1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3 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.’ ”
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
5 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.”
There is no way of knowing the timing of this event. Many people believe that the creation of angels occurred during the first six days. All of creation was still good on day 7, so, in this timeline, Satan’s fall must have occurred very shortly thereafter.
Adam and Eve were created perfect in every way, including fruitfulness. And God had instructed them to multiply and fill the earth. So it’s impossible that they were together for very long before Eve became pregnant. But she couldn’t have been pregnant before the fall because then their child would not have been affected by the fall.
All that to say that if angels were created during the six days, then Satan and mankind must have both fallen on day 8 or so. I find that unlikely. That’s one of the reasons I think Genesis 1:1 refers to an earlier angelic creation that was destroyed—perhaps down to the atomic level—before God began on day 1 to create a world for humanity.
But I could be wrong.
Lucifer is spoken of in Isaiah 14:12-15. This passage is in the context of a prophetic warning to the wicked “king of Babylon,” but the prophet seems to go beyond his denunciation of this earthly monarch to the malevolent spirit who had possessed and utilized the king’s body and powers. The statements made in this passage could never be true of a mere earthly king. This same powerful spirit is similarly addressed in Ezekiel 28:11-19, a passage first directed at another later earthly potentate, similarly possessed, the king of Tyre. In the latter passage, he is addressed as “the anointed cherub that covereth” the very throne of God, the highest being in all of God’s creation.
God had told this high angel that he had been “created” (Ezekiel 28:13-15), and no doubt informed him that he and all the other mighty angels were to be “ministering spirits, sent for to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). …
However, Lucifer’s “heart was lifted up” because of his beauty and he corrupted his wisdom by reason of his brightness (Ezekiel 28:17). Though God had assured him that He had created him, he somehow began to doubt God’s word and deceived himself into thinking he himself could become God. “… I will be like the Most High,” he said in his heart (Isaiah 14:14), evidently thinking that he and God were similar beings and that, therefore, he might lead a successful rebellion and overthrow Him.
Because “iniquity was found in him” (Ezekiel 28:15), Satan fell “as lightning falls from heaven” (Luke 10:18). God “cast him to the ground” (Ezekiel 28:17) and ultimately he will be “brought down to hell” (Isaiah 14:15; Matthew 25:41). — Morris, pages 107-108.
Demonic spirits evidently have the ability, under certain conditions, to indwell or “possess” either human bodies or animal bodies (Luke 8:33); and Satan on this occasion chose the serpent as the one most suitable for his purposes. There has been much speculation as to whether the serpent originally was able to stand upright (the Hebrew word nachash, some maintain, originally meant “shining, upright creature”). This idea is possibly supported by the later curse (Genesis 3:14), dooming the serpent to crawl on its belly “eating” dust…
In cases of doubtful meanings of Scripture, one must not be dogmatic; but, at the same time, he should not forget the cardinal rule of interpretation; the Bible was written to be understood, by commoner as well as scholar, and that it should therefore normally be taken literally unless the context both indicates a nonliteral meaning and also makes it clear what the true meaning is intended to be. It is at least possible (as well as the most natural reading) that the higher animals could originally communicate directly with man, who was their master. —Morris, pages 108-109.
Has God indeed said — In other words, “Did God really say such a thing as that!” Note the slightly mocking superior condescension to Eve’s “naive” acceptance of God’s command, a technique followed by Satan and his human emissaries with great success ever since. This first suggestion that God could be questioned was accompanied by an inference that God was not quite as good and loving as they had thought. “He has not allowed you to eat the fruit of every tree, has He? Why do you suppose He is withholding something from you like that?”
Eve’s response to the serpent’s insinuations was, of course, to assure him that he was wrong. God had allowed them to eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. It was only the one tree in the midst of the garden which was restricted to them. However, even in the midst of her attempt to correct the serpent’s implication, she revealed that his question had had a deadly effect on her. In her reply, she both added to and subtracted from God’s actual words, with the effect of making Him seem less generous and more demanding than He really was. She said, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden,” whereas God had said they could freely eat of all the trees. God had told them they should not partake of only one tree in the midst of the garden; but Eve said that He added, “neither shall ye touch it.” God had not forbidden them to touch the fruit, of course; so this further supposed restriction had been purely the product of Eve’s developing resentment.
Having led Eve first to question God’s authority and goodness and then both to augment and dilute His Word, Satan now was ready for the “kill.” “Ye shall surely not die.” … [God’s] warning, Satan suggested, was merely because of God’s fear that they would learn too much. Not content merely with altering God’s Word, Satan now blatantly denied it, calling God a liar!
“Ye shall be as gods.” This was the same temptation that had led to Satan’s own downfall (Isaiah 14:13-14), and it proved an irresistible temptation to Eve as well. In effect, of course, as soon as one begins to deny God’s Word or to question His sovereign goodness, he is really setting himself up as his own god. — Morris, pages 110-112.
Eve’s security against the influence of all this reasoning would have been simple repose in the infinite goodness of God. She should have said the serpent, I have the fullest confidence in God’s goodness, and therefor I deem it impossible that He could withhold any real good from me. If that fruit were good for me, I should surely have it; but the fact of its being forbidden by God proves that I would be no better, but much worse off by the eating of it. I am convinced of God’s love, and I am convinced of God’s truth, and I believe, too, that you are an evil one come to draw my heart away from the fountain of goodness and truth. Get thee behind me, Satan. This would have been a noble reply; but it was not given. … The moment she took herself out of the hands of God—out of the position of absolute dependence upon, and subjection to, His Word, she abandoned herself to the government of sense, as used of Satan for her entire overthrow. — Mackintosh, pages 38-41.
In seeking to incite the couple to sin Satan focuses his efforts on the woman, since her basis for obedience is potentially less stable, being dependent on Adam’s communication of the command as well as for his guidance in resolving any questions or doubt about it (since, according to the text, it was only to Adam that God communicated the command). Since the couple is at this point inseparable (at the end of v.6 we are told that Adam was “with her”), Satan does not overtly “corner” or isolate the woman, which would undoubtedly raise Adam’s ire and more quickly prompt him to defend his wife; rather, he speaks to them both—as underscored by the fact that all of the “you”pronouns in this exchange are plural, yet he addresses the woman and in so doing subtly marginalizes her husband. — Wechsler, pages 92-93.
Some interpreters have criticized Eve’s (or Adam’s) addition to the command (as presented in 2:16-17) of the words “or touch it,” claiming that this is an example of the unfortunate human tendency to unnecessarily encumber God’s Word, yet such criticism here is unjustified: before eating from the tree they were not depraved, and not therefore sinners. Their sin is identified with eating from the tree, not with a supposedly wrongful addition to God’s command. — Wechsler, page 93
Satan suggests that God’s intention is … petty—namely that He is unwilling to share His divine position with man who, by eating from the tree, would be equally as qualified to be called God (hence “life God, or “as Gods,” as the phrase may also be translated. It is at this point that Eve stood most in need of Adam’s guidance, for not only had Adam heard the command directly from God, but he had also experienced first-hand, in a way that Eve had not, the paternal love and grace of God in receiving from His hand the best fulfillment of His need for Eve herself. Tragically, however, Adam keeps silent, and in so doing gives a certain degree of “tacit approval” to the validity of Satan’s alternative and improper characterization of God’s motive. For this reason it may be truly said that “Eve was deceived” (1 Timothy 2:14)—i.e., she sinned without fully and properly realizing that what she did was inconsistent with the true character of God (and thus that what she did was truly a sin). Adam, on the other hand, knew this quite well, and is therefore ascribed a far greater degree of culpability, as is evident from the fact that God prefaces Adam’s chastisement (but not Eve’s) with explicit reference to his intentional disobedience (3:17). — Wechsler, pages 94-95.
I’m going to have to give this further thought. I though Wechsler had an excellent point when he said that Eve had done nothing wrong by not directly quoting God because she hadn’t eaten of the apple yet and so was still incapable of doing anything wrong. But then he goes on to say that Adam was wrong when he didn’t prevent Eve from eating the apple. But wasn’t Adam also incapable of doing wrong before he ate of the apple and, therefore, not to be held accountable for anything he did before that moment? Perhaps, while the act of eating was the Rubicon from beyond which there was no going back, the sin began with allowing the temptation to take hold.