July 19, 2013
Commentary on the Book of Genesis
By: Tom Lowe


Topic #B: The Primeval State of Man and His Fall. Gen. 2.8-3.24


Lesson I.B.4: The Pair Are Tempted into Sin.

Gen. 3.1-7 (KJV)

1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.



Up to this point, God’s voice is the only one we have heard; creating and commanding. Now another “voice” is heard, the voice of Satan, the deceiver. He is a snake that deceives—“Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor 11:1-3; KJV). He is also a liar, and a murderer— “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44; KJV). He questioned God’s word and God’s goodness (v. 1), denied God’s warning (v. 4), and then substituted a lie for God’s truth (v. 5). “You will be like God” is his greatest lie—“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14; KJV), and people still believe it.
Eve was deceived when she ate, but Adam was not; he sinned with his eyes wide open—“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Tim 2:14; KJV).



1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?


Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.

The words NOW THE SERPENT may have been placed at the top of the chapter for emphasis. All the stress falls on them. The Hebrew reveals that this is a literal reptile. He is a creature that God made and he is described as MORE SUBTIL. The Hebrew word for SUBTIL is “arūm,” and it sounds like the word rendered NAKED in Genesis 2:25 (˓arūmīm). To describe a snake in these terms seems to be taking the first step in going behind the scene and letting us know that there is more here than meets the eye. There is to be some connection between nakedness and subtlety; and since subtlety is a word that one would NOT use when describing a serpent there would appear to be something going on that could prove to be shocking and highly unusual.

This is an account of the temptation with which Satan assaulted our first parents, and I believe you are familiar with the story of how he draws them into a sinful act which proved fatal to them. But just in case the details are a little fuzzy I will provide some background. The tempter was the devil, in the shape and likeness of a serpent or it was a real living serpent, actuated and possessed by the devil, it is not certain. But it is certain that Eve was beguiled by the devil. The devil who is also called Satan is the old serpent of Revelation 2:9—“I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” He is an evil spirit, created an angel of light and a close subordinate of God, but by sin he became a traitor and a rebel opposed to God’s crown and nobility. Multitudes of angels were thrown out of heaven along with Satan; but this thing that attacked our first parents was definitely the prince of the devils, the ring-leader in the rebellion: no sooner was he a sinner than he was a devil, no sooner a traitor than a tempter, because he was furious against God and His glory and envious of man and his happiness. He knew that the only way he could destroy man was to use deception that would tempt him to sin. The plot which Satan concocted was to draw our first parents into sin, and to separate them from their God. Therefore the devil was a murderer, and a great villain, from the beginning.

The devil chose to act in the role of a serpent, but we are not told what kind it was, only that it WAS MORE SUBTIL THAN ANY BEAST OF THE FIELD. Many examples are given of the subtlety of the serpent and its ability to do harm to people. We are commanded to be as wise as serpents. But this serpent is motivated and controlled by the devil, and he was undoubtedly more subtle than any other creature; because, the devil, though he has lost the sacredness of an angel retained the shrewdness and wisdom of one, and therefore he was capable of doing great evil. The serpent, as it existed in Eden, is not to be thought of as a snake. That form is the effect of the curse of Genesis 3:14. The creature which Satan possessed may well have been the most beautiful as well as the most "subtle" of creatures less than man. Traces of that beauty remain despite the curse. Every movement of a serpent is graceful, and many species are beautifully colored. 

And he said unto the woman,
Satan decided to disguise himself as a “cunning” (lit. “shrewd” or “clever”) creature. The text does not say why the serpent approached the woman instead of the man, but it may have been due to her situation—she was alone, and at a distance from her husband, but near the forbidden tree. He took advantage of finding her near the forbidden tree, and probably gazing upon its fruit, if only to satisfy her curiosity. It is possible he decided to attack her rather than Adam because she was the weaker vessel; inferior to Adam in knowledge, and strength, and presence of mind. Some think he chose Eve because she, unlike Adam, did not receive this prohibition directly from God—“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:16-17; KJV), and therefore she might more easily be persuaded to discredit it. Though sinless and holy, she was a free agent, and liable to be tempted and seduced. Satan’ plan was to tempt her, and then to tempt Adam through her.

The fact that the serpent speaks at all is tantamount to a denial that God made him, because he was definitely not made after his kind, and he was not good—“And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good” (Gen 1:25; KJV).Only man has the ability to speak.


Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
The first word insinuated that something was said before this, and they are connected; perhaps Eve had been talking with herself, and Satan took advantage of the situation to graft on this question, HATH GOD SAID, YE SHALL NOT EAT OF EVERY TREE OF THE GARDEN. Here is a question which seems designed to cast doubt upon God’s goodness and at the same time imply that if the serpent is misinformed, he is willing to be instructed in the matter (Do you really mean to say God has said you are not to eat from all of them?). He implants the idea that God is excessively strict by not permitting Adam and Eve to eat from all the trees. Notice how he does it; he quotes the command inaccurately, making it a prohibition of all the trees, instead of that one. God had said, Of every tree you may eat, except one.

The devil intended to persuade Eve to eat forbidden fruit; and, to do this, he used the same methods he still uses today. He questioned whether it was a sin or not; he denied that there was any danger in doing it (v. 4); he suggested it was for their advantage to do it (v. 5). The first thing he aimed to do was to remove her sense obligation to the command. "Surely you are mistaken, God would never deny you the use of this tree; he would not do such an unreasonable thing.’’ Here we see the subtlety of Satan; that he would blemish the reputation of the divine law by making it appear uncertain or unreasonable, and consequently to draw people to sin. The way we combat this approach is to keep up a firm belief of, and a high respect for, the commands of God. Has God said, "You shall not lie, take his name in vain, or be drunk,’’ etc.?” Yes, I am sure he has, and by his grace I will abide by it, no matter what the tempter suggests to the contrary.’’

The question arises: Why the temptation? If we go back to chapters 1 and 2, we find that man was created innocent, but man was not created righteous. What is righteousness? Righteousness is innocence that has been maintained in the presence of temptation. You see, temptation will either develop you or destroy you; it will do one or the other. Character must be developed, and it can only be developed in the presence of temptation. Man was created a responsible being, and he was responsible to glorify God, to obey God, to serve God, and to be subject to divine government. Temptation was a necessary part of creation, but God did not cause Adam and Eve to sin. They made that decision on their own!


2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

Why did the serpent approach the woman? Why didn’t he approach the man? When God created Adam, He told him he could eat of every tree of the garden, except for this one particular tree. Woman was created last, and she had gotten her information secondhand, from the man. And so the serpent approached the woman first. Frankly, I think the woman may have been a better-quality creation than man; that is, she had more compassion and sympathy than man, which is still true. She was probably more open to suggestion than the man. Actually, I think women are more inquisitive than men. She is the one today who goes into the cults and isms and leads men into them. In fact, many of the founders of cults and isms have been women.

Instead of turning away, the woman engages the serpent in a conversation, which indicates she did not realize that the serpent was her enemy. Notice the following:
(1.) It was her weakness that allowed her to enter into this conversation with the serpent. She might have perceived from his question that he had no good intentions, and told him Get thee behind me, Satan, thou art an offence to me. But her curiosity, and perhaps her surprise at hearing a serpent speak, led her to continue talking with him. Note, Proverbs 14.7 suggests that we “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.” She should have turned away from the serpent and sought the company of her husband.
(2.)  It was wise of her to point out the liberty God had granted them, in response to the serpent’s sly insinuation that God has put them into paradise only to tantalize them with the sight of appealing but forbidden fruits. "Yes,’’ says she, "we may eat the fruit of the trees, and thanks to our Maker, we have both abundance and plenty of variety to choose from.’’
(3.) It was a sign of her resolve to adhered to the command, that she faithfully repeated it, as if it was an unquestionable certainty: "God hath said (I am confident he said it), You shall not eat of the fruit of this tree;’’ but then she adds, Neither shall you touch it, which seems to have been said with good intentions, and perhaps to indicate a high degree of prohibition.
(4.) She seems to be a little indecisive about the threat, since she added her own words to what God had said. God had said, IN THE DAY THOU EATEST THEREOF THOU SHALT SURELY DIE; but she distorted God’s command by adding her own interpretation, GOD HATH SAID, YE SHALL NOT EAT OF IT, NEITHER SHALL YE TOUCH IT, LEST YE DIE. Either she was exaggerating in hopes of making God’s directive so restrictive that it appears unjust, or Adam did not properly convey the prohibition to her.

Satan knew what he was doing. He used a very subtle method. He asked her a question, which cast doubt on the Word of God, “YEA, HATH GOD SAID, YE SHALL NOT EAT OF EVERY TREE OF THE GARDEN?” He raises a doubt in her mind and raises her curiosity. She answers, “We can eat of all the trees, but this tree God has told us, ‘Ye shall not eat of it [that’s all God had said, but she added something], neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.’” I do not find where God ever said, “You are not to touch it.” Her answer exaggerated the liberty they enjoyed amongst all the trees—only one is exempted, with respect to which, she declared both the prohibition and the penalty. But there is reason to think that she had already received a detrimental impression; because by using the words "LEST YE DIE," instead of "YE SHALL SURELY DIE" (Ge 2:17), she spoke as if the tree had been forbidden because of some poisonous quality of its fruit. The tempter, perceiving this, became bolder in his assertions.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.


And the serpent said unto the woman,

The serpent had an evil plan, and he was carrying it out brilliantly, although Eve in her innocence must have been extremely naïve, and contributed to her own downfall. Satan was in the position to deliver the knockout blow; he would deny the accuracy of God’s word. And Eve must choose between believing God’s word or Satan’s lies. Satan hates God and he hates man, consequently he goes all out in condemning the concept of the absolute authority of God. The serpent very cleverly contradicts God, and he substitutes his word for God’s word. The Book of Romans teaches the fact of the obedience of faith. Faith leads to obedience, and unbelief leads to disobedience. Doubt leads to disobedience—always.

Ye shall not surely die:
The serpent denies that there was any danger in disobeying God’s command; his erroneous contention is this—all it amounts to is breaking a rule, and you will not be punished for misbehaving: YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE. It is a direct contradiction of what God had said. Now, his statement can be taken in two ways:
1. "IT IS NOT CERTAIN THAT YOU SHALL DIE,’’ or perhaps, “It is not as certain as you have been lead to believe.” With this approach Satan hopes to shake or even overthrow her trust in God’s word, and invalidate the power of divine threats by questioning the certainty of them; and once there is doubt in the legitimacy or accuracy of God’s word, a door is opened to downright disloyalty. Satan teaches men first to doubt and then to deny; he makes them skeptics first, and then by degrees makes them atheists.
2. "IT IS CERTAIN YOU SHALL NOT DIE.’’ He states his contradiction with the same phrase of assurance that God had used in declaring the warning. He began by questioning God’s rule (v. 1), but, when he saw that approach was not working, he quit that assault, and immediately began another, where he perceived her to be the weakest; he is skillful at finding ways to gain the advantage, and to attack where one is the weakest: YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE. That this was a downright lie is apparent for two reasons:

1. IT WAS CONTRARY TO THE WORD OF GOD, which we know is true—“I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth… But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him” (1 John 2:21, 27; KJV). You not only know what is the truth (concerning the Son and the Father), but also are able to detect a lie. You do not need a teacher because you have the Holy Spirit as your teacher; He teaches us the truth, and we will abide in that teaching."  This does not mean that the believer is made infallible, since no believer receives the Spirit in all its fulness while he is here, but only enough to keep him from some soul-destroying error.
2. IT WAS CONTRARY TO HIS OWN KNOWLEDGE. When he told them there was no danger in disobedience and rebellion he knew from personal experience that it was a lie. He had broken God’s law, and he was punished by having to live on earth instead of in heaven; and yet he tells our first parents they shall not die. He concealed his own misery, so that he might make them miserable too: He still deceives sinners in the same way; by convincing them that they can get away with sin. He tells them that, even though they sin, they shall not die; and they prefer to listen to him instead of God, who tells them, “The wages of sin is death.”


He tells her, “You will not die. Why, that is just absolutely impossible!” He questions the love of God and the goodness of God: “If God is good, why did He put this restriction on you?” The serpent implies that God is not honest when he says, “You will die.” And he questions the holiness of God by saying, “You’re going to be gods yourselves, for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil (v. 5).”


What Eve did was to add to the Word of God. The liberal and the atheist take from the Word of God, and God has warned against that. The cults (and some fundamentalists, by the way) add to the Word of God, and God warns against that. There are those who say that today we are saved by keeping the law. They argue, “Yes, you are saved by faith, but it is faith plus something else”—and they are apt to come up with anything. The Word of God says: “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29). Friend, you are saved by faith in Jesus, plus nothing. Isn’t that wonderful!

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof,
Satan challenges the motives of God. He promises them they will gain certain advantages by eating the forbidden fruit. Here he follows his first blow with another (the old “one-two”), and the second was aimed at her pride, and it proved to be a fatal blow to the tree we are branches of.

The serpent insinuates that they will be greatly improved by eating this fruit, and that God did not do them any good by forbidding them this fruit: "For God doth know how much it will advance you; and therefore, it is only out of envy and animosity that He has forbidden it.’’ He suggests that the only reason He would not let them eat from that tree is because then they would know their own strength, and would not continue in an inferior state, but be able to cope with Him; and he implied God grudged them the honour and happiness which their eating of that tree would bring them. This was a great affront to God, and the highest indignity that could be done to Him, a reproach to His power, as if He feared His creatures, and even more of a reproach to his goodness, as if he hated the work of his own hands and would not let those whom he has made to be happy. Note, he makes the temptation suit their current state of innocence by promising them intellectual delights and satisfactions. These were the lures with which he baited his hook. He declares, “In the day you eat thereof you will find a sudden and immediate change for the better.’’ His plan was to create in them:
1. DISCONTENT WITH THEIR PRESENT STATE, by getting them to believe that things were not as good as they could be, and should be.
2. AMBITION FOR ADVANCEMENT; how ridiculous of them to think they were fit to be gods. Satan had ruined himself by desiring to be like the Most High (see Isa. 14:14), and therefore he seeks to infect our first parents with the same desire, so that he might ruin them too.

It was a very dangerous temptation for our first parents, since it tended to alienate their affections for God, and consequently to diminish their allegiance to Him. This is still how the devil draws people to him and away from God; by suggesting to them that God does not really care about them, and by creating false hopes in the benefits and advantages of sin. Therefore, we must always oppose him, always think well of God, and hate sin because it is the worst of evils: let us resist the devil, and he will flee from us.

then your eyes shall be opened,
"YOUR EYES SHALL BE OPENED” probably refers to the thought process and receiving an increase in your power of contemplation, in the scope of your intellectual views; and you will be able to understand things better than you can now.’’ He insinuates that in their present condition they were dim-witted, and short-sighted, in comparison with what they would be then. His words meant more than met the ear. In one sense her eyes were opened; because she had a ruinous experience with "good and evil"—of the happiness of a holy condition, and the misery of a sinful, condition. But he artfully concealed this consequence from Eve, who, excited by a generous desire for knowledge, thought only of rising to the level and privileges of God.

The objective of the devil appears to have been this: to persuade our first parents that they would, by eating of this fruit, become as wise and powerful as God, (because knowledge is power), and be able to live forever, independent of Him. In the end, every temptation is to go your own way instead of God’s way, to do your own thing instead of what God says.

and ye shall be as gods,
The serpent implies that Eve is limited by her subservient position which requires her trusting God, and that after eating the fruit her understanding will be greatly enlightened and improved; AND YE SHALL BE AS GODS, ‏like God, which is how the word should be translated; because what idea could our first parents have of gods before idolatry came about, because sin had not yet entered into the world?

The Hebrew word Elohim is the same one used in Genesis 1.1 for the Supreme Being, so it has the same meaning here, “YOU SHALL BE AS GODS, as Elohim, mighty gods; not only omniscient, but omnipotent too;’’ or, "You shall be like God himself, equal to him, rivals with him; you shall be sovereigns and no longer subjects, self-sufficient and no longer dependent.’’ What an absurd suggestion! It is like saying creatures created yesterday can be like their Creator, who has always existed.

Satan’s aim is to oppose God. He wants to make it appear to Adam and Eve that, in reality, God is not good, but jealous. The serpent indicates that the path to knowledge is to bypass God’s word.


knowing good and evil.
"You shall know GOOD AND EVIL, that is, everything that one would ever want to know about the subjects.’’ To support this part of the temptation, he abuses the name given to this tree: it was intended to teach the practical knowledge of good and evil, that is, of duty and disobedience; and God would use it to provide the experimental knowledge of good and evil, that is, of happiness and misery. In these senses, the name of the tree was a warning to them not to eat of it; but Satan perverts the sense of it, and uses it to cause the destruction of their happy existence, by convincing them that this tree would give them a speculative theoretical knowledge of the natures, kinds, and origins, of good and evil.


6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,
The fall of mankind is a tragic story, and we have it here in this verse, in a nutshell. When Eve set off on the pathway to sin there are four clearly defined steps that she took. First, she SAW THAT THE TREE WAS GOOD FOR FOOD. Sin begins with the glimpse of sin, and Job was aware of the danger involved with observing sin—“I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1; KJV). In essence, he exclaims, “My conscience and my eyes are the contracting parties; God is the Judge; and I am therefore bound not to look upon anything with a covetous eye, by which my conscience may be defiled, or my God dishonored. Catching a glimpse of sin is not sin, but that is where the pathway that leads to sin begins. Consequently, the very sight and thought of sin ought to be avoided as much as possible. Eve saw—she should have turned her eyes away from THE TREE; but she enters into temptation by looking with pleasure on the forbidden fruit. A great deal of sin comes in through the eye-gate. Satan throws those fiery darts which pierce and poison the heart at these gates. The eye infects the heart with guilt as well as grief. Let us therefore, join holy Job, and make a covenant with our eyes, not to look on that which we are in danger of lusting after. Jesus said, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Mt. 5:28; KJV). The lustful look is the expression of a heart attitude that says in essence, “I would if I could.” The act would follow if the opportunity were to occur. Let the fear of God always be a covering for the eyes.

Apparently, THE TREE with the forbidden fruit is attractive to the eye, appealing to the appetite, and tempting to the aspirations of the mind. Both the man and the woman sinned because of listening to another created being rather than to God—“These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:15; NLT). Sin takes over the spirit gradually. Evil desire leads to pleasing thoughts, which lead the mind astray; then sin is born, disclosed, and strengthened; and then the person is destroyed. Sin is progressive, as David noted: "Blessed is the main who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers" Eve’s encounter with Satan did not end well, because after a while he got the upper hand, and she was unable to resist his wiles.

God tested the obedience of our first parents by forbidding them the tree of knowledge, but Satan, who opposes God on every issue, undertakes to seduce them into a transgression; and here is how he prevailed—GOD PERMITTED IT FOR WISE AND HOLY ENDS.

Satan won the victory over Eve’s imagination and feelings; and the fall of Eve was soon followed by the fall of Adam. The history of every temptation, and of every sin, is the same; the outward object of attraction, the inward commotion of mind, the increase and triumph of passionate desire; ending in the degradation, slavery, and ruin of the soul—“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16; NKJV). All that enters into the aspirations and purposes of those who live for this life may be included under the following things: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

The woman was deceived by the tempter’s crafty argument, and she was the ringleader in the crime—“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Tim. 2:14; KJV). It was the sin of Eve that brought sin into the world. Now every time a woman bears a child, she brings a sinner into the world—that is all she can bring into the world. But Mary brought the Lord Jesus, the Savior into the world. So how are women saved? By childbearing—because Mary brought the Savior into the world. Don’t ever say that woman brought sin into the world, unless you are prepared to add that woman also brought the Savior into the world. My friend, no man provided a Savior: a woman did. However, each individual woman is saved by faith, the same as each man is saved by faith. She is to grow in love and holiness just as a man is.

THE TREE WAS GOOD FOR FOOD—the fruit appeared to be wholesome and nutritious, and it was pleasant to the eyes. The beauty of the fruit tended to whet and increase the appetite; and it was a tree to be desired to make one wise, which was an additional motive to please the palate.

and that it was pleasant to the eyes,
All of the fruit-trees with which the Garden of Eden was planted were pleasant to the sight and good for food—“And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” The rest of the verse is—“The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen 2:9; NKJV). These are mentioned separately, and may not have been “pleasant to the sight;” and they certainly were NOT “good to eat;” except in her eye, these were like all the rest. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil seemed as good for food as any of them, and she saw nothing in the color of its fruit that suggested death or danger. It was as pleasant to the sight as any of them, and therefore, "What harm could it do them? Why should its fruit be forbidden when none of the other fruit was forbidden?’’ Beware! When there is thought to be no more harm in forbidden fruit than in other fruit sin lies at the door, and Satan soon wins the day. Perhaps it seemed to her (after being won over by Satan) to be better for food, better tasting, and more nourishing to the body, than any of the rest, and to her eye it was more pleasing than any. Many men and women have been deceived by an excessive and unwarranted desire to have their senses gratified. It could be that this tree had nothing to make it more inviting than the rest, and yet it was made more desirable than the others merely because it was prohibited. There is no evidence that Eve felt that way, even though this point of view may be found in you and I (that is, in our flesh, in our corrupt nature)—We desire what is prohibited.

This is still step 1 on the pathway to sin—she SAW IT WAS PLEASANT TO THE EYES AND GOOD FOR FOOD.

and a tree to be desired to make one wise,
When the woman looked at the tree, she saw that it was A TREE TO BE DESIRED. Her second step on the pathway to sin was DESIRE. Sight alone is no crime; but to desire that, which we have innocently seen, if it cannot be ours, is sin. “You shall not covet your neighbor's wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.” (Deut 5:21; NKJV). “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…But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:13-14; NKJV). “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him…For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world…And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17; NKJV).


Eve imagined more good features in this tree than in any of the rest, and she concluded that it was not only a tree NOT to be dreaded, but A TREE TO BE DESIRED TO MAKE ONE WISE, and in that it outshined all the rest of the trees. This is what she perceived and understood from what the devil had said to her; and some think that she saw the serpent eat fruit from that tree, and that he told her he had gained the faculties of speech and reason from the fruit. She inferred from this that this fruit had the power to make one wise, and was led to think, "If it made a brute creature rational, it just might make a rational creature divine?’’ This shows how the desire for pointless knowledge, under the mistaken notion that it is wisdom, is harmful and destructive to many. Our first parents, who knew so much, did not know this—THAT THEY KNEW ENOUGH or all they needed to know. Christ is a tree to be desired to make one wise:
• “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3; KJV).
• “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor 1:30; KJV).

 Let us feed upon him by faith, so that we may be wise unto salvation. In the heavenly paradise, the tree of knowledge will not be a forbidden tree; for there we shall know as we are known. Let us therefore long to be there, and, in the mean time, not involve ourselves in things too high or too deep for us, or desire to be wise above what is written.


Notice that the appeal the serpent made is quite an interesting one. It was an appeal to the flesh—“THE TREE WAS GOOD FOR FOOD”—but that is not all; that is not the thing that is really important. “IT WAS PLEASANT TO THE EYES”—it was an appeal to the psychological part of man, to his mind. “AND A TREE TO BE DESIRED TO MAKE ONE WISE”—this is an appeal to the religious side of man. You will find that this is the exact temptation that Satan brought to the Lord Jesus in the wilderness (see Matt. 4, Mark 1, and Luke 4). First of all, he said to our Lord, “Make these stones into bread”—this was the appeal to the flesh, like the tree was good for food. Then Satan showed the Lord the kingdoms of the world and offered them to Him—that was an appeal to the mind, as was the tree was pleasant to the eyes. Then finally he said, “Cast Yourself down from the temple”—this was an appeal to the religious side of man, like the tree was to be desired to make one wise. I do not think that the Devil has changed his tactics today. He uses the same tactics with you and me, and the reason that he still uses them is that they work. He hasn’t needed to change his tactics, since we all seem to fall for the same line.


John wrote: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). “The lust of the flesh”—that is, the tree was good to eat. “The lust of the eyes”—the tree was good to look at. “The pride of life”—the tree was to be desired to make one wise. These things are not of the Father, but of the world. Jesus said that these sins of the flesh come out of the heart of man, way down deep. This is where Satan is making his appeal. This is the method that he is using in order that he might reach in and lead mankind astray. And he succeeded. They were told that they would know good and evil—and what happened? We now have the results—the fall of man.

she took of the fruit thereof,
Eve’s third step on the pathway to sin occurred when SHE TOOK OF THE FRUIT THEREOF, AND DID EAT. She had already sinned by coveting that which was not to be coveted; but she made her sin worse by indulging, by taking that which was not rightfully hers according to the prohibition of God. Desiring the forbidden fruit was secret sin; taking and eating the fruit was “in your face” and active sin.

Eve had now fallen into sin. She had followed the three inevitable steps that lead to sin: (1) sight; (2) desire; and (3) gratification. It still would have been a great tragedy if these were the only three steps on the pathway to sin, but there is one more. It was her own act and deed. The devil did not take it, and put it into her mouth; she took it herself. Satan may tempt, but he cannot force; may persuade us to cast ourselves down, but he cannot cast us down—“And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone…Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matt 4:6-7; KJV). Eve’s taking was stealing, because she was taking that to which she had no right. Don’t you think she took it with a trembling hand?

and did eat,
Perhaps she did not intend to take it when she first saw it, or even to eat it when she took it; but this was the result-- She DID EAT. Sin is all downhill; a man cannot stop himself, even when he wants to. The beginning of sin is like a man skiing downhill; it is hard for him to say, “I will go just so far and then I will stop.”  Therefore, we would be wise to suppress the first emotions of sin, and to leave it alone, rather than meddle with it.

and gave also unto her husband with her;
After Eve saw the forbidden fruit, desired it, and took it, she GAVE ALSO UNTO HER HUSBAND WITH HER. Unfortunately, the final step on the path to sin is the involvement of others in our sin. There is no such thing as private sin; every sin affects someone else. Eve’s sin affected Adam; and consequently, Adam’s sin affected the entire race. The whole human race sinned in Adam, for the reason that “… death passed unto all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom 5:12). Our sin always involves others and as a consequence becomes complex and amplified. Other striking examples of these same steps on the pathway to sin can be found in the lives of Achan (Josh 7:21) and David (II Sam 11:1–5, 15, 24). In order not to fall prey to the path of sin, we must stop ourselves short when we discover any of the steps that Eve took, and ask the Lord to forgive us for our sins, and reverse our pathway.

It is probable that Adam was not with her when she was tempted (surely, if he had been, he would have stepped in to prevent the sin), but came to her after she had eaten, and was persuade by her to eat the fruit that God had forbidden, proving it is easier to learn that which is bad than to teach that which is good. She gave it to him and persuaded him to eat it with the same arguments that the serpent had used with her, but adding to it, that she had eaten it and did not die and that it tasted very good. When she gave it to him, she made it appear like an act of kindness; but it really was the greatest unkindness she could do to him. Or perhaps she gave it to him so that, if it should prove harmful, he would share the misery with her, since misery loves company. This may appear not only unkind, but a strange thing for her to do, unless you take into account that this is the kind of thing that would enter into the heart of a person who had eaten forbidden fruit. Eve did the same thing to Adam that the devil did to her; she was no sooner a sinner than she became a tempter.

and he did eat.
HE DID EAT, after being overcome by his wife’s insistence. "And what great harm did he do?’’ That is the type of question a person with corrupt and carnal reasoning might ask. What harm, indeed! Why, this act involved disbelief of God’s word, together with confidence in the devil’s, discontent with his present state, pride in his own qualities, and desire for honour that does not come from God, envy of God’s perfection, and a craving to satisfy the appetites of the body. By neglecting the tree of life from which he was allowed to eat, and eating of the tree of knowledge which was forbidden, he clearly showed contempt for the favoritism God had showed him, and a preference for doing that which God forbid him to do. He would have what he wanted and do what he pleased: his sin was, in one word, disobedience—“For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners…”Romans 5:19 (KJV). We were all made sinners by Adam’s sin; it was not the sins he committed during his life, but one sin only which was due to disobedience, disobedience to a clear, easy, and express command of God, which he probably knew was a command to test his obedience to the word of God. He sinned against great knowledge, against great mercy, against great light and love, the clearest light and the dearest love that a sinner ever sinned against. He did not have a corrupt nature within him that caused him to disobey his Creator; but he had “freedom of will;” he was not enslaved, had his full strength, was not weakened or injured. He quickly turned aside. Some think he fell the very day on which he was made; but I do not see how that opinion can be reconciled with God declaring all very good at the close of the day. Others suppose he fell on the Sabbath day. However, it is certain he did not keep his integrity intact for very long. But the worse thing about his sin was that he involved all his descendents in sin and ruined them in the process. God told him that his race should replenish the earth; surely he had to know that he represented the entire human race and that his disobedience would be fatal to all his descendents; and, if that is the case, it was certainly the greatest treachery and the greatest cruelty that was ever committed. Since human nature was placed in our first parents by God, and was to be transmitted from them to all future generations it now had an element of guilt, a stain of dishonour, and a hereditary disease of sin and corruption. And can we say, then, that Adam’s sin did little harm?

7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

And the eyes of them both were opened,
This statement reveals the half-truth spoken by the serpent. Now Adam and Eve see good and evil from the standpoint of sinners, from the low level of sin. Their eyes were opened to the fact that they were corrupt and infected with the disease of sin. That is the ultimate consequence of of their disobedience. Shame and fear seized the two criminals; these came into the world along with sin, and they still go along with it.

THE EYES OF THEM BOTH WERE OPENED and they came under strong convictions—this refers to their conscience. Before the fall, man did not have a conscience; he was innocent. Innocence is ignorance of evil. Man did not make conscience. It is an accuser that each one of us has living on the inside of us. A leading psychologist in a university in Southern California, who is a Christian, said that the guilt complex is as much a part of man as his right arm is. Man cannot get rid of that guilt complex in a psychological way.

It is not the eyes of the body that was opened; these were open before. Jonathan’s eyes were enlightened by eating forbidden honeycomb—“But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath: wherefore he put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened” (1 Sam 14:27; KJV), that is, he was refreshed and revived by it; but theirs were not. Neither does it mean that they were advanced in true knowledge. Instead, the eyes of their consciences were opened, and their hearts assaulted them for what they had done. Now, when it was too late to do anything about it, they saw the foolishness of eating forbidden fruit. They saw the happiness, contentment, and pleasure they had fallen from, and the misery they had fallen into. They saw a loving God provoked, His grace and approval forfeited, his likeness and image lost, dominion over the creatures gone. They saw their natures corrupted and depraved, and felt turmoil in their own spirits which they had never been conscious of before. They saw a law in their members warring against the law in their minds, and appealing to them both to sin and rage. They saw, as Balaam did when his eyes were opened (Num. 22:31), the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword in his hand; and perhaps they saw the serpent that had abused them insulting them over and over.

and they knew that they were naked;

The Holy Spirit reveals here that they saw that THEY WERE NAKED, that is,
1. That they were stripped and deprived of all the honors and joys that had been theirs in paradise, and exposed to all the miseries that might be expected from an angry God. They were disarmed and their defense had left them.
2. That they were shamed, and would be shamed forever before God and His angels. They saw themselves disrobed of all their signs and symbols of honor, degraded from their dignity and disgraced in the highest degree, laid open to the contempt and reproach of heaven, and earth, and their own consciences. Observe,
a. What a dishonour and threat sin is; it causes trouble wherever it is allowed to go, sets men against themselves, disturbs their peace, and destroys their comforts. Sooner or later, it will cause shame, either the shame of true repentance, which ends in glory, or that shame and everlasting contempt which comes to the wicked when they shall rise on the great day. Sin is a reproach to any people.
b. What a deceiver Satan is. He told our first parents, when he tempted them, that their eyes would be opened; and so they were, but not in the way they understood it; they were opened to their shame and grief, not to their honor or benefit. Therefore, when he speaks about good things, do not believe him. The most malicious liars often excuse themselves with this, that they did not express themselves clearly; but God will not excuse them.


and they sewed fig leaves together,
This is the sorry attempt they made to make their transgression seem less serious: They sewed fig-leaves together to cover, at least, part of their shame from one another; they made themselves aprons. This is the type of foolishness that is commonly observed among those that have sinned; they are more concerned with maintaining their standing before men than they are in obtaining a pardon from God; they are unwilling to confess their sin, and very eager to conceal it, as much as they can. I have sinned, yet honour me.

The Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees who were very religious on the outside, “Make the inside of the platter clean. You are just like a mausoleum, beautiful on the outside with marble and flowers, but inside full of dead men’s bones.” What a picture! And Adam and Eve, instead of confessing their sin, sewed fig leaves together for a covering. May I say to you, there is really no new style in fig leaves? Men are still going to church and going through religious exercises and doing good works instead of confessing the sin that is in their hearts.

“AND THEY KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED; AND THEY SEWED FIG LEAVES TOGETHER, AND MADE THEMSELVES APRONS.” Have you ever noticed that the fig tree is the only tree that is specifically mentioned? (The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is not an apple tree. I do not know what it was, but I am almost sure it was not an apple tree.) These fig leaves concealed but did not really cover. Adam and Eve did not confess; they just attempted to cover up their sin. They were not ready to admit their lost condition.

This is the same condition of man today in religion. He goes through exercises and rituals, he joins churches, and he becomes very religious. Have you ever noticed that Christ cursed the fig tree? That is quite interesting. And He denounced religion right after that, by the way; He denounced it with all His being because religion merely covers over sin.

In this temptation Satan wanted to come between man’s soul and God. In other words, he wanted to wean man away from God, to win man over to himself, and to become the god of man. The temptations of the flesh would not have appealed to man in that day, anyway. He was not tempted to steal or lie or covet. He was just tempted to doubt God. What was the trouble with the rich young ruler? He did not believe God. In the parable of the tares, the tares are those who would not believe God. Notice Satan’s method. First, Eve saw that the tree was good for food; second, it was pleasant to the eye; and third, it was to be desired to make one wise. Satan works from the outside to the inside, from without to within.

On the other hand, God begins with man’s heart. Religion is something that you rub on the outside, but God does not begin with religion. May I make a distinction here: Christianity is not a religion; Christianity is Christ! There are a lot of religions, but the Lord Jesus went right to the fountainhead when He said, “Ye must be born again.”

and made themselves aprons.
The excuses men make, to cover and reduce the seriousness of their sins, are vain and inappropriate. Like the aprons made of fig-leaves, they never make the matter better, but often make it worse. Shame, hidden in this way, becomes even more shameful. Yet, we are all apt to cover our transgressions as Adam did—“If I covered my transgressions as Adam (or after the manner of men), by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom” (Job 31:33; KJV). Job maintains he has the inner strength and courage to admit when he is wrong and not to cover his transgressions as Adam.

Let us review the fall and its effects:
1. From the New Testament we learn that Satan associated himself with the creature which we term the serpent, in order to seduce and ruin mankind.
2. That this creature was the most suitable to his purpose, since it was the most subtle, the most intelligent and cunning of all beasts of the field, endued with the gift of speech and reason, and consequently one in which he could best conceal himself.
3. Because he knew that while they depended on God they could not be ruined, he therefore endeavored to seduce them from this dependence.
4. He does this by working on that natural tendency of the mind to desire an increase of knowledge, with which God, for the most gracious purposes, had endowed it.
5. In order to succeed, he insinuates that God, through motives of envy, had given the prohibition—God doth know that in the day ye eat of it, ye shall be like himself, etc.
6. Because their present state of blessedness must be indescribably dear to them, he endeavors to persuade them that they could not fall from this state: Ye shall not surely die—ye shall not only retain your present blessedness, but it shall be greatly increased; a temptation by which he has succeeded in ruining multitudes of souls, ever since.
7. He kept the unlawfulness of the means he proposed hidden, assured them that they would resemble God himself, and consequently be self-sufficient, and totally independent of Him. They listened, and fixing their eyes only on the good he promised, but neglecting the positive command, and determining to become wise and independent, they took of the fruit and did eat.