Talking Snakes and Other Disasters (Man’s Temptation and Fall)

Talking Snakes and Other Disasters (Man’s Temptation and Fall)

Text: Genesis 3:1-24

Major Players: Adam, Eve, the Serpent/Devil

Words you should know:


“Hebrew Pronunciation [nah KHASH]

Translation serpent, snake

(Genesis 3:1-2,4,13-14)

Nachash is the most prevalent of eight OT terms for snake (Numbers 21:6), but the usage is broader than that. The nachash in Genesis 3:1,14 was the shrewdest (KJV-now the serpent was the most subtil) animal and did not crawl on its belly before the curse. It is possible that Nachash was a dragon or some form of dinosaur. The nachash/Leviathan was a sea monster (Job 3:8, Job 40:25-41:26, Amos 9:3, Psalms 74:13–23, Psalm 104:26 and Isaiah 27:1.), and there were other sea serpents (Amos 9:3). Associated with nachash are slithering motion (Proverbs 30:19), flying (Isaiah 14:29), sudden attack (Genesis 49:17), poisonous venom (Psalm 58:4), sharp bite (Psalm 140:3), hissing (Jeremiah 46:22), eggs (Isaiah 14:29), and licking of dust (Genesis 3:14; Micah 7:17). The serpent of Genesis 3 is an enemy of man linked with evil and is particularly identified with Satan in Rv 12:9, where he is also called a “dragon,” based on the Greek drakon, which can mean “serpent.”

The nagging question: hath God really said…

Did God really say? This question has been plaguing mankind since the Garden. Often times it is phrased this way, “Jesus never specifically said anything about ______.”

This very question is why it is so important to know your Bible; you cannot answer the question of what God has said unless you actually know the answer.

The Trouble with talking to a snake

First of all, the snake talked; that in and of itself should probably give pause. Since it did not, it may be safe to assume that, at one point and possibly right up until the flood, animals could talk. Admittedly that is a little suspect. It is more likely that the serpent had never talked before and that should have been a tip off to Eve that something was wrong.

Problem number two: Eve did not stand on revealed truth. Note that when Jesus was tempted, despite being God Himself, He answered with revealed truth, saying, “it is written.”

Problem number 3: Eve made the decision on her own and then persuaded her husband. Since we have the benefit of hindsight, it is obvious that Eve should have taken counsel with her husband. If nothing else, it would have been prudent to ask for a 2nd opinion. However, it was necessary that Eve did make this decision on her own.

The Disaster

The overall disaster in this story is that man sinned and, as a consequence, the intimate fellowship with God was lost. Previous to the sin, Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden in the cool of the day. In other words, they had the sort of intimate, face to face fellowship of parent and child.

Disaster number two: innocence was lost. Humans were aware not only of their own literal nakedness but also of the fact that they could hide nothing from God.

The curse: God answers this act with a 3-fold curse. The Serpent will now go on its belly, there will be enmity between the offspring (both literally and spiritually) of the serpent and the woman and, ultimately, the seed of the woman will prevail. This is the proto-euangelion or pre-gospel. The woman is cursed with great pain in childbearing and will desire to be in lordship over her husband but will not succeed. The man is cursed with increased struggle in his labors, with them being fruitless at times.

The final and ultimate curse is that humans will die. Until the day when Christ shall come and finally restore man to his place in the garden, we are cursed to deal with sickness, death, and dying.

How did God deal with the sin

God killed two animals and used the skin for kephora (atonement/covering)

Why did God allow the Fall of Man?

Commenting on John 9:3, J.C. Ryle remarks:

“A deep and instructive principle lies in these words. They surely throw some light on that great question, the origin of evil. God has thought fit to allow evil to exist in order that he may have a platform for showing his mercy, grace, and compassion. If man had never fallen there would have been no opportunity of showing divine mercy. But by permitting evil, mysterious as it seems, God’s works of grace, mercy, and wisdom in saving sinners have been wonderfully manifested to all his creatures. The redeeming of the church of elect sinners is the means of ‘showing to principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God’ (Ephesians 3:10). Without the Fall we should have known nothing of the Cross and the Gospel.” (

3 Major Views on Original Sin

Pelagianism: This view says that Adam’s sin had no effect upon the souls of his descendants other than his sinful example influencing those who followed after him to also sin. According to this view, man has the ability to stop sinning if he simply chooses to. This teaching runs contrary to a number of passages that indicate man is hopelessly enslaved by his sins (apart from God’s intervention) and that his good works are “dead” or worthless in meriting God’s favor (Ephesians 2:1-2; Matthew 15:18-19; Romans 7:23; Hebrews 6:1; 9:14).

Arminianism: Arminians believe Adam’s sin has resulted in the rest of mankind inheriting a propensity to sin, commonly referred to as having a “sin nature.” This sin nature causes us to sin in the same way that a cat’s nature causes it to meow—it comes naturally. According to this view, man cannot stop sinning on his own; that is why God gives a universal grace to all to enable us to stop. In Arminianism, this grace is called prevenient grace. According to this view, we are not held accountable for Adam’s sin, just our own. This teaching runs contrary to the fact that all bear the punishment for sin, even though all may not have sinned in a manner similar to Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:12-18). Nor is the teaching of prevenient grace explicitly found in Scripture.

Calvinism (The view held by this ministry): The Calvinist doctrine states that Adam’s sin has resulted not only in our having a sin nature, but also in our incurring guilt before God for which we deserve punishment. Being conceived with original sin upon us (Psalm 51:5) results in our inheriting a sin nature so wicked that Jeremiah 17:9 describes the human heart as “deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Not only was Adam found guilty because he sinned, but his guilt and his punishment (death) belongs to us as well (Romans 5:12, 19). There are two views as to why Adam’s guilt should be seen by God as also belonging to us. The first view states that the human race was within Adam in seed form; thus when Adam sinned, we sinned in him. The other main view is that Adam served as our representative and so, when he sinned, we were found guilty as well. This second view is sometime referred to as Federal Headship. Because Adam was our “Federal Head” before Christ, his sin is imputed to humanity. When Christ became our Federal Head, after the resurrection, His righteousness was imputed to us.

Discussion Questions

  1. Was the Original Sin eating the forbidden fruit or, perhaps, not trusting God’s revealed truth?
  2. What comes to mind when you think of the word sin?
  3. God did not instantly kill Adam and Eve but He did say in the day they ate of the fruit they would die. What do we learn about God from the fact that God waited to allow Adam and Eve to die of old age?

Final Thought

The major tragedy of sin is not that we die or the fact that corruption runs rampant on earth. The tragedy is that we have lost the kind of intimacy with God that we were designed to have. Thankfully, the Gospel gives us hope that one day we will join God in Heaven where He, Himself, will be our reward and we will enjoy full intimacy with Him forever.

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