Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #1 of Genesis, chapter 3 and we are going to read Genesis 3:1:
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which JEHOVAH God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
I will stop reading there. Now we are being introduced to the serpent and it said, “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which JEHOVAH God had made.” We are surprised because the serpent was apparently another creature that was counted among the beasts of the field. It was more subtil, but it was still said to be of the creatures. So far God has created Adam and Eve and mankind was made in the image of God.
Yet, we have not had much of an introduction to the beasts of the field except that they were brought before Adam and Adam gave names to each one, but now there is a “serpent” coming into the picture. It is only because we know the rest of the Bible that we are aware of who the serpent is and why he has the ability to talk. We are aware that God did not give animals the ability to talk, reason and communicate as He did to man because we were patterned after God in our intellect, speech and ability to reason and understand things. Animals were not given this ability. You cannot go to a zoo and pick the smartest animal you can find and have a conversation with the animal because animals are a different sort of creation. They are creatures that God created with a breath of life, but they do not have souls and they were not made after God’s image. They do not have a mind like man and, therefore, they cannot communicate like man communicates. They communicate on a lesser level.
I am sorry to have to tell that some people that think there is going to be some major break through one day in man’s ability to communicate with whales or dolphins or some other creature. Yes, they have a type of intelligence that God created, but there will never be communication with any other creature in this world or any sort of dialogue or discussion with dolphins or monkeys or any other animals that God created because God did not design them that way. They do not have this ability.
This is why we are stunned that the serpent comes to Eve soon after creation and speaks to her: “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” The woman responded in Genesis 3:2-5:
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
There is an ongoing back-and-forth discussion between the woman and the serpent. God made Adam and Eve extremely intelligent. Undoubtedly, they were more intelligent than we are today because they did not have the negative effects of sin we do today, as we are thousands of years from the perfect man. Adam and Eve were perfect people with no sin and their minds would have been “sharp as a tack,” as the expression goes.
Yet, Eve was curious and we do not know why she got into this discussion. God did not tell us what she was thinking. She may have thought this was odd or unusual and this was a relatively new creation and here comes a creature that already has a reputation of being more subtil than any of the other beasts of the field. Maybe she thought God had given the serpent the ability to speak as humans and maybe she just had a curiosity about why the serpent was talking at all. We do not have all the information, but we do know that she encountered this serpent that was said to be “more subtil than any beast of the field” and he initiated contact and communication with the woman. He began to talk to her: “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” And God had said that very thing to Adam, in Genesis 2:16-17:
And JEHOVAH God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 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.
Now the serpent has knowledge about the statement God made to Adam and which Adam had certainly shared with Eve about not eating of that tree. So, the serpent is not saying something outlandish. He is saying something that Adam and Eve had familiarity with and something they were very curious about, so the serpent has picked a topic that Adam and Eve would have been most interested and, in fact, they would have been more interested in that topic than anything else in the Garden of Eden because that tree stood out because the Law God was associated with that tree and the commandment not to eat of it made that tree stand out unlike any other tree. It was there day after day in the midst of the garden and certainly they saw it and they would have reminded themselves, “We may eat of that tree or another tree, but we may not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden.”
Notice that the serpent came to the woman first. He did not come to Adam, as we can see when the serpent began to speak: “And he said unto the woman…” He did not direct his comments to Adam. God makes a point of this in 1Timothy 2:11-14:
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
First of all, it says the woman came into being second – Adam came first. Also, it says that Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and the one in transgression. We can understand that spiritually, as we see that Adam is a figure of Christ and, of course, Christ is not deceived by Satan. Remember the time of temptation in the wilderness. Satan came and attempted to deceive the Lord Jesus Christ concerning the Scriptures and to get Him to do something contrary to the Law of God, but Christ continued in obedient submission to the Father and to the Word of God. Christ was not deceived by Satan.
Historically, Adam did fall into sin, too, but Adam was not the one that was first contacted by Satan the serpent. Adam was not the one that Satan initiated the assault against. We have to keep in mind that God identified the serpent as being more subtil than any beast of the field and he determined that the person he would come against was the woman. She would be the focus of his attack and he did deceive the woman. Adam was next to the woman, as we read later in Genesis, chapter 3. He was not on the other side of the garden. He was right there and Adam took the fruit from the woman, so Adam is guilty. He sinned against God and he was the figurehead and the one that ought to have known better, but Adam ate of the fruit in relationship to the woman and not because of the serpent.
So, the serpent is the one that came to the woman and he seems to know something. He seems to have information that Eve lacks and Adam lacks – something they are not aware of, but something they have been curious about due to the Law regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This serpent seems to have “the scoop” about the mystery of the tree and he brings up the topic because he knows there is interest. There is natural curiosity about the tree, so he said to the woman, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” He got the woman to begin thinking of that one particular tree that stood out from the rest.
As we look at this we see the serpent was a creature God had created. We know from the rest of the Bible that Satan is the one that came in the form of the serpent and throughout most of the Bible when we read of a serpent we are reading about Satan, the enemy of God. We also know from the Bible that Satan is a fallen angel and we can see his “fall” in these verses as well, as he tries to deceive the woman by distorting what God had said. He is telling lies about what God had said. It is Satan’s sin and, therefore, it is describing his fall from heaven, but he is an angelic being and, therefore, he is a spirit being. Angels do not have bodies. They are not men and they are not animals. They were created as ministering spirits to minister unto the heirs of salvation. We also find that when Satan fell he took a good number of the angels with him. These fallen angels became demons. In various places in the Bible we read of demons, especially in the Gospel accounts when Jesus entered into the world. There was intense demon activity because Satan and his forces of fallen angels were aware that Christ (God in the flesh) had entered into the world and they concentrated their attacks in the area where Christ was at that time. There was no sense being somewhere else in the world when Christ is walking around in the flesh and He is the chief enemy, so Satan and his fallen angels gathered their forces together and we read, time and time again in the Gospel accounts of Christ casting out demons. There was a man that had “Legion” and he was possessed with demons. Christ cast the demons out and they went into a herd of about 2,000 swine and they rushed down into a body of water and were drowned. This reveals to us that a fallen angel can indwell a man because the man that had a “legion” of demons had as many as 2,000 demons within him. Also, these fallen angels can enter into animals because they entered into the swine.
Let me read that account in Luke 8:28-33:
When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.
Here, we see the devils (fallen angels and spirit beings) were able to indwell this man that had a “legion” of them. They were cast out by Christ and they went into the swine. They were able to indwell an animal.
We also know that Satan entered into Judas at the time when Judas betrayed the Lord by going to the chief priests and scribes to betray Christ for the silver. The spirit of Satan had entered into Judas, according to the Bible, so we are on very safe ground to understand that Satan had entered into the creature that was called a serpent. Satan entered into the serpent and this was why the serpent had the ability to talk because it was actually this fallen angel that spoke. Therefore, this creature was able to communicate like man. When Jesus asked the demon what his name was, he replied, “Legion.” So, we know that these fallen angels had the ability to speak and communicate and they have an intelligence that is above all the creatures of the earth, with the exception of mankind, and they could communicate on a level with man. God made them that way. We do not know all there is to know about angels, but we do know that a spirit being can enter into an animal or into a man and they can speak and communicate. This explains why the serpent was able to talk and communicate with Eve and it also explains why the serpent had knowledge of the trees of the garden and God’s commandment.
Where was Satan or Lucifer at that time? Lucifer had been created a “good angel” by God at the time of the creation and they were spirit beings, so they would have been witnesses to God’s creation and the creation of Adam and the woman Eve. They would have witnessed God’s commandment and it would have stood out to them, too: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 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, in heaven in the kingdom of God (in the spiritual realm) were Satan and all the angels, including those that were good and would remain good and those that were good and would fall along with Satan. God had created everything and He had given the Law concerning that tree and at some point Satan saw an occasion whereby he could be like God. We do not know his thought processes or how he worked it out in detail, but we know that Satan was created a good angel and that he was there and he was aware of the tree and the commandment concerning the tree.
The angels were created to minister to the heirs of salvation. In other words, they were to minister to those that were in a right relationship to God, however they were to accomplish that task. So, they were to minister to these newly created creatures, the man and his wife, that were created in the image of God and the focus of the angels would have been on this beautiful creation.
So, Satan heard the Law and later on he saw the woman was created. He also may have known about man’s curiosity about that tree and he would have understood that obedience to God was of the greatest importance. Man must obey God and if Satan could deceive the woman into disobeying God and obeying him it would make him like God. That was Satan’s sin. That was his fall. He was not satisfied with the position and status for which God had created him or with the task that God had given him. He wanted something more. It was pride that came forth. God permitted and allowed the fall of Satan and the fall of man to accomplish His purpose for this newly formed earth in order to make manifest and display the wonderful attributes of God through salvation. God first had to allow Satan to fall into the sin of pride in wanting to be like God.