It would appear that things were not looking too good for God. He had great plans for the human race, but Satan moved in while God was away and messed up everything. The devil deceived the woman into eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Satan (disguised as the talking serpent) told the woman that eating from the tree would open her eyes, “and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The devil was right about one thing – eating from the tree would open her eyes and she would know good and evil.
“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. 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
What Satan did not tell them (because he’s a liar) was that knowing good and evil with eyes opened would be the worst thing that could ever happen to them and the race of human beings to come from them.
What did the man and woman see when their eyes were opened? They saw that they were naked. What did they do about that? They covered themselves. Why? Because they knew good and evil. They knew that God was good, Satan was evil and they had made the wrong choice. Then they heard the sound of God coming toward them.
“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.” Genesis 3:8
The man and woman were familiar with the sound of God walking in the garden toward them because it was something God had done with them before. However, instead of walking toward God so they could be in His presence they “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” That is one of the saddest statements in the Bible. Satan had managed to steal the most precious part of the human experience – the desire to be in the presence of God.
“Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?” Genesis 3:9
Did God really need help finding Adam? Was He unaware of what had happened? We know from studying the Bible that God knows everything and was well aware of what happened between Satan and the humans.
God’s first words to Adam were the beginning of a new phase in their relationship. “Where are you?” Adam was going to have to answer to God for not protecting his wife and the Garden. Adam’s first answer to God’s first question is most insightful to understanding how human nature changed when eyes were opened and they knew good and evil.
“So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Genesis 3:10
- I heard
- I was afraid
- I was naked
- I hid
With eyes wide open to know good and evil, Adam was afraid of God because he knew he was naked and he hid himself. Remember that Adam and his wife had already made coverings for themselves, so they weren’t physically naked when they heard God’s voice. So, why hide from God if they weren’t physically naked? They were spiritually naked. They heard God’s voice calling for them and they were afraid and hid themselves because of their spiritual nakedness. They knew that what they had done was evil because they knew good and evil.
God’s response to Adam’s answer is again most insightful.
“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?”
Good question. Who did tell Adam and this wife that they were naked? Look again at the narrative – “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.” Nobody told Adam and his wife that they were naked; they knew they were naked because their eyes had been opened and they knew good and evil. The knowledge of good and evil revealed their nakedness.
God knew what had happened, so he went to the heart of the problem – “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” God knew that the only way Adam and his wife would “know” they were naked was if they had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that God had “commanded” them not to eat. Disobedience opened their eyes. They knew evil because they had done evil.
Look at the progression:
- Knowledge of good and evil
- Realization of evil
- Covering because of evil
- Fear because of evil
- Hide because of evil
We all know what happened next: Adam blamed his wife and she blamed the serpent. This led to God cursing the serpent and promising a most amazing event – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“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 3:15
God put an enmity (Hebrew eybah – hostility) between Satan and the woman, and between the “seed” of Satan and the “Seed” of the woman. The Seed of the woman would bruise Satan’s head, and Satan would bruise the heel of the Seed. In one short verse, God revealed His answer to Adam’s problem. The rest of the Bible is the story of God’s redemption of humanity and victory over Satan.
Adam clothed himself and his wife with fig leaves because of their nakedness. God clothed them with “tunics of skin.” The Hebrew word for “tunic” in Genesis 3:21 is kutonet and means “robe, garment, tunic.” The Hebrew word for “skin” is or and means “hide, leather, skin.” Archaeologists and anthropologists believe animal skin may have been the oldest form of covering known to the human race. That would fit well with God clothing Adam and his wife with “tunics of skin.”
Where did God get the animal skin to make the “tunics” of skin? Archaeologists and anthropologists believe ancient people used skin from dead animals – either animals they killed or that died from natural causes. Did God kill animals to get their skin to make tunics for Adam and his wife or did God find animals that died from natural causes? We’re not told in Genesis 3, but as we read through the Bible we find that the blood sacrifice of animals becomes a vital part of God’s redemptive program for the human race; leading to a fulfillment of what God told Satan in the Garden – “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
The next thing God did was to protect Adam and his wife and all of mankind from living forever in an evil state:
“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”—therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 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
So, here we are – all of us outside the Garden – unable to stretch out our hands and eat from the tree of life, “and eat, and live forever.” We are dependent on God for redemption, for access and entrance to eternal life. That is what’s at stake and what Satan spends his time and energy doing – keeping us away from God’s redemption and eternal life. To those who receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, Satan aims as many arrows as he can toward us. His attacks are relentless – against believers and unbelievers.
I hope that what we’re discovering together here is why Satan attacks the Church and how he attacks the Church. It is only as we recognize the attacks as “Satan’s” attacks that we will “be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
In our next post we’ll see the root of the problem and how similar Satan’s attacks on the Church today are to those on God’s people from thousands of years ago.
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”