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Adam—as the representative for all humanity—underwent a time of probation to determine whether he would accept his position of power under God, his emperor. The Lord accomplished this by presenting him with what seemed to be an arbitrary command (Gen 2:16–17).[1]

Meanwhile, the serpent sought to thwart the expansion of the kingdom of God through the disqualification of the Lord’s ambassadors (Gen 1:26–28).[2]

In contrast to the man and woman’s innocent nakedness (arummim), the snake was shrewd (arum) (Gen 2:25–3:1).[3]

Aside from the fact that the serpent spoke,[4] the text gives no hint that it was anything more than an animal made by God.[5]



Moses did not state why the serpent addressed Eve,[6] why she misunderstood what the Lord had said, nor why Adam failed to assist her in countering the snake’s assertions.[7]

By twisting God’s words, the serpent snared Eve into allying herself with him in her quest for divine wisdom, causing her to covet the forbidden fruit (Gen 3:2–5).

From there, events cascaded rapidly: “And she took of the fruit, and she ate, and she gave [it] also to her husband [who was] with her, and he ate” (Gen 3:6).

Each fell because of the other, in unity yet carrying the entire burden of guilt. In one respect the serpent told the truth. Their eyes were opened, but to a shocking discovery. They were naked![8]

With their innocence replaced by shame, they quickly made coverings for themselves out of fig leaves (Gen 3:7).



Well-aware of what they had done, the Lord came to Eden in “the wind of the storm.”[9]

Adam and Eve saw and heard evidence of impending judgment and hid themselves (Gen 3:8).[10]

In his attempt to evade answering God’s question, Adam immediately indicted himself by declaring that he knew he was nude.

The divisive effects of sin quickly emerged. Adam blamed Eve as well as God for creating her. Eve admitted she was deceived and pointed to the serpent (Gen 3:9–13). Thus, sin obliterated the harmony between God and humanity, men and women, and people with animals (Gen 2:18–24).[11]

Image via Wikimedia Commons


Go to God Curses the Serpent (Gen 3:14)

[Related posts include Living Things from the Earth (Gen 1:24–25); Stewards of the Earth (Gen 1:26 cont.); Male and Female He Created Them (Gen 1:27); The Blessing of Fruitfulness (Gen 1:28); Forbidden Fruit (Gen 2:16–17); Not Good! (Gen 2:18); A Parade of Animals (Gen 2:19–20); An Equal and Adequate Partner (Gen 2:21–23); A Transfer of Loyalty (Gen 2:24); Naked and Not Ashamed (Gen 2:25); Serpents in the Ancient Near East (Gen 3:1); A World-Altering Conversation (Gen 3:2–5); Succumbing to Temptation (Gen 3:6); Their Eyes Are Opened (Gen 3:7); Hiding from God (Gen 3:8); A Day of Reckoning (Gen 3:9–13); Falling for Deception (2 Cor 11:3–4); An Angel of Light (2 Cor 11:13–15); Receiving the Crown of Life (Jas 1:12); and A Baited Trap (Jas 1:13–15)]

[Click here to go to Chapter 7: The Seed of the Serpent and the Seed of the Woman (Genesis 3:14–15)]


[1] Kline, Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview, 104–5.

[2]Matthews, Chavalas, and Walton, IVPBBCOT, Gen 3:1.

[3] Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 90.

[4]Walton, Genesis, 204.

[5]Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 1–3, 105.

[6]Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 188.

[7]Walton, Genesis, 206.

[8]Walton, Genesis, 206.

[9] Walton, Genesis, 224.

[10]Matthews, Chavalas, and Walton, IVPBBCOT, Gen 3:8.

[11] Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 78.