Eyes Wide-Closed: Part II :: By Denis Bowden

– A primer for beginners/A reminder for waverers –

(with editing help by a sister in Christ, Lynda Janzen)


For hundreds of years, theologians and even detractors of the narrative have weighed up the woman’s role in the temptation story. Of course, her role is centrally important. She is the one who is seduced by the tempting serpent. And he, of course, is either Satan or speaks for him as his agent.

God had initially established His covenant with the man (2:15-17). And though she was not originally a part of that covenant, it was extended to include the woman (3:2-3). Did this make her more sensitive to the wiles of Har Shatan, whom we call ‘Satan’?

Is this why he chose to come at her rather than the man?

It could well have been so!

Genesis 3:1

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The serpent now has the woman ‘on the ropes.’ He beguiles her as he instills in her mind the concept of self-doubt. In today’s terminology, Satan is having a ‘deep and meaningful’ with her. And it might well be argued that in her yet unsophisticated state, devoid of worldliness that comes from the interplay of human-to-human exchange, she is ‘easy prey’ to the serpent’s beguilement and inherently evil nature. The woman is a natural victim even though she sins through her own complicity. In that alone, she must bear responsibility for her following actions.

Also raised within her mind is the pleasing possibility of a very favorable outcome from eating the forbidden fruit. Moreover, so her beguiler tells her, there will be no consequences, only the possibility of gain from her own deliberate action.

The woman immediately commences to dissemble, and when she answers Satan, she blurs the edges of the injunction God gave both her and the man.

Listen to her answer. Genesis 3:2-3

“And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'”

In establishing the covenant with the man, God had been much more explicit. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die'” (Genesis 2:16-17).

Genesis 3:4-5

“Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'”

As the woman digests what she has been told so far, Satan has struck again. He tells her, Listen to me…you won’t die at all… you’ve been shilled…in fact, I’m telling you…only wonderful things are going to come to you once you eat this fruit.’

Satan has seized upon what he perceives as perhaps either her indecision or lack of understanding of the significance of the covenant between God and Adam and its extent to her, and of course, the temptation of a wonderful outcome.

He has her!

Genesis 3:6

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”

She plucks the fruit and eats!

It will temporarily win the day for Satan.

It will almost lose the day for mankind for all eternity. And it would have were it not for the pity of God and His decision to eventually send His Son to atone for our sin.

Did she thus give it to Adam, her husband, to make him complicit in the act? Irrespective, that was the outcome.

Both of them are now guilty of breaking the covenant.


The immediate outcome and the impact on all mankind to come:

Can we draw the conclusion that the man and woman then experienced at least two other emotions?

First: that arising directly out of their new knowledge of good and evil, they experience guilt. This is because their now-revealed knowledge of evil creates in their minds the belief that there is something amiss, something wrong with appearing naked in the presence of God!

Second: is it a stretch to say that now, also, they experienced shame? Are they not like children who have been caught doing something that their parents forbade? Children invariably show their guilt in such circumstances, and when the enormity of their actions are apparent, then immediately comes the shame, the sorrow, and the tears.

We can only conjecture!

Genesis 3:7-24)

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (vs 7-8).


What a relationship with God is described in verse 8! We can only yearn for and dream about its equal.

God is in the Garden. He, the Ancient of Days, is walking in the Garden in the cool of the day.

Whether visible or not, we are given the impression that God was with those made in His own image, and they were used to meeting with Him. Not in a fiery pillar or out of a burning bush. This description certainly does not demonstrate that these meetings are, until this stage, in anyway confrontational. They meet with God, though obviously with deference and respect, but are treated by Him as friends.


Does God have friends? Of course.

Both Abraham and King David are described so. What else would you expect from the most human of all human beings? He created the emotions of man as well as man’s physiological being. God created man in His own image.

Try and get your head around this!

And tragically, for us, that is now about to change dramatically!


“Then the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so, I hid'” (vs 9-10).

With his newly found knowledge of good and evil, the man has become aware of the possibility that God might view the exposure of his flesh as unseemly. And then, arising out of what they have done and their attempts to clothe themselves, they have become fearful of possible consequences – at the very least, causing God displeasure.

God speaks again:

“And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’ The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it'” (vs 11-12).

Adam is pleading the ‘Fifth’!

Then the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?‘” (v 13a).

The woman attempts to completely divert the blame.

“The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate'” (v 13b).

Here is another new type of reasoning tinged with untruth. Prior to eating the forbidden fruit, would either of them know the ramifications of deceit? And in attempting to place all the blame on Satan, she twists the implication of her own willingness to eat the fruit for the imagined gain that Satan has beguiled her with: “You will be as gods.” And so, she lies.

“So the LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, ‘Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel'” (vs 14-15).


“To the woman, He said, ‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you‘” (v 16).

To Adam, He said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return‘” (vs 17-19).


And so, God took away from Adam his bountiful provision of plenty in the Garden. From here on, no ‘freebies.’ Whatever man eats, he will earn through his own sweat. Man will labor all his life for his daily bread, his survival only ensured by his own hands and not by a benevolent father.

At this point, Adam names his wife, and she becomes the mother of mankind (v 20).

Because they will soon be banished from the Garden where {we can only conjecture} it was so maintained as to have constant temperature with no sudden changing climatic conditions, God sees to it that they are more adequately clothed to protect them from the elements to which they will now be exposed.

“The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (v 21).

“And the LORD God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever'” (v 22).

Whatever God’s ultimate plan had been for the pair of them had they had not sinned by disobedience to His covenant, it has now been lost.

“So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life” (vs 23-24).

My impression is that by placing a guard on the east entry to the Garden, and the flaming sword to guard the path to the ‘tree of life,’ the Garden was not destroyed. I am assuming that it exists in God’s care.


We, as ‘fallen man,’ have never been granted insight as to why the Garden contained these two trees of infinite power!

Were they to be part of God’s future plan for this higher man?

Obviously, at this point, our Father did NOT want His new creation to become God-like. Unsophisticated as they were, still learning the extent of their own reach, to have so armed them could only have had even more tragic consequences. God does not appear, from the scriptural account, to have this in mind for His creation at this stage of their new existence.

Mankind now becomes a perfect foil for the wiles of Satan and the angels that sided with him against God, when expelled from Heaven and allowed to make the Earth their home. And though initially given watch over man (the ‘watchers,’ as described in the book of Enoch), their own descent into evil is eventually to get drastically worse.

As we confront the story of our fall from the grace of God, it is clearly the preamble for what is to follow down through the ages of man. Left to his own devices and prone to further sin, ‘fallen’ man will continually become victim to his newfound nature and to the knowledge of good and evil. Within this knowledge, he will wage constant war with himself and certainly with other men.

To be continued with Part III: Har Shatan and the Decline of Man.

Denis Bowden