Our professor had just pointed out a famous sculpture of Eve on a cathedral in Strasbourg, France. He commented, “This shows what the sculptor thought of her motivation. He thought she was the Temptress. In front she looks beguiling. But in back she shows signs that she is in league with the serpent!”
This medieval idea is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible says the Tempter in the Garden was the serpent. That is why God cursed the serpent Tempter. And that is one of the reasons why, when we look for a curse on the woman in the Hebrew text, we find none.
Exercise #1: Discover the Bible’s depiction of the Serpent.
1. The two greatest crimes in human history were perpetrated by the serpent. What were they?
a. Genesis 3:1-7, 10, 24
b. Luke 22:3-6, 21-22, 48; 23:44-45
2. a. From John 8:44, how did Jesus describe Satan?
b. How is Jesus’ descriptions supported by the passages in the above passages?
c. How is Jesus’ description supported in Genesis 3:1-5?
3. According to Jesus’ example in Matthew 4:1-10, is listening to and talking with the serpent a sin?
Satan was an equal opportunity tempter. He tempted both the woman and the man. The Hebrew text in Genesis 3:1-5 shows him using plural pronouns each time he says “you.” In other words, he wasn’t aiming his words at just the woman. He was saying you-two, y’all, you-both. And the man was right there listening to all he said. Neither the woman nor the man had ever heard a lie before.
Exercise #2: Separating the lies and the truth.
1. In reading the apostle Paul’s inspired analysis in 2 Corinthians 11:3 and 1 Timothy 2:14, who was deceived, and who was not?
2. Who protected and who revealed the true perpetrator in Genesis 3:1-13? Why is this significant?
The woman became a second-degree offender when she ate of the forbidden fruit. She did not sin on purpose. She ate only after being deceived. However, the man became a first-degree offender. He sinned on purpose.
There is a clear distinction drawn between first- and second-degree sinning in the Bible. God makes that distinction in the judgement of the three that comes next in the Garden of Eden. And God does so at other times later in history.
Exercise #3: Discerning the difference between first- and second-degree sin.
1. Read Joshua 20:1-9
a. What did God command and why?
b. Explain the distinction God made between the crimes and punishments described here.
2. In Genesis 3:14-17, in what ways did God make a distinction between the man, the woman, and the serpent based upon who or what is cursed? (See passage on the next page.)
15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her-offspring;
he will bruise you on the head,
and you will bruise him on the heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
(Line 1) “I will greatly multiply your-sorrowful-toil and-your-conception;
(Line 2) with-effort you-will-give-birth-to children.
(Line 3) Your affection is for your husband
(Line 4) but he will rule over you.”
17 And to the man he said,
“Because you listened the voice of your wife and ate from the tree
about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in sorrowful-toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.”
People are always judging or misjudging who did what in the Garden of Eden. We can gain insight into what happened there by thinking about the differences between 1st degree and 2nd-degree offenders.
The Father of Lies deceived the woman. After she was deceived, the woman took some fruit and took a bite. She gave some to the man who was right there with her and he took a bite. Two bites! These bites were not taken in the same way.
Because the woman ate only after being deceived, she was a 2nd-degree offender. Because the man was not deceived but ate anyway, he was a 1st-degree offender. He sinned on purpose. That is why God made a distinction in the judgments on each one.
See below for links to resources for further research.
1. Chapter 3 of Dr. Joy Fleming’s doctoral research: The e-book summary in 48 pages (https://www.amazon.com/Man-Woman-Biblical-Unity-Theology-ebook/dp/B0792MSWBP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546467124&sr=8-1&keywords=Joy+Fleming+Man+and+woman)
2. Bruce C. E. Fleming’s Workshop video summarizing Genesis 3 (https://youtu.be/g0_gvC28CdA)
3. Move forward the Tru316 Project! (https://www.patreon.com/Tru316Project)
[Eve, Strasbourg Cathedral | Coyau / Wikimedia Commons]