Week 1 – Adam & Eve
Genesis 4

Introduction: I start a series of teaching from the Book of Genesis this morning I’m calling the ‘great deceptions in Genesis.’

Given the high value this text has had through the centuries, the reader may be surprised to learn that the OT never refers to Adam and Eve and the Garden and the Serpent and temptation.

Eden is mentioned in 13:10; Isa. 51:3; Ezek. 31:9, 16,18; 36:35; Joel 2:3.

The closest parallel to the story is Ezek. 28:11-19,

Ezekiel 28:11-18“Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him,`Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. 16 “By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. 17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you. 18 “You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, And shall be no more forever.”‘” (NKJ)

Chapter 3 is much less about details that it is focusing on what humans see, know, hear and do.

It’s more about transgression, inquest and sentence and expulsion.

Transition: Let’s look at some important elements for our consideration.

  1. The Temptation: 3:1-7
  • Verse 1reaches back into the previous chapter and identifies the serpent “snake” as a “beast”/”animal of the field” that God had formed and the man had named.
  • The serpent is characterized as “more crafty” than any of the others God formed.

`aruwm {aw-room’}  Meaning:  1) subtle, shrewd, crafty, sly, sensible

  • The link suggest that human beings may be exposed to shrewd or crafty elements in the world, language usually associated with temptation.
  • Much debate has centered on the identity of the serpent.

o   The OT has no interest in this question.

o   It is not until the intertestamental period that the association of the serpent with the “devil” is made.

  • The text does not focus on the serpent per se, but on the human response to the responsibilities the serpent presents.
  • It’s more about options/choices which seduce one away from God.
  • The tree itself becomes the temptation, while the serpent facilitates the options the tree presents.
  • The serpent becomes a facilitator of temptation as the conversation progresses.

Application: Flip Wilson was wrong! The Bible teaches this clearly.

Video: Show Flip Wilson Video

James 1:13-14, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” (NKJ)

Application: Of note is that the neither Eve nor Adam, are surprised or alarmed by the serpent! Conversations with the snake about God are presented as nothing unusual.

And it all starts with a QUESTION!

A question about the PROHIBITION.

The Question sets the agenda for the CONVERSATION.

Application: Most of the time it goes like this:

(1)  Should I or shouldn’t I?

(2)  Is it really bad for me?

(3)  Maybe I can be ok with it. It can’t be that bad right?


Initially
, Eve seems motivated by an effort to explain the situation to the serpent.

(1)  She evidences familiarity with the prohibition.

(2)  She paraphrases the permission/prohibition in her own words

(3)  Quotes God directly (she even includes the ‘don’t even touch’ which was not part of God’s statement to them.

(4)  She understands the consequences (you shall surely die!) Exaggeration offers evidence of reflection that the woman (and/or the man) has had about the prohibition.

Application: But no matter what we understand and face, the serpent capitalizes upon Eve’s exaggeration and exposes her vulnerability by saying/challenging/contradicting our understanding.

Serpent“Did God really say you would die?” What he ‘actually’ said was you could eat and live right?”

In this statement is found the ‘COMPROMISE.’

The COMPROMISE then leads to the Great ‘LIE.’

Question: And what is the great LIE?

You will be Like HIM (GOD), knowing good and evil!

The Serpent was SUBTLE in holding out the possibility of avoiding death, while not conveying all the possible futures, not least a broader definition of death and another option that God had available EXPULSION & SEPERATION.

So then: “Temptation comes through subtle conversations that we have about compromising truth about prohibitions that lead to separation and expulsion.”


Transition:
So we’ve looked at the temptation, let me move on to the Inquest before we look at the sentence and the ultimate problem, expulsion.

  1. The Inquest – 3:8-13

In these verses, God conducts a judicial inquiry.

Application: The Creator of the universe and all creatures chooses not to relate to the world at a distance, but takes time on human form, goes for a walk among the creatures, and personally engages them regarding recent events.

The writer presents no naïve theology, but a deeply profound understanding to how God chooses to enter the life of the world and relate to the creatures.

Even more, this God comes to the man and the woman subsequent to their sin; God does not leave them or walk elsewhere.

Question: The Moment Adam and Eve hear God walking in the garden….what do they do?

They hide from the Divine Presence.

God calls the man into question and what does he do?

(1)  Attempts to deflect the conversation.

“Where are you?”
“I was afraid and I was naked so I hid.”
When God confronts him about what they’ve done, Adam’s response was to blame both the creator and the created for his failure.

Adam – “The Woman (created) which You (Creator) gave me.”
Eve – “The serpent (created) tricked me.”
Application/Question: Who and what are we blaming our sin on?

  • Circumstance?
  • Individuals?
  • Weakness?
  • Deception?
  • Hunger?
  • Lack of opportunity?

Remember, the Serpent only presented possibilities. The serpent engages in no coercion here, no arm-twisting, no enticement through presentation of fruit for the tree; everything happened through WORDS.

Application: At the heart of every temptation has to be “Can God be trusted?”

  • Is He telling the truth?
  • Does He know best?
  • Can I trust His ways, plans, purposes?
  • Or
  • Do I become (like God) self-sufficient, independent, and all-knowing?


Transition:
The last important element of this passage has to do with the sentence.

III.       The Sentence – 3:14-19

God proceeds with the sentencing, accepting full human responsibility and bringing all parties within the scope of the announcement.

Application: With sin, all parties are affected!

Of note is that every conceivable relationship has been disrupted: among the animals, roles of wife and mother, roles of tiller of soil and provider of food; between animals and humans; between animals and God, and most importantly between Humans and God.

Transition: So there’s temptation, inquest, sentence which leads to expulsion.

  1. Expulsion – 3:20-24

The expulsion becomes necessary because God envisions radical possibilities regarding the tree of life and human immortality.

The Cherubim is placed outside the garden to guard unauthorized intrusion.

Interrogative/Conclusion: So What are the great deceptions found in the narrative of Adam & Eve?

  1. That ‘We’ Know Better.
  2. That there is no way to honor/live for God because no one can.
  3. We can blame our sin on others.
  4. That we’re better off doing it our own way.
  5. That we don’t need God.
  6. That God can’t be trusted.
  7. There are no significant consequences to sin.