”Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”—Genesis 3:1-24

The opening chapter of the first book of the Bible tells us how our Lord Jesus Christ created the world in six days. The creation account was believed by all the apostles who testified in the book of Acts, ‘Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is’. On the sixth day God created man and on the seventh day He rested ‘from all his work which God created and made’.

The breath of God

In chapter two of Genesis various things concerning aspects of creation are enlarged upon and explained. Details are included that did not find a place in the initial account of chapter one, such as to how the earth was watered before ever it rained, the method employed to make man from the dust of the earth by the breath of God, and how woman was formed from the rib of the man. There is an account of the land into which Adam and Eve were placed, their role to tend the garden of Eden, and their authority over the animals.

A tree and a test

Also in chapter two we learn of a tree singled out from amongst all the trees in the garden concerning which Adam is told by God, ‘of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die’. This tree we later learn seemed good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise. By it man’s obedience to God was tested, tried and found wanting.

A snake that speaks

In chapter three Eve is enticed and deceived by a serpent possessed it appears by Satan as a means to gain Eve’s attention. This was a real snake yet it could speak, reason, cajole and deceive Eve and did so by tempting her to eat of the fruit of the tree God had warned against. Satan set his trap with promises of life, wisdom, knowledge of good and evil, even divinity itself. All of which tempted Eve and Adam and brought them into disobedience.

Shame guilt and nakedness

The immediate result of eating the fruit was shame, guilt and an awareness they were naked. Adam and Eve tried to cover their shame with leaves plucked from the trees around them but it was a vain effort. The Lord made coats of skins, and clothed them. This act signified how disobedience brings death and the shedding of blood.

Paradise lost

Because of their sin Adam and Eve were expelled from the presence of God, driven from the beauty and bounty of Eden, and made subject to physical and spiritual death. Life for man would hereafter be full of sorrow, labour, loss and blame. Adam and Eve had rebelled against God, fallen into condemnation and brought all their children and descendants under the same curse.

A word of hope

However, amid the reckoning for their sin Adam and Eve were privy to a statement from God to be noted and remembered. It was a statement of hope. As Satan’s curse was being pronounced the Lord declared the words we shall take for tomorrow’s verse. There in the presence of the guilty sinners God told the serpent, ‘I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel’. 

An enduring enmity

This little passage speaks of enmity, or hostility and hatred, between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. From that time forth there has always been a mutual abhorrence between mankind and snakes, but mystically this enmity was fixed between the powers of evil, wicked angels and rebellious men, and the church and people of God. The former hating and persecuting the latter.

A gospel promise

Yet there is an even higher significance to the Lord’s words. They contain a promise. This promise is about one particular seed, a man whose heel would be bruised by the serpent but who in turn would bruise the serpent’s head to destroy him. Here in the Garden of Eden, on the very day sin entered the world, in the immediate aftermath of the Fall of Man and Adam’s loss of fellowship with God, Christ the Eternal Word supplied a gospel promise of hope and recovery.

The price of redemption

In the coming weeks as the world prepares for Christmas we shall do well to remember the longstanding promises of God concerning Christ’s coming. Christ’s incarnation was the fulfilment of God’s purpose to secure reconciliation for His people. In the midst of judgment Adam and Eve obtained a promise of deliverance, though not without price. It pleased the Lord that our Redeemer be bruised, yet our Saviour in turn has by His suffering bruised that old serpent’s head and destroyed the works of the devil.


Peter Meney


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