Genesis 3:1-6


This is a historical account and is not an allegory because:

  1. The Toledot formula is used through out Genesis.  Details before and after this account are historical.
  2. Adam is an individual in this story and through out scripture including references by Job, Jesus and Paul
  3. The genealogical records continue to the end of the book of Genesis and beyond.  Each individual is said to have died.


Chapter 3 Dialogues:

  1. The Serpent to the woman
  2. God to the man
  3. God to the serpent, man and woman
  4. Man names the woman
  5. Divine monologue



serpent” is “nahas” the common Hebrew word for serpent used 31 times in the OT (Num. 21:7-9; Deut. 8:15; Prov. 23:32)


The character of the serpent is said to be “crafty” or  ’arum”.

“ ‘arum” is used in Proverbs to mean “prudent,” “shrewd,” “clever.”  This is the opposite of being a “fool” or “simple” in Proverbs.

The use of “ ‘arum” in this case indicates that the serpent use of planning and strategy to manipulate the circumstance.


The serpent addresses the woman although the use of “you” is plural referring to them both:

The woman also says “we may eat.”


The Serpent is a real serpent.

The Serpent is Satan


The serpent’s first statement is not so much a question as it is a statement of shock and disbelief towards God’s character and prohibition.

The talking serpent is simply assumed and does not seem to shock the woman.

The focus on the talking serpent is not that he speaks but in what he says.

The shock to the woman was not that the serpent spoke but what the serpent said.

The serpent’s claims are false but still create a doubt or image in the woman’s mind

The woman is forced to defend God.

This is the first conversation about God.


The serpent causes doubt in the mind of the woman through questioning and misrepresentation:

  1. The serpent questions Gods motives. 
  2. The serpent presents himself to the woman as if he knows God better than the woman.  The serpent seems to know God’s thinking.  The woman is limited to knowing what God said.  The serpent wanted to add something to the word of God by trying to tell the woman additional information beyond the spoken and revealed word.
  3. The serpent misquotes the LORD’s statement from 2:16:
    1. The absolute prohibitions of “not” and “any” are added or changed.
    2. The word “freely” is omitted
    3. Use of the plural “you” and not the singular “you”
    4. “from any tree” is moved from the beginning (freely) to the end (none)
  4. Use of “Elohim” (God) and not “YHWH” (LORD)




The woman attempts to correct the serpent

In an attempt to counter the serpent the woman also adjusts the “Truth”


The woman’s mistakes:

  1. She engaged in conversation with the woman
  2. She mis-stated the word
    1. Becomes legalistic and adds barriers
    2. Softens judgment to help make God look better
  3. Does not recognize that God originally said “free to eat” and “any tree”
  4. Does not call God YHWH (LORD)


What Jesus did right in Matthew 4

  1. Did not engage in a discussion with Satan
  2. Simply quoted scripture as it had been revealed with the meaning that the words had.
  3. Resisted Satan by saying “Get away” as is advised in 1 Peter 5:8, 9




The serpent makes a direct attack on God with a dogmatic statement

He tells the woman not to worry about the penalty of death

The serpent begins to tell Eve God’s inner thoughts indicating that the serpent knows God better than the woman does.



Was Satan right?

Were God’s motives selfish?


  1. God threatened sure death but they did not die when they ate the fruit.
  2. Their eyes were opened (metaphor for gaining knowledge) and they gained information and recognized they were naked.
  3. They did become like God (the Lord said so in 3:22)


The part that was not explained and was part of the twisted truth of the Serpent:

  1. They did not die that day but they would spread death to everyone who they produced.  The book of Genesis (Gen. 5 and 50:26) are filled with death.  Adam and Eve may have wished they had died suddenly and avoided all the death they would cause.
  2. They did gain knowledge but it was knowledge that they wished they could forget.  They realized they were naked which is their shame and vulnerability.  Before they only knew God and his peace and confidence.
  3. They became like God in that they were making their own decisions and isolated themselves from the true God.

All three of the things they gained they wish they never had. 

The serpent spoke the truth although it was twisted and incomplete.