Genesis 3:1-3, Adam and Eve’s Not-so-Hidden Narrative
I have previously proposed that the serpent first encountered mankind when Adam “called out names to all the animals.” (Gen. 2:20) At that event, YHVH Elohim was also present “to see what the man would call them” (cf. 2:19). Furthermore, Adam wanted an ezer k’negedo (rescue as his opposite) in the same way God desired all mankind to have an ezer k’negedo (cf. 2:18, 21). At that moment, Adam’s will was the same as God’s will.
So the serpent found it impossible to “divine” and deceive Adam; Adam likely identified its trick and called out the derogatory name ‘nachash’! (Heb. for serpent, from the root for “to divine”).
This is not an earth-shattering revelation; God’s enemies cannot succeed if His people have a ‘let your will be done’ mentality. That’s been true since the Garden of Eden – literally!
So the serpent could not succeed (in regaining its lost power) if Adam continually followed God’s will. It needed a way to divert Adam’s will from YHVH’s. So it waited for the opportune time when the Presence was away:
And the serpent was clever from every beast of the field which YHVH Elohim made. And it said to the woman, “Even so God said ‘You will not eat from every tree of the garden.” (Genesis 3:1)
First, you may have noticed that the serpent’s statement is an incomplete sentence. In full disclosure, I couldn’t fully grasp the Hebrew. I was only slightly encouraged to learn that there is no consensus among Hebrew scholars as to what it says, but they do agree that the sentence is incomplete. The debatable part is the serpent’s first word af. From what I gather, it means something like “yet” or “although” because it seems to connect two sequential thoughts. For example, Psalm 44:9 denotes worship of the faithful… even so God has not turned to them. Or in Job 4:9, a figure says God puts no trust in angels… even so they who dwell in clay houses are destroyed…
So if the word af connects two relative ideas, what’s relative to the snake’s speech if it only seems to offer half a conversation? Well, let’s consider the last information we have before the snake slithers on scene. We see a joyful marriage of man and wife, and they were naked, but not ashamed (Gen. 2:24-25). Everything was awesome, right? Well, that’s what relative.
Everything was perfect; Even so, there was something unsettled in the happy couple. Though it’s not explicitly offered, it’s not hidden. We can still ascertain the couple’s dilemma based on the conversation that ensues.
So let’s compare the false prophet’s statement to the actual word of God. God never said ‘you will not eat of every tree of the garden.’ What He did say was “from every tree of the garden eating you will eat, but from the Tree of Knowledge you will not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it, by dying you will die.” (Gen. 2:16-17) So the serpent spun God’s original commandment in an entirely negative light. It omitted every detail about God’s luxurious gift, and focused on that lone. negative. aspect.
However, the serpent wasn’t the only one to spin God’s commandment:
“And the woman said to the serpent, “from fruit of the tree of the garden we may eat, and from fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the Garden God said “You will not eat from it, and not lay a hand on it, lest we die.”” (Genesis 3:2)
If you compare her statement with God’s, you notice Eve both added and subtracted from the original Word. You may also know how dangerous that can be from the words of both Torah and Messiah:
- “You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahweh your God which I command you.” (Deu. 4:2)
- “you no longer allow [a man] to do anything for his father or his mother, making void the word of God by your tradition, which you have handed down. You do many things like this.” (Mark 7:13)
Nevertheless the entire word of blessing “eating you will eat” disappears from Eve’s lips. And likewise, eating from every tree became lumped into the fruit of just one tree. In other words, she makes everything God gave them 50/50 on-par with that one tree they couldn’t have. Next, she added the phrase “and not lay a hand on it.”
I proposed before that there was a purpose to the Tree of Knowledge, but it wasn’t for tempting Adam and Eve. Its purpose is open to conjecture, but it certainly wasn’t poison.
Eve is sometimes unfairly blamed, but she wasn’t there to hear the original commandment. Adam was responsible for teaching it to Eve, so it seems that he shoulders some of the blame for adding and redacting God’s Word.
But basically, Eve agreed with the serpent. The serpent said ‘you can’t eat it’ and the woman said ‘we can eat this… yep, you’re right, we can’t eat it.’ She would never rebuke the serpent as Adam had once done, because by this time the snake had learned their common denominator.
You see, the serpent exploited the unsettled narrative in Adam and Eve’s marriage. That lone tree grew in mystique until it became equal to everything YHVH gave them. Like all marriages, a husband and wife should carefully teach and observe the unadulterated Word without adding or redacting it, all the while thankful for every single BLESSING. However, that didn’t happen. They lost their thanksgiving, and in its place stood a negative narrative on everything… they couldn’t have.
And then the serpent entered stage right.
But the deception had roots in Adam and Eve well before the serpent joined the narrative.
If only I was there! I wouldn’t have focused on the one thing I couldn’t have… right? ♦