Events in Eden Refs

God created a world without evil and gave Adam and Eve a simple rule to obey. In the garden of Eden, deception, disobedience and punishment began, with the effects still felt today. In this chapter, we consider what happened in Eden.

Genesis 2:4–3:24

Most of what is known about the events in the garden of Eden is found in Genesis chapters 2 and 3. These chapters give us insight into why our world is in such a dreadful state, although many details are omitted.

1. Can you identify the location of Eden from the details given?
2. What does “the knowledge of good and evil” mean?
3. Do the words “satan” or “devil” occur in the chapters?
4. What steps led to the first sin? Do our own temptations follow a similar pattern?
5. Why do you think God gave the rule to Adam? Do any verses support your answer?
6. Was there only one rule given to Adam and Eve?
7. Did God forgive Adam and Eve? Do any verses tell us?
8. Did Adam and Eve have a greater tendency to sin after these events? What verses support your answer?
9. God said that Adam and Eve would die when they ate the fruit (2:17). Yet they didn’t die until many years later. How can you explain this? Can you give verses to support your explanation?
10. Adam’s descendants are mortal (they will die in the normal course of events). Did God say that this would be the case?
11. Summarize in point-form the curses on the serpent, Eve and Adam.
12. Some people claim that Adam and Eve were commanded to keep the Sabbath. Is there any evidence for this claim?

Many complex doctrines have been built solely on the sparse details given in these chapters, but careful reading shows how weak their foundations are. Reading carefully is the best defence against being misled about the Bible. Check for yourself what you hear about the Bible and let God’s word be the final judge.

Since the Garden of Eden is the start of human history, it is natural for us to look there for the beginning of all Bible doctrines. But most doctrines are not mentioned there at all. In many cases, doctrines are not introduced to the text until they become vital to show why God has acted in the way he has.

Man, woman and marriage

Eden was filled with new plants and animals, but no thistles or thorns. God put Adam in the garden “to work it and take care of it”.
Genesis 2:15 We are not told exactly what work or caring was required.

Eve was given as a “suitable helper” for Adam in his life.
Genesis 2:18,20 Although God may have made many of every type of animal, he only made one man and one woman. God’s first comments about marriage are:

• God said that it was not good for Adam to be alone; Genesis 2:18
• Eve was made to be a suitable helper for Adam since none of the animals was suitable;
Genesis 2:20–23
• A man is to leave his parents and be joined to his wife as one flesh.
Genesis 2:24 This obviously was written for our benefit as Adam had no parents to leave. The key points are separation from parents and permanent joining to a wife. See also Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7; Ephesians 5:31.

God’s rules
God tells us of only one rule given to Adam and Eve.

And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16–17)

Eve gives a small extra detail in Genesis 3:3 where she tells the serpent that God had told them not even to touch the fruit. The serpent was able to trick Eve and she broke the rule. Adam listened to his wife instead of God and followed her example. Now there were two sinners—and they knew they were sinners. They had knowledge of good and evil as the serpent had said. But punishment was also coming as God had warned, and they suddenly wanted to hide their nakedness. Before they sinned there was no shame in nakedness, but sin had made nakedness shameful as it is today.

God confronted Adam and Eve and asked questions that drew out the sorry tale. Then he spoke to each of the three participants. In response, Adam blamed Eve (and possibly God by implication); Eve blamed the serpent; and the serpent had no-one to blame. All three were punished.

The consequences of sin were shown clearly and the world was suddenly a different place from how God had made it. The serpent was told he would slither on his belly. Eve was told she would have pain in childbirth and that her husband would rule over her. The ground itself was cursed with thorns and thistles because of Adam’s sin. Adam would have to work hard for his living until he died and returned to dust.

We are told that the curse on the serpent also applies to his descendants. It can be seen that the curses on Adam and Eve also applied to their descendants.

Promise of salvation
In the middle of the curses, there is hope. In Genesis 3:15, God made a remarkable promise concerning the serpent and Eve.

I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.

The antagonism between people and snakes is used to symbolise the struggle between Jesus and sin. This verse appears to be a prophecy of Jesus Christ who was to be the seed of a woman (Mary) and his victory against sin (represented by the snake). He delivered a fatal blow to sin when he died, but his death was temporary like a “bruised heel”.

1. Can you prove from the Bible that all of the curses God spoke to the serpent, Eve and Adam were intended to refer to their descendants also?
2. Genesis 1:29 and Genesis 3:18–19 both describe what Adam could eat. Had anything changed because of sin? Genesis 9:3 records what Noah was allowed to eat after the food. What was different? Are we ever told why?
3. Was the serpent a normal snake? Did it sin?

1. Using cross references, find all the places where verses are quoted in the New Testament from Genesis 2 and 3. Is any additional information given in these quotations that clari?es or expands on what is shown in Genesis?

• The Christadelphians: what they believe and preach by Harry Tennant (published by The Christadelphian, 1986), Chapter 2: “Man: good or bad?”. 9 pages.
• Genesis 1-2-3-4 by Harry Whittaker (published by Biblia, 1986). 144 pages. A detailed study of the first four chapters of Genesis.
• BB Study 3.2
• Thine is the Kingdom by Peter Southgate (published by the Dawn Book Supply, 2nd ed., 1997). Chapter 9, 30 pages.

7. Creation
16. Temptation
17. Sin
18. Death
28. Repentance