Identity Sermon Series
Discovering Who and Why You Are
The Same Old Temptations (vv. 1-6)
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
I Can Make God’s Word Mean What I Want It To Mean (Temptation #1)
The serpent wants to draw the woman into a conversation, so he begins with a complete distortion of what God had commanded Adam, who then passed on the command to Eve (2:16). He is subtlety suggesting that maybe Adam got it wrong when he passed on the command, or maybe he was telling her something that God really didn’t say at all.
While the serpent intentionally misquotes the Lord God’s command, Eve quotes what she has been given. She is still one with her husband, she says, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees .” Eve responds, and as it turns out, Adam has failed to give Eve the name of the tree, and has also added to the original command, she does not name the tree, but instead calls it “the tree that is in the midst of the garden”
“according to its location instead of its significance. And she says “neither shall you touch it, lest you die,” – God’s original command named the tree, again giving its importance, and they were not to eat it, and if they did they would surely” Both the serpent and Eve get God’s command wrong.
Genesis 2:16 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” We don’t know if Adam added to the original command, or if Eve changed it – but what we see from Eve’s response is a changing of God’s Word. Also, notice that up to this point, God was referred to as Lord God, and Satan drops the word Lord – and Eve follows his example.
When the serpent presents this hidden knowledge of something called “the knowledge of good and evil,” he presents it as something hidden or kept from her. She has not been privy to this tree being called, “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
Why have a single tree, that produces fruit that gives a person knowledge of good and evil? In the Garden of Eden are three types of trees: the trees they were allowed to eat from daily, then there was the tree of life that gave them potentially “eternal life,” and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The fruit trees fed the birds, animals etc., the tree of life kept them from aging, but what ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil?
Why was it there? What purpose did it serve? The tree means choice – what is love if you have no choice but are forced to love? Can you dictate loyalty? God really only asked Adam and Eve to do one thing, trust Him. Have faith in that He only wanted good for them, that He was God, and they were the created order, just be what God created them to be, and trust Him.
“They” Are Keeping Something Good From Me (Temptation #2)
(v. 4) “But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The serpent claiming to know God better than Eve, makes the bold claim that God is lying, “You will not surely die.”
It is true that if she eats the fruit, she will know good and evil, and it is also true that she doesn’t drop dead instantly. The serpent’s comments go straight to God’s motive – the serpent is insinuating that God is maliciously keeping something from Eve, something He doesn’t want her to have. Something that if she were to have it would put her on the level with God. Hidden knowledge.
The serpent is encouraging her “to move from obedience and faith in God’s Word toward her judging God and his command as though from a neutral position.” Whenever we stand in judgement of God’s Word, we place ourselves at least on the same level as God, or even above Him.
God has placed a restriction, a boundary, that you are not to go past – The serpent wants Eve to ask, “Why can’t I go into that territory?” “Why can’t I experience that?” – The serpent whispers, “Because God is morally corrupt, and is evil, and wants you to be miserable, He wants to keep you at this lower level.”
“He doesn’t want you to have something that you want (you don’t even know what it is, but because you have been told you can’t have it, you feel you deserve it). “The serpent spoke only about what she would gain and avoided mentioning what she would lose in the process.”
Why does the serpent go to Eve, instead of Adam? 1 Timothy 2:13-14 “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” There was an order of creation, Adam was the head, and Eve was the helper, made as a perfect companion and spouse.
Together they each played a role in bringing life into the world, and together had dominion over creation. The serpent strikes at their different roles – deceiving Eve into thinking she is inferior. She, on her own, decides to act. The man needs the woman, and the woman needs the man – they complete each other.
Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
(v. 4) the serpent says, if you have this hidden knowledge, then “you will be like God,” – but they were already “like God,” because they had been created in His image (1:26). God did want them to be like Him, He wasn’t keeping this from them, He created them that way. Our heavenly Father does not keep any good thing from His children – we must trust Him for the timing, and His purpose and plan – it is always good.
3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
There is a quick progression that Eve follows. She looked at the fruit and in her evaluation there was nothing about the fruit that would make it bad for food in fact it was delicious looking. She believed that this forbidden fruit would give her knowledge – but it is a knowledge apart from God. 1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”
Then Eve turns to Adam, fruit in hand, and extends it to him. 1 Tim. 2, tells us “Adam was not deceived,” He saw straight through all the craftiness, all the half-truths, all the emotional attempts at division. Why did Adam eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil?
I Can Fix This (Temptation #3)
7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
The serpent’s promise was that “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” And indeed “Then the eyes of both were opened.” But in this new knowledge, there is sudden compulsion to cover their nakedness.
Eve thought she could possess that which God was keeping from her, but now she is not like God. She now has a division between her husband (which comes in a moment), between her and her Creator, and even her own body. Her soul is now fighting against her body – which results in shame. Innocence is lost.
(v. 7) “And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” Who are they ashamed of seeing them? Who do they not want to see their nakedness? To hide from God, they go to the trees. But they cover their nakedness with leaves – to hide their shame from each other. That which was made, “very good” now there is division.
(v. 9) God knows what has happened, He even already has a plan to fix their mistake, but guilt has to be assigned first, and He wants them to recognize how their sin has impacted them, so God asks, “Where are you?” – fear and shame has driven them to hide amongst the trees. God asks, “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” But instead of simply saying, “yes, we believed the lie of the serpent” – they try to blame others.
Just Blame Someone Else For Your Behavior (Temptation #4)
12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
The man blames God for giving him an inferior woman, “whom you gave to be with me” – She gave him fruit of the tree, and he ate it. Genesis 2:18 “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” And then later on, it says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” They were very good in their creation. The woman blames the serpent, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” –
The Consequences of Adam & Eve’s Rebellion
The Serpent’s Curse (vv. 14-15)
14 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
We are introduced to two races of people – the offspring of Adam and Even, and the offspring of the serpent. These two groups of people will have enmity between them.
(v. 15) “contains a puzzling yet important ambiguity: Who is the “seed” of the woman? It seems obvious that the purpose of the verse has not been to answer that question but rather to raise it. The remainder of the book is the author’s answer.”
Eve’s Curse (v. 16)
16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”
The original blessing for Eve was to “be fruitful and multiply,” and in the marriage relationship she would have with her husband as they had dominion over the earth. Now it was in these greatest times of blessing, there would also pain and now that sin has entered into the world, she would still play the same role, but now her husband and herself would have a sin nature,
“Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, (you will no longer be united) but he shall rule over you.” Eve believed that God (her Creator who only gave her good things) was keeping something good from her, and that she deserved more, how much more of this would she show this attitude toward her husband?
But also, in the pain of delivering a child was the promise that eventually, Eve’s offspring would eventually defeat the one that led her into this fallen state.
Adam’s Curse (vv. 17-19)
17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Work is given to man in 2:15, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” So it is not working that is the curse, working was his assignment from God originally, so it was good. But now, “cursed is the ground.” Adam and Eve will be forced to leave the garden with its’ many fruit bearing trees, to outside the garden where Adam will have to plow fields and work hard to produce food.
His work will produce “thorns and thistles;” his efforts will result is wasted time and resources. Before the fall everything his hands touched bloomed and produced fruit – now it is painful, and some of his efforts result in nothing but wasted time.
“for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 2:7) – Man’s work and toil is tied to his death. Every loaf of bread he produces, it will cost him the sweat of his brow.
Consequences Remain, But Grace is Given (vv. 20-24)
20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. 22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
Grace Between Man and Woman
Adam and Eve both are well aware that they will now die, and have been cursed because of their decision to rebel against God – “the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” (literally) Life has to go on, in spite of their mistake. They still have a command from God to follow. So Adam, as an act of faith, calls his wife, Eve.
Grace between Humanity and God.
(v. 21) “And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” Originally, no animals were to be killed for food, the animals didn’t even kill eathother. Everything, was a herbivore. But, God kills animals, to cover Adam and Eve with skins. To cover their shame, something had to die. The Lord God himself made them clothes. Genesis 3 shows us that the pain we encounter, why there are all the horrors of this world, and why we act, and others behave the way they do – it’s not God’s fault.
“Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.” – humanity no longer is in obedience with their Creator, he has rebelled and in that fallen state, has become independent and autonomous. He places himself on the same level with God, thinking he can determine right and wrong, good and evil.
Judges 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” This is the fallen state of humanity, they will no longer look to God to provide “the good,” but will always be bent toward what they think is good and evil. (making ourselves god).
Humanity can no longer eat of the tree of life and now will eventually die. To live a life that runs counter to how you were created is a miserable life, so God in His grace allows them to die. Man’s nature is bent toward rebellion against His Creator.
They have obtained being “like God” but they are no longer with God. The fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is for God alone to eat from. The tree in midst of the garden guides us to ask the question, “Do you want to be God, or do you want God to be God?” For you to be God is for you to be separated from the One true God. For you to trust Him, as God, is to have eternal life.
 Gerhard Von Rad, The Old Testament Library, Genesis (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; The Westminster Press, 1961) 86.
 “Whenever man attacks the concrete Word of God with the weapon of a principle or an idea of God, there he has become the lord of God.” (Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall, 68).
 Kenneth Matthews, The New American Commentary, Genesis 1-11:26 (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman & Holman Publishing, 1995) 237.
 John H. Sailhamer, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 2 (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing, 1990) 51.
 Sailhamer, 56.