Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3* PART 2 *BOOK 1
Genesis 2:8 – 3:8
In this lesson, we will go back to Genesis chapter 2. But before we do I should review just a little bit. Remember, that on the sixth day of creation, God created Adam. He created him out of the dust of the earth. He made him in God’s own image and we, hopefully, got across that that was in the area of our invisible makeup, in our personality, which is made up of our mind, our will and our emotion and God placed that then within a body.
Always remember that Adam was perfect, and I want to emphasize that. Adam was perfect in every way! He was sinless. He was immortal. He could have lived forever. And God had created a perfect environment in which he could live. An ideal climate. No heat. No cold. All of archaeological proof shows that at one time this world did have a constant climate from pole to pole. That was the situation into which Adam was brought.
It was to have been a beautiful earth. Far more land area than what we have on the earth tonight. I was shocked, and I should have known it, but do you realize that our present planet is just about 80% water. Something between 75% and 80% of our surface is water. That only leaves about 22%-23% that is land area.
Now of that 22%-23% that is land area, how much is habitable? Again, less than half. You take the vast areas of the Sahara – uninhabitable. Even in our own western United States, many parts of the Rocky Mountain areas, practically uninhabitable. And vast areas of Siberia and all around the planet we have unimaginable square miles of planet that is uninhabitable. So it really boils down to a small percentage of the surface of our planet is fit for human livelihood.
But, before the Flood and at the time of Adam, it was practically the opposite. There was abundant vegetation. There was room for an abundant explosion of not only the human race but the animal kingdom as well. And that gives rise to the tremendous fossil beds that we have been able to find as a result of the flood, but we will come to that later. Adam is brought into a beautiful created earth.
Now then, even though, as we pointed out earlier, he was given dominion over everything on the earth. From pole to pole. From east to west. Nevertheless, God, I think, set up a special little place which we call the Garden of Eden.
It naturally, as most of you realize, was there in the Middle East. In the cradle of civilization. In that area of the Euphrates River. Now let’s pick that up then, in chapter 2 verse 8.
“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.”
You know, I thought of something the other day that I had never thought of before, as long as I have been teaching. And, I wonder how many of you have? Where do you suppose he actually lived with his beautiful wife? Have you ever thought of that?
Did God give them a home? Did they just lay down in some vegetation and sleep? Did they just totally eat off the trees and fruits or did they have a place where they could prepare a meal? Have you ever thought about it? I never had, but I think it is something interesting to think about. Where did they actually live?
I think most of us always just think of Adam and Eve in that beautiful garden and that was it. Well, the Bible doesn’t tell us and there are a lot of things that the Bible can’t tell us because if it told us everything we would like to know, we would have to have a truck to carry it around. But, God has seen fit to make it concise enough that we have everything we need to know and yet, in a book small enough that we can carry wherever we go.
So, God placed him in the Garden. Then verse 9.
“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, (Can you imagine how beautiful that place was?) and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
How many particular trees? Two. We have here the Tree of Life and someplace just a little ways away from it, I think, was the Tree of Good and Evil.
It is interesting to note, that after Adam sinned, that the Tree of Life disappears from the Scriptural account until you get to the last Book, the Book of Revelation. You remember, in our very first lesson, we pointed out that so much of what is introduced in Genesis always comes back again in Revelation.
Well, the Tree of Life is one of them. It will disappear from view after Adam and Eve leave the Garden and we won’t see it again, it won’t be mentioned again, until we get to the last chapter of the last Book of our Bible.
So, these two trees we want to take note of. The Tree of Life which, had Adam been able to partake of, he would have definitely been able to live forever. That was the idea of that tree. It would enhance eternal life. That is why it comes back on the scene then, in the last part of our Bible, in Revelation in the new heaven and the new earth. There it will definitely enhance eternity. It won’t be as it says in our English “a healing”, but it will be therapeutic. It will enhance eternal life.
Set apart from the Tree of Life, is the tree that’s the most interesting, and the one that we better learn the most of. That is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Verse 10.
“And a river went out of Eden to water the garden;…”
Now I have to stop a minute! Remember I made special note a lesson or two ago that with that beautiful climate, it never rained. Of course, the Bible says in verse 5 of chapter 2 that God had caused it not to rain. But, He watered it from a mist that came from beneath.
I have had someone interrupt me as we come to verse 10 and say “wait a minute Les. If there was no rain, then naturally it didn’t snow, then where did the river get the water?” Because that’s the way we are now acquainted with it. The water goes to the ocean and evaporates and comes back up over land and it rains or snows and it feeds the rivers and so it goes year in and year out.
Have you ever seen a river come from the base of a mountain? Sure you have. I know Iris and I, years ago, stopped at the foot of a mountain in the Rocky Mountains for coffee one morning. We looked behind us and sure enough right out of the base of the mountain came this little stream of water. Thirty of forty miles down the road it was a river.
So I have no problem with saying on the one hand it never rained and on the other hand I can show you that there were rivers. Let’s go on!
“… and from thence it was parted and became into four heads.”
We don’t have to be too concerned about the names of these rivers.
“The name of the first is Pison; that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12. And the gold of that land is good; there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13. And the name of the second river is Gihon; the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia,“
Now that gets kind of confusing, because Ethiopia, as we understand it, is clear down in Africa. But, I think that it maybe kind of settles the confusion, that before the flood the whole land mass was practically in one chunk. There was no great separation of the Continents. So this just gives us a great area of the Middle East that was involved in what we call the Garden of Eden.
“And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.”
The fourth one is the river Euphrates, which we are acquainted with. If fact, it is in the news everyday. Because the Euphrates River goes right through Baghdad. The Euphrates River was the one on which the Tower of Babel was built. So it has been an important river scripturally, from day one. Now verse 15.
“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”
Remember, there were no weeds, no thorns or thistles and so it was a relatively mild occupation to keep that garden. Then verse 16.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:”
Everything there was for him to enjoy. Notice verse 17 begins with the word “But” This is one of those important three letter words in Scripture. Even though God could let him have everything he desired of any tree or any vine or any herb or anything that grew. But:
“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.”
Now the first question that comes into the average individual’s mind is, if God had everything so perfect and he has created a man that is perfect and could live forever; why in the world He put something in front of him that would make it possible for him to lose it all? It is a good question.
A few lessons ago I think I answered it, whether you realize it or not. Remember, I said that God and His creation of mankind had direct parallel with the husband and wife relationship. Do you remember that?
The whole idea of everything in God’s universe is that God wanted a creature that He could extend His love to and receive love in return. I pointed out in the husband and wife relationship, God expects and commands the husband to love the wife. Because how did God create the woman? To respond to that love.
Alright, in order for man to be put in a place of exercising that will, and to show that he really and truly loves the God that created him, God had to give him an alternative, and He did. Otherwise, he would have been a robot and God didn’t create men to be robots. He created us with that choice. That power of will. Or that will of the power of choice, would probably say it better.
He had to make something that would put man in the place of choosing. So God chose the Tree of Good and Evil for that purpose. He says to Adam, “Everything is yours to enjoy. You can live forever, but of that one tree you shall not eat for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” God made it emphatic.
Now, I have often wondered, just how much understanding Adam and Eve had of that word “die”. I don’t think that they had every really pictured anything having died. But, nevertheless, God made it so emphatic that they were not to eat of it or the consequences would be dire indeed. Keep that in mind because that is what we will be looking at when we get into chapter three.
We have already covered these other verses in previous lessons. How that Adam gave names to all the creatures. How in verse 21-25 God brings the man and woman together. I think we taught that in depth a few lessons ago, so now lets go down to chapter 3.
Get the picture now. Adam and Eve are living in the beautiful, beautiful part of a beautiful earth. In an ideal climate. Ideal environment. Ideal people. The ideal couple. What more could they hope for?
Well, the whole lesson here is that even though the sociologists idealistically think that if they could just set up every home with a decent income, a decent home, a decent environment, we would settle all of our social problems. It just doesn’t work that way.
This is the perfect proof of the pudding. Adam and Eve are under perfect circumstances. They couldn’t ask for anything better. Were they content? No. Let’s read on chapter 3 verse 1. I accidentally went into these first couple of verse few lessons ago but let’s look at it again.
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. 2. And he (the serpent, used now of Satan – Lucifer) said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
Remember, I said if you were to look up in the dictionary the definitions for the word subtle? There is a list of words probably 10 to 14 of them, all describing this creature by the wordsubtle.
He was deceptive. He was sly. He was intelligent. It was all these things that Satan could use to his advantage. Satan always uses the best that he can get his hands on, and I think that was the case here. Of all the creatures that were contemporary with Adam, the serpent filled the bill more than anything else.
Indeed it was beautiful with all of its color. I said previously, I think it walked upright on two legs. In zoology many times you will still study the place where appendages were upon a reptile. I think also, and I am going to stretch the point maybe to a place where you can’t possible swallow it, but I think the serpent was capable of speaking. The reason I think so, is that Eve was not the least bit shocked when it did. She just turned right around and communicated with it.
So anyway the serpent now approaches the woman and he says “hath God said.” Now you see one of the primary approaches of Satan even today is to plant doubt. Doubt, oh it is an awful word, because you see, doubt stands in bold relief against the other main word in Scripture, and that is what? Belief! See? Belief. But, opposite is doubt and this is Satan’s big gun.
As soon as he can get a human being to doubt the Word of God, to disbelieve it, you know where he has that person? Right in his hip pocket. And on the other hand God comes back and all He asks is that we what? Don’t doubt. Believe it!
This is the whole problem with even a lot of our ecclesiastical leaders tonight. How do they approach the Word of God? Believing? NO! They approach it with doubt. They just can’t believe it happened the way God’s Word said it did.
But, God is so pleased when we believe. Remember the verse in the Book of Hebrews chapter 6? “that without faith it is (what?) impossible to please God.” It is the only way of approach to God. So when people say, “Well I can’t really believe this”, then they have no fellowship with God, they can’t have. Now verse 2.
“And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst (or the middle) of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
The point made here is, did Eve fully understand what God said? Sure she did. You can’t blame God for keeping these two people unaware. They had a full understanding of what God expected of them.
Again, let’s bring it down to terminology, as long as they avoided that tree like a plague, what were they doing? They were believing. Yes, God said that we are not to touch it! But you see that this is the first thing that Satan blows away and he makes them doubt. So it wasn’t that they were ignorant of the fact. It wasn’t that God wasn’t fair with them by not explaining. They knew full well. Now verse 4.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:”
You know what I call that? That’s the first lie in the human experience. This is an out an out lie. Because what had God said? The day you eat thereof you shall surely die! But, Satan comes back. See why Jesus called him, what? The father of all lies. And he is still a master of it tonight. He is the perpetrator of what I call “The lie”. It will carry all the way through Scripture. “The lie.” And what is the lie? Verse 5.
“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.”
Do you see what that is saying? That is the lie that is still being thrown at the human race tonight! And people are gobbling it up by the thousands. Yea, by the millions! Because how many groups, how many of the cults, say “That you will one day become god.”.
Listen, that is “The lie.” Because this is what got Eve to partake of the tree, even though she had everything! There was nothing more she could have desired in this material world. She had it all. But what thing was left. Oh, she could be like God.
I think everyone of us can remember back to when we were little. You would watch a bird fly. What automatically crossed your mind? Oh, how you wished you could fly! But you see, within the human makeup there is also that desire that if only they could have complete control of everything! If only they could be their own god. That appeals to the human mind. To be like god. To have control.
Isn’t that what the cults teach? You can be whatever you want to be. You can have whatever you want to have. Just think it within your heart and if you think it and you dwell on it long enough and you motivate yourself hard enough, you can literally become your own god. Hey, that is “The lie!”
Now, Satan presents it as you can be as god, knowing good and (what) evil. Up until now, they knew no evil. See? They knew nothing of sin. They knew nothing of death. They knew none of that. But now, Satan is making it look as if that is something to be desired.
Again bring it into our own contemporary situation. What can Satan do with the things of this world that do nothing but destroy it? Oh, he can glamorize it. He can make it look as though if you are not doing “that” you are not living. Isn’t that true? And, it will do nothing but just tear people down.
But this is all part of “The lie”, and it began right back here in the Garden of Eden. Now verse 6.
“And when the woman saw (remember, she isn’t called Eve yet, she is only referred to as the woman) that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, (now what’s that contemplating? To be like god, see?) she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
Now, in the original Hebrew manuscripts, I read not too long ago that after the word eat there is a punctuation mark in the Hebrew that denotes a long pause. I was tickled when I read that because almost for the twenty years that I have been teaching, I have explained it as clearly as I know how that when Eve partook of this forbidden tree, that Adam wasn’t right there. She must have been at least temporarily alone, and that moments later Adam comes upon her.
And when I read this that the Hebrew text show a punctuation mark that denotes a time lapse, I said, “Well you know, I’m so glad that I have been right, because it is the only way that it makes sense.” That had Adam been right there at the time that old Satan was dealing with Eve, I think Adam would have done something to keep her from eating of the fruit, but Satan caught Eve alone for a little while and deceived her.
Again, doesn’t Satan always know when to catch us? Oh, listen, everyone of us, I don’t care how mature we are in our Christian faith, we have to be constantly on guard, because when we least expect it, that’s when Satan is going to hit us. And he will hit us from the blind side. He will take us at our weakest moment. We never get past that. It is the only thing that we can come back to the Word and realize that we have to be on guard constantly. So, I think Eve was caught at a moment when she was alone. It was a moment of weakness. And it was a time that she had no support from her other half, because he wasn’t there.
Alright, so she saw that it was pleasant to the eye. A tree to be desired to make one wise and she took thereof and ate. Let’s forget about Adam for a minute and let’s go all the way back to the New Testament. The little letter of I John chapter 2, and all I want you to see here is that we have the very same set of circumstances listed that we are to be warned of, that Eve faced at the forbidden tree.
I John 2:15-16
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh,(that doesn’t necessarily mean just sexual, that means any appetite. In Eve’s case it was hunger) and the lust of the eyes, (because how did that fruit look to her? Delicious!) and the pride of life, (what was involved there? Oh, if she ate, she could be like god. She would really be somebody) is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Now in the next lesson, we are going to pick up from these three segments and we are going to show how even the Lord Jesus faced every one of them.