A World-Altering Conversation

world altering conversation (2)

b) Gen 3:2–5: The serpent engaged Eve in conversation (Gen 3:1), compelling her to join its side by acknowledging, “No, God did not say that.”[1]

She corrected the snake, but not quite accurately, adding a ban on even touching the tree.

Furthermore, the Lord had warned, “You shall surely die,” underscoring the inevitability of death, not an immediate loss of life (Gen 2:16–17).

Eve reported that God had said, “…or you shall die,” which has a slightly different nuance.

The serpent recognized Eve’s faulty understanding and capitalized upon it by contradicting her, not God. In essence, he asserted, “Death is not an immediate hazard. You have nothing to fear.”[2]

This event underscores the importance of teaching what God actually says rather than making the Bible seem more restrictive than it really is. Since evil lurks behind this type of exaggeration, we must guard against it.[3]

If Eve had been informed that she would die if she merely touched the fruit and suffered no harm for doing so, this may have caused her to doubt the veracity of what God did say and encouraged her to proceed in her error.

While placing limits upon ourselves to avoid falling into sin exhibits wisdom, we must teach others what Scripture actually declares (Deut 4:2; Deut 12:32).

After asserting that death was not an immediate threat,[4] the serpent directed Eve’s attention to the Lord’s inner thoughts, suggesting that he could ascertain the mind of God. Furthermore, the snake promised that disobedience would result in blessings.[5]

The nature of evil entices humans to sit in judgment on God’s word instead of simply hearing and obeying it.[6] Ultimately, rebellion treats the truth as a lie.[7]

According to the serpent, Adam and Eve could begin their heavenward climb to deification, moving beyond the limits set by God in understanding his mysteries.[8]

Had they waited, the wisdom the serpent pledged to Adam and Eve might have been theirs to enjoy in the future, when the time was right.[9]

Image via Wikimedia Commons

 

Read Gen 3:2–5. What did Eve say that the Lord commanded?  How does that differ from what he told Adam in Gen 2:16–17? Why was the serpent able to use her misunderstanding to his advantage? What did the snake promise?

 

 

 

 

Go to Succumbing to Temptation

 

[Related posts include Forbidden Fruit (Gen 2:16–17); Serpents in the Ancient Near East (Gen 3:1); Satan Tempts Christ (Matt 4:1–4); A Second Temptation (Matt 4:5–7); The Third Temptation (Matt 4:8–11); Lord of the Sabbath (Matt 12:1–8); and A Murderer from the Beginning (John 8:42–44)]

 

[Click here to go to Women and Marriage Throughout Redemptive History; or to Chapter 6: A Serpent in the Garden (Genesis 3:1–13)]

 

[1] Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 1–3, 109.

[2] Walton, Genesis, 204–5.

[3] Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 1–3, 109.

[4] Walton, Genesis, 205.

[5] Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 189.

[6] Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 1–3, 108.

[7] Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 1–3, 112.

[8] Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 190.

[9] Walton, Genesis, 205–6.