The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 3:6-7

Genesis 3:6‑7  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Listen from:
Thus did the enemy craftily prepare the way. The woman had heard him undermine successively the goodness, the truth, and the majesty of God; she had continued to listen when he held out the bait of a knowledge which God possesses and man could not have in his innocent state, the knowledge of good and evil. At length the desire for what God had prohibited was insinuated into her soul: when all the safeguards of obedience were sapped by his wiles, lust ensued.
“When (and) the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that [it was] pleasant to the eyes, and the tree [was] desirable to make wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they [were] naked; and they joined together fig-leaves, and made themselves aprons (girdles)” (vers. 6, 7).
Little did the woman know the internal mischief which made the way for the open and positive act of disobedience. It had never been, had she kept the word of Jehovah Elohim before her in the confidence of His love and the fear of His warning. She was really giving credit to the serpent as a better friend than God to Whom he attributed envy in withholding from man so good a gift. She therefore no longer heeded His prohibition, but trusted her own mind, poisoned as it was against God by the enemy. It was the very reverse of the love of the Father, of which the apostle speaks, the fruit of faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, so characteristic of the Christian. Here was in principle the love of the world or of what is in it. And we are assured that 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 passeth away, and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and the tree was desirable to make wise, she took of the fruit and ate.” Was this obedience? or dependence?
Here was the root of all evil. She judged for herself. Independence means rejecting God and accepting Satan, though she, like her husband and future children, thought of nothing less. Self will blinds the eyes to God an d things as they are, and sees nothing but the fairness and advantage of what it seeks; in truth it is abandoning God's service for Satan's slavery. Verily, verily, said our Lord to the Jews, whosoever committeth (or rather practiseth) sin is slave of sin; and the slave abideth not in the house forever; the son abideth forever. If the Son therefore make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Abiding in His word is the grand test. There only is the truth known, which makes free even a slave. On the other hand the devil was a murderer from the beginning and stands not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. He is a liar, and the father of it as we see here; and this not only by direct opposition to God's word, but by a partial and cunning misuse of it which wholly misleads those that parley and listen when he pleads for disobedience. He that is of God heareth God's words. This Christ pre-eminently did, but not our first parent. She saw, reasoned, and was conquered. What she knew well, what she had repeated to the serpent, faded from before her mind. She acted from herself, under the instigation of the devil, and boldly rebelled against Jehovah Elohim. “She took of the fruit and ate.” What a contrast with Him Who did nothing from Himself but as His Father taught Him! He spoke the words of light and truth and love; and He that sent Him was with Him; He left Christ not alone, for He was ever doing the things that please Him.
But the mischief alas! did not end there. She “gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” Mankind was now fallen. Cleverly had Satan planned his temptation He addressed himself to the weaker vessel, and deceived her as we have seen. He left it to the woman to draw the man into her error; and we are told by authority beyond appeal, by the apostle Paul, that “Adam was not deceived.” This is characteristic. The woman was deceived, not the man. So says the Holy Spirit in the Epistle. We perhaps might have failed so to infer from the ancient record, but feel none the less assumed that the difference is true and important, as appears from the application of it to Timothy. The moan without being deceived was entangled by his affection, and shared her transgression to universal ruin. Affection is an excellent bond and a great support when it works in God's order. But here all was out of course. The woman acted first in weak but known opposition to the divine word, and also, as compared with her husband, was not subject to him as became her. He followed, instead of directing her, in too bold disobedience, and so must share the punishment she had incurred. God was not in his thoughts. Satan triumphed for the while, always doomed to defeat in the end.
The moral effect was immediate; and the effort to hide divulged the disastrous wrong, as ever. “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” Jehovah Elohim knows good and evil as a holy being judging righteously, loving good and hating evil in His own nature. Man was made upright; but innocence was his condition, and obedience his duty. Of the tree of knowing good and evil he was not to eat. When the fruit was eaten, he acquired the intrinsic faculty of pronouncing this, evil, and that, good; as a fallen being, now the prey to that lust to which he had yielded in defiance of God. And this became the sad inheritance of every child of Adam. The Seed of the woman is the one blessed contrast. In Him was no sin: not only He did no sin, but sin was not in Him, and He knew it not. He was “the Holy Thing” born of Mary, but so born by the power of the Holy Spirit as none other before or since, the Holy One of God, as the unclean spirit was compelled to confess. Not that He was spared temptation, but on the contrary tried beyond all comparison with the first man, or Abraham, or any other. He was in all points tempted like as we are, without sin; not only without sinning, but sinful trial excepted. For this kind of trial He could not have from the holiness of His person, human nature as well as divine. A body God prepared Him for the work He was to do, with which “flesh of sin” had been absolutely incompatible. So it is written that God, sending His own Son in likeness of flesh of sin, and for sin (i.e., as a sin offering), condemned sin in the flesh.
Our first parents were fallen, innocence was gone irreparably. Grace might and did intervene to bring in “some better thing;” but there can be no return of innocence, however surely faith finds life in the Son of God and inseparably along with it sanctification to God, the basis of all practical holiness. New birth is not peculiar to any time or circumstances, but belongs to every one that sees or enters the kingdom of God. Believing in the rejected Messiah, the Son of man, the Son of God, we have it in its highest revealed character. For “this is the True, God, and Eternal Life “; and eternal life we have in Him; but substantially this was ever true of the believer from of old, though it could not be made known as a present thing till His cross dawned, as we read in John 3. Some misunderstanding the truth have lapsed into strange and deadly error. But the truth is ever simple to those who are simple in faith; and one part of it is not to be sacrificed to another, but all is consistent to God's glory in Christ, as the single eye sees.
The eyes of the man and the woman were opened, but not as they fondly hoped through Satan's prompting. They knew that they were (not divine but) “naked.” What a lowering of high and evil expectations! The shame of guilt invaded them. They recognized their fallen condition painfully. “And they joined together fig-leaves, and made themselves girdles.” No doubt fig leaves were broad and well suited to cover nakedness but what a humiliation! As yet there was no repentance. Alas! most men die unbelieving and unrepentant; and how solemn is the issue that awaits them! Few words of holy writ present it more strikingly than the apostle's to the Corinthians, when more or less awaking and restored from their high-minded folly: “If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.” This from its external impossibility may sound a paradox; but it is really in spirit a weighty truth. In time present life, if a man be clad, he is for that reason not naked. But when resurrection comes, it may and will be very different. The true nakedness is not the body unclothed, but the lack of Christ; and this, which may be unperceived now, will be set in evidence then. For all will be raised, and therefore clothed with the body, in their order and season: those that are Christ's, at His coming; those that are not His, for judgment, when they shall be found naked.