By Derek Westmoreland
Senior Pastor, Hopewell Baptist Church, Savannah
I. Temptation. In verse 1a the serpent tempted Eve. As the devil (Revelation 12:9, 20:2) tempted Eve, he began in verse 1 by addressing her intellect when he said “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The devil implied that if God really loved Eve, He would be more generous. The devil took God’s remarkable provision and generosity by perverting Eve’s view of God’s goodness. How did Eve respond? She altered God’s Word. When comparing Genesis 2:16-17 with Genesis 3:2-3 you can see that she omitted the word “freely.”
This may seem small but I believe it implies that Eve was ungrateful. She was not only able to eat from the entire garden except two trees; she was able to eat freely of all the other trees; that is she always had an abundance of food within her grasp. Eve not only took away from what God had said but she also added to what God had said. God never said the tree could not be touched. By adding to the prohibition, Eve made God appear strict and overbearing.
In verse 4 the serpent denies what God had said and in verse 5 the devil appeals to Eve’s pride. The serpent flattered Eve and implied that she deserved better than what God was offering her. This is the same method Satan uses today. He leads people to believe that everything in this world is about them and that God is restrictive rather than liberating.
II. Disobedience. Verse 6 reveals that Eve was compromised. She had believed the devil’s lies and therefore ate the forbidden fruit. Like the typical sinner she wanted another to sin with her. Sin typically wants company. Eve then proceeded from sinner to seducer as she gave the fruit to her husband. What was the immediate result of sin? Read verse seven. The serpent was right in that they did learn good and evil by eating the forbidden fruit, but the serpent failed to mention that their innocence would be lost and they would experience guilt and shame. The devil never gives the full story!
III. Curses. (1) The curse to the serpent. First, verse 14 confirms that animals suffered the curse due to the actions of the serpent. Just as Adam’s sin spread to all human beings the serpent’s sin spread to all animals. Second, the serpent was originally upright, because God humiliated the serpent by putting the serpent on its belly. This occurred after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Third, the references to “serpent” and “serpents” are throughout Scripture to remind people of sin.
Verse 15 reveals ongoing hatred between the devil and his children (John 8:44, I John 3:7-10, Revelation 12:17) against the seed of woman. The ultimate seed of woman is Christ. At the cross the devil bruised Christ’s heel, which is to say Christ suffered; but Christ struck the devil’s head through His atoning death and victorious resurrection (Hebrews 2:14).
(2) The curse to the woman. There are two clearly revealed consequences to women in addition to being sinners — pain in childbirth and to live under authority of the husband (v. 16). Women will desire to rule their husband but the husband will instead rule the wife. We see the role of women in subjection found in the New Testament (I Timothy 2:12-15) due to the sin recorded in Genesis 3. God’s expectations for women in spiritual leadership are not culturally based, generationally driven, or politically motivated; they are unchanging.
(3) The curse to the man. Adam is the representative for all humankind; therefore the curse on him is on all of us (vv. 17-19). Adam had never seen thorns and thistles before the fall. Now he would have to contend with them regularly. Diligent work would be required and success in work would not be guaranteed.
Today we suffer the consequences of the fall. In this life we see the weeds that grow from the cursed ground. We ourselves age, experience sickness, aches, and pains along with death. All of these are reminders of the fall and that we need the Savior (Romans 3:23). The wages of sin truly is death (Romans 6:23) for Adam lost his innocence the day he ate the forbidden fruit. He also later died and his body returned to dust.
— Westmoreland is senior pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church, Savannah.