Sunday, January 16, 2022

The Truth About Genesis 3

Genesis 3 is the record of the fall of mankind.  But how much of it do we really understand?  Well, thanks to the Church, you probably believe that the serpent was being controlled by Satan, yet was still punished for doing something that it had no control over.  Read the first verse very carefully.  Genesis makes it very clear that it is a creature with real flesh and blood that is doing the things described, not Satan.  That doesn't mean that Satan couldn't have prompted the creature to doing it, but it does mean that the creature chose of its own free will to deceive mankind into eating the forbidden fruit.  This probably isn't the only thing about the chapter that is either not understood or is misunderstood.

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” [Genesis 3:1; NKJV]

The word translated as "cunning" is the Hebrew word "arum", which can also be translated as "crafty", "subtile", "prudent", etc.  It can also be mistranslated as "naked" for the simple reason that it uses the exact same spelling as the Hebrew word "arom" (Hebrew has no vowels), which literally means "without clothing".  The description of "cunning" makes it very clear why it was a serpent that did this and not some other creature.  Also, Satan isn't very creative, so he relies on the creativity of others to accomplish his goals.  Then uses the same tricks on every new generation.

By the way, there's absolutely no indication that there are any miracles going on here.  In fact, everything is portrayed as being completely normal here.  It may be the case (and some traditions state this to be the case) that animals could originally talk before the fall, but that after the fall, God made it so that they could no longer talk.

Now, let's take a look at the deception.  Some in the KJV only cult will say that the "Did God really say" is the entirety of the deception.  But this in and of itself is a deception (to keep you from questioning their doctrine).  The real deception comes by how the serpent quotes God's commandment, saying "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden".  The original command started as "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat" [Genesis 2:16; NKJV].  Note that the original command gives Adam the freedom to eat of every tree in the garden, except the one forbidden in the next verse.  The serpent's twisting of the command has made the command look restrictive.  Or shall we say, oppressive, since the way the serpent worded it makes it seem as if God has not given them anything to eat.  Making God's commandments look oppressive/burdensome is literally the first deception ever recorded in the Bible!  So if anyone tells you that God's Law is too hard, now you know from whom they got their teaching from.

2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat 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 has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' " [Genesis 3:2-3; NKJV]

There is another point to the serpent's twisting of God's commandment:  Notice that the woman started by correctly stating what the command was.  But when she got to the exception, she too added to God's command.  Why did she do this?  Most of the explanations I've seen assert that Adam added this when he relayed the command to Eve, placing a hedge around God's command, which was then used by the serpent to trick her into eating the fruit.  And while this is possible, I find it unlikely.  Ever heard of psychological manipulation?  What probably, actually happened, is that by making the command look oppressive, the serpent tricked Eve into thinking that the command was oppressive in some way.  She therefore thought that there had to be more to the command than simply not eating it, and a command against touching it made the most sense.

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

The serpent saying "you will not die" is the only lie that the serpent speaks in this entire exchange.  The most dangerous deceptions are those that are not outright lies!  Or those that use the truth to cover the lie.  The serpent called God a liar when it said "you will not die."  Because God said, "you will die."  And by the way, Adam and Eve both died as a direct result of eating the fruit, proving the serpent to be the liar.

In verse 5, the serpent said that if they eat of the fruit, they will be like God and know good and evil.  This is true, but it's what the serpent is not telling them that is the important detail.  The serpent left out the part that knowing good means doing good, and knowing evil means doing evil.  Of course, if the serpent told them this, they surely would not have eaten the fruit.  This detail would not have been important before, because previously, Adam and Eve both trusted that God had a good reason for not allowing them to eat the fruit:  That being that they were only meant to know good.  But now that the serpent has portrayed knowing both good and evil as being good, their trust in God has been compromised.  The serpent, in all likelihood, knew that this would happen.

By the way, the above fact is hidden from us by the Church.  Instead of pointing-out that knowing good means doing good, and knowing evil means doing evil, the Church instead teaches that the fruit gave Adam and Eve knowledge when they ate of it.  But fruit is incapable of giving such knowledge.  And the fruit of this tree is no different.  In other words, the tree is named what it is not because of a non-existent ability to do what other fruits cannot do, but because eating from it would be evil.  What makes eating from this tree evil?  The command not to eat of it.  The command not to eat of the tree was to give Adam and his wife a choice:  To (a) show that they love and trust him, or (b) to do things their own way.

We're only 5 verses into Genesis 3 and we already can see why Deuteronomy 12:32 says what it does, and why the Deuteronomy 13 Test exists.  Simply adding to God's commands can cause others to do the same thing (even by accident).  And doing things your own way rather than obeying God's commands shows that you really don't trust God.

Also, whenever someone says "you will be like God", it's always a trap!  To say "you will be like God" implies that we are nothing like God, which is itself a deception.  We are already like God in certain ways.  We are made in God's image, and in his likeness (Genesis 1:26).  Also, the teaching that any of these qualities were tarnished or lost during the fall is also a lie!  Bonus points if they also claim that they were restored by the blood of Jesus, because that's also a lie.  The blood of Jesus provides atonement for the sins of those who believe in him.  Nothing more, nothing less.

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. [Genesis 3:6-7; NKJV]

Notice here in verse 6 that Eve never saw the tree as being good for food, or desirable for making one wise until the serpent lied to her and deceived her.  Her perception that the tree is good for these things is the direct result of the serpent's deceptions.  Before, they trusted that God had a good reason for forbidding them from eating from that tree (that it was not good for food).  And up until now, everything has been going well for them as a result of their obedience.  But now things are going south very quickly.

So now they now know both good and evil, but not in the way that the serpent implied they would.  No, they now know good and evil because they have done both good and evil.  But they still don't know this.  Instead, they're now distracted by the fact that they have no covering on their bodies, and the fact that they are vulnerable to something.

By the way, the word translated as naked in verse 7 is the Hebrew word "erom", which wile translated as "naked", has an emphasis on being vulnerable.  This word is used in 3 places:  (1) Prophesies about the punishment for rebelling against God's Law, (2) commands to provide for those who are in need, and (3) Genesis 3.  The word "erom" is naked in the metaphorical sense, and does not necessarily reflect a person's physical clothing (or lack thereof).  Also, the word translated as "coverings" is the Hebrew word "hagor", which literally means "belt".  And yes, Eve was topless during these events.

8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?"

10 So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."

11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?" [Genesis 3:8-11; NKJV]

Here's a question:  Adam already covered himself with a belt of fig leaves, so why is he still afraid of being naked in the presence of God?  He is no longer naked.  The answer comes from the fact that the word used is "erom", which, as mentioned earlier, emphasizes vulnerability.  The issue is not that he's naked (which he's not, unless his belt fell off).  The issue is that he broke God's command and is now vulnerable to God's judgement.  That is why he is really hiding from God.  And of course, God sees right through his excuse, and rebukes him by asking, "who told you that you were naked?"  Key word in that question is "who", not "what".  Notice that God immediately followed-up with another question, which concerned the real issue, rather than waiting for Adam to give a response to the first question.

Most believe that the fruit gave Adam and Eve knowledge about what is right and wrong, and that it's this knowledge that told them they were naked.  But fruit is not described as a "who", but as a "what".  The only thing that qualifies as a who that would be (1) willing and (2) able to tell those two that they were naked is the serpent!  That's right!  They made belts of fig leaves because the serpent told them that they needed to cover their reproductive centers.

12 Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."

13 And the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"

The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." [Genesis 3:12-13; NKJV]

Notice that Adam answered the second question rather than the first.  Realizing that he couldn't hide what he had done, he confessed, but deflected blame to the woman, and also to God himself.  Notice that when Adam said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me", he's actually blaming God for giving the woman to him.  Never-mind that he was given the command to guard the garden (which means it is his job to intervene and prevent that fruit from being eaten).  So Adam didn't break just one command, but two.

When God confronted the woman, she also confessed to eating the fruit.  She however, didn't blame God, but the serpent, who deceived her.

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent:

"Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." [Genesis 3:14-15; NKJV]

God's judgement came first on the serpent, who deceived them.  Notice the prophesy about the redemption of mankind in the sentence that God gives to the serpent.

16 To the woman He said:

"I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." [Genesis 3:16; NKJV]

Next, God pronounced judgement on Eve, but doesn't specify the reason like he did with the serpent, or with Adam, as we shall soon see.

17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it':

"Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return." [Genesis 3:17-19; NKJV]

Notice that the ground was cursed for Adam's own good.  Also notice that God reiterated the fact that Adam would die if he ate of the tree by describing exactly what was to happen to him when he died.  "For dust you are, and to dust you shall return!"  Notice that death is a reversal of the process of creation.

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. [Genesis 3:20; NKJV]

Technically, Eve didn't have a name until after God pronounced all of his judgements.  And it was Adam that gave Eve her name.

Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. [Genesis 3:21; NKJV]

This is perhaps one of the best examples of the Church breaking Deuteronomy 12:32.  Here, God kills an animal and makes tunics of animal skin for Adam and his wife in place of the belts that they were wearing before.  The Church uses this as proof of some sort of command to always be clothed.  This is nothing more than reading into the text.  The Bible simply says that God clothed them.  It doesn't say why.  Any explanation as to why is merely reading into the text.  If this was to point out a moral obligation to be clothed, God would have given an explicit command later on when he gave us his Law.  He did no such thing.  The Church is falling for the exact same deception that Adam and his wife fell for after they ate the fruit of the tree!  By the way, a tunic is a skirt-like garment that goes from the waste to the legs.  So Eve was, once again, topless.

22 Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. [Genesis 3:22-24; NKJV]

Notice here that God himself confirmed that Adam and Eve are indeed like God in the sense that they know good and evil.  But they don't know good and evil in the same way that God does.  As mentioned earlier, knowing good means doing good, and knowing evil means doing evil, at least for mankind.  But for God, knowing good means knowing what good will bring.  And knowing evil means knowing what evil will bring.  In other words, God knows good and evil through foresight.  Humans are very bad at foresight unless we've already experienced what our actions will bring, or have been told what will happen by those who have experienced those things.

Finally, notice that God removed Adam and Eve from the garden and denied them access to the tree of life, which was capable of allowing them to live forever.  This completes God's promise to Adam, that he would till the soil for food until the day he died, and the promise that they would indeed die.

To summarize:  The deceptions of the serpent included a single lie (that they would not die if they ate the fruit) surrounded by truth (that they would be "like God" and know good and evil), deceptions by omission (what it means for man to know good and evil), implied denial of certain facts (eg: the fact that we're already like God by having been made in his image and his likeness), defaming God's character (by casting doubt over his goodness and intentions, and by making him out to be a liar), and creating a moral obligation where there is none (God "requiring" clothing).

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