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Genesis 3:15. שׁוּף bruise, wound. τηρεῖν (= τερεῖν?) ἐκτρίβειν (Job 9:17), καταπατεῖν (Ps. 139:11), συντρίβειν (Rom. 16:20).
Genesis 3:16. תְּשׁוּקָה desire, inclination. αποστροφή, ἐπιστροφή (Song 7:11).
Genesis 3:20. חַוָּה Eve, the living, life, life-place, or village.
This passage contains the examination of the transgressors, 8–13, the sentence pronounced upon each, 14–19, and certain particulars following thereupon, 20, 21.
Genesis 3:8–9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 Then they heard the sound of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then Jehovah God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
Genesis 3:8-9. The idiomatic time expression, in the cool of the day or (לְרוּחַ הַיּוֹם) in the breezy part of the day referred to the evening hours just prior to sunset, when there would have been a cool breeze in the area where the garden of Eden is thought to have been. The question, Where are you? implies that Jehovah was aware of their endeavor to hide themselves from him. The voice, we conceive, is the thunder of the approach of God and his call to Adam. The instant effect of their transgression was shame. The behavior of Adam and Eve the moment they heard God’s voice revealed a disharmony that now existed. Their covering parts of their divinely made bodies and afterward attempting to hide themselves from God were obvious indications of the estrangement that was now in their minds and hearts. The hiding is another token of the childlike simplicity of the parents of our race under the shame and fear of guilt.
Generally, in the Bible, when God had dealings with the human family, it was by means of an angel. (Gen. 16:7-11; 18:1-3, 22-26; 19:1; Judges 2:1-4; 6:11-16, 22; 13:15-22) The primary person in Scripture, who spoke and had dealings with humans, as a representative of the Father, Jehovah God, was his only only-begotten Son, appropriately called “the Word.” (John 1:1) Therefore, while the Bible does not explicitly say, it was very likely that God the Father spoke with Adam and Eve by means of “the Word.” ― Genesis 1:26-28; 2:16; 3:8-13.
“Where Art Thou?” Excursion
This is the first recorded question that God ever asked of man. You will find that question in Gen. 3:9, “Where art thou?” God asked the question of Adam. Adam had sinned, and on the evening of that awful day of the first sin, the voice of God in its majesty, rolling down the avenues of the Garden of Eden. Adam had often heard God’s voice before, and the voice of God had been the sweetest music to Adam up till this day. Adam knew no greater joy than that of glad communion with his Creator and his Heavenly Father. But now, all was different, and as the voice of God was heard rolling through the Garden, Adam was filled with fear and tried to hide himself. That is the history of every son of Adam from that day till this. We seek to hide from God when sin enters our hearts and lives. Every sinner tries to hide from God’s presence and the all-seeing eye. That accounts for a very large share of the skepticism and infidelity and the agnosticism and atheism of our day. It is sinful man trying to hide from a holy God.
Men will give you many reasons why they are skeptics, many reasons why they are unbelievers and agnostics and atheists. Still, in the great majority of cases, the real reason is this—men hope by the denial of the existence of God to hide from the discomfort of God’s acknowledged presence. That also accounts for very much of the neglect of the Bible. People will tell you that they do not read their Bibles because they have so much else to read, that they do not read their Bibles because they are not interested in the Bible, and that it is a dull and stupid book to them; but the real cause of man’s neglect of Bible study is this: the Bible brings God near to us as no other book does, and men are uneasy in the conscious presence of God, so they neglect the book that brings God near. This also accounts for much of the absenteeism from the house of God and its services. People will give you many reasons why they do not attend church; they will tell you they cannot dress well enough to attend church, will tell you that they are too busy and too tired to attend church; they will tell you that the services of God’s house are dull and uninteresting, but in the great majority of cases the reason why men and women, old and young, habitually absent themselves from the services of God’s house is that the house of God brings God near and makes men uncomfortable in sin. Their desire to hide from God, more or less distinct, leads them to stay away from the house of God. But Adam did not succeed in hiding from God. Neither will you succeed. No man ever succeeded in hiding from God. God said to Adam, “Where art thou?” and Adam had to come from his hiding-place, meet God face to face, and declare all his sin fully. Eventually, no matter how carefully we have hidden from God, in due time, every man and woman in this building will have to come from their hiding-place and meet the all-holy God face to face and make a full declaration of just where they stand in His presence.
God is putting the question of the text to every man and woman in these last days, every Christian, and everyone who is not a Christian. “Where art thou?” Where do you stand as regards spiritual and eternal things? Where do you stand as regards God, as regards eternal life, as regards righteousness, as regards Christ, as regard eternity? “Where art thou?”
Every wise person should be glad to face and answer that question. Every truly intelligent person desires to know just where he is. In business, every wise businessman desires to know just where he stands financially. In our country, at this time of year, every careful businessman takes an inventory of his stock-in-trade, casts up his accounts, and finds out precisely what are his credits, his debts, and how much his assets exceed or fall below his liabilities. He wants to know just where he stands. He may discover due to his scrutiny that he does not stand as well as he thought he did. He may find that he is in debt when he hopes that his capital will exceed his liabilities. If that is true, he wants to know it in order that he may conduct his business accordingly. Many a man has made a shipwreck in business through unwillingness to face facts and find out just where he stood. Just as we would rather not face a complete financial shipwreck, we would rather not face a complete spiritual shipwreck either. We will plunge into utter and eternal ruin.
Every man wants to know where he stands physically. He wants to know what is the condition of his lungs, his heart, his stomach, his nerves. He may be worse off than he thinks he is; he may think his heart is sound when his heart is defective. But if that be the case, he wants to know it because if he knows that his heart is defective, he will not subject it to the strain that he otherwise would. Many a man lies today in a premature grave who might be doing good work on earth; he was not willing to find out his real condition and act accordingly.
How shall we consider this great question?
First of all, we should consider it seriously. It is not a question to trifle with. It is a singular fact that men and women who are intelligent and sensible about everything else would not think of trifling with the great financial questions of the day or with great social problems when they come to this great question of eternity and will treat it as a joke. I don’t care what your culture, social position, or reputation are for scholarship; you need to face this great question of your spiritual condition with the most profound earnestness and seriousness; you want to avoid playing the part of a fool.
We should consider this question honestly. Many people in our day are trying to deceive themselves, attempting to deceive others, and endeavoring to deceive God. Many in their inmost hearts know that they are wrong but are trying to persuade themselves that they are correct, attempting to persuade others that they are right, and setting out to persuade God that they are right.
Men and women, you cannot deceive God. It will do you no good to deceive anybody else; it is consummate folly to deceive yourself. The biggest fool on earth is the man who fools himself. Be honest. If you are lost, own it up; if you are on the road to destruction, acknowledge it; if you are not a Christian, say so. If you are an enemy of God, face the facts. If you are a child of the devil, admit it. Be honest, honest with yourself, honest with your fellow men, honest with God.
In the third place, we should consider the question thoroughly. Many people are honest and serious enough as far as they go, but they don’t go to the bottom of things. They are superficial. They give these tremendous questions a few moments’ thought, and then their weak minds weary, saying, “I guess I am all right; I will take my chance.” You can’t afford to guess on questions like these; we must have no probability but absolute certainty. It will not satisfy me to hope I am saved; I must know that I am saved; it will not satisfy me to hope I am a child of God; I must know that I am a child of God. It will not satisfy me to hope that I am bound for heaven; I must know that I am bound for heaven. Do not lay these questions down until you have gone to the bottom of them and know for absolute certainty just where you stand.
In the fourth place, you should consider these questions prayerfully. God tells us in His Word, and we know it from experience, that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). There is nothing that the human heart is so deceitful about as our moral and spiritual condition. Every man and woman, by nature, is very sharp-sighted to the faults of others and very blind to their own faults. What we need is to face this question in prayer. You will never know where you stand until God shows you. Not until we pray at least the substance of David’s prayer, “Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me,” and God sheds the light of His Holy Spirit into our hearts, and shows us ourselves as He sees us, will we ever know ourselves as we really are.
But, friends, there is something better than to see ourselves as others see us; that is, to see ourselves as God sees us. Oh! Let us not leave this life until we see ourselves in the light of God’s presence, as God sees us, and that will only be in answer to definite and earnest prayer. What horror it would be! Imagine that you have been a professing Christian for forty years, and on judgment day, you find out that all your life that you have never really been a Christian at all. (Matt. 7:21-23) I do not doubt that in the 2 billion Christians the world over that, there is many a man and woman who has been a professing Christian for years who have been no Christian at all because they have been doing their will, not the will of the Father. Millions of Christians in name only are not on the path of salvation.
Once more, we should consider this question Scripturally, according to the Book. God has given to you and me only one safe chart and compass to guide us on our voyage through life toward eternity. That chart and compass is the Bible, the Word of God, the book that you have had in your home, maybe you carried to church. If you steer your course according to this book, you steer safely; if you steer your course according to your own feelings, according to the speculation of the petty philosopher or the theologian, according to anything but the clear declaration of the only book of God, you steer your course to shipwreck. Any hope that is not founded on the clear, unmistakable teaching of God’s Word is absolutely worthless. Any hope founded on that book is a sure hope; any hope that is not built upon that book is not worth anything.
This will help you consider the question, “Where art thou?” First of all, Are you on the path to salvation, or are you on the path to destruction? (Matt. 7:13-14) You are one or the other. If you are trying to stand on the line, living a life that creeps up to the edges of sin, know this, the line belongs to Satan. Unless you have definitely walked with God, you are definitely lost. There are but two groups: lost sinners on the path to destruction and the saved on the path to eternal life. To which group do you belong?
Again, are you a child of God or a child of the devil? We live in a day in which many superficial thinkers tell us that all men are the children of God. That is not the teaching of the Bible, nor the teaching of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ says distinctly in John 8:44, talking to certain Jews, “Ye are of your father the devil.” And we are told in 1 John 3:10, “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.” And we are told distinctly in John 1:12, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Children of God, or children of the devil. Every one of us is either one or the other. Which are you?
Again, what kind of Christian are you if you are a professing Christian? Are you a mere formal Christian, or are you a real Christian? You know there are two kinds. Are you one of these men or women who call themselves Christians, who go to the house of God each Sunday, perhaps to a Bible class each Wednesday, but the rest of the week they are running around after living life to the fullest in this fallen world, trying to hold on to Jesus Christ with the one hand and to the world with the other? Are you nine parts world and one part Christian? Or are you a real Christian who has renounced the world with your whole heart and given yourself to Jesus Christ with all your heart, a Christian who can sing and mean it, “I surrender all”? “Where art thou?” What kind of Christian are you?
Once more, are you for Christ, or are you against Him? You know you are either one or the other, for He says so. We read in Matt. 12:30, in the words of Jesus Himself, “He that is not with Me, is against Me.” Everyone reading this is either with Jesus wholeheartedly, confessedly, openly, or else you are against Jesus. Which are you? For Christ or against Him? Men and women, eternity, and where will thou spend it? Where you will spend eternity very likely will depend upon where you are right now. Let us pray. – By R. A. Torrey and Edward D. Andrews
End of the “Where Art Thou?” Excursion
Genesis 3:10–12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you 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 not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”
Genesis 3:10–12. After rebelling and sinning, Adam had sensed a change his relationship with his heavenly Father. He was now ashamed and felt uneasy in the presence of God. When God first created Adam, he was in the Garden for a long-time naming the animals before Eve was created. Both were given reproductive powers. God had commanded them to procreate and to fill the earth with perfect children. So, sexual intercourse was designed to be both pleasurable and purposeful, not sinful. However, the moment that Adam and Eve rebelled against God, disobeying him by eating from the forbidden tree, severe differences took place in how they saw themselves and their Creator. Suddenly, that moral compass that told them not to eat from the forbidden tree was now making them feel differently about their nakedness, and they immediately covered their genital organs so that God could not see them. Of course, they knew that they were naked before but now something was different in how they perceived it. From this moment forward the command to have children was no longer in human perfection, but, instead, was done with inherited sin, missing the mark of perfection, with each generation being mentally bent toward evil (Gen. 6:5; 8:21), being unaware of their treacherous heart. (Jer. 17:9) They now faced being born sinners, old age, sickness, and death being handed down to their children and their children’s children. While some humans would enjoy a great relationship with God being declared righteous by God, they still bore sin-infected children. – Psalm 51:5.
When Adam was called to account for his rebellion, Adam chose to blame another, saying, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” He refused to accept his role in his sinning and placed the blame on the woman od had provided him, which, in essence, placed the blame on God. Adam and Eve sinned, meaning they both would pay with the death penalty, but with Adam it went even further as far as God was concerned. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12) Adam unlike Eve did not believe Satan’s lie about not dying told through the serpent; he chose Eve and death over his Creator. Adam and Eve purposefully chose self-rule, self-governance, freedom and independence from God.
Therefore, God is not directly responsible for our imperfect human life in this fallen world, and it is unwise and dangerous to place the blame with him. Just as was the case with Adam and Eve, blaming God can cost us the hope of eternal life. God should be given credit for the good that he had given Adam and the remnants that we now have along with the prospect and hope in eternal life. Adam is directly responsible for throwing away human perfection. The question now is, will Adam and Eve receive a resurrection?
The Adam and Eve Resurrection Excursion
The conclusion below will be drawn from silence and cannot be taken dogmatically. It is inferential only, and the final answer will have to be one that we seldom like, ‘we will have to wait and see.’ However, just because something is drawn from silence does not necessarily mean it is not valid. We have absolutely no record that Jesus ever bathed, but we can be most certain that he did. It is undoubtedly true that both Adam and Eve attempted to sidestep their responsibility of eating from the forbidden tree. Adam blamed Eve, while Eve blamed the serpent. However, both did not deny that they had actually violated the command.
Jehovah has said that if you eat from this tree, “you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:17) That was the explicit punishment, death. Their sentence was to “suffer the punishment of eternal destruction.” (2 Thess. 1:9) This could be said because justice required death, with no provision for anything else at the time that they were given the command. It does not seem fair that a Just God, in his command, would not include additional punishments of Eve’s difficulty in childbirth and Adam’s struggle to get the earth to respond to his care if they were a part of the original provision. It seems that the extra penalty for Eve (“I will surely increase your pain and your pregnancy; in pain you shall bring forth children”), and for Adam (“cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life”); where a means to move the two to repentance. Do the extra penalties, which were not part of the original punishment for eating the forbidden fruit, mean that Jehovah was going to forgive them after they paid the price that he had laid down? The Apostle Paul said in Romans 6:7, “For one who has died has been set free from sin.”
Just as humankind is under the condemnation of death because we are sinners, as Romans 5:12 informs us, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Thus, it would seem that Adam and Eve could also be afforded this, being chastised beyond the original punishment because of Jehovah’s love for them. In fact, he did not give them this additional punishment until after he informed them of the hope held out to all humankind, the hope of a coming seed. (Gen. 3:15) Discipline by God is because of his love, and it always starts as a means of correction; this extra chastisement was a constructive reminder of their unfaithfulness to him and their need to return and repent. We have no knowledge that they ever returned to God or that they did not, for that matter.
It is very much possible that when Jehovah God clothed and protected the first human couple, he informed them of the coming seed, Jesus Christ (Gen. 3:15), who would crush the head of the serpent (Satan), and “give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt 20:28) It would seem that God must have informed Adam of the atoning value of the blood sacrifice as well. Otherwise, we are in a difficulty regarding how Abel, Adam’s second son, acquired this knowledge. – Genesis 4:4.
Both Cain and Abel brought their offering to the altar individually. This means that Adam had no priestly function. The vegetable offering of Cain would have been displeasing to Adam because it was displeasing to Jehovah. Cain’s offering lacked the atoning blood. (Gen. 4:5) On the other hand, Jehovah was well pleased with Abel’s blood atoning sacrifice of “the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.” – Genesis 4:4.
Some may argue that Adam and Eve were perfect, and this would indicate that they had no excuse for their rebellious act, which means that they willfully and knowingly sinned against God under perfection, like the blasphemy against the “Spirit” that Jesus spoke of, forfeiting any hope of a resurrection. (Matt. 12:32; Heb. 6:4-6) They would point out maybe that we, in our imperfection, are prone, inclined, and leaned toward sin, while Adam and Eve were prone, inclined, and leaned toward good. However, the Christian can find himself in an approved standing before God because of the ransom sacrifice of Christ. Allowances are made for his imperfection, which means he has a righteous standing before God. (Ps 103:8-14) Thus, if we were to put them on a scale, Adam would not have needed any allowance for his standing before Jehovah. At the same time, God graciously gives imperfect man with a genuine, active faith in Christ some counterweights undeservedly so, to offset and give him his standing before Jehovah.
Two different points need to be considered. We will touch on the first briefly and the second extensively. God plainly told Adam, who then told Eve, “But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:17). What is the punishment for sin here? What is the punishment for rebellion here? Was there some footnote that added eternal torment? Why would God hold back eternal torment from Adam? Was it just/right to not inform Adam of eternal torment? Was the serpent [Satan] right, saying God was withholding knowledge from Adam and Eve? Or, maybe … it was exactly as God said. “You eat from it you shall surely die.” Ezekiel 18:4 tells us similarly, “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.” Then Paul in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.”
In our second point, we have a fact not to be overlooked. There is also not account of God informing Adam of a ransom sacrifice and that if he did disobey by eating the forbidden fruit, he would die but that later he would receive a resurrection, wherein he would receive the eternal life that he had forsaken. If God had informed Adam of such a provision for him, it would actually have been an inducement to sin when he was tempted, knowing that he had to only pay with his death, not eternal destruction. Such a provision for Adam expressed to him by God would have undermined the warning not to sin or that he would receive the death penalty. In fact, the ransom provision only came about because of Adam’s sin. The Bible makes it clear that death, with no hope of a resurrection, was what was given to Adam if he chose to disobey and eat from the forbidden tree. Adam had no excuse in his human perfection with a simple command that did not impact his life in any way. He was not sinning because of ignorance or because he was mentally bent toward evil. He did not have a treacherous heart.
In Romans 5:13, the apostle Paul writes: “until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed [attributed] when there is no law.” Adam and Eve were given a basic, plainly stated law in the Garden of Eden. If they broke that law, they would become sinners. Adam and Eve would have been charged with sin and would have had to pay the stipulated penalty, eternal death, returning to the ground from which he had been taken. So, simply put, Adam had two simplistic options placed before him: obey and receive eternal life on earth, or disobey and receive eternal death, “return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Gen. 3:19; 2:7) Adam’s sin was not planned. But Adam was created in the image of God. He had the intelligence to clearly know that he was sinning against a simplistic, plainly stated law of God, rejecting God’s sovereignty. His actions were willful.
God did not soften his sentence by applying the ransom sacrifice of his Son retroactively to Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:15 was not retroactive, and Adam had no need to understand it; it applied to only his offspring. “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” So, what Adam had coming to him was eternal death. There is no indication that Adam ever repented or, more importantly, repented in the Garden of Eden, seeking God’s forgiveness for him and Eve. He expressed no faith in the promised seed of the woman who was to bruise the serpent in the head. In Genesis 3:20, “Now the man [Adam] called his wife’s name Eve, [meaning “life”] because she was the mother of all living.” After this, we have nothing more about what Adam said, except naming a son Seth. We are not told how he felt about his disobedience or if he had any regret. Adam died a willful sinner.
Ultimately, we must say that there is no explicit answer to this question. One should offer both arguments and allow the listener to decide for themselves where they stand. The other option is to be neutral and not commit to either position, choosing to wait and see, as God is a God of mercy, love, and justice and will do the right thing. In conclusion, it is difficult for this writer to believe that Adam and Eve spent 930 years, and if they had repaired their relationship with their Father, it would likely have gone into the record with many others who had done the same thing. – Edward D. Andrews.
End of the Adam and Eve Resurrection Excursion
Genesis 3:13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
13 Then Jehovah God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Genesis 3:13. The woman makes a similar confession and a similar indication of the source of her temptation. She has now found out that the serpent beguiled her. The result has not corresponded to the benefit she was led to anticipate.
There seems not to be any disingenuousness in either case. Sin does not take full possession of the will all at once. It is a slow poison. It has a growth. It requires time and frequent repetition to sink from a state of purity into a habit of habitual, ingrained sin. While it is insensibly gathering strength and subjugating the will, the original integrity of the moral nature manifests a long but fading vitality. The same line of things does not always occupy the attention. When the chain of events linked with the act of sin does not force the attention of the mind and constrain the will to act a selfish part, another train of things comes before the mind, finds the will unaffected by personal considerations and therefore ready to take its direction from the reason. Hence, the consciousness of a fallen soul has its lucid intervals, in which the conscience gives a verdict and guides the will. But these intervals become less frequent and less decisive as the entanglements of ever-multiplying sinful acts wind around the soul and aggravate its bondage and its blindness.
Adam and Eve’s sin was blamed on Satan. “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:13) From that moment forward “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” John tells us in Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” There is no person who is not subject to Satanic pressure, but the level of influence is dependent once again on our obedience to God’s Word. However, all sin is not Satan’s fault. Satan did deceive Eve. (1 Timothy 2:14) She knew and fully understood God’s command, but Satan deceived her into believing that she could become godlike knowledge, and the ability to decide for herself what was good and bad, as well as independence from God. (Genesis 3:4-5) For this, she sinned. Even though Satan lied to her and deceived her, God held her responsible for her actions because she knew and understood God’s command. So, she received the death penalty. She could have resisted Satan in her human perfection, and she could have gotten her husband before eating of the forbidden tree. She allowed herself instead to cultivate and entertain the tempting words, which led to her sin, and eventually to her eternal death. – James 1:14-15.
Genesis 3:14–15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
14 Jehovah God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
Genesis 3:14-15. Here begins the judgment. Sentence is pronounced upon the serpent in the presence, no doubt, of the man and woman. The serpent is not examined, first, because it is a dumb unreasoning animal in itself, and therefore incapable of judicial examination, and it was the serpent only that was palpable to the senses of our first parents in the temptation; and, secondly, because the true tempter was not a new, but an old offender.
This sentence has a literal application to the serpent. The serpent’s curse (Gen. 9:25) lies in a more groveling nature than that of the other land animals. This appears in its going on its belly and eating the dust. Other animals have at least feet to elevate them above the dust; the serpent tribe has not even feet. Other animals elevate the head in their natural position above the soil: the serpent lays its head naturally on the sod, and therefore may be said to eat the dust, as the wounded warrior bites the dust in death. The earthworm is probably included in the serpent group’s description. It goes upon its belly, and actually does eat the dust. Eating the dust, like feeding upon ashes, is an expression for signal defeat in every aim. The enmity, the mode of its display, and the issue are also singularly characteristic of the literal serpent.
It is the custom of Scripture jurisprudence to visit brute animals with certain judicial consequences of injuries they have been instrumental in doing to man, especially if this has arisen through the design or neglect of the owner, or other responsible agent (Gen. 9:5; Exod. 21:28–36). In the present case the injury done was of a moral, not a physical nature. Hence the penalty consists in a curse; that is, a state of greater degradation below man than the other land animals. In the extraordinary event here recorded, the serpent exercised the powers of human speech and reasoning. And it is natural to suppose that these exhibitions of intelligence were accompanied with an attitude and a gesture above its natural rank in the scale of creation. The effect of the judicial sentence would be to remand it to its original groveling condition and give rise to that enmity which was to end in its destruction by man.
But as an evil spirit must have employed the serpent, as the animal whose organs and instincts were most adapted to its purpose and has accordingly derived its name from it as presenting the animal type most analogous to its own spiritual nature, so the whole of this sentence has its higher application to the real tempter. Upon thy belly shalt thou go. This is expressive of the lowest stage of degradation to which a spiritual creature can be sunk. Dust shalt thou eat. This is indicative of disappointment in all the aims of being. I will put enmity. This is still more strictly applicable to the spiritual enemy of mankind. It intimates a hereditary feud between their respective races, which is to terminate, after some temporary suffering on the part of the woman’s seed, in the destruction of the serpent’s power against man. The spiritual agent in the temptation of man cannot have literally any seed. But the seed of the serpent is that portion of the human family that continues to be his moral offspring and follows the first transgression without repentance or refuge in the mercy of God, as well as the other angels that joined him in his rebellion. On the other hand, the seed of the woman, because the following pronoun, he, is singular, refers to a descendant who will strike the serpent’s head (Matt. 1:23; Gal. 4:4–5).
Let us now mark the lessons conveyed in the sentence of the serpent to our first parents, who were listening and looking on. 1st. The serpent is styled a mere brute animal. All that seemed to indicate reason as inherent in its nature or acquired by some strange event in its history is thus at once contradicted. 2nd. It is declared to be lower than any of the other land animals, destitute of any members corresponding to feet or hands. 3rd. It is not interrogated as a rational and accountable being but treated as a mere dumb brute. 4th. It is degraded from the airs and attitudes which may have been assumed when it was possessed by a serpent-like evil spirit and falls back without a struggle to that place of debasement in the animal kingdom for which it was designed. 5th. It is fated to be disappointed in its aims at usurpation. It shall bite the dust. 6th. It is doomed to ultimate and utter discomfiture in its hostile assaults on the seed of the woman.
All this must have made a deep impression on our first parents. But two things must have struck them with peculiar force. It was now evident how vain and hollow its pretensions to superior wisdom were, and how miserably deluded they had been when they listened to its false insinuations. If, indeed, they had maturity of reflection and had failed to take the time to apply it, they would have been strangely bewildered with the whole scene now that it was past. From the brute instinct it displayed to Adam when he named the animals, how the serpent suddenly rose to the temporary exercise of reason and speech, and as suddenly relapsed into its former bestiality is, to the mere observer of nature, an inexplicable phenomenon. But to Adam, who was evidencing more love for Eve than his Creator, willfully chose to join her in rebelling against God.
The Woman, the Serpent, and the Seeds Excursion
Genesis 3:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
15 And I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman [Angelic Body],
and between your [Satan’s] offspring [Demons and Humans] and her offspring [Jesus];
he [Jesus] shall bruise your head [death, eternal destruction],
and you shall bruise his heel [crucified].”
The seed of the woman or offspring of the woman is an unnamed person prophetically referred to in the biblical Book of Genesis. As a result of the serpent’s temptation of Eve, which resulted in the fall of man, God announces (in Genesis 3:15) that he will put enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. In Christianity, this verse is known as the protoevangelium [protevangelium, proto-evangelium , and protoevangelion], and is interpreted as a prophecy of the coming of Jesus. In Judaism, the “seed of the woman” is taken as a collective reference to mankind in general.
This prophecy would remain a mystery among the Jewish people for over 1,550 years, some 52 years after the Seed had been born. Galatians 4:4 says: “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman …” An angel named Gabriel told a Jewish virgin named Mary in the year 2 B.C.E., “and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David … The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason, the one who is born will be called holy, the Son of God.” – Luke 1:31-32, 35.
Shortly thereafter, God would place the life of his Son in Mary’s womb so that he came to be born of a woman. Even though Mary was an imperfect woman, Jesus was born a perfect human, inheriting no imperfection from her, as he was “the Son of God.” Yet, Jesus’ human parents, both being descendants of David, supplied Him with the rights as an heir of David. God has brought David’s offspring to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. (Acts 13:22-23) When Jesus was baptized in 29 C.E., God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17) After more than 1,500 years, the Seed had come! (Galatians 3:16) In time, more would be revealed about the Seed.—2 Timothy 1:10.
During Jesus’ ministry, we would learn who the serpent of Genesis 3:15 would be, Satan. And the serpent’s seed would be followers of Satan. (Matthew 23:33; John 8:44) The apostle John, 63 years after Jesus’ ransom sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension back to heaven, reveals how Satan and his seed would be crushed forever. (Revelation 20:1-3, 10, 15) However, forty-five years earlier the woman was identified as “the Jerusalem above,” the new Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem.—Galatians 4:26; Heb. 12:18–24; Revelation 3:12; 21:2, 9ff.
The bruising of the serpent’s head refers primarily to the final defeat of Satan, while the bruising of the heel of the seed of the woman is taken to refer to the crucifixion of Christ. Louis Berkhof, for example, wrote: “The death of Christ, who is in a preeminent sense the seed of the woman, will mean the defeat of Satan.”
Again, the seed of the woman, on the other hand, because the following pronoun, he, is singular, refers to a particular descendant who will strike the serpent’s head (Matt. 1:23; Gal. 4:4–5). Christ is the Seed of the woman. But determining who the woman is becomes the biggest debate, so let’s unpack that with logic. Genesis 3:15 tells us about “the woman.” Some have argued that this was Eve. Maybe even Eve herself thought she was the woman. (Cp. Genesis 4:1.) However, an enmity that was to last for thousands of years makes that impossible since Eve died thousands of years ago. Catholics often understand the “woman” of Genesis 3:15 to refer primarily to the Virgin Mary rather than Eve. The text in Genesis also connects to the sign the Lord gives to King Achaz through Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Here again, this enmity between “the woman” and Satan lasted for thousands of years before Christ was born as a human, and Mary could not battle Satan, as humans are incredibly frail compared to angels, especially higher-ranking angels. One angel slaughtered 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night. (2 Ki 19:35) Further, we know that the serpent addressed by God is an invisible, powerful spirit person, Satan the Devil, and part of his seed include millions of demons, powerful spirit creatures, that is, fallen angels. Therefore, it is logical that if there was this ongoing battle between “the woman” and Satan for thousands of years, “the woman” would also be spirit person as well. Revelation 12:1-2 tells us, “And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.” Therefore, “the woman” is used figuratively as God’s heavenly angelic organization of spirit creatures that have been battling Satan and his demons for thousands of years, including Gabriel, and Michael the archangel.
“The Woman” as God’s Heavenly Angelic Organization
Michael, the great prince who stands up – Who is Michael? Archangel: (ἀρχάγγελος archaggelos) Michael (מִיכָאֵל Mikael/Μιχαήλ Michaēl) is the only spirit named as an archangel in the Bible. Nevertheless, some Bible scholars believe that ‘it is possible that there are other archangels. However, the prefix “arch,” meaning “chief” or “principal,” indicates that there is only one archangel, the chief angel. Yes, Gabriel is very powerful, but no Scripture ever refers to him as an archangel. If there were multiple archangels, how could they be described as arch (chief or principal) angels? In the Scriptures, “archangel” is never found in the plural. Clearly, Michael is the only archangel, and as the highest-ranking angel, like the highest-ranking general in the army, Michael stands directly under the authority of God, as he commands the other angels, including Gabriel, according to the Father’s will and purposes. Michael, the Archangel, whose name means, “Who is like God?”); he disputed with Satan over Moses’ body. (Jude 9) Michael with Gabriel stood guard over the sons of Israel and fought for Israel against demons. (Dan. 10:13, 21) He cast Satan and the demons out of heaven. (Rev. 12:7-9) He will defeat the kings of the earth and their armies at Armageddon, and he will be the one given the privilege of abyssing Satan, the archenemy of God. – Revelation 18:1-2; 19:11-21.
How does Michael, the great prince who stands up? Michael, the archangel fights for God’s sovereignty. The spirit person or creature named Michael is only mentioned by name five times in the Bible. Nevertheless, he is always in the midst of some very serious intense action when he is mentioned. We have Michael in the book of Daniel battling wicked angels. In the Epistle of Jude, Michael is found disputing with Satan. In the book of Revelation, he is waging war with Satan the Devil and his demon army. As was said, Michael is the highest-ranking angel, who is always found in Scripture defending the sovereignty of God, living up to his name, which means “Who Is Like God?”
Michael is so powerful; no enemy could ever defeat him. Revelation states, “war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels made war with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels waged war.” Michael is the leader of an army of God’s faithful angels, including Gabriel. Michael is under the command of Jesus Christ himself. – Matt 13:41; 16:27; 24:31; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 3:22; Rev. 19:14-16.
Michael the archangel is spoken of in the following texts:
Daniel 10:2, 13, 20-21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. 13 The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 20 Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go out, look, the prince of Greece will come. 21 But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth, and there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.
Chapter 10 of the book of Daniel precedes the final vision that was given to Daniel, the battles between The Kings of the North and the South.
Thus, Satan the Devil has been using his power through rebel “angels who did not keep to their own domain but deserted their proper dwelling place [in heaven], he has kept in eternal bonds under deep [spiritual] darkness [known as Tartarus (2 Pet.2:4)] for the judgment of the great day.” – Jude 1:6.
These rebel angels had the power at one time to materialize in human form, just like the ones that remain faithful to God, as they delivered messages for Him. (Gen. 18:1, 2, 8, 20-22; 19:1-11; Josh. 5:13-15) The “proper dwelling” that Jude speaks of is heaven, to which these angels abandoned, to take on human form, and have relations that were contrary to nature with the “the daughters of man.” (Dan. 7:9-10) The Bible intimates that these rebel angels were stripped of their power to take on human form, as you never hear of it taking place again after the flood, only spirit possession after that. These disobedient angels are now “spirits in prison,” who had been thrown into “eternal chains under gloomy darkness,” which is more of a condition of limited powers, not so much a place, like a maximum-security prison. – 1 Peter 3:19; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6.
While there is little doubt that demons are dangerous, mighty, and strong, we still need not dread them. After the flood, their power was limited, and God does use the good angels to protect his servants from demons. After the flood, the rebellious angels returned to heaven. They were not permitted back into the faithful angel’s intimate, enlightened spirit family with God. Rather, they were cut off from any spiritual wisdom, knowledge, and understanding from God; after that, only a dark outlook for the future. As was mentioned above, these rebel angels were confined to a condition of spiritual darkness known as Tartarus. (2 Pet. 2:4) God restrained them with “eternal bonds under deep [spiritual] darkness.” Again, while they no longer have the power or the ability to materialize in human form, they can possess other humans other than God’s true servants and control world affairs under the guidance of the god of this age, Satan the Devil.—2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 11:13-15.
In the prophetic book of Daniel, we find out how “the world-rulers of this darkness, … the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places,” have been exercising control over the world since ancient times. Daniel was deeply concerned about his fellow countrymen who had returned to Jerusalem after seventy years of Babylonian captivity. He prayed on their behalf for three weeks. A good angel was sent to Daniel by God to comfort him but was delayed, so he informed Daniel, saying, “The prince [rebel angel] of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days” – Daniel 10:2, 13.
The angel was clearly not referring to the Persian King Cyrus, who at that time found favor in Daniel and the Israelite people. Moreover, no human could ever hold back a powerful angel for three weeks, for we remember it took but one angel to slaughter 185,000 Assyrian mighty warriors in one night. (Isaiah 37:36) Therefore, this opposing ‘prince of Persia’ could only be a rebel angel of the Devil, in other words, a demon whom Satan gave control over the Persian Empire. Later in the account, the angel of God would state that he would have to fight once against “the prince of Persia” and another demon rebel angel prince, “the prince of Greece.” (Dan. 10:20) Truly, there really are invisible “world rulers,” demon rebel princes who have been assigned a role in their control of the world under the authority of their prince of darkness himself, Satan the Devil.
On Daniel 10:13, John Walvoord writes, “This prince is not the human king of Persia, but rather the angelic leader of Persia, a fallen angel under the direction of Satan, in contrast to the angelic prince Michael who leads and protects Israel. That the angel described as ‘the prince’ of Persia is a wicked angel is clear from the fact that his opposition to the angelic messenger to Daniel was given as the reason for the twenty-one-day delay in the answer.” Max Anders writes, “Every conservative commentator agrees that this verse and similar references in verses 20–21 indicate that fallen angels, to some extent, control and protect earthly kingdoms. We learn in verse 20 that Greece also had such a ‘prince,’ and apparently, as we read in 10:13, Michael may be the guardian angel of Israel.” This author would go beyond both Walvoord and Anders and say that Michael is the only archangel (chief or principal), over all of the faithful angels and protecting God’s faithful servants. Now, let’s look at Daniel 12:1 again.
Daniel 12:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 “Now at that time [at Armageddon] Michael [the archangel, the most powerful angel], the great prince who stands up for the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress [the great tribulation] such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
At the time of Daniel “Michael may be the guardian angel of Israel” or (Anders) “Michael who leads and protects Israel” (Walvoord) would be correct but being that, as Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you [Israel] and given to a nation [Israel of God, Christianity] (Gal. 6:15-16), producing the fruit of it.” (Matt 21:45) He later went on to say of Israel, “‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Look, your house [being the chosen people] is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Matt 23:37-39) The latter words mean that the Jews were no longer God’s chosen people and that the Israel of God, Christianity was replacing them, of any of the Jewish people wanted to be one of God’s people again, they needed to accept Jesus Christ and convert from the Jewish religion to Christianity, ‘coming in the name of Christ.’ So, I would agree in a limited way with Anders and Walvoord that Michael served as a protection for Israel, yet it was ancient Israel, but he now serves as a protection for the “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16), true Christianity. He is not a guardian angel of individual persons, but he assigns angels to prevent rebel angels from slaughtering true Christians.
Jude 1:9-10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these men speak evil of the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are corrupting themselves. (See Deut. 34:5-6)
David Walls and Max Anders write, “In an interesting peek behind the historical curtain that we do not get in the Old Testament, we learn that Michael was sent to bury the body of Moses when he died atop Mount Nebo (Deut. 34). According to Jewish tradition (supported by this passage), the devil argued with him about it, apparently claiming for himself the right to dispose of Moses’ body. (For Jewish sources, see Bauckham, WBC 50, 65–76.) Powerful as he was, Michael did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against the devil but said instead, ” The Lord rebuke you!”
Revelation 12:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels made war with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels waged war,
The heavenly sky-drama marches ahead. The woman and her child fade out. Michael and his angels fade in; so do the angels of the dragon. John sees a great sky battle, a war in heaven. Try and picture this like a Star Wars kind of space battle. This portrays in symbols the truth of Ephesians is 6:12: ‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.’ Many Bible students have puzzled over why Christ is not portrayed as the leader of the good angels. Michael has a secure place in Scripture as the only named archangel, “ruler of angels,” which is undoubtedly his role here (Jude 9). Christ as the supreme heavenly warrior is revealed only in chapter 19. As the fourth character in the drama, Michael has a bit part. This is the only verse in all of Revelation in which he appears.” With all due respect to Kendell H. Easley, who says, “Michael has a bit part,” you need not talk despairingly, “bit part,” about Michael the archangel to prop up Jesus Christ, as Michael is only one of two angels mentioned in the Bible, and he is the head, the chief, the principal angel over all other angels and has been serving Christ as a protector of his people since the rebels in the Garden of Eden were expelled.
And there will be a time of distress [the great tribulation] such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time – Jesus Christ, using Michael the archangel to lead the army of angels to execute and bring an end to Satan’s wicked age over imperfect humans during the “great tribulation.” – Matthew 24:21; Jeremiah 25:33; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8; Revelation 7:14; 16:14, 16.
Matthew 24:21-22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no flesh would have been saved: but for the chosen ones sake those days will be cut short.
But even in judgment, the Lord will display mercy, particularly for the sake of the elect (plural of eklektos, ‘select, chosen ones’). These are those who have placed faith in him and followed him as his disciples. The use of the term elect also highlights the Lords sovereign choice as to who these people will be.
We notice that the texts above do not say that all of the chosen ones will be taken before the great tribulation. Instead, it says that the great tribulation will be cut short for their sake. This suggests that some of the chosen ones will still be present on earth during the great tribulation. Some even survive the great tribulation, meaning that they are there afterward.
Revelation 7:4, 9-10, 14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 And I heard the number of the ones who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand [See note blow] sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: 9 After this I saw, and look! a great multitude, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes and with palm branches in their hands. 10 and they cry with a great voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 14 And I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
The case for symbolism is exegetically weak. The principal reason for the view is a predisposition to make the 144,000 into a group representative of the church with which no possible numerical connection exists. No justification can be found for understanding the simple statement of fact in v. 4 as a figure of speech. It is a definite number [at 7:4] in contrast with the indefinite number of 7:9. If it is taken symbolically, no number in the book can be taken literally. As God reserved 7,000 in the days of Ahab (1 Kings 19:18; Rom. 11:4), He will reserve 144,000 for Himself during the future Great Tribulation. (Bold mine)
Some of the chosen ones, who had the great tribulation cut short for their sake, are part of the hundred and forty-four thousand of Revelation 7:4. These “chosen ones” are those who have been chosen out of true Christians by God to rule as kings, priests, and judges with Christ for a literal thousand years. The great multitude is other Christians, who are not a part of the chosen ones, which are not going to heaven to serve as kings, priests, and judges with Jesus Christ. The good news is that this great multitude of Christians will survive the great tribulation as well. God created the earth to be inhabited, to be filled with perfect humans, who are over the animals, and under the sovereignty of God. (Gen 1:28; 2:8, 15; Ps 104:5; 115:16; Eccl 1:4) Sin did not dissuade God from his plans (Isa. 45:18); hence, he has saved redeemable humankind by Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. It seems that the Bible offers two hopes to redeemed humans, (1) a heavenly hope or (2) an earthly hope. It also seems that those with the heavenly hope are limited in number and are going to heaven to rule with Christ as kings, priests, and judges either on the earth or over the earth from heaven. It seems that those with earthly hope are going to receive eternal life here on a paradise earth as originally intended.
In the O[ld] T[estament] the kingdom of God is usually described in terms of a redeemed earth; this is especially clear in the book of Isaiah, where the final state of the universe is already called new heavens and a new earth (65:17; 66:22) The nature of this renewal was perceived only very dimly by OT authors, but they did express the belief that a humans ultimate destiny is an earthly one. [It is unwise to speak of the written Word of God as if it were of human origin, saying ‘OT authors express the belief,’ when what was written is the meaning and message of what God wanted to convey by means of the human author. – Edward D. Andrews] This vision is clarified in the N[ew] T[estament]. Jesus speaks of the “renewal” of the world (Matt 19:28), Peter of the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21). Paul writes that the universe will be redeemed by God from its current state of bondage (Rom. 8:18-21). This is confirmed by Peter, who describes the new heavens and the new earth as the Christian’s hope (2 Pet. 3:13). Finally, the book of Revelation includes a glorious vision of the end of the present universe and the creation of a new universe, full of righteousness and the presence of God. The vision is confirmed by God in the awesome declaration: “I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:1-8).
The new heavens and the new earth will be the renewed creation that will fulfill the purpose for which God created the universe. It will be characterized by the complete rule of God and by the full realization of the final goal of redemption: “Now the dwelling of God is with men” (Rev. 21:3).
The fact that the universe will be created anew [Create anew does not mean complete destruction followed by a re-creation, but instead a renewal of the present universe. – Edward D. Andrews] shows that God’s goals for humans is not an ethereal and disembodied existence, but a bodily existence on a perfected earth. The scene of the beatific vision is the new earth. The spiritual does not exclude the created order and will be fully realized only within a perfected creation. (Elwell 2001, 828-29)
“The woman,” this angelic heavenly organization, was battling Satan and his seed to protect the coming seed of the woman. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, King David, and others could have faith in the promised seed that was prophesied to come through their genealogical line. (Genesis 22:15-18; 26:4; 28:14) Satan and his seed of demons and wicked humans often persecuted and killed these servants.—Hebrews 11:1, 2, 32-38.
Enmity Between Two Seeds
First, we have the seed of the Serpent. Of course, the angels who forsook their dwelling place in the heaven, to rebel with Satan against the sovereignty of God. Revelation 12:9 says, “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world, he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Further, John 8:44 says, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Anyone who stands in opposition to Jesus Christ, they too, are the seed of Satan. He is their figurative father.
They were part of Satan’s seed, serving him as their figurative father. Many other humans throughout history have similarly identified themselves by doing Satan’s will, particularly in opposing and persecuting the disciples of Jesus. Collectively, these humans may be described as making up Satan’s visible organization on earth.—See John 15:20; 16:33; 17:15.
The End of the Woman, the Serpent, and the Seeds Excursion
Genesis 3:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 To the woman he said,
“I will surely increase your pain and your pregnancy;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”
The grief, distress, and pain connected with giving birth is associated with the first sin. God revealed to Eve, after she had sinned, what the outcome would be as to childbearing. If she had continued to be faithful, God would have continued to bless her and childbearing would have been a joy, for, “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22) However, now, generally speaking, the woman is an imperfect human, missing the mark of perfection (sin), and her body brings forth pain. We have to understand that many times when God says he is doing something, it is actually something that he permits to be done. Therefore, when God says that he is going to “multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain,” it really means that God is going to allow the bad results of her free will choice that she made under human perfection, as an object lesson for rejecting his sovereignty and choose to sin against her creator willfully.
While it is true that modern medicine can relieve the pain of pregnancy and childbearing, and in some cases, bring about no pain whatsoever at all by good care and preparatory methods. Nevertheless, usually, childbirth continues as a physically distressing experience.—Genesis 35:16-20; Isaiah 26:17.
Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you: The short answer is “no.” Instead, “the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth,” had been cursed by God. (Revelation 12:9; Genesis 3:14) When God said that Adam would “rule over” his wife, God was not meaning that he approved of bringing the woman under domination or control by man. (Genesis 3:16) He was merely foretelling the tragic outcome of sin on the first husband and wife.
Consequently, the abuse of women that has been so common over the past six millennia is a direct outcome of the sinful nature of humans, not of God’s will and purposes. The Bible in no way supports the idea that women must be controlled or dominated by men in order to atone for the original sin.—Romans 5:12.
Genesis 3:17–19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
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 plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
Genesis 3:17–19. The curse that Jehovah God had placed on the ground meant that cultivation would be a far greater task than it would have been had Adam not sinned. Lamech, Noah’s father, in connection with the thorns and thistles, expresses this level of the curse, “the painful toil of our hands.” (Gen 5:29) The curse was lifted after the flood, at which time God blessed his faithful servants Noah and his sons. (Gen 9:1) Jehovah gave Noah and his family a good start, reissued the command to multiply and fill the earth (Gen 13:10), and placed under man’s power the animal and plant realms, with no handicapping curse on the earth: “I will never again curse the soil because of man.” However, take note that the work of cultivating the entire earth given to Adam was not contained within that given to Noah. This suggests that there would not be an earth-wide paradise accomplished by imperfect man just because the curse was lifted. – Gen. 1:28; 6:17; 8:21; 9:1-17.
The keyword in the sentence of the man is the soil. The curse (Gen. 9:25, n.) of the soil is the want of the fruit trees with which the garden was planted, and of that spontaneous growth which would have rendered the toil of man unnecessary. The rank growth of thorns and thistles was also a part of the curse which it occasioned to man when fallen. His sorrow was to arise from the labor and sweat with which he was to draw from the ground the means of subsistence. Instead of the spontaneous fruits of the garden, the herb of the field, which required diligent cultivation, was henceforth to constitute a principal part of his support. And he had the dreary prospect before him of returning at length to the ground whence he was taken. He had an element of dust in him, and this organic frame was eventually to work out its own decay, when apart from the tree of life.
It is to be observed that here is the first allusion to that death which was the essential part of the sentence pronounced on the fallen race. The reasons of this are obvious. The sentence of death on those who should eat of the forbidden fruit had been already pronounced and was well known to our first parents. Death consisted in the privation of that life which lay in the light of the divine countenance, shining with approving love on an innocent child, and therefore was begun on the first act of disobedience, in the shame and fear of a guilty conscience. The few traits of earthly discomfort which the sentences disclose, are merely the workings of the death here spoken of in the present stage of our existence. And the execution of the sentence, which comes to view in the following passage, is the formal accomplishment of the warning given to the transgressor of the divine will.
In this narrative the language is so simple as to present no critical difficulty. And, on reviewing the passage, the first thing we have to observe is, that the event here recorded is a turning-point of transcendent import in the history of man. It is no less than turning from confidence in God to confidence in his creature when contradicting him, and, moreover, from obedience to his express and well-remembered command to obedience to the dictates of misguided self-interest. It is obvious that, to the moral character of the transaction, it is of no consequence who the third party was who dared to contradict and malign his Maker. The guilt of man consists simply in disobeying the sole command of his beneficent Creator. The only mitigating circumstance is the suggestion of evil by an external party. But the more insignificant the only ostensible source of temptation, the more inexcusable the guilt of man in giving way to it.
This act altered fundamentally the position and character of man. He thereby descended from innocence to guilt in point of law, and at the same time from holiness to sin in point of character. Tremendous was the change, and equally tremendous the consequence. Death is, like most scriptural terms, a pregnant word, and here to be understood in the full compass of its meaning. It is the privation, not of existence, as is often confusedly supposed, but of life, in all its plenitude of meaning. As life includes all the gratifications of which our human susceptibilities are capable, so death is the privation of all the sources of human enjoyment, and among them of the physical life itself, while the craving for ease and the sense of pain retain all their force in the spiritual part of our nature. These poignant emotions reach their highest pitch of intensity when they touch the conscience, the tenderest part of our being, and forebode the meeting of the soul, in its guilty state, with a just and holy God.
This event is real. The narrative expresses in its strongest terms its reality. The event is one of the two alternatives which must follow from the preceding statements concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and affords an explanation of their nature. It is no less essential to account for that which follows. The problem of the history and condition of man can only be solved by this primeval fact. Conscience still remains an imperishable monument, on the one hand, of his having been formed after a perfect model; and, on the other, of his having fallen from his high estate. And all the facts of his history carry up his fall as far as the traditions of human memory reach.
And the narrative here is a literal record of the details of this great event. So far as regards God and man, the literality has never been questioned by those who acknowledge the event to be real. Some, however, have taken the serpent to be, not a literal, but a figurative serpent; not an animal, but a spiritual being. The great dragon, indeed, is identified with “the ancient serpent called the devil and Satan.” And hence we know that a being of a higher nature than the mere animal was present and active on this occasion. And this spiritual being was with great propriety called the serpent, both from its serpentine qualities and from choosing the serpent as the most suitable mask under which to tempt our first parents. But we cannot thence infer that a literal serpent was not employed in the temptation. The serpent is said to be “more subtle than any beast of the field.” 1st. The obvious meaning of this is, that it was itself a beast of the field. Thus Joseph, whom Israel loved more than all his children, was one of his children (Gen. 37:8). He that was higher than any of the people, was himself one of the people (2 Sam. 9:2). 2d. If the serpent be here figurative, and denote a spirit, the statement that it was subtle above all the beasts of the field is feeble and inadequate to the occasion. It is not so, that man is distinguished from the other animals. In much more forcible language ought the old serpent to be distinguished from the unreasoning brute. 3d. We have seen a meetness in a being of flesh, and that not superior, or even equal to man, being permitted to be employed as the medium of temptation. Man was thereby put at no disadvantage. His senses were not confounded by a supersensible manifestation. His presence of mind was not disturbed by an unusual appearance. 4th. The actions ascribed to the tempter agree with the literal serpent. Wounding the heel, creeping on the belly, and biting the dust, are suitable to a mere animal, and especially to the serpent. The only exception is the speaking, and, what is implied in this, the reasoning. These, however, do not disprove the presence of the literal serpent when accompanied with a plain statement of its presence. They only indicate, and that to more experienced observers than our first parents, the presence of a lurking spirit, expressing its thoughts by the organs of the serpent.
It may be thought strange that the sacred writer does not explicitly notice the presence of this higher being. But it is the manner of Scripture not to distinguish and explain all the realities which it relates, but to describe the obvious phenomena as they present themselves to the senses; especially when the scope of the narrative does not require; more, and a future revelation or the exercise of a sanctified experience will in due time bring out their interpretation. Thus the doings of the magicians in Egypt are not distinguished from those of Moses by any disparaging epithet (Ex. 7:10–12). Only those of Moses are greater and indicate thereby a higher power. The witch of Endor is consulted, and Samuel appears; but the narrative is not careful to distinguish then and there whether by the means of witchcraft or by the very power of God. It was not necessary for the moral training of our first parents to know who the real tempter was at that early stage of their existence. It would not have altered the essential nature of the temptation, the sentence pronounced on any of the parties, or the hopes held out to those who were beguiled.
This brings into view a system of analogy and mutual relation pervading the whole of Scripture as well as nature, according to which the lower order of things is a natural type of the higher, and the nearer of the more remote. This law displays itself in the history of creation, which, in the creative work of the six days, figures to our minds, and, as it were, lays out in the distance those other antecedent processes of creative power that have intervened since the first and absolute creation; in the nature of man, which presents on the surface the animal operations in wonderful harmony with the spiritual functions of his complex being; in the history of man, where the nearer in history, in prophecy, in space, in time, in quality, matter, life, vegetative and animate, shadow forth the more remote. All these examples of the scriptural method of standing on and starting from the near to the far are founded upon the simple fact that nature is a rational system of things, every part of which has its counterpart in every other. Hence the history of one thing is, in a certain form, the history of all things of the same kind.
The serpent is of a crafty instinct and finds its legitimate place at the lowest step of the animal system. Satan seeks the opportunity of tempting Adam, and, in the fitness of things, turns to the serpent as the ready medium of his assault upon human integrity. He was limited to such a medium. He was not permitted to have any intercourse with man, except through the senses and in the way of speech. He was also necessitated to have recourse to the serpent, as the only creature suited to his purpose.
The place of the serpent in the scale of animals was in keeping with the crookedness of its instinct. It was cursed above all cattle, as it was inferior to them in the want of those limbs which serve for rising, moving, and holding; such as legs and arms. This meaning of cursed is familiar to Scripture. “Cursed is the ground for thy seed” (Gen. 3:17). It needed the toil of man to repress thorns and thistles and cultivate plants more useful and needful to man. “This people who does not know the law are cursed” (John 7:49). This is a relative use of the word, by which a thing is said to be cursed in respect of its failing to serve a particular end. Hence the serpent’s condition was a fit emblem of the spiritual serpent’s punishment for its evil doings regarding man.
Through the inscrutable wisdom of the divine providence, however, it was not necessary, or may not have been necessary, to change in the main the state of the natural serpent or the natural earth in order to carry out the ends of justice. The former symbolized in a very striking manner the helplessness and disappointment of the enemy of man. The latter exacted that labor of man which was the just consequence of his disobedience. This consequence would have been avoided if he had continued to be entitled to the tree of life, which could no doubt have been propagated beyond its original bounds. But a change in the moral relation of the heart towards God brings along with it in the unsearchable ways of divine wisdom a change as great in the bearing of the events of time on the destiny of man. While the heart is with God, all things work together for good to us. When the heart is estranged from him, all things as inevitably work together for evil, without any material alteration in the system of nature.
We may even ascend a step higher into the mysteries of providence; for a disobedient heart, that forms the undeserving object of the divine compassion, may be for a time the unconscious slave of a train of circumstances, which is working out its recovery from the curse as well as the power of sin through the teaching of the Divine Spirit. The series of events may be the same in which another is floating down the stream of perdition. But to the former these events are the turning-points of a wondrous moral training, which is to end in reconciliation to God and restoration to his likeness.
A race, in like manner, that has fallen from communion with God, may be the subject of a purpose of mercy, which works out, in the providence of God, the return of some to his home and love, and the wandering of others away further and further into the darkness and misery of enmity with God.
And though this system of things is simple and uniform in the eyes of the only wise God, yet to human view parts of it appear only as special arrangements and retributions, exactly meeting the case of man and serving for his moral education. No doubt they are so. But they are also parts of a constant course of nature, pursued with undeviating regularity, yet ordered with such infallible wisdom as to accomplish at the same time both general and special ends. Hence, without any essential change in the serpent’s natural instincts, it serves for a striking monument of the defeat and destruction of the devil and his works. The ground, without any change in its inherent nature, but merely by the removal, it may be, of the tree of life, is cursed to man, as it demands that toil which is the mark of a fallen race.
The question of miracles, or special interpositions of the divine will and power which cross the laws of nature, is not now before us. By the very definition of miracles they transcend the laws of nature; that is, of that system of events which is known to us by observation. But it does not follow that they transcend a higher law of the divine plan, which may be brought to light partly by revelation and a deeper study of ourselves and things around us. By the investigations of geology we seem compelled to acknowledge a succession of creations at great intervals of time, as a law of the divine procedure on our globe. But, thousands of years before geology was conceived, one such creation, subsequent to the great primal act by which the universe was called into existence, was made known to us by divine revelation. And beside periodical miracle, we find recorded in the book of revelation a series of miracles, which were performed in pursuance of the divine purpose of grace toward the fallen race of man. These are certainly above nature, according to the largest view of it which has ever been current among our philosophers. But let us not therefore imagine that they are above reason or grace,—above the resources and determinations of the divine mind and will concerning the development of the universe.
Genesis 3:20–21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
20 Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And Jehovah God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
Genesis 3:20-21. These verses record two very significant acts consequent upon the judgment: one on the part of Adam, and another on the part of God.
Genesis 3:20. The man here no doubt refers to two expressions in the sentences he had heard pronounced on the serpent and the woman. “He,” the seed of the woman, “shall bruise thy head.” Here it is the woman who is to bear the seed. And this seed is to bruise the serpent’s head; that is, in some way to undo what had been done for the death of man, and so reinvest him with life. This life was therefore to come by the woman. Again, in the address of the judge to the woman he had heard the words, “Thou shalt bear children.” These children are the seed, among whom is to be the bruiser of the serpent’s head, and the author of life. And in an humbler, nearer sense, the woman is to be the mother of children, who are the living, and perpetuate the life of the race amid the ravages which death is daily committing on its individual members. These glimmerings of hope for the future make a deep impression upon the father of mankind. He perceives and believes that through the woman in some way is to come salvation for the race. He gives permanent expression to his hope in the significant name which he gives to his wife. Here we see to our unspeakable satisfaction the dawn of faith,—a faith indicating a new beginning of spiritual life, and exercising a salutary influence on the will, faintly illuminating the dark bosom of our first parent. The mother of mankind has also come to a better mind. The high and Holy Spirit has in mercy withdrawn the cloud of misconception from the minds of both, and faith in Jehovah and repentance have sprung up in their new-born souls.
Genesis 3:21. As the preceding verse records an instance of humble, apprehending faith in the divine word, so here we have a manifest act of mercy on the part of God, indicating the pardon and acceptance of confessing, believing man, rejoicing in anticipation of that future victory over the serpent which was to be accomplished by the seed of the woman. This act is also suitable to the present circumstances of man, and at the same time strikingly significant of the higher blessings connected with restoration to the divine favor. He had discovered his nakedness, and God provides him with a suitable covering. He was to be exposed to the variations of climate, and here was a durable protection against the weather. But far more than this. He had become morally naked, destitute of that peace of conscience which is an impenetrable shield against the shame of being blamed and the fear of being punished; and the coats of skin were a faithful emblem and a manifest guarantee of those robes of righteousness which were hereafter to be provided for the penitent in default of that original righteousness which he had lost by transgression. And, finally, there is something remarkable in the material out of which the coats were made. They were most likely obtained by the death of animals; and as they do not appear yet to have been slain for food, some have been led to conjecture that they were offered in sacrifice,—slain in prefiguration of that subsequent availing sacrifice which was to take away sin. It is the safer course, however, to leave the origin of sacrifice an open question. Scripture does not intimate that the skins were obtained in consequence of sacrifice; and apart from the presumption derived from these skins, it seems to trace the origin of sacrifice to the act of Habel recorded in the next chapter.
This leads us to a law, which we find frequently exhibited in Sacred Scripture, that some events are recorded without any connection or significance apparent on the surface of the narrative, while at the same time they betoken a greater amount of spiritual knowledge than we are wont to ascribe to the age in which they occurred. The bare fact which the writer states, being looked at with our eyes, may have no significance. But regarded, as it ought to be, with the eyes of the narrator, cognizant of all that he has to record up to his own time, it becomes pregnant with a new meaning, which would not otherwise have been discovered. Even this, however, may not exhaust the import of a passage contained in an inspired writing. To arrive at the full sense it may need to be contemplated with the eyes of the Holy Spirit, conscious of all that is to become matter of revelation to the end of time. It will then stand forth in all the comprehensiveness of meaning which its relation to the whole body of revealed truth imparts, and under the guise of an every-day matter of fact will convey some of the sublimest aspects of divine truth. Hence, the subsequent scripture, which is the language of the Holy Spirit, may aid us in penetrating the hidden meaning of an earlier part of revelation.
God is the prime mover in this matter. The mercy of God alone is the source of pardon, of the mode in which he may pardon and yet be just, and of the power by which the sinner may be led to accept it with penitence and gratitude. In the brevity of the narrative the results only are noted; namely, the intimation and the earnest of pardon on the side of God, and the feelings and doings of faith and repentance on the side of the parents of mankind. What indications God may have given by the impressive figure of sacrifice or otherwise of the penalty being paid by another for the sinner, as a necessary condition of forgiveness, we are not here informed, simply because those for whom a written record was necessary would learn it more fully at a subsequent stage of the narrative. This suggests two remarks important for interpretation: 1st. This document is written by one who omits many things done and said to primeval man, because they are unnecessary for those for whom he writes, or because the principles they involve will come forward in a more distinct form in a future part of his work. This practice speaks for Moses being not the mere collector, but the composer of the documents contained in Genesis, out of such preexistent materials as may have come to his hand or his mind. 2nd. We are not to import into the narrative a doctrine or institution in all the development it may have received at the latest period of revelation. This would be contrary to the manner in which God was wont to teach man. That concrete form of a great principle, which comported with the infantile state of the early mind, is first presented. The germ planted in the opening, fertile mind, springs forth and grows. The revelations and institutions of God grow with it in compass and grandeur. The germ was truth fitted for babes; the full-grown tree is only the same truth expanded in the advancing development of men and things. They equally err who stretch the past to the measure of the present, and who judge either the past or the future by the standard of the present. Well-meaning but inconsiderate critics have gone to both extremes.
By James G. Murphy and Edward D. Andrews
- Edward D Andrews, BIBLE DIFFICULTIES: How to Approach Difficulties In the Bible, Christian Publishing House. 2020.
- Edward D. Andrews, INTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics, Christian Publishing House, 2016.
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- Hermann J. Austel, R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999).
- Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003).
- James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
- John Joseph Owens, Analytical Key to the Old Testament, vol. 1-4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989).
- John F. MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
- Robert L. Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition (Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998).
- Thomas Howe; Norman L. Geisler. Big Book of Bible Difficulties, The: Clear and Concise Answers from Genesis to Revelation. Kindle Edition.
- Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Chronology, Old Testament,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988).
- W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996).