Genesis 3 and The Moody Bible Commentary

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’”

“No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God,knowing good and evil.” Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

10 And he said, “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”

11 Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 Then the man replied, “The woman You gave to be with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate.”

13 So the Lord God asked the woman, “What is this you have done?”

And the woman said, “It was the serpent. He deceived me, and I ate.”

14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent:

Because you have done this,
you are cursed more than any livestock
and more than any wild animal.
You will move on your belly
and eat dust all the days of your life.
15 I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.

16 He said to the woman:

I will intensify your labor pains;
you will bear children in anguish.
Your desire will be for your husband,
yet he will rule over you.

17 And He said to Adam, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’:

The ground is cursed because of you.
You will eat from it by means of painful labor
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow
until you return to the ground,
since you were taken from it.
For you are dust,
and you will return to dust.”

20 Adam named his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living.21 The Lord God made clothing out of skins for Adam and his wife, and He clothed them.

22 The Lord God said, “Since man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever.”23 So the Lord God sent him away from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove man out and stationed the cherubim and the flaming, whirling sword east of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of life.

The Moody Bible Commentary: Michael A Rydelnik, Michael ...

After reading Genesis 3 a few times I read through the Moody Bible Commentary and it gave me some insights.  Here are some that struck me:

  • Although Americans think of themselves as individuals, the text teaches that all mankind fell through Adam.
  • The text shows steps of temptation which often lead to sin.
  • The command regarding the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was given to the man, Adam.  The serpent worked on Eve.  This may have been because she had not heard from God directly concerning the command.
  • The couple are described as inseparable by the commentator.
  • The serpent addresses Eve but uses plural pronouns which shows he is talking to both people.  In only addressing Eve he marginalizes her husband.
  • The rephrasing of the command by the serpent focuses on God’s restriction rather than his bounty.
  • The serpent questions God’s motives in giving his command.  He implies God is keeping godhood from Adam and Eve.
  • Seeing the tree and pronouncing that it is good mirrors how God has looked at Creation and made his pronouncement, “It is good!”  in Genesis 1.
  • Eve assessed the “good,” or appeal of eating the fruit in three distinct ways:  it was practical, being useful for food, it was aesthetically beautiful, and it had the possibility for wisdom.  These three areas preyed upon the woman’s physical, emotional, and spiritual desires.  Some have seen these same three categories of temptation reflected in “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 Jn 2:16).
  • Keeping silent, like Adam did, is tacit approval.
  • The death that the couple immediately experienced was separation.  the ideal experience of relationship with each other and with God was broken.
  • The word for naked includes shameful and guilty nakedness resulting from sin, not just the simple fact of being undressed.
  • The leaf coverings try and hide the guilty parties in more ways than one.
  • The death they have died can be called division and disruption.
  • God ‘strolls’ in the garden.  The couple was meant to stroll with him.
  • Woman becomes vexed by Adam’s role of initiative.
  • The condition of humanity is like God but not with God.
  • To be sent East means to be sent farther from God.

Prayer

Thank you that those who work at Moody have taken the time to study and to share their insights on the passage.  Help us to discern which of these insights is helpful and which should be left behind.

Questions

  1. When you read the passage what do you think is the main idea?
  2. Is the serpent, Adam, or Eve to blame for the fall?
  3. Which of the Moody insights is new to you?
  4. Which one speaks to you the most?
  5. How has your community been broken because of sin?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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15 Responses to Genesis 3 and The Moody Bible Commentary

  1. Jung Kim says:

    The statement that “the couple are described as inseparable by the commentator” sticks out to me the most. The word, “inseparable,” reminds me of the perfect example of what a Christian married couple be pursuing. I also pray that I would someday be like Adam and Eve before the Fall- inseparable and loving one another as Christ has loved them.

  2. Christa says:

    1. When you read the passage what do you think is the main idea? Sin has consequences for everyone
    2. Is the serpent, Adam, or Eve to blame for the fall? I think Adam and Eve both have a part for the fall since they actually committed the sin
    3. Which of the Moody insights is new to you? I did not know that Adam and Eve could be described as “inseparable”
    4. Which one speaks to you the most? The proclamation of it is good mirrors God’s own saying that creation was good
    5. How has your community been broken because of sin? My community is broken by sin because there is shame, fear, deceit, and pain; we are also distracted by worthless things when we could be focusing fully and truly on our God

  3. Maria T. says:

    1. When you read the passage what do you think is the main idea? Sin results in the consequences of the curse.
    2. Is the serpent, Adam, or Eve to blame for the fall? I think this question is somewhat similar to the blame shifting that we see in the passage. The fact that God cursed the serpent, the woman and the man says that they are each to blame and they each receive the consequence of their actions.
    3. Which of the Moody insights is new to you? I had never thought about how there was an immediate death of separation right after they ate the fruit. Also, I hadn’t ever thought about how recognizing the fruit as good was mirroring God’s words of creation being very good.
    4. Which one speaks to you the most? That the serpent was questioning God’s motives, which looked like God was keeping godhood from Adam and Eve. In fact, God does keep us from being God. It is hard to put into words, but I feel like I have been protected by God when He does not allow me to be like Him in every way.
    5. How has your community been broken because of sin? We are not open and vulnerable with each other as a default posture. This results in hurt because of communication problems, and we don’t even communicate the fact that we love one another well.

  4. Maelynn says:

    1. There are major consequences when we go against God’s commandments and see ourselves as our own ‘gods.’
    2. Well, they all get punished separately, so I would say all of them.
    3. “The command regarding the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was given to the man, Adam. The serpent worked on Eve. This may have been because she had not heard from God directly concerning the command.”
    4. “The condition of humanity is like God but not with God.” It is so heart wrenching and depressing how far some people find themselves from God.
    5. Well, because of jealousy and pride we often don’t expereince the fellowship and encouragement we could have from each other.

  5. 1. Everyone is affected by sin.
    2. I would say that the serpent, Adam, and Eve were all responsible for the sin. They all played different parts in the disobedience of God, but still committed the sin, nonetheless.
    3. I have never thought about it this way, but I agree with the statement, “Keeping silent, like Adam did, is tacit approval.”
    4. I would say that one is the one that particularly speaks to me the most. While I would have always affirmed that Adam was just as responsible for the Fall as Eve was, I have never heard it phrased this way. It is convicting to me as a believer too. There are times when I keep silent about others’ sins, which is in a sense, approving of them.
    5. The Christian community on campus has a tendency to fall into cynicism and hypocrisy.

  6. 1. Sin has major consequences for all people. It also points to the holiness and justice of God. The fact that He had to punish sin and that they could not remain in the garden attest to His character.
    2. They are all punished separately for the individual sins and role in the fall.
    3. I never though before about how the serpent marginalized Adam. Already before the fall in the midst of temptation Eve is not considering her husband in the way she ought.
    4. The one that speaks to me the most is the separation sin caused both between God and man and man and woman. In our relationships with the Lord and with other people, we daily experience this. It has caused an incredible amount of hurt. That reality however does stir up that longing in my heart for the time when Christ will restore that unity between God and man and man and woman.
    5. I think my community has been broken by falling into a lot of bitterness as well as separation from each other and God.

  7. Molly says:

    The statement that “the couple are described as inseparable by the commentator” is not only a beautiful picture of what marriage between a man and woman but also a beautiful picture of what our marriage will like like one day with God. Because of Jesus we have been brought into fellowship with God, and we will have a marriage feast and celebrate our union. O how I can’t wait for that day and to live in perfect harmony with my savior with no sin coming between us.

  8. Nate Silvieus says:

    To keep silent is tacit approval stuck out to me a lot. It seems in our society, and I am seriously guilty of this also, is that people do very little, or even nothing in the presence of sin in another. When I see a fellow brother in sin and do nothing for him or do not talk to him, I am essentially telling him that what he is doing is not that big of a deal, and am approving that what he is doing is OK. This is the exact opposite of what Jesus wants from us as we need to point others to Christ, away from their sins and save them from a future of consequences because of it.
    “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20)

  9. Kimberly W. says:

    As I read through this passage again for at least the third time in the last few days, I am struck by the aching sorrow of it all. There are many points of contention and discussion in the passage, and I have researched some of those in my Genesis class. This time, though, I am left with a feeling of grief. The world was perfect–there was no sin. The relationship between God and man was whole and flourishing. The relationship between husband and wife was pure and holy. By the end of the passage, all of that had changed. Sin entered the world. Evil entered the world, marring the world until the end of days. This passage tells the story of the greatest catastrophe to ever happen to the world. At the end of the passage I am left grieving and longing for Eden.

  10. Andrew Moore says:

    I thought it was interesting looking at Eve’s practical perspective for wanting to sin. Although as readers, we know what Adam and Eve’s perspective is wrong, we also see their reasons for behaving as they did. In the same way that Adam and Eve justified their disobedience, we do the same thing when we are tempted to sin. Although we know what we are about to do is wrong, we make justifications for indulging ourselves.

  11. Megumi says:

    1. The first man and woman
    2. Each is responsible for his or her part.
    3. The inseparability of Adam and Eve was a new insight.
    4. I am always especially moved by the way that Adam and Eve could “stroll” with God on the garden.
    5. There have been several communities I have been a part of where people do not collaborate the way they could because of sin.

  12. Christina W. says:

    “The rephrasing of the command by the serpent focuses on God’s restriction rather than his bounty.” I never really thought about it in this way. The serpent was portraying it in a way in which the man and the woman missed the goodness of God and his blessing to them. Reading this, I wonder how often I think the same type of thoughts, thinking only about what God has restricted and not thinking about all of his blessings. This was one new insight that I gained.

  13. The main idea of this passage is that sin leads to consequences. Adam, Eve, and the Serpent are all at fault in committing the sin and all are judged by God. I never thought about how thinking of the fruit as good was mirroring the image and wording of God’s creation being good. The insight that spoke to me the most was that the man and woman experienced immediate separation from God. My community is broken because of sins like jealousy, hate, and cynicism. The community of Moody often falls into the sin of judgement toward others and this can lead to even more sin and brokenness.

  14. It’s a sobering thought to consider how it must have felt to have been in a relationship with God and within a moment be estranged. Having so much guilt and shame, Eve and Adam had no idea what was going on but they felt it. They did the first thing that came to their mind-try to hide. Hide their bodies, hide their shame, hide from God. Even though they had such an amazing and loving relationship with God in the Garden they wanted to hide from HIm! How terribly sad, their first thought was to hide! Sin tells us lies and does crazy things to our mind that we can’t overcome on our own. So AWESOME that we know Redemption in Jesus Christ-the person to right the wrongs of Adam.

  15. Emmy R says:

    The one point that really stood out to me was that Adam and Eve were inseparable. I think often times when people read this account they separate the two characters, attesting that they were at different places in the garden. Although, if they were inseparable then wouldn’t they both be there when Eve was tempted by the serpent?? I do not know what to think about it, but more just raising the question.

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