- Christogenea Internet Radio
On Genesis, Part 4: The Mourning After
Here we shall discuss the latter half of Genesis chapter 3 and the consequences realized for sin which become evident on the mourning after, which is a pun that alludes to the consequences outlined in the punishment of Adam and his wife for their sins. The phrase the morning after is defined as “a period, as in the morning, when the aftereffects of excessive self-indulgence during the previous evening are felt…” or “a moment or period of realization in which the consequences of an earlier ill-advised action are recognized or brought home to one.” But here we have used the word mourning instead, because it also describes how Adam and Eve must have felt as those consequences were declared by Yahweh their God, and since we ourselves also have a right to lament those consequences because they have adversely affected all of Adam’s descendants throughout history, as Paul of Tarsus had explained at length in chapter 5 of his epistle to the Romans.
In our last presentation, Sustainable Plausibility, we made the assertion that our Genesis interpretation is valid only so long as it is upheld throughout the entire Scriptures, but if it is upheld then it must be true and correct. With that, we demonstrated the meanings of the expressions found in the opening verses of Genesis chapter 3 from similar expressions which had been employed elsewhere in Scripture and also in other ancient literature, which do indeed reveal that the metaphors and allegories are euphemisms for sexual activity, and that illicit sexual relations certainly are the cause for the fall of the Adamic man. Now as we proceed through Genesis, among other things we hope to continually demonstrate that the Scriptures certainly do substantiate this interpretation, and therefore that it must reflect the true meaning as it was intended by the Author, Yahweh God Himself.
There are more colorful phrases by which we may have titled our last presentation, which may better have described the nature of the sin of Eden, which is the true so-called “original sin”. However our intention is to illustrate the fact that our method of interpretation is of the utmost importance. As we had already asserted in our commentary on Genesis chapter 1, since Yahshua Christ had come to reveal “things kept secret from the foundation of Society”, and since Genesis describes the foundation of that very Society, or world, then Genesis can only be properly interpreted through His words. Now here, in The Mourning After, we hope to further illustrate the truth of that assertion.
There are many alternative interpretations of Genesis chapter 3, most of which are only partially correct in one aspect or another, but nearly all of which ignore the sexual nature of the sin in the garden of Eden. The 17th century commentary of Matthew Henry is one example of the insistence that the serpent of Genesis was a literal snake, and at least most, if not all, of the denominational churches follow that belief. However as we shall see, if the serpent of Genesis was a literal snake, then the adversaries of Christ, who are described as serpents and as the offspring of serpents in the accounts of the Gospel, must also have been literal snakes, and we know that such is not true.
Throughout the Middle Ages, Jews were seen as authorities on Genesis and the rest of the Old Testament because first, men had wrongly imagined that the Jews were the ancient Israelites, and secondly, because Jews were esteemed to have had a better knowledge of the Hebrew language. But those same Jews reject the words of Christ, without which Genesis cannot be fully understood, as Paul of Tarsus had also asserted in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, where he had allegorically explained that there is a veil over the writings of Moses which is not removed without Christ. So even where the implications of sexual misconduct are understood, the consequences are not related to the words of Christ in the New Testament so that the truth remains hidden. But perhaps that is because certain parties, and Jews in particular, have always had a personal interest in keeping that truth concealed. So as we proceed through Genesis we hope to also illustrate many of the reasons for that.
Thus far in Genesis chapter 3, we have shown that the acts of eating and touching were employed as euphemisms for sexual activity in later Scriptures, and especially in the Book of Proverbs, and that colorful allegories describing the eating of fruit from trees and from gardens, and where lovers had compared one another to trees and fruit and gardens, were employed in that same manner, as euphemisms for sexual activity, in both the Song of Songs, written by Solomon, and in the Epic of Gilgamesh, a work of early Mesopotamian literature.
Understanding the meanings of these allegories from other Biblical and literary sources, coupled with the fact that Adam and Eve became ashamed of their nakedness as a result of their transgression, and that that very circumstance is then described as having led Yahweh God Himself to inquire as to whether they had eaten of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, no doubt should remain as to the sexual nature of their transgression. All of this together, as well as the nature of the punishments described later in the chapter, should certainly leave no doubt that the sins in the garden were acts of illicit sexual relations first on the part of Eve, and then on the part of her husband with her.
Of course, Yahweh being God He knew that Adam had transgressed, He knew of the nature of his transgression in the very moment it had happened, and He already knew what would transpire long before it happened. But the dialog between Yahweh, Adam and Eve in the verses subsequent to the transgression are for our benefit, not for that of Yahweh, Adam or Eve. We must bear in mind the fact that Moses had written Genesis long after the events which it describes had actually occurred, and that he had written it for a particular purpose, as it expresses both the founding myths and the moral basis upon which a godly society was to be established. That does not mean that the myths are not historical, but rather, that the account is presented in a manner which facilitates the founding of the intended society and provides a worldview sufficient to perpetuate its purpose.
So, as it is described in verse 8, Adam was afraid to be seen by God and therefore he hid, for no other reason than the fact that he was naked and ashamed. Before the transgression, Adam was not ashamed of his condition, so on account of that circumstance Yahweh is depicted as having known immediately that Adam had eaten from of the forbidden tree. So as soon as Adam was compelled to admit his sin, he unjustly blamed it on his wife, and the wife admitted her sin while justly professing that she had been deceived, pointing the way to the serpent. So now, as we proceed with verse 14, Yahweh turns to the serpent and describes his punishment, which is also an allegory:
14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
Often in Scripture, dust represents what is lowly or of low estate. Thus we read in 1 Kings chapter 16: “1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying, 2 Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel; and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins…” Then again, in 1 Samuel chapter 2: “7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. 8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them.” In that last passage, the dust and the dunghill are allegories for lowly social status, the pillars are the princes and notable men of the society, and the world is the society itself, the organization of which is maintained by the spirit acting within those men.
There are allusions to the text of this verse of Genesis chapter 3 in Isaiah chapter 65 and Micah chapter 7, in relation to the serpent’s eating of dust, but they do not detract from the allegory here. The serpent is not a literal serpent, and he would not be sustained by eating literal dust. Rather, in ancient Egypt and elsewhere, men had prostrated themselves before kings by laying upon their bellies. For example, in the Egyptian Story of Sinuhe , where the title character is brought before a foreign king we read: “The courtiers who usher into the audience hall set me on the way to the private chambers. I found his majesty upon the Great Throne in a recess of fine gold. When I was stretched out upon my belly; I knew not myself in his presence, (although) this god greeted me pleasantly. I was like a man caught in the dark: (255) my soul departed, my body was powerless, my heart was not in my body, that I might know life from death. Then his majesty said to one of these courtiers: ‘Lift him up. Let him speak to me.’”
In another Egyptian tale, The Legend of the Possessed Princess , the Egyptian pharaoh supposedly sent Khonsu, one of the idols of Egypt, to heal the daughter of the prince of another land, upon that prince’s request. So upon his arrival, which was evidently some time later, we read: “This god arrived in Bekhten in the completion of one year and five months. Then the Prince of Bekhten came, with his army and his officials, before Khonsu-the-Carrier-out-of-Plans, and he placed himself upon his belly, saying: ‘Thou hast come to us. Mayest thou be merciful to us, by the command of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt…’” Both of these legends predate Moses by at last several centuries, and Moses himself must have been familiar with the practise of laying upon one’s belly when in the presence of a king or other ruler. One other example is in the Amarna Letters  where Abimelech the king of Tyre had written to Pharaoh Akhenaten and addressed him in part by saying: “To the king, my lord, my pantheon, my Sun-god say: Thus Abimilki, thy servant. Seven and seven times I fall at the feet of the king, my lord. I am the dirt under the feet of the king, my lord.”
[1 Ancient Near Eastern Texts Related to the Old Testament 3rd edition, hereinafter ANET, p. 21, James Pritchard, editor, 1969, Harvard University Press. 2 ibid., p. 28. 3 ibid., p. 484.]
So with this it may be evident that going upon his belly, the serpent was condemned to forever having to grovel before men. This curse manifests itself once again in the words of Christ to the church at Philadelphia, in Revelation chapter 3 where we read “9 Behold, I shall give those from of the congregation of the Adversary [which is Satan, or the Serpent] saying for themselves to be Judaeans, and they are not but they are liars, behold: I shall make them that they shall come and they shall worship before your feet and they may know that I have loved you.” Eating dust, the serpent would have his living from lowly things, and even from refuse, rather than from any noble endeavor such as his own labor. But this punishment of the serpent is not really a punishment. Rather, as we shall also see in Genesis chapter 4, it is only a limitation on privileges. As it says in the 24th Psalm, which Paul of Tarsus had cited in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, “1 The earth is Yahweh’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Yahweh, being the rightful Creator and Possessor of all things, may justly allow or disallow their use as He sees fit.
Continuing to address the serpent, the Word of Yahweh says:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Here it is clearly implied that as a consequence of this transgression, that the woman would bear seed, and that the serpent would also have seed, and it is also fully implied here that the woman has already conceived. As we progress, we shall see further evidence supporting the assertion that the woman was impregnated as a result of her sexual relations with the serpent, which is the sin described earlier in this chapter, and this is the first statement describing that fact. The fact that she has already conceived is affirmed further on, in verse 16 where it mentions her conception, and then in verse 29 where we read that “Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” If the woman had not already conceived, then the reference to seed here, conception where the woman is addressed, and the words of Adam further on, are simply nonsense.
While it is contested as to whether a woman has seed, women certainly do have seed, since just like the seed of a man, they also contribute half of the chromosomes which form the nuclear DNA of every child to which they give birth. Then there is additional genetic material outside of the nucleus of a cell which the woman contributes exclusively, so her contribution to the genetic material of a child is even greater than that of the man. Then, since Eve had been created wholly from Adam, her seed is one and the same as his seed. The seed of the woman is of the same origin and nature of Adam, so it is also his seed. But the seed of the serpent, although Eve bears it here, is not her seed because it is not of the same nature as her, and therefore it is credited to the serpent. Here we are also informed that the two seeds, which represent two different lines of offspring, shall forever be at enmity with one another.
This hatred of the serpent for the woman is another subject of Revelation chapter 12, where we read: “13 And when the dragon saw that he had been cast down into the earth, he persecuted the woman who had given birth to the man-child. 14 And they had given to the woman the two wings of a great eagle, in order that she may fly into the desert into her place, where she is nourished there for a time and times and half of a time from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent had cast from his mouth water as a river after the woman, in order that he may have her carried off by the river. 16 And the earth assisted the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and gulped down the river which the dragon had cast from his mouth. 17 And the dragon was angered by the woman and went to make war with those remaining of her offspring who keep the commandments of Yahweh and have the testimony of Yahshua.” While it is beyond our purpose to interpret this prophecy here, this we have already done, and it shall suffice to say that this portion of John’s vision would occur some time after the Christ child was “carried up to Yahweh and to His throne” in verse 5 of that chapter. So the prophecy was future to John’s time, and it has been fulfilled throughout history. So in that we also see that the serpent represents a collective entity, and not merely a single individual.
This passage is often called the protoevangelium or first gospel, because it presages the ministry of the Christ. While we would agree that it presages Christ, it also presages a perpetual struggle in history between two different races of men, which is often manifest in Scripture, and which was manifest in the life of Christ as well as in diverse events throughout history. But we do not agree that this passage represents the protoevangelium, as we would confer that honor upon the passage in Genesis chapter 1 where the Word of Yahweh declared “Let there be Light.” Rather, this passage is a second announcement of the gospel. Paul of Tarsus also related this passage to the ministry of Christ and the spread of the Gospel where he wrote in chapter 16 of his epistle to the Romans and he told them that “20 Yahweh of peace will crush the Adversary [Satan] under your feet quickly….”
But there is apparently more to the seed of the serpent than that which is borne here by the woman. If Adam is of the same seed as the woman, and therefore the woman shall also bear the seed of Adam, which is that race of men who are made in his same image and likeness which were called after him, which is evident in Genesis chapter 5, then Adam is the beginning of a tree, a family tree. But there was already an entire Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden, which ostensibly represents all of the fallen angels and whatever they may have spawned since the time of their rebellion. In a later manifestation of the enmity forebode here in this passage, these Nephilim or fallen ones also endeavored to corrupt the descendants of Adam as it is described in Genesis chapter 6. For this same reason, according to the words of Christ in Matthew chapter 25, the goat nations of the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats shall share the same destiny with the serpent, in the fire prepared for the devil and his angels. So collectively, we assert that all of the branches of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, men who did not descend from Adam, are also of the “seed of the serpent”, as there is no other explanation for their existence in Genesis. This will be a subject of discussion once again in relation to Genesis chapters 14 and 15.
The fact that the serpent has seed, or offspring, is supported by many passages in the Gospel and words of Christ and His apostles. For example, as it is recorded in chapter 3 of both the gospels of Matthew and Luke, John the Baptist called some of the men who were also later opposed to Christ a “generation of vipers”, as it is in the King James Version. Christ used that same term addressing His adversaries in Matthew chapter 12, and again in chapter 23 where He said to them, as it is in that same version: “33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” In all of those places, the word for generation is γέννημα. The word is related to γένος, which is a race, but γέννημα has an even more definite meaning in that regard. Liddell & Scott define γέννημα as “that which is produced or born, [a] child”, so where it says “generation of vipers” it should read “children of vipers”, and the full implication is that the parents of the men were vipers, or serpents; and therefore that they were a race of serpents.
In Matthew chapter 23, and also in Luke chapter 11, Yahshua Christ is recorded as having accused these same men, the children of serpents, of having been liable for the blood of all the prophets from the time of Abel to the time of Zacharias. While it is debatable, the reference to Zacharias seems to point to the father of John the Baptist. In the account in Luke we read: “49 For this reason also the wisdom of Yahweh says: ‘I shall send to them prophets and ambassadors, and some of them they shall kill and they shall persecute’, 50 in order that the blood of all the prophets spilled from the foundation of the Society should be required from this race [γενεά, a synonym of γένος], 51 from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias who was killed between the altar and the house. Yeah, I say to you, it shall be required from this race [γενεά]!”
Where in Genesis chapter 4 Abel had been slain by Cain, only Cain could possibly be held accountable for the slaying of Abel, as Seth, the ancestor of the Israelites and all other Adamic men, was not even born, and Seth was born as a replacement for Abel, as we also read in Genesis chapter 5. Seth did not replace Cain, and therefore no descendant of Seth can possibly be held accountable for the blood of Abel. But as we shall see later in Genesis, Cain had descendants and his descendants also survived the flood of Noah. The later Canaanites and Edomites had all mingled with both the Nephilim and the race of Cain, and therefore their descendants could be held responsible for the blood of Abel, and that is whom Christ was addressing.
The events of this chapter of Genesis are further illuminated by Christ in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, found in Matthew chapter 13. But we will not read the actual parable, as we may be accused of interpreting it to suit our own whims. Rather, we will read the explanation of the parable provided by Christ Himself in that same chapter of Matthew. There in that chapter, Christ spoke the parable before the people, and His disciples had asked him for an interpretation. It is at that very point where Matthew had declared that Christ had come to reveal “things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world”. So where Christ interpreted the parable for His disciples, we cannot imagine that He did not offer a literal interpretation, but only spoke another parable, as that would have been contrary to their request and it would not have helped them to understand His meaning.
Thus where Christ had interpreted His own parable we read: “37 … He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” If the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares were about those who choose to believe Jesus and those who refuse, then Christ would not have explained it by equating seed or wheat and tares to children, which are the offspring that grow from seed. Otherwise, the explanation is not an explanation, if He did not mean to describe literal children. Rather, when explaining the parable if He had meant that the wheat were believers and the tares unbelievers, then in His explanation He would have used words which meant believers and unbelievers. But He did not, and therefore it is manifest that wheat are literal children born of God, and tares are literal children born from of the corruptions of the serpent.
In 1 John chapter 3, the apostle credited antichrists, those who would deny Christ, as being the authors of sin, where we read “7 Children, let no one deceive you, he who is practicing justice is just, even as He is just. 8 He who is practicing sin is from of the Devil, since the Devil sins from the beginning. For this the Son of Yahweh has been made manifest, in order that He would do away with the works of the Devil.” A little later in that chapter, the apostle asserted that Cain was the son of the serpent, or Devil, where he wrote “12 Not as Kain who was from of the Wicked One and slaughtered his brother; and with delight he slaughtered him, because his deeds were evil, but those of his brother righteous.”
So in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares and its explanation, Yahshua Christ insists that the serpent has literal offspring here in this world, which he had sowed among the wheat, the children of God. We would assert that Genesis chapter 3 is the first, but not the only, example of this sowing in Scripture, here at the beginning of the “world”, which is the Adamic society. That it is indeed Christ Himself who had sowed the wheat, which is the creation of Adam both male and female here in Genesis, is evident where He is one and the same as Yahweh God, and as the apostle Paul had written of Him, in Colossians chapter 1: “15 Who is the likeness of the invisible God, first born of all the creation. 16 Because by Him all things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, those visible and those invisible, whether thrones or dominions or realms or authorities, all things are created by Him and for Him; 17 and He is before all, and all things by Him endure; 18 and He is the head of the body: the assembly. He who is the beginning, first born from among the dead, that in all things He would be holding the first place.”
Now Yahweh, having finished with the serpent, turns to the woman:
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Today there are so-called “morning after” pills whereby Eve may have relieved herself of her dilemma, however it is evident that the devil had not yet founded the pharmaceutical industry.
The word for sorrow where it first appears is עצבון or etsebon (Strong’s at entry # 6093 transliterates it as itstsawbone). The second occurrence of sorrow is a closely related word, עצב or etseb. This sorrow is not unique to Eve’s conception, as the same word is used in reference to Adam in verse 17. Where it says “thy sorrow and thy conception”, in his entry for this word עצבון, or etsebon, Gesenius remarks in connection with this verse that the phrase is a hendiadys for “the pain of thy conception” , as the word may also mean pain, labor, hardship or toil. According to the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary, a hendiadys is a linguistic construction employing “the use of two words joined with ‘and’ to express a single idea”. The Greek term hendiadys is usually defined to mean “one by means of two”, and therefore we may indeed read the phrase which the King James Version has as “thy sorrow and thy conception” as “the sorrow of thy conception”, where the New American Standard Bible has simply “your pain in childbirth”.
The punishments of Yahweh God throughout Scripture are always relevant and congruent to the crime and its magnitude. The spirit of this aspect of the law is expressed in Exodus chapter 21: “23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, 24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” So if Eve is going to be punished for conceiving a child, it is because she must have sinned in the act of conception, and therefore that is also the act that the commandment not to touch nor eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil must have sought to forbid. Eve must have participated in elicit sexual intercourse with the serpent, and then with Adam, as she now has two seeds in her womb, that of the serpent, and that of her own which is also of Adam.
So where Eve was told that the sorrow of her conception would be multiplied, and that “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children”, there is certainly a greater meaning than the obvious travail which is suffered in the act of giving birth. Because of the enmity between the two seeds, and the acts of war which the dragon would commit against the seed of the woman, the woman would be in a state of continual sorrow as she witnesses the trials of her children. Then Eve herself had personally tasted of this sorrow upon the murder of Abel by Cain.
Then, aside from this punishment, the woman was told that “thy desire shall be to thy husband”, because in her act of transgression her desire had been towards the serpent. The word for desire, תשוקה or teshuqah, appears on only two other occasions in Scripture, in Genesis 4:7 and the Song of Songs chapter 7 where we read “10 I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.” So while it does not always refer to sexual desire, it was used in that manner in that passage from the Song. Furthermore, the woman was told that her husband should rule over her. While this circumstance is implicit in the fact that the woman was created to be a helpmate for the man, in this act of transgression the woman allowed herself to be deceived by the serpent, whereby she was not subject to her husband. So the word for rule, משל or mashal, is to rule, have dominion or reign, according to Strong’s, and in the Septuagint it was translated into a verbal form of κύριος, the word which is usually translated as lord. Therefore, while the woman’s subservience to the man was only implied at the time when Eve was created, it is explicitly commanded here once she had been disobedient.
Now Yahweh addresses Adam, whereupon we must also notice that the three individuals had been addressed in the order in which they had appeared and partook in the crime:
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
“Because thou hast hearkened…” So Adam’s first mistake, according to Yahweh God Himself, was to listen to his wife and then to follow her in her sin.
Where it says “cursed is the ground for thy sake”, the Greek Septuagint has “cursed is the ground in thy labours”, which is Brenton’s translation and a fair rendering of the corresponding Greek phrase. The difference is accounted for in the Brown, Driver Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon entry for עבור or abuwr, which is defined as “a preposition and conjunction for the sake of, on account of, in order that (perhaps originally for the produce of or gain of)”. In Gesenius’ lexicon he defined the word as “corn, properly produce, or offering of the land” citing Joshua 5:11-12, but also as a passing over or transition, the price for which something is transferred, or the purpose or object to be attained in the transfer of a thing . In that passage from Joshua chapter 5, the King James Version translated the word as corn, an archaic word for grain, while Strong’s (#5669) defines the word as what is “passed, i.e. kept over”. In light of these definitions we would favor the sense of the term as it is in the Septuagint, and interpret the clause to mean that Adam, who himself is of the earth, on account of what he had done, his produce from the ground is accursed rather than the ground itself, and that produce is what he shall eat in sorrow.
But we would assert that it is not merely speaking of agricultural products, where it then states:
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
We would interpret this to be a double entendre, a word or phrase which has two meanings. On the surface it refers to agriculture. But it is evident throughout Scripture that the descendants of Adam had mingled with branches from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil on many occasions, which is something that is exhibited in detail in later chapters of Genesis. So, for example, invading the land of Canaan the children of Israel were commanded by Yahweh to exterminate the bastards from the land, and of their failure to do so we read a warning in Numbers chapter 33: “55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.” There is a similar warning in Judges chapter 2.
These are the thorns and thistles which the ground yields on account of Adam’s sin, the bastard races with which his own seed had mingled in diverse times and places. Much later, in Matthew chapter 7, Yahshua Christ had spoken of men where He said “15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” In the modern world, Adam is still yielding these thorns and thistles. In spite of the challenges of agriculture, literal bread is not usually a cause of sorrow, but seeing one’s posterity fall into the hands of bastards is indeed a cause of sorrow.
But now Adam would also have to work for his bread, as well as for his survival in a world dominated by his enemies:
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Here Adam learns that he would die on account of his transgression, where there is no mention of death before this. It is in direct reference to this circumstance that we read in chapter 2 of the Wisdom of Solomon: “23 For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity. 24 Nevertheless through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it.” Likewise, Paul had written in Romans chapter 5 that “12 For this reason, just as by one man sin entered into the Society, and by that sin death, and in that manner death has passed to all men, on account that all have sinned: 13 (for until the law sin was in the Society; but sin was not accounted, there not being law; 14 but death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned resembling the transgression of Adam, who is an image of the future.” There was no law yet except for one, which is the commandment that Yahweh God gave to Adam where we read in Genesis chapter 2 that: “16 … LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
So Adam, knowing that his wife had already conceived, now makes a statement recognizing that condition:
20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
This is the first time that the name Eve appears in Scripture. It only appears elsewhere in Genesis chapter 4, and twice in the epistles of Paul. The Hebrew word חוה, or chavah (# 2332), which means life, is from the root חי or chay (# 2416) which means alive or living. There would be no reason for Adam to do such a thing as this, which is to name his wife in this manner and for this particular reason, unless he had already known that Eve had conceived and that she was going to give birth to children. So this is the third verse of this chapter which witnesses to the fact that Eve was now pregnant, and that her conception was the result of the transgression. Therefore, when we encounter the description of Eve’s having conceived in Genesis chapter 4, we must understand that there is no chapter break in the original scroll, and that the words there only reiterate what circumstances we have already seen implied here in chapter 3.
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Apparently Adam and Eve would continue to be ashamed on account of their realization that they were naked. However this image also evokes the words of Christ as they are recorded in Matthew chapter 6: “25 For this reason I say to you: Do not care for your life, what you should eat or what you should drink, nor for your body what you should wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of heaven, that they do not sow nor harvest nor gather into storehouses, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than them? 27 Who caring from among you is able to add one cubit to his stature? 28 And what do you care about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They do not toil nor spin yarn. 29 But I say to you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed as one of these!”
When the Adamic man was obedient to his God and kept His commandment, he wanted for nothing, and had no care for food or clothing, and now that same promise is extended by Christ to His disciples. But Adam having been disobedient, he must toil for his sustenance while the grace of God supplied him with clothing, at least at the start.
Now we have the beginning of a conclusion which shall complete the description of Adam’s punishment:
22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
We have often asserted that this is the first promise of salvation, which in this context is extended to the entire Adamic race. While it is not actually an explicit promise, it is indeed an indirect promise. First, the man has indeed “become as one of us, to know good and evil”, and although the word ידע, or yada, means to know in a wide range of senses, it is also to know by experience, as Brown, Driver and Briggs define it in part, or as Gesenius, whose definition of the word takes four full columns in his lexicon, also has it in that sense, “to be taught by experience, i.e. to be punished”, citing Proverbs 10:9 and Jeremiah 31:19 . Adam was already told what not to do, which was not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, so he must have had knowledge of evil from both the commandment and from his own observation of that tree, since it was also present in the midst of the garden. Therefore to know here must be in reference to something more significant. So in that passage of Jeremiah, the King James Version has instructed for this word, where we read: “19 Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.” This is the context in which the word also appears here, and therefore the man had come to have experience in both good and evil, for which reason he was ashamed since he knew that he had sinned, as Jeremiah also describes of Ephraim in that passage.
[4 Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, translated by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Baker Books, 1979, p. 647 5 ibid., p. 600. 6 ibid., p. 333-335.]
There is a word here, translated as lest, which is פן, pen or pan (# 6435), and appears in Scripture on approximately 128 occasions. With only a handful of exceptions, this word is usually translated as lest in the King James Version, and usually it expresses a fear which is presented as an alternative to an expected or desired outcome, or an admonition, expressed in the main clause. Where it is sometimes translated as a negative particle, as not or none, that is for colloquial reasons and not because it literally means not or none. The word does not express a prohibition, but rather, it expresses an alternative outcome which is most often not the desired outcome. One example is found in Proverbs chapter 25 where we read: “16 Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.” Another is in chapter 26: “4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” But there is evidently only one example where the clauses are reversed, and the lest applies to a desired outcome, which is in Proverbs chapter 5, where it is speaking of an adulterous woman: “6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.” In that context, shifting or unstable would have been better than moveable. The desired outcome is to ponder the path of life so that one may understand the ways of an adulterous woman, and not be caught in her trap.
So this passage in Genesis chapter 3 expresses a circumstance, which is that “the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil”. Then it expresses the remedy to that circumstance as an outcome which on the surface appears to be undesirable: “and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever”. But the clause is initiated with an exclamation, “and now”, the word now being from the Hebrew word עתה, or atah, which basically means now or at the present time, and of which Brown, Driver Briggs also explain is used “describing a present state = as things are”, or “as an encouragement, implying that the time has come for the exhortation or advice to be followed” or also, preceded with and, as it is here, “drawing a conclusion, especially a practical one, from what has been stated”, where they cite this very passage here at Genesis 3:22.
Here in this declaration, Yahweh at first agrees in part with the serpent, who had told Eve earlier in this chapter that “… in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” So in this, we may also perceive that the beguiling of Eve by the serpent was a purposeful act of defiance against God on the part of the serpent. The serpent sought to corrupt the man which Yahweh had created, and realizing that he could exploit the woman he then lied to Eve and told her “Ye shall not surely die.” Here Yahweh agrees with the serpent in one respect, but not in both. While Yahweh had already told Adam that he would indeed die, now He has professed that “the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil”, so in that regard the words of the serpent were partially true, and here Yahweh agrees with him. But for the man, to be “as one of us” is to abide in death, because the man cannot be his own god and give himself eternal life, and now his sin requires redemption. In order to have life, he must submit to his God and keep His commandments. For that same reason, Paul of Tarsus wrote in Romans chapter 8: “2 Indeed the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Yahshua has liberated you from the law of guilt and death.”
Preventing the man from partaking of the Tree of Life and living forever is what the serpent would hope to accomplish, as it is evidenced in the fact that the serpent had purposely sought to corrupt the man so that he would die, and he undermined the authority of God in the mind of the woman in order to deceive her. But knowing that Yahshua Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, and that He is the “true vine” through whom men have eternal life, it is evident that the lest is a proposition for the man, offering a remedy for his condition, and he ultimately has no choice in the matter but to accept the proposition since the only alternative is death. So the clause which follows the phrase which says and now is a practical conclusion from what has been stated, as Brown, Driver and Briggs have explained where the text has “and now” preceding lest. In that case, we would assert that here the lest is not meant to introduce an expression of fear, nor is it a prohibition, but the offer of a remedy for the man’s stated condition of being “as one of us”. If this were not the offer of a remedy, there is not even any need for the entire statement, because it would simply be superfluous. This use of the word for lest here is also similar to the way in which the word was used in Proverbs chapter 5 where it says “lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life…”
On account of this, in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 Paul of Tarsus had written that “Just as in Adam all die, then in that manner in Christ all shall be produced alive.” In Romans chapter 5, Paul explained that same thing in greater detail, where he compared the sin of Adam with the redemption in Christ and he said in part: “17 For if in the transgression of one, death has taken reign through that one, much more is the advantage of the favor, and the gift of justice they are receiving, in life they will reign through the one, Yahshua Christ. 18 So then, as that one transgression is for all men for a sentence of condemnation, in this manner then through one decision of judgment for all men is for a judgment of life. 19 Therefore even as through the disobedience of one man the many were set down as wrongdoers, in this manner then through the obedience of One the many will be established as righteous.” Then, in Titus chapter 1, Paul must have been referring to this very passage where he wrote professing for himself to have been a “1 … servant of Yahweh, and ambassador of Yahshua Christ concerning the faith of the elect of Yahweh and true knowledge of that which concerns piety 2 in hope of eternal life, which ever-truthful Yahweh has promised before the times of the ages…”
The next verse in Genesis chapter 3 is sometimes claimed to be the alternative to the clause following the lest in his verse, which man was condemned to face because he was prohibited from attaining the Tree of Life, but that is not true. Here the man is assured that he may attain the Tree of Life, since the lest presents the remedy to the circumstances which had caused what is about to be described:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
This is the result of Adam’s sin, that he is alienated from Yahweh his God, and he shall evidently remain so unless he “take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever”, which unfolds as a long historical process throughout the entire balance of the Scripture. Therefore in the final verse of the chapter, even as the man is being alienated there is yet another assurance:
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Where the text of verse 22 is wrongly interpreted by denominational commentators as a prohibition, the cherubs here in this passage are also interpreted as having been placed in order to prevent the man from grasping the Tree of Life, but neither is that true. Rather, the text of verse 22 offers a condition, that “unless the man grasps the tree of life…” and the only alternative is that he shall continue in death, there being no other remedy for his having experienced evil. However Yahshua Christ, the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”, is the Tree of Life, as He had described Himself as the True Vine, as it is recorded in John chapter 15.
There Yahshua Christ declared for Himself to be the Tree of Life where He said, in part, “1 I am the True Vine and My Father is the Planter. 2 Each branch in Me not bearing fruit He takes it, and each bearing fruit He cleanses it, in order that it would bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean through the word which I have spoken to you. 4 You abide in Me, and I in you. Just as the branch is not able to bear fruit by itself unless it should abide on the vine, thusly neither do you unless you would abide in Me. 5 I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who is abiding in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you are not able to do anything. 6 If one should not abide in Me, he shall be cast outside like a branch that has withered and they gather and they cast them into the fire and it burns. 7 If you abide in Me and My words should abide in you, whatever you should desire you may ask and it shall come to you. 8 In this My Father is honored: that you would bear much fruit, and you would be My students.”
The cherubs here are an allegory, and their placement is a sign assuring that the man would have a path to the Tree of Life, because they were to keep the path. The Hebrew word for keep is שטר or shamar, which is to keep, watch, or preserve, among other things, and by preserving the path the placement of the cherubs is an assurance that man will indeed be able to grasp the Tree of Life, because a path shall remain open for him. So the next time the cherubs appear in Scripture, they are found atop the Ark of the Covenant in which the tablets of the law were kept. In that same chapter of John, continuing from where we let off, Christ said further that “9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you. You abide in My love. 10 If you will keep My commandments you shall abide in My love, just as I have kept the commandments of My Father and I abide in His love.” So the act of grasping the Tree of Life is realized in keeping the commandments of the law. Then Christ had also said, in John chapter 14, that “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one goes to the Father except through Me!”
Therefore the cherubs indicate to us that the keeping of the law is the path to the Tree of Life which the cherubs had guarded. While man has often failed to keep the law, those who had kept it helped to set the circumstances under which Christ had come to redeem His people. Then, to exploit a wordplay found in English but not in the Biblical languages, the cherubs were placed on the east of the garden because that is where the Sun rises. With that event there certainly is a guarantee of yet another and far better morning after.