The Temptation: Genesis 3:1-5
“1) Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2) The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3) but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4) The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5) For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”” Genesis‬ ‭3‬:‭1‬-‭5‬
Let’s take a moment and look at Satan’s actual temptation of Eve. Note that he bypassed the human spirit and aimed his temptation at the human flesh and soul. In doing so, he did four basic things.
First, he twisted God’s Word… that’s deception. Second, he challenged God’s authority… that’s rebellion. Third, he questioned God’s character… that’s subversion. Finally, he posed the possibility of human godhood… that’s false religion, spiritism and the occult. In five short verses, the serpent clouded the human soul with darkness and obscured the human spirit which is the inner window to the truth and light of God.
As observed in the last section, Eve did not listen to her spirit or consult God with her decision. She acted on the level of her flesh and soul and took the bait and gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
It has been noted from texts like 2 Corinthians 11:3, that Eve was deceived while Adam willfully disobeyed God. Thus, his violation was more severe.
In referring back to Ephesians 2:1; Paul said, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” The word “sin” means to fall short or miss the mark. But the word “transgress” means to willfully step over a set line or clearly defined boundary.
It can be argued that Eve was deceived and sinned, while Adam willfully transgressed and disobeyed God. It really doesn’t matter, the results were the same. The human spirit died and humanity was clothed with death and mortality.
(I believe there is a play on the word “clothed” in the biblical text that comes from comparing Genesis 3:21 with 2 Corinthians 5:1-5. It was at this point as a result of the fall that God “clothed humanity with mortality.” According to 1 Corinthians 15:50-55, the ultimate promise of our salvation is to “put on” immortality.)
Look what happened next. Because of shame, Adam and Eve ran and tried to hide from God behind the trees of the garden. The Creation which was intended to be the window through which people see God, became a wall behind which Adam and Eve tried to run and hide from God.
Such is the dynamic behind the Creation/evolution debate today. The first attempts look at the natural realm in such a way as to discover Creator God. The second attempts to interpret the natural realm in such a way as to explain away the very existence of God.
The curse God pronounced on the serpent is worthy of mention; “on your belly you shall go and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.” (Vs14) Dust seems like a very innocent and bland diet, until the observant student reads on in the text and discovers that the word “dust” is mentioned again. In verse 19, God said to Adam; “… till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken, because you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Did you make the connection? God was referring to “death dust.” Satan was destined to feed on human misery, suffering and death. In John 10:10, Jesus observed; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”
In this verse we see two kingdoms in conflict. The thief who rules the kingdom of darkness is preoccupied with human misery and death. From Genesis 3:14, we could call it “death dust.” He seeks to bring a painful and tragic end to human life.
By contrast, Jesus promised life, and life more abundantly. Would you like to guess which Greek word Jesus used for this abundant life? Yes, He came to bring “Zoe life.” He came to revive the human spirit and impart life on the level of the Spirit.
Every temptation of Satan targets the human flesh and soul and tries to prevent people from seeing the light of the gospel and the glories God has for us “in Christ.” (See 2 Corinthians 4:3-4) He does not want people to be saved and ushered into the full benefits and glory of “Zoe life.”
This may be abrupt end to this section, but let me leave you with a three troubling question. First, is it possible for a person to become a born-again Christian and because of ignorance go on living on the level of the flesh and soul? Second, does Satan work to prevent Christians from walking in the spirit/Spirit, and thereby forfeit all the blessings in the heavenly places “in Christ?” (Ephesians 1:3) Finally, could it be that our modern understanding of “the normal Christian life” is actually biblically abnormal and far short of what the early Christians understood and experienced related to Zoe life?
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global