‘When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate…’
The woman knows –by seeing – that the fruit can be touched without any harm to her –and that it is good for food. She also sees that it a ‘delight to the eyes’ –similar words as used in Genesis 2:9 to describe the trees made by YeHoWaH Elohim –‘pleasing to the sight/in appearance and good for food’. Again evidence confirmed by her natural eyes – the serpent thus strengthening her reasoning by way of the flesh. Two counts in favour of the serpent’s lie concerning God’s intention for them. Two things she has (so far) learnt by experience with her eyes of flesh. The serpent was right on both counts, then comes the third: fully aware of her design as an ‘ezer kenegedo’ the serpent dangles what appears to be a legitimate ‘good’ before her eyes of understanding:
‘In the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’
It is the ‘you will be like God’ that is the clincher, that confirms the serpents words as being truly from God, and she takes it hook, line and sinker. It is her ‘desire to be like God’ that should echo in everyone who’s heart is for God, desiring to walk in his way –the way of wisdom –in heart, word and action as He does. “…Be holy because I YeHoWaH your God, am holy” (Lev 19:12) confirms the original intent of God in making mankind in His image and likeness. We need to remember that Hebrew is an ‘action’ oriented language as opposed to the Greek which is nouns oriented. Therefore being made in the likeness of God has far more to do with actions than physical appearance or person. Matt 10:24,25a says: A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple to be like his teacher, and servant like his master. Adam and Eve were made in God’s image and likeness. We know from scripture that the woman’s heart was right with God and to gain wisdom is to walk in the way of YeHoWaH Elohim, who by wisdom, created everything. Scripture strongly advises us all to both desire and walk by it –
Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. Prov 3:13-18
The next two verses speak of YeHoWaH Himself: laying the earth’s foundations, setting the heavens in place, dividing the waters and establishing Earth’s water cycle – by wisdom. Though she can never do all these that God has done she can be like Him in choosing to walk –like Him – in the way of wisdom. She will be blessed and by her choosing thus, will bless Adam also. It is interesting that wisdom is referred to as ‘a tree of life to those who take hold of her’ in verse 18.
Scripture reveals her weighing up of both versions of the command presented to her (Gen 3:6) and her last or deciding reason was the gaining of wisdom, to more fully represent (be like) the one who created her. Though ‘knowing good and evil’ may have the appearance of wisdom, it is not the real thing. This has always been the hallmark of Satan -placing truth and error side by side, and she is caught fast.
Lets step aside and focus for a moment on the serpent who is closely connected to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and actively promotes it’s benefits. We know this was Satan –as the book of Revelation reveals his identity as being the ‘serpent of old.’ In marketing its advantages, he personalizes its ‘good’ for the individual in his focus – selling a fake as if it were the real thing…
Serpent in Hebrew is ‘nachash’ (5175 חָשׁנָ). It comes from the root word ‘nachash’ (5172 נָחַשׁ) meaning properly – to hiss, ie whisper a magic spell; generally to prognosticate (foretell) …divine, enchanter… learn by experience… diligently observe. This speaks more of the character and actions of Satan aligned to that of a serpent just as Dan (in Genesis 49:17 ) is prophesied as being ‘a serpent in the way’. His descendants were not made literal serpents but they caused Israel to stumble badly because of their idolatry –in the same way as was prophesied. Yeshua named the Pharisees as ‘belonging to their father the devil’ because they did not walk after truth –walking in the likeness of Satan, the father of deception. They weren’t literally his offspring. It was what they were doing that spoke of their source or lineage. So this may also be the case concerning the Serpent of Genesis 3. He is identified as the serpent because of his deceptive nature and actions not necessarily his physical appearance. The name ‘Satan’ means – adversary –he is not for us – he seeks our demise and the ruin of Gods likeness within creation. He is also known by another name -Lucifer meaning -‘a shining one‘ (helel הֵילֵל) which comes from the root word halal הָלַל -a primitive root: meaning –to be clear (originally of sound, but usually of colour); to shine, hence to make a show, to boast, and thus to be (clamorously) foolish… I find it fascinating therefore that it is in his words that he sets himself up as God’s mouthpiece. His presence therefore could also have been in appearance as that of an ‘angel of light‘(1 Corinthians 11:13,14) displaying false ‘glory and majesty’ – but scripture cuts clean through the lies and names him after his true nature -that of being one and the same as a serpent.
Back to the woman. Her reasoning – ‘to make one wise’ reveals her heart after God. She confuses ‘knowing good and evil’ with ‘wisdom’ because it is presented by the serpent in connection with the likeness of God –‘to be like God’. But the serpent’s knowledge is knowledge ‘learned by experience.’ It focuses our eyes onto what is good and what is evil, seducing us into thinking we ourselves can improve ourselves by our own effort alone. Wisdom however is first begun in the fear of YeHoWaH. He is the source of wisdom as He alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Wisdom is personified as a person in scripture because to walk in ‘wisdom’ is to walk in Him.
So the serpent presents to the woman the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as being ‘in reality’ the tree of life –‘you will not die…your eyes will be opened…you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’
- He undermines her confidence in Adam’s version of the command by exposing ‘touch not’ as false (the text does not reveal his actions, however, for her to ‘see’ that the fruit was okay to eat would begin with a demonstration of touching the fruit…).
- He appeals to her natural (fleshly) eyes as to the beauty of its appearance as a confirmation of its ‘goodness’. Though Genesis 2:9speaks of YeHoWaH Elohim making trees that were ‘pleasing to the sight and good for food,’Yeshua who is our ‘Tree of Life’ differs from this description – Isaiah 53:2 says: ‘He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him’.)
- The serpent seals the deal by deceptively offering her what appears to be a legitimate good –to be like God –by the action of eating. Even this has some merit: when Yeshua spoke of his death (the giving of his flesh as the bread of life) he spoke of us‘eating his flesh and drinking his blood’. We are to ‘consume him’ making him a part of our very being –becoming one with Him –His death on the ‘tree’ resulting in eternal life for those whose hope is in Him. However many turned away at this, unable to stomach the imagery of this ‘tree of life’ –it’s appearance too undesirable.
If scripture confirms scripture and all it has to say of the woman’s part concerning the ‘fall’ was that she was ‘thoroughly deceived’, then hadn’t we better believe it? If YeHoWaH Elohim goes to the trouble of identifying the sin of Adam eleven times in His Word for us, and we refuse to believe Him – in whose likeness are we then walking?
Heavenly Father, YeHoWaH Elohim, help us to cast aside our prejudices and pride and open our eyes to Your truth, give us a heart that longs to walk after You -desiring to walk in your likeness above all else. To the praise and honour of Your Name. Amen.