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’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”
4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.
5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
7 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. (NIV)
Just as we found that the first sin of Satan was the sin of pride, we discover in Genesis chapter 3 that the first sin of man was also the sin of pride. Pride in mankind has its roots in the Garden of Eden. We know that Adam and Eve first sinned when they ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil against the direct command of God. But the question remains: Why did Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit? They ate the fruit because of pride. Yes, there were other reasons which we will examine in a moment. But for the purposes of this study we will concentrate on the sin of pride.
The first thing to notice in our passage in Genesis chapter 3 is that the sin of pride had its beginning when truth was exchanged for a lie. Notice in verses 2-3 that Eve begins with an orthodox belief. “The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'” (NIV) Eve correctly repeats the command of God that was given in Genesis 2:16-17. However, in verse 4, we see that Satan exchanges the truth of God’s word for a lie. “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.” (NIV) The words of Satan are in direct contradiction to the word of God. I believe that it is a universal truth that all sin is based on a lie which is in contradiction to the word of God. In Romans 1:25, in Paul’s great treatise on the utter sinfulness of man, we read “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen.” (NIV)
The second thing to notice in our passage in Genesis chapter 3 is that the sin of pride is based on the temptation that man can share in the glory that is due only to God. Just as Satan himself was deceived and believed that he could in some way be equal to God, so man in his pride can be deceived that we can also be, in some small way, equal to God. We see this temptation in Genesis 3:5. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (NIV) What is the temptation which Satan lays out before Eve? The ability to be like God. And it is the pride of man which tells us that this might just be possible. But God tells us that this is impossible. We read in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (NIV)
The third thing to notice in our passage in Genesis chapter 3 is that the sin of pride was accompanied by other sins in the fall of Adam of Eve. In Genesis 3:6, we read “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (NIV) When Eve looks on the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil looking through the glasses of the lie of Satan, what is it that she sees? She sees fruit that is: 1) good for food, 2) pleasing to the eye, and 3) desirable for gaining wisdom. Looking through the glasses of God’s word, none of these three things were true. But believing the lie of Satan changed the appearance of the fruit to Eve.
Allow me to draw a parallel here. Consider Genesis 3:6 in light of 1 John 2:16 “For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world.” (NIV) Notice the equivalence between these two passages. Good for food = cravings of sinful man. Pleasing to the eye = lust of his eyes. Desirable for gaining wisdom = boasting of what he has and does, or “pride of life” in some Bible versions. But also notice the last phrase in 1 John 2:16. These lies do not come from the word of God, but from lies of the world.
The fourth thing to notice in our passage in Genesis chapter 3 is that the fruit of the sin of pride is bitter. Adam and Eve gained no wisdom from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but they did gain some knowledge. We see this in Genesis 3:7. “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.” (NIV) What is the knowledge that they gained? They gained a knowledge of their shame. How bitter is the fruit of pride. We think we are something special and that we are due some special privilege that others cannot have. But when we learn the truth we find that our pride gives us nothing but shame.
So is there a lesson to be learned here? I believe there is. The lesson we can learn is how to resist the temptation of pride. Consider 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (KJV) Adam and Eve faced the temptation of the sin of pride. You will too. God gave Adam and Eve a way of escape. There was another tree in the midst of the Garden of Eden as well. It was the Tree of Life. More about that in a minute.
Let’s consider a student in school who has just failed an exam. He goes to his teacher and he argues that it wasn’t his fault that he didn’t pass the exam and that he deserves a passing grade. He tries to blame everything. The test was too hard. I didn’t have enough time. I wasn’t told what to prepare. We do the same when we don’t pass the test of temptation. Notice the three “BUT’s” in 1 Corinthians 10:13.
I argue “My temptation was unique – no one else has ever faced such a temptation.” But what does God say? “BUT such as is common to man.” Your test was no different than anyone else’s.
I argue “My temptation was too strong.” But what does God say? “BUT I am faithful and will not suffer you to be tempted beyond that you are able.” Nothing comes to you that God doesn’t allow and he allows no more than we can bear.
I argue “my temptation was impossible to get through.” But what does God say? “BUT I will make a way of escape so you can bear it.”
We can face the temptation of the sin of pride with God’s help. Pride has been successfully defeated by others in the past. Pride is not too strong to be defeated now. God offers a much better way than the way of pride. This is the way of humility and servanthood. But those are the subjects of future posts.
Now, what was the way of escape that God gave Adam and Eve? It was the Tree of Life. What would have happened if Adam and Eve had chosen the fruit of the Tree of Life instead of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? We are told the answer to this question in Genesis 3:22-24.
22 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.”
23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
24 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. (NIV)
The fruit of the Tree of Life would have granted Adam and Eve eternal life. However, once Adam and Eve had fallen, the fruit of the Tree of Life was forbidden to them. God drove them from the Garden and placed an angel to guard the way back to the Tree of Life. When we are faced with the temptation of pride, we too have a choice. We can choose to take and eat that fruit of the sin of pride. It looks good, and it tastes good, but it turns to bitterness in the belly. Or we can choose to eat of the fruit from the Tree of Life. The way will be hard for we must take up and bear a cross daily, but the fruit will be sweet to the soul.
By Berean Husband