Genesis 2:15-17: “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord 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.”
In a previous lesson we learned that Adam was created in the image of God. As he came forth from the hand of his Creator, Adam was sinless. His nature was pure. He did not even have a tendency to sin. However, it was possible for Adam to sin because he had a free will. He was free to choose to obey God or to disobey Him.
God knew that Adam needed a wife, so He caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam. While he slept, God took a rib from Adam’s side and with it formed a wife for him. Adam named her Eve, which means “mother of all living.”
God blessed Adam and Eve and said to them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” God placed them in a beautiful garden called “Eden.” It was Adam’s duty to care for the garden.
There were many different kinds of trees in the garden, but two trees were different from all the others. One of these was named “the tree of life” and the other, “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Adam and Eve were permitted to eat freely of every tree in the garden except one — “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” God specifically commanded them not to eat of this tree and warned them, “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”
Adam and Eve were happy in the Garden of Eden and perhaps lived this way for some time. One thing that they especially enjoyed was the wonderful fellowship they had with God, their Creator. In the cool of the evening, God would come and visit with them. But one day, a terrible thing happened. Satan, in the form of a serpent, entered the garden and began talking with Eve. He asked the question, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” This seemed to be a harmless question but Satan had an evil plan. His plan was to deceive Eve into disobeying God.
Let’s look at how Satan deceived Eve. After Satan questioned Eve about God’s command, Eve replied, “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.“
Satan’s next statement was a bold lie. He said, “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.“ Not only did Satan’s words contradict God, but he also suggested that God was holding back something good from Adam and Eve. Satan told Eve that, by eating this fruit, she and her husband would be as gods.
Regarding Satan’s promise, Matthew Henry writes that the serpent “suggested to them the great improvements they would make by eating of this fruit. He suits the temptation to the pure state they were in, proposing to them, not any carnal pleasures or gratifications, but intellectual delights and satisfactions. He says, ‘you shall have much more of the power and pleasure of contemplation than you have now; you will see further into things than you do now.’ He speaks to Eve as if she and her husband were dim-sighted and short-sighted, in comparison of what they would be if they ate the fruit. He tells her, ‘You shall be as gods, as Elohim, mighty gods; not only omniscient, but omnipotent too;’ or, ‘You shall be as God himself, equal to him, rivals with him; you shall be sovereigns and no longer subjects, self-sufficient and no longer dependent.’”
Perhaps the idea of no longer being dependent on God appealed to Eve. She had to make a decision. God had said, “You will surely die.” Satan now said, “You will not surely die.” Eve had to choose whom she would believe — God or Satan. Eve looked at the fruit and thought about what Satan had said. Then she made her choice. She took the fruit and ate it. Eve chose to believe Satan.