
*v. 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." God passes sentence on Adam, the final transgressor in the trio of the serpent Eve and now him. Whereas God provided food a plenty, that from the garden he could freely eat (Gen 2:16), along with all of the necessities of life. Because of the Fall, life for all human kind would change from God's original plan. Thus, the "good land" the Creator provided in Chap 1 and 2 was cursed. Future generations would not eat freely the produce of the land. In Chapter 3, it was concerning eating that the tempter enticed the woman and the man to raise doubts about God's goodness to care for them (Gen 3:1-3). Disobedience in Chapter 3, would reflect God's punishment which included something about "eating". It was that future generations would not freely eat. The fertility of the ground would be impaired; the fruits of man's labor would occasionally be destroyed by insects, erosion, floods and droughts, wind and rain, etc. The current earth is not what God intended, due to man's sin. The earth is no longer completely good. Death had entered. Even the ground had changed. Original sin of man changed the world, but Christ's ministry, Crucifixion, and Resurrection would return it to a more right relationship with God.