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Genesis 3

3:1. Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise?

There is no mention of any “devil” or evil spirit, just “the serpent”. He is referred to as one of the beasts of the earth. He asks Eve not “What?” but “Why?”. With respect to God’s commandments, “Why?” is none of our business, but only “What?”.

3:2. And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat:

Remember later that Eve says that the fruit of the trees in paradise are her food.

3:3. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die.

Eve knows the commandment: “God hath commanded us that we should not eat.”

3:4. And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death.

The devil assures Eve that God’s threatened punishment need not be feared. The devil tempts Eve to not believe God.

3:5. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.

The devil speaks of God’s knowledge, which is unknowable to us. He deceives Eve, telling her that (a) God is selfish and does not love her, and (b) God is keeping her from happiness available to her.

3:6. And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband, who did eat.

The woman does not trust God’s word, but trusts her own senses and prudence (Proverbs 3:5).

3:7. And the eyes of them both were opened: and when they perceived themselves to be naked, they sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves aprons.

Blinded by the devil’s deceptions, they lost their sight. After the temptation has ended, the devil leaves them, his illusions end and they are left to see their circumstances truly.

3:8. And when they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in paradise at the afternoon air, Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God, amidst the trees of paradise.

They are afraid of the God who created the world for them and have everything into their hands–hiding in paradise.

3:9. And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him: Where art thou?

God knows all things, but asks Adam to allow him the opportunity to confess His sin freely.

3:10. And he said: I heard thy voice in paradise; and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.

Adam speaks and reveals he is no longer innocent, but is now aware of evil, like a child who speaks of something he should have never seen, revealing his disobedience.

3:11. And he said to him: And who hath told thee that thou wast naked, but that thou hast eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat?

God reasons with Adam and asks how he could know of his being naked unless either (a) someone told him such or (b) he disobeyed the commandment. Adam says nothing of the serpent (did he know?) but only of Eve,

3:12. And Adam said: The woman, whom thou gavest me to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

3:13. And the Lord God said to the woman: Why hast thou done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I did eat.

As with Adam, God questions Eve and allows her to explain herself. She claims she was deceived by the serpent. Neither Adam nor Eve accept responsibility for their disobedience.

3:14. And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.

God curses the serpent, again, saying nothing of the devil or any spirit, but speaking only of the serpent as a created animal. This is very strange since the serpent was accused by Eve of speaking and deceiving her.

3:15. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

This is a famous passage, interpreted as a prophecy concerning the Virgin Mary, which is why she is always depicted with a serpent under her feet.

3:16. To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee.

It is worth noting here that as so much modern controversy surrounds conception and childbirth, “sorrows and conceptions” was the curse imposed by God on woman in the beginning. It seems that women are forever tempted to try and escape this punishment.

3:17. And to Adam he said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee, that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work: with labour and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life.

Again, it is worth noting that modern controversy surrounds man’s aversion to work and toil. Modern man is constantly seeking a way to escape this curse rather than address the sin responsible for it–as he continues disobeying.

3:18. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herbs of the earth.

The earth is cursed because of man’s sin–not because it is evil of itself. Whereas Eve said that they ate the fruit of the trees of Paradise in verse 2, they will now eat the herbs of the earth–outside of paradise, which grow among thorns and thistles.

3:19. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.

Note that human work is penitential and should be embraced a such, as an exercise of the virtue of justice.

3:20. And Adam called the name of his wife Eve: because she was the mother of all the living.

Adam and Eve, in disobeying God, thought nothing of their children, who are now born under the effects of their sins.

3:21. And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skins, and clothed them.

God still caring for Adam and Eve, being merciful to their souls, caring for their bodies. God demonstrating His love for sinners.

3:22. And he said: Behold Adam is become as one of us, knowing good and evil: now therefore lest perhaps he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.

A mysterious passage as God refers to himself in the plural. Some see this as a revelation of the doctrine of the Trinity.

3:23. And the Lord God sent him out of the paradise of pleasure, to till the earth from which he was taken.

Adam is demoted from the “paradise of pleasure” he was given God, to his own native earth, outside of paradise.

3:24. And he cast out Adam: and placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubims, and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

God cast Adam out from paradise that he might not eat of the tree of life and live forever–in his current condition. God, however, intended to allow man to eat from that tree once redeemed. This plan, however, was a mystery yet to be revealed.

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