Survey of Genesis: Chapter 3

Survey of Genesis: Chapter 3

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Beginning in Genesis 3 sin becomes a primary player in rest of the Bible story. The redemption of man through the sacrifice of Jesus is the story of the Bible, and Genesis 3 explains the reason why such a plan for man’s redemption was necessary.


  1. Without explanation of his origin or nature, Moses begins writing about “the serpent” and his craftiness (1).
  2. Eve responds to the serpent that God has given them permission to eat from every tree except one. She even reveals that God’s instructions included the prohibition from even touching the fruit (2-3).
  3. Satan then goes for the kill by directly contradicting God: “You will not surely die” (4). Instead, according to the tempter, God knew that eating from the forbidden tree would open Eve’s eyes and make her like God (5) – something she already was (1:27)!
  4. Eve takes another look at the forbidden tree – with newly formed doubts about the character of God – and eats its fruit. She gave some to Adam, who was with her, and he ate some of it, too (6).
  5. Immediately, their eyes were opened (7).


  1. The sinful couple hears God walking in the garden, and their shame causes them to hide among the trees (8).
  2. When God asks Adam, “Where are you?” (9) he is not seeking information. He knows exactly what has happened and where they are. He is opening the conversation by giving them an opportunity to confess.
  3. Adam offers an honest response (10) that God probes further (11). At God’s specific question, Adam tries to deflect attention from himself and his actions to Eve and God (12). When God questions Eve, she tries to deflect attention to the serpent (13).

THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN (3:14-19, 22-24)

  1. For the serpent (14-15)
    1. A physical curse (14): whatever the serpent’s form and beauty before this curse, from that day forward it would glide on its belly. The eating of dust is a graphic depiction of its humiliation, not an indication of diet.
    2. A spiritual curse (15): a hostile relationship between Satan (and his seed) and the woman (and her seed) will ultimately end in Satan’s defeat.
  2. For the woman (16)
    1. The process of birthing children would be a difficult and painful one; but the joy of new life would be greater (John 16:21).
    2. The subordination of the wife to the authority of her husband was not instituted here (cf. 1 Tim. 2:13), but merely restated because Eve stepped over that boundary and Adam allowed it.
  3. For the man (17-19)
    1. The curse is placed on the earth, which would become man’s adversary, not yielding its life-giving fruit without his hard work and suffering (17-18). Paul later wrote that “the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly” (Rom. 8:20).
    2. And in the end, the earth would conquer him as he is buried in it and decays (19; cf. Ecc. 12:7).
  4. For all (22-24): separation from the tree of life.

THE COVERING (3:20-21)

  1. In a parenthetical statement, we learn that Adam named his wife “Eve” (life) because she was the mother of all living (20).
  2. In what seems on the surface to be a incidental act, we find one of the most profound – God clothed Adam and Eve with “garments of skin” (21), which may have been to emphasize the consequences of sin and the need for sin to be covered.