Genesis 3:1-7

Genesis 3: 1-7 on 24 Nov 2013
We have been studying the book of Genesis & today we shall consider Gen 3:1-7.

This is a historical record of the fall of man into sin. 

For our meditation, we shall ask 3 questions pertaining to this passage: 

1) Who is this serpent in Genesis 3? 

2) What did the serpent say to the woman? 

3) Why did God allow all these things to happen to His Creation? 

1) Who is this serpent in Genesis 3? 

He is the devil – Satan himself. 

But who is Satan & where is he from? 

Didn’t we read in Gen 2 that God’s creation was very good? 

How did Satan suddenly appear?  

Was this animal called “the serpent” really Satan himself? 

Or was “the serpent” just a medium used by Satan to deceive Eve? 

The clearest answer we are given to these questions is found in Rev 12:7-9, so let me read that to you. 

7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,  

8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.  

9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 

Now, this is not a StarWars movie portraying something that happened in a galaxy far far away. 

This is the truth about Satan – he is real. 

And he is out to rebel against God. 

Satan & his corrupt angels were at war with God’s holy angels. 

And this happened at some point of time in eternity but we are not told exactly when. 

Satan & his corrupt angels were cast out of heaven & permitted to be on earth. 

And in Rev12:9, we are told specifically told that this Satan is the “serpent of old” mentioned in Gen 3:1. 

The 2nd part of Gen3:1 says “…And he said (take note that it is not “it said”) to the woman…” 

In other words, Satan was the real voice behind this serpent. 

He used the serpent as a medium to deceive the woman. 

Now, why did Satan use the serpent to deceive the woman? 

Why didn’t he use a dog or a cat? 

Listen to how our Lord Jesus described serpents in Matt 10:16 – 

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents & harmless as doves.” 

In other words, serpents were animals that were “smart”, “perceptive”, “discerning” & even “wise”. 

And that is how the word “cunning” in Gen 3:1 is to be understood. 

In fact, that’s how some bible versions have translated that word. 

If your pet dog or cat suddenly speaks to you, I am sure you will “freak out”. 

But you will notice that the woman did not go hysterical when the serpent spoke to her. 

And that was exactly how Satan tricked the woman. 

He used an animal known to be wise, discerning & perceptive. 

And He spoke through this animal as if it was conveying words of wisdom. 

The innocent woman curiously conversed with the serpent as if she was speaking to some cartoon character. 

And before you know it, she had fallen into sin. 

I want to tell you that this is not the end of the story. 

Satan is alive & well on planet earth even now. 

In Job 2, we were given a glimpse of how God makes angels give Him a regular report of their activities. 

Let me read to you Job 2:2 – 

‘And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”’ 

What is Satan doing walking back and forth on the earth for? 

1 Pet 5:8 tells us that he is “…..walking about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 

How did the Apostle Peter know this? 

Because Jesus told him in Luk 22:31 “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” 

But the Apostle Peter took that warning too lightly. 

And He ended up denying our Lord 3 times. 

Friends, I want you to realise that you are engaging in spiritual warfare every day. 

Satan is real & he is a threat to your eternal security. 

He knows that his time is limited before he is sent to hell. 

When Jesus cast out demons in Matt 5:29, they said to him “….Have you come to torment us before the time?” 

So before that appointed time comes, Satan is out to inflict as many casualties as possible! 

Therefore he & his agents are out to deceive us, just as he had done to the woman in the Garden of Eden. 

And Jesus warns us in Matt 24:24 that “…they may even deceive the elect…”  

So let us be warned & let us guard ourselves against how Satan deceives.   

And that brings us to our next question:  

2) What did the serpent say to the woman?

There are 3 things that the serpent said to the woman to deceive her.  

The first is found in verse 1 “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’” 

What is the purpose of asking a question like this? 

If I were to ask you “are you sure our worship service starts at 9:30am?” 

Immediately it makes you a little uncertain as to whether this is true. 

And you start thinking about things that may suggest that our worship service does not start at 9:30am. 

And before you know it, you won’t make it a point to be here by 9:30am. 

Therefore, the whole purpose of Satan asking that question was to cast doubts over God’s commands & truths. 

You will notice that Satan used the same tactic when he tempted our Lord Jesus in Matt 4:3 

“…If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.” 

In other words, “did you say that you are God’s Son?” 

“If you really are, just turn these stones into bread.” 

Is there something that Satan is saying to you in your life now to cast doubts over God’s commandments?  

Perhaps he is saying to you, “Did God really say that we should not be unequally yoked?” 

Or perhaps, “Did the bible really say that you can’t watch that kind of movies?” 

It always begins with a seed of doubt. 

And before you know it, that seed would have grown into a fruit of death. 

The second thing that the serpent said to the woman was “You will not surely die.” 

Now, we know that that was a downright lie! 

Did the woman actually die after taking the serpent’s advice? 

Of course she did. 

And she actually died twice – a spiritual death & a physical death! 

You see, Satan often twists the truth of God to mean what it does not say. 

When he tempted Jesus in Matt 4:6, he said: 

“….For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, …..” 

Satan quoted these words from Psa 91:11 totally out of context. 

And his whole purpose was to trick Jesus into obeying him. 

Is he deceiving you in the same way today? 

Perhaps he is using some verses in God’s word to make you think that you know more than others. 

Perhaps you are so convinced that you are correct in a particular conviction. 

But you don’t realise that your practice of that conviction causes great challenges to the people around you.  

If that was the case, Satan would have achieved his purpose. 

So let us examine ourselves carefully so that we are not tricked by Satan without realising it. 

The 3rd thing that the serpent said to the woman was “God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good & evil”. 

This statement is designed to make the woman feel short-changed. 

Satan made the woman feel that God had denied her of something good which He had kept only for Himself. 

Again Satan used the same tactic to tempt Jesus in Matt 4:8. 

He showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world & promised that Jesus will get them. 

Look at your current state Jesus – hungry & thirsty – did your heavenly Father send you to be like this? 

Worship me & you will get all these kingdoms and not this current state you are in. 

I tell you Satan does the same to me very often. 

He says to me: Do you know how much time you losing with your family just because of all these Church work? 

Do you know how much further you could have gone in your career if you had spent that time on your career instead? 

Are you sure you are called to do this? You are the biggest loser, he tells me! 

And I will tell you that Satan tempts me with things you will never imagine. 

That’s why I keep emphasising that we need to pray for each other in this Church. 

And our prayers have to be beyond people’s illness or travel.  

We have to be praying about their spiritual concerns. 

There are members in this Church who are tempted, struggling spiritually or in grave spiritual danger. 

If we don’t carry out our covenant responsibility to pray for their spiritual needs, then who will? 

Let me once again encourage all our members that you are expected to be at prayer meetings. 

Do talk to me or our Pastor if you have certain views regarding how the conduct of our prayer meetings can be improved.

Now, we know that we constantly face temptations. 

The question is: “how do we overcome these temptations?” 

I want to suggest 2 things you can do: 

1) Flee – don’t fight 

The bible says in 2 Tim 2:2 “Flee youthful lusts….” 

It doesn’t say “Fight youthful lusts….” 


Because James 1:14 tells us that we get “….tempted when we are drawn away by our own desires…..”  

“And when desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin,…..” – James 1:15 

The idea is to prevent any seed of desire be planted in our hearts. 

In other words, go far away from where temptations looms. 

If watching certain movies invoke the wrong desires in you, stay away from them.

If spending time with certain friends result in unhelpful desires & practices, stay away from them. 

I mean….”If you really need to lose weight (like I do), don’t walk near cake shops, isn’t it?” 

When Jesus told Peter that he will deny Him 3 times before the rooster crows, Peter should have stayed away from places where there are roosters – isn’t it? 

And we ought to do what Jesus did when He was tempted in Matt 4.

He used the word of God to silence the devil & moved on without lingering. 

And that is what James 4:7 teaches as well – “Resist the devil & he will flee from you.” 

That is why when Joseph was tempted by Portiphar’s wife, Gen 39:12 says “…he fled & went outside..” 

Remember what Jesus said Matt 5:29?

“If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”

Beloved, flee from temptation; don’t fight it.

2) Secondly – think about God

One of the reasons why people fall into sin is because “their God is too small”.

They look at their temptations.

And all that they see are the “benefits” & “satisfaction” they can get out of doing it.

They think of their God like an earthly father who has lost control of his rebellious child.

And God appears to be helplessly pleading with them not to give in to that temptation.

But is that really the God of the Bible?

The God of the Bible is the Ruler & Judge of this universe.

I was once subpoena-ed to appear in the Singapore High court to be a witness.

I did not do anything wrong, but just standing in front of that judge to be a witness gave me such a sense of fear. 

And that is what we need to remember when temptation stares us in the face.

God omnipresent, the eternal judge, is right there looking at you as you face that temptation.

What did Joseph say when Portiphar’s wife tempted him?

Gen 39:9 “…How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

You see, his thoughts were not on the temptation. 

His thoughts were on the great God who was looking at him.   

And the fear of that great God kept him away from sin. 

Let me also tell you that Joseph’s regard for God was not just one of fear alone. 

It was a regard that was full of joy & love as well. 

Many times, we sin because we have lost the sense of the “joy of salvation”. 

You are not enjoying God & His presence and that’s why you have turned your attention to sin.

That’s why David prayed in Psa 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation”.

Friends, have you been led astray from God because of your sin? 

The good news is that God says in Zech 1:3 “…return to Me…and I will return to you….” 

And in Isa 1:18 “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” 

Your God is greater than your sin & your God is much greater than your temptation. 

So don’t let sin & temptation weigh you down. 

Seek His grace today and seek the restoration of the “joy of His salvation”. 

3) We come now to our final question: Why did God allow all these things to happen to His creation? 

If God is sovereign, why didn’t He stop Satan from tempting the woman? 

Why did He allow such evil to take place? 

These questions are common & not easy to answer. 

The first thing to do is to frame our minds with the words of Deut 29:29. 

29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” 

This verse reminds us that we are mere creatures trying to understand an infinite God. 

And so, we will never understand every reason & purpose in God’s creation. 

We can only understand what He has revealed. 

And from what He has reviewed, we can make some potential deductions. 

There are 3 things that we know from the bible that has bearing on this question: 

1) The first is that God is sovereign. 

God says in Isa 46:10 “…My counsel shall stand & I will accomplish all my purposes.” 

In Ps 135:6 “Whatever the LORD pleases He does, In heaven & on the earth, In the seas & in all the deep places”. 

God is absolutely sovereign & will fulfil all His purposes in eternity.

As such, we can only reverently conclude that the events in Gen 3 were decreed by God according to His sovereignty. 

Yet Adam & Eve were totally responsible for their sins. 

God, omnipotent, omnipresent & omnicient could have prevented Adam & Eve from being deceived. 

But for reasons He did not reveal to us, God allowed it to happen. 

2) The 2nd thing that the bible tells us is that everything happened for God’s glory.

He predestined us for his glory (Ephesians 1:6). 

He created us for his glory (Isaiah 43:7). 

He elected Israel for his glory (Jeremiah 13:11). 

He saved his people from Egypt for his glory (Psalm 106:8). 

He sent Christ into the world so that Gentiles would praise God for his glory (Romans 15:9). 

He commands his people, whether they eat or drink, to do all things for his glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). 

He will send Jesus a second time so that all the redeemed will marvel at his glory (2 Thessalonians 1:9-10). 

Therefore the mission of the church is to “Declare his glory among the nations & his marvellous works among all peoples” (Psalm 96:3). 

3) The 3rd thing that we know from the scriptures is that God is gracious 

Ps 86:15 says God is “…full of compassion, & gracious, longsuffering & abundant in mercy & truth”. 

When Satan sinned against God – what happened? 

Justice is pronounced & Satan is condemned for hell. 

When man sins against God, what do you think the angels, principalities & powers of the universe expect? 

Similar justice! 

But instead of justice, God demonstrated His Grace instead! 

He promised to rescue man in the covenant of grace – Gen 3:15. 

And in the fullness of time, Christ came to fulfil that promise & secure eternal salvation for His people. 

So when the end of time comes, it will be clear to everyone that God is full of compassion & grace. 

And the angels, principalities & power of the universe will worship God in a manner they had never done before. 

And all glory, praise & honour will go to God for His justice & grace demonstrated in His Son Jesus Christ. 

Why did God allow all these things to happen to His Creation? 

It is all for the glory of God! 

We may not see the full picture now because of our limitations. 

But when we appreciate it, it will only result in our praise, adoration & worship of our sovereign and gracious God! 

May God help us see the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom & knowledge of God – Rom 11:33. 

Let me quickly summarise what we have covered this morning: 

1) Who is this serpent in Genesis 3? 

He is the devil, Satan himself. 

2) What did the serpent say to the woman? 

– The serpent said 3 things to tempt her into sin. 

– There are 2 things we can do to avoid falling into temptation: 

• Firstly, flee, don’t fight 

• Secondly, think about God, not the temptation 

3) Why did God allow all these things to happen to His Creation? 

– There are 3 things reviewed in the bible that give us clues for this: 

• God is sovereign 

• Everything happens for God’s glory 

• God is gracious 

May God help us appreciate His will for us & for the world that we may give Him all praise, glory & honour. Amen! 

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By Grace through Faith…..Eph 2:8-9

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