How could we not take a look at the animal that initiated the greatest deceit of all time? That even sounds like an exaggeration, but it isn’t. It was through the serpent, who was more crafty than any of the wild animals (Gen 3:1), that Eve and Adam were led to the first sin.
There is one strange thing that I have never heard any comments on in this story. The serpent speaks. Does it speak like the shows we see on television in which animals actually use words to communicate? Or is this more of a suggestive telepathy? I find it interesting, as there are other indications that there have been changes between animals since Eden, such as Genesis 1:29-30 which says that all animals ate plants. Well, that has changed. You see, what is strange is that Adam and Eve were not aware of this as being an oddity. As to this point, they did not see evil and good, all just was. I can only guess there was no fear and skepticism in the face of the newness of a talking animal, as evil and good had not yet been revealed to them.
Most understand the serpent to be a manifestation of Satan who is speaking, I get that. However, the follow up in that the serpent is called cunning or crafty, which implies deceitful. All that God made was good, so how is the animal deceitful? I can only guess that the serpent had already succumbed to the influences of Satan and his hope for dominion over all God’s creation. I find it worth noting that Satan had likely already begun his crafty plans when he approached Eve.
Eve succumbs to the temptation and eats of the fruit. I would venture to say that this was not an apple and in fact was of a tree that we no longer find here. I think there was only one at the time, and the seed was its fruit, as it took very little to multiply evil and good. So, I would bet that the tree is no longer around, but we won’t know until we are through with this time.
The next interesting thing that we find in the text is that Eve turns to Adam who was with her. Yes, those who say that Eve led Adam astray should return to very verse where it says she ate. Genesis 3:6 says ‘When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.’ All in the same verse, and one after the other, we see that Eve ate and shared with Adam. Some like to say that he was in another part of the garden and not there while all this was going on. Sure, maybe he joined her at some point in the short discussion and ate without knowing everything. However, I think it much more likely that Adam saw and recognized the fruit and was equally deceived.
The greatest disappointment is Adam’s silence. He and God had walked in the garden together. Adam was God’s right-hand man (but not seated at his right hand), naming the animals and being told that all was for him to rule. So, how could he stand by and let this happen? How could the relationship with Eve and an animal come between them? Was it a simple statement, ‘you will be like God’ (verse 5)? Adam had, literally possessed, all that was around him and lacked nothing. Perhaps this response too had to do with not understanding good and evil. It is hard to understand how guileless Adam and Eve were. It came down to obedience to God or obedience to a serpent. Ugh.
There is the old saying ‘if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.’ I’ve had that quoted to me when others simply don’t like confrontation and therefore choose not to interject anything contrary. Yet, we should also consider general thought is that you were party to the conversation and therefore agree, since you didn’t say anything. So, I would guess that Adam agreed with the discussion since he didn’t say anything. We are often caught in such a position, perhaps believing we are powerless or not the ‘right’ person to state an alternate opinion. I think here we see that if we are the only person present, we have an obligation to say something. Adam could have said something, could have been the one who called for a stop to whole deception. He remained quiet. I suppose that is why it is a deception.
The serpent did not get off the hook any more than we humans did. The serpent was cursed of all animals, made to crawl on its belly and eat dirt all of its days. So, Adam and Eve and the serpent were all punished, and we continue to live in their sin and punishment. But that is not the end of the story, where we all wander off with our heads hung low.
God made garments for Adam and Eve. I find that fascinating. They would have to toil and labor for all, but God toiled first, by making the garments. He cared for them even in his disappointment and sorrow. He made sure they had the cover and protection required for their wellness, mental and physical. Many say he was angry, and wrathful; but even in this he provided and cared.
God’s provision did not stop at the garments. For the hint of the offspring trampling the serpent (Gen 3:15) leads us to the provision of restoration – restoration of our broken relationship with God. As Romans 5:17 says, ‘For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!’ It is through Adam that we were condemned, but in Christ, we live. God provided the solution to the issue from the beginning. God loved us so much that he laid out the plan to bring us back into the fold from the beginning of our troubles.
Our God is mighty to save!