Genesis Chapter Three
1. Who is the serpent?
The serpent is not a talking animal but Satan in the form of a serpent or a serpent possessed by Satan. We see this elsewhere in the Bible (John 8:44 refers to Satan as the “father of lies.” Revelation 12:9 says, “The old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan…”
Genesis says Satan is “crafty.” The Hebrew word for “crafty” is almost identical to its word for “naked.” Note that Adam and Eve, after obeying the serpent, noticed they were naked and felt shame.
2. Analyze Satan’s question, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?'”
Satan knew the answer to this question was “No.” He was engaging Eve in conversation. He starts off his temptation subtly and creates doubt in Eve when asking, “Did God actually say…”.
3. Analyze Eve’s response in verse two, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will surely die.”
If we compare Eve’s response with God’s command recorded in Genesis 2:16-17, we see that Eve adds the phrase, “And you must not touch it.” This shows that she is already giving in to doubt, and she is focusing on the rule (you must not eat from this tree) rather than focusing on God’s graciousness, (you may eat from every tree in the garden except one).
4. Analyze Satan’s response, “You will certainly not die, because God knows that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will live as God, knowing good and evil.”
Satan claims that God lies. Before, Satan was being subtle in his temptation; now, he is being blunt. Satan portrays God very negatively – that God is limiting man, that God is greedy. Satan takes elements of the truth (you will know good and evil) and twists them into a lie. A lie with some truth is easier to believe than a flat-out lie.
5. At what point did Adam and Eve sin?
Adam and Eve sinned when they lost faith in God’s words and trusted the serpent. The act of eating the fruit was the final expression of that sin. We sin in thought, word, and deed. Our actions give evidence of faith or lack of it.
6. Why was the forbidden tree created at all?
God created mankind to have a relationship with them. There is no relationship without free will. There is no real love if it is forced. God did not force mankind into sin; likewise, He did not force us to love Him. He did not doom us to hell, and He was not uncaring. He immediately promised a way for Salvation, and His Son is the Way.
7. What was Adam and Eve’s reaction to sin?
Their first reaction was shame, and they hid. The Concordia Self Study Bible’s note on Genesis 3:7 says, “No longer innocent like children, they had a new awareness of themselves.”
Next, when God confronted them, they lied and blamed. Eve blamed the serpent. Adam blamed Eve, and He blamed God. Already, sin is creating a domino effect and completely changing them.
8. Analyze Adam and Eve’s excuses when God confronted them.
Eve blamed the serpent. Adam blamed Eve, and He blamed God. Already, sin is creating a domino effect and completely changing them.
9. Did God curse the species of snakes, or did God curse Satan?
God did not curse all snakes; He cursed The Snake. Satan will crawl on his belly, and he will be on his belly when Christ defeats him. He will grovel in defeat and humiliation. God put enmity (hostility) between Satan, and the woman, and her offspring, and a woman’s offspring (Jesus) would conquer Satan.
10. How is Genesis 3:15 a Gospel Promise? (“And I [God] will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.”)
This verse – called the Protoevangelium (first Gospel) – is the first promise of a Savior, . Christ would be mortally wounded (the serpent striking the heal), but Christ would ultimately win Salvation for His people (crushing the serpents head). The Hebrew for “offspring” in this specific case is singular, meaning one specific person.
11. How does Adam show faith by naming his wife “Eve”?
The name “Eve” means “life.” Adam trusts the promise that life will come through her offspring.
Note: My husband, DH, is teaching a weekly Bible study on the book of Genesis during his vicarage (internship). These are my notes from his classes. Questions, comments, and respectful debate are welcome.
DH has a B.A. in religious studies and biblical languages.
I have a B.A. in English, history, and Lutheran education.