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Hypocrites and Backsliders-010. Adam and Eve: Part 3 - The Fall mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur ("The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived."). Genesis 3 Exegesis. In this case again it will be natural in some languages to begin the speech with the word “No!”

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Hypocrites and backsliders 010

Hypocrites and Backsliders-010

Adam and Eve:

Part 3 - The Fall

mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur

("The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived.")

Genesis 3 exegesis
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • In this case again it will be natural in some languages to begin the speech with the word “No!”

  • Two examples of this are, “No! You-two will not die,” and “No! That’s not true.

  • You-two won’t ….”

  • In one rendering the snake’s denial of the truth of what God has said is expressed as “God is telling a lie. You won’t die.”


Genesis 3 exegesis1
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • The extended doctrine concerning death is at once in evidence.

  • God had warned the two parents that in the day they ate of the forbidden fruit "dying they should die."

  • The penalty thus proposed was executed and death in its three forms was imposed upon them.

  • (1) Spiritual death, which is separation of soul and spirit from God, fell upon them the moment they sinned;


Genesis 3 exegesis2
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • (2) physical death began at once its unavoidable process of disintegration and eventual separation of soul and spirit from the body; and

  • (3) they became subject to the second death which is the lake of fire -- the eternal separation of soul and spirit from God.

  • Of the lake of fire, it is written that it is prepared for the devil and his angels.

  • It was not prepared for human beings and they enter it only on the ground that they repudiate God and cast in their lot with Satan and his angels.


Genesis 3 exegesis3
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • v 4 dying you will not die = Eve did not use the absolute "dying you shall die" yet Satan did; he gave himself away, he knew God's command and was tempting Eve to break it.

  • v 5 your eyes will be opened = (or) your (spiritual) blindness will be taken away.

  • knowing = (lit.) knowers of good and evil (using the noun, as the Hebrew text does, emphasizes the person rather than the ability).

  • v 6 pleasant = (lit.) desirable (to the senses).

  • desirable = for one's self; this Hebrew word often has a bad sense.


Genesis 3 exegesis4
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Genesis 3.5. For God knows …: this is stated to draw the woman’s attention to the advantage of eating the forbidden fruit.

  • In this way the serpent suggests that God has been less than honest in giving the man and woman the complete truth of the matter.

  • Instead of saving them from death, God is preventing them from becoming like him.


Genesis 3 exegesis5
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Your [plural] eyes will be opened means “You [plural] will see things as they are”.

  • The expression eyes will be opened means “to know, understand,” but does not say what it is they will know.

  • “You [plural] will be able to know what is good and what is bad.”


Genesis 3 exegesis6
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • And you will be like God: God translates Hebrew ’elohim, which is sometimes rendered “gods” (kjv, neb, njb, tob) or “divine beings” (njv).

  • ’elohim is grammatically plural, as is the participle translated “knowing.”

  • Elohim is always used to describe “God”, because there are 3 Persons -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who are One in essence.


Genesis 3 exegesis7
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • In some languages the string of three dependent clauses following God knows … is difficult or unnatural, and the verse may be restructured.

  • One example of such a restructuring is:

  • If you-two eat the fruit of that tree, you-two will know what things are good and what things are bad, and you-two will become like God. God knows that, and that’s why he has put a taboo on you-two eating the fruit of that tree.


Genesis 3 exegesis8
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Genesis 3.6.

  • In this verse the woman recognizes three advantages in the forbidden tree: the fruit is good, the tree is beautiful, and eating would make her wise.

  • So without further discussion with the snake she takes some fruit and eats it.


Genesis 3 exegesis9
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food: "So" marks the following clause as introducing a consequence.

  • The woman saw how beautiful the tree was, and how good the fruit would be to eat.

  • She thought, “How wonderful it would be to become wise.”

  • Because she was thinking this, she took some of the fruit and ate it.

  • Then she gave some to her husband, and he also ate it.


Genesis 3 exegesis10
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • The tree was good for food refers to the fruit of the tree.

  • delight to the eyes is similar to “pleasant to the sight” in v9, which is also another way of saying “beautiful”.

  • The tree was to be desired to make one wise is a close literal translation of the Hebrew, in which was to be desired represents a passive participle.

  • “a person desires the fruit of the tree because [eating] it makes that person become wise.”


Genesis 3 exegesis11
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • neb says “tempting to contemplate,” and frcl “and they [the fruits] gave [the person] an urge to eat in order to acquire a broader knowledge.”

  • Wise translates a word meaning “insight, understanding.”

  • After the woman had eaten she also gave some to her husband. Husband translates the word for “man” in 2.23.


Genesis 3 exegesis12
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Genesis 3.7.

  • Then the eyes of both were opened: although Then is the ordinary Hebrew connective, it marks an abrupt development in events and has the sense of “immediately, right away, just then.”

  • tev makes the transition fuller, with “As soon as ….”

  • A number of translations use similar expressions, like “Straight away” and “At that moment.”


Genesis 3 exegesis13
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • They knew that they were naked: knew translates the common Hebrew verb meaning know, but in this context the man and the woman acquire the knowledge instantly, and so some expression like “realized, found out, discovered” is more suitable.


Genesis 3 exegesis14
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Verse 7 tells us their eyes were opened.

  • This idiom indicates that they understood the enormity of their action and it overwhelmed them, for they realized they were now sinful, and realized, with the keenest intellect man has ever possessed, what their bodies would do in producing a world full of sinners.

  • So they covered their bodies, distressed at the havoc which they foresaw that sin would yet wreak on the human race (shame is not mentioned in this chapter, it is inferred from chapter 2).


Genesis 3 exegesis15
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • And they sewed fig leaves: sewed suggests fastening things together with needle and thread.

  • It may be more appropriate to use a more general term meaning to “fasten, attach, hook together.”

  • The fig tree grows in abundance in the lands of the Bible and was well known to the narrator.

  • Its leaves are large compared with its fruit.


Genesis 3 exegesis16
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Adam and Eve's desire to cover their nakedness portrays their realization of the fearsome tragedy that they had brought on their offspring.

  • Sin caused them to hide from God; sin immediately became the separator which separated from God.

  • Mankind had changed forever -- he had lost his innocence and would evermore be a sinner.

  • Evil had entered man's world.

  • Sinful man cannot commune with a righteous God, so Adam and Eve had to withdraw.

  • Note that Religion was their way to withdraw.


Genesis 3 exegesis17
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Made themselves aprons: aprons translates a Hebrew word also used in Isa 3.24 and translated “belt” there by tev.

  • It refers to something worn around the waist or hips.

  • The word “apron” is not really a good translation in English, since an apron is a partial covering that is usually worn for a particular purpose or in particular situations, rather than being a general item of clothing.


Genesis 3 exegesis18
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • In some languages it is necessary to say “a man’s loincloth” and “a woman’s loincloth” since the words are different.

  • The exact nature of these aprons is not known, and so it may be best to use a general term like “covering” or “put leaves together to cover their private parts.”

  • One translation expresses the whole sentence as “So they-two sewed together fig leaves and put them on like a skirt to hide their bare skin.”


Genesis 3 exegesis19
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Genesis 3.8.

  • And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden:

  • In some languages heard the sound … walking is more naturally expressed as “heard the footsteps of …” or “heard the Lord God’s feet walking.”


Genesis 3 exegesis20
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Cool of the day is similar in sense to the expression in Song 2.17 and 4.6, “the day breathes.”

  • Both expressions refer to the late afternoon and early evening, when the sun has gone down and a breeze cools the air.

  • frcl is similar but retains the picture of the breeze blowing: “That evening when a breeze was stirring.”

  • reb has “at the time of the evening breeze.”


Genesis 3 exegesis21
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • The man and his wife hid themselves: some languages require that hid themselves be expressed as a double event, first the action of moving and then the action of hiding; for example, “went and hid” or “ran away and hid.”

  • From the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden: from the presence is often better translated simply as “from,” as in tev, niv, and others.


Genesis 3 exegesis22
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • However, the expression in Hebrew is literally “from the face,” and in this context the meaning may be taken as “from his sight.” In some languages this is naturally expressed as “… hid, where they thought God would not see them.”

  • Among the trees may be taken as “behind the trees” or “where they thought God could not see them because of the trees.”


Genesis 3 exegesis23
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • As Adam was already clothed in fig leaves he was not talking of physical nakedness, but spiritual nakedness; he was defenseless before God, and God had already specified the punishment for sin (2:17).

  • We humans tend to focus on the cessation of earthly life, but Psalm 23 calls that no more than a shadow; a shadow falls on our life and passes over, and the sun shines again.


Genesis 3 exegesis24
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Hiding themselves was not a childish act, but rather a spiritually insightful one, for they recognized that a Holy God could not have communion with sinful man.

  • That recognition is demonstrated in Adam's fear (v.10), not shame, at being naked.

  • The focus has shifted from the Serpent's "Elohim", back to their "Jehovah Elohim".


Genesis 3 exegesis25
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Adam and Eve were effectively separated from God by their sin; they knew it and they hid.

  • fear cause them to shrink from God, and to hate his appearance -- for now, "the carnal mind is enmity against God" (Rom. 8:7).

  • They realized the full horror of this separation; their depth of perception of sin was much greater than that of those commentators who classify their action as childish.

  • Indeed, it is only in a realization similar to Adam's that man finds the wisdom of God (I Cor 1:23-25).


Genesis 3 exegesis26
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Genesis 3.9.

  • But the Lord God called to the man and said to him: called and said are represented as two events.

  • English “called out” (tev) may be followed by God’s question.

  • “Called out and asked him.”


Genesis 3 exegesis27
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Where are you? In this question you is singular, since God is addressing the man.

  • From Adam’s reply to God in the next verse, it appears that he does not take Where are you? as a question about his location but rather as a request to explain why he is hiding.


Genesis 3 exegesis28
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Genesis 3.10.

  • I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid: as in verse 8 it may be necessary to say “I heard the sound of your footsteps in the garden” or “I heard you walking in the garden.”

  • Hearing God’s sound and being naked had caused Adam to be afraid, and as a consequence he had hidden himself.


Genesis 3 exegesis29
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • I was naked: according to verse 7 Adam in verse 10 is no longer totally naked.

  • Therefore, there is more to "naked" than what a loincloth could hide.

  • Some have speculated that they were "clothed" in a righteous light that they lost when they sinned.

  • Others believe that the spreading of the sinful nature through their brain cells changed the way they thought about nakedness.

  • In either case, they knew Jehovah Elohim would not like it!


Genesis 3 exegesis30
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Genesis 3.11.

  • The man has confessed to his nakedness but has said nothing about his disobedience. Therefore God pursues the questioning.

  • Who told you that you were naked? may have to be expressed in the present: “… that you are naked.”

  • Some translators may have problems with the form of this question, since it does not state directly what God is really asking, namely, “How did you find out that you were naked?”


Genesis 3 exegesis31
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • The word told in this context actually means “spoke to you so that you found out.”

  • A restructuring used in one translation to make the sense of this verse clearer is “God asked him, ‘How did you know that you were naked? Who told you? Have you eaten …?”

  • Have you eaten of the tree …? is often better translated “Did you eat the fruit of the tree …?” or “Did you eat some of the fruit of the tree …?”


Genesis 3 exegesis32
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Genesis 3.12.

  • In his confession the man directly blames the woman and indirectly blames God.

  • The woman whom thou gavest to be with me: that is, “the woman you put here with me.”

  • (What happened to, “This is the proper step! bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh!”

  • The man is confessing his guilt without accepting the blame.


Genesis 3 exegesis33
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Genesis 3.13. God accepts the man’s accusation of the woman and so asks her “What is this that you have done?” which is better rendered in English by tev “Why did you do that?”

  • In many languages there are different words for “Why?” or different ways of expressing questions that begin with “Why?”

  • In such cases it is appropriate to use the accusing “Why?” in this context.

  • The Hebrew question may go beyond a “Why?” question; for example, “Tell me what happened” or “Tell me what you did.”


Genesis 3 exegesis34
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • The woman said: said may be more appropriately translated “answered” or “replied.”

  • Since the woman’s reply is in fact shifting the blame on to the snake, it will be appropriate in some languages to put this into words; for example, “But the woman blamed the snake, and said … ” or “The woman said, ‘It wasn’t my fault. The snake ….’ ”

  • The serpent made me forget: Forget means “forgetting because I was tricked, deceived, misled.”


Genesis 3 exegesis35
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • There is no indication in the Hebrew that the serpent cast a spell, bewitched, or otherwise clouded the woman’s mind by the use of magic.

  • If the term considered in translation applies to deception through magic powers, it will be better to say, for example, “the serpent lied to me” or “the serpent did not tell me the truth.”

  • And I ate should be linked clearly as a consequence of the serpent’s deceit; for example, “so I ate the fruit,” or “that is why I ate some of the fruit.”


Genesis 3 exegesis36
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • God, who knows everything, quickly forced Adam to face the facts (vv.9-11), and then a pathetic scene ensued.

  • Note Adam's and Eve's lack of confession; they both tried to pass the blame.

  • There is no point in wondering what would have happened had they confessed - they did not.

  • Adam tried to blame God for giving him Eve, at the same time blaming Eve; and Eve blamed it on the serpent.


Genesis 3 exegesis37
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Pathetic but typical; have you not found yourself doing likewise?

  • It seems to be a universal human failing to seek a scapegoat for our shortcomings.

  • It is sobering to realize that we are no different than the parents of the human race and that man is always a pathetic sight when he, as a sinner, tries to confront his God in his own strength.


Genesis 3 exegesis38
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • The fabric of their defense was so transparently ineffective that God did not bother to address it, but proceeded immediately to His sentence.

  • Adam and Eve were conscious of sin, of their failure, and of the doom they had brought on the whole human race.

  • God had placed the future of man in the hands of a perfect man; He could not have done more--it was in the best care imaginable; yet man chose to be independent of God.

  • All the blame for sin belongs to man and absolutely not any to God.


Genesis 3 exegesis39
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • This passage provides the foundation for the doctrine of original sin, for from this point on all human beings were born sinners.

  • Our individual, personal sins are the result of that sin nature.

  • A clear way to understand this is to recognize that as an apple tree can only bear apples, and nothing else; likewise, a sinner can only procreate sinners.

  • If I inherited life from Adam, I also inherited a sin nature from him--since Adam's sin, life and a sin nature have been inseparable.


Genesis 3 exegesis40
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Being born a sinner brings with it the penalty of eternal banishment, and the only way into eternal life is through the spiritual birth that Jesus explained to Nicodemus.

  • Do you see how foundational this is to the Gospel?

  • If humanity were not automatically all lost, then Christ would not have needed to die on the cross; in fact could not have saved us by doing so.


Genesis 3 exegesis41
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • The root of sin is selfishness.

  • This can be expressed many ways, but when distilled it comes back to Satan's five "I wills" (Isa 14:13-14)

  • Eve said: "I will be wise, I will satisfy my appetite (flesh), I will make something of myself."

  • She put herself before God.

  • That is selfishness; it is also disobedience; the former is the root of sin, the latter the sin.


Genesis 3 exegesis42
Genesis 3 Exegesis

  • Consider Adam's position: when he sinned where was he?

  • In Eden -- God's garden!

  • Where could he go afterward?

  • Into the world -- God's world!

  • He was utterly dependent on God, yet he tried to be independent.

  • Sounds stupid does it not?

  • But, if you are a progressing believer you cannot but agree with this charge of stupidity when you sin, for is not all sin stupid?