Genesis 4:3-7

 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord.

Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering,

but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

Abel’s offering implies a previous instruction, for it was “by faith” (Hebrews 11:4), and faith is taking God at His word; so that Cain’s unbloody offering was a refusal of the divine way. — Scofield, page 9.


They [Cain and Abel] were both grown men … It is, therefore, quite probable that the offerings described in these verses were not the first ones offered by these two brothers. Rather, it must have become a regular practice, at certain definite periods of time, possibly on the Sabbath. The words in the Hebrew—literally, “at the end of the days”—seem to suggest this. Since this was the first occasion on which Cain received a rebuke, it would be inferred that his previous offerings had been acceptable to God.

The Bible does not actually say specifically whether such sacrifices had been commanded by God, or whether the practice arose merely as a spontaneous expression of thanksgiving and worship. If it was the latter, however, it is difficult to understand why God would not have been as pleased with an offering of Cain’s fruit as with an offering of Abel’s slain lamb. It seems more likely that God did give instructions, and that Cain had  disobeyed. The entire occurrence can only be really understood in the context of an original revelation by God regarding the necessity of substitutionary sacrifice as a prerequisite to approaching God. …

Cain himself had probably purchased from Abel a sheep for his own sacrifice each time they came to the appointed place. There came a time, however, when Cain began to resent this situation and finally decided to rebel against it. … At any rate, his heart was not right before the Lord, and his offering was not in faith as was his brother’s. Therefore, God rejected his gift. — Morris, pages 136-137.


Cain’s “glance” (a better rendering than “countenance”) had been haughty, but now it “fell” and he became bitterly angry. Though perhaps up to this point in his life, he may have seemed outwardly pious and obedient toward God, this incident finally revealed the inward pride and resentment that must have been festering in his heart for some time. The resentment was directed not only at God, but also at his brother Abel. Abel was an outward symbol of the fact that Cain’s works were not adequate to get him into God’s presence (since he must obtain Abel’s sheep for this purpose). — Morris, page 137-138.


In spite of Cain’s bitter anger, God graciously promised that he would yet be accepted if he would only “do well,” which undoubtedly meant to “obey His word.” If he continued in rebellion, however, “sin” (and this is the first use of the word in Scripture) was “crouching at his door.” — Morris, page 138.


Cain offered to Jehovah the fruit of a cursed earth, and that, moreover, without any blood to remove the curse. He presented “an unbloody sacrifice,” simply because he had no faith. … No doubt reason might say, What more acceptable offering could a man present than that which he had produced by the labor of his hands and the sweat of his brow? Reason, and even man’s religious mind, may think thus, but God things quite differently; and faith is always sure to agree with God’s thoughts. God teaches, and faith believes, that there must be a sacrificed life, else there can be no approach to God. — Mackintosh, pages 62-63.


“God is not worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything”; and yet Cain thought He could be thus approached—and every mere religionist thinks the same. — Mackintosh, page 64.


No doubt faith will produce feelings and sentiments—spiritual feelings and truthful sentiments—but the fruits of faith must never be confounded with faith itself. I am not justified by feelings, nor yet by faith and feelings, but simply by faith. And why? Because faith believes God when He speaks—it takes Him at His word; it apprehends Him as He has revealed Himself  in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is life, righteousness and peace. To apprehend God as He is, is the sum of all present and eternal blessedness. When the soul finds out God, it has found out all it can possibly need, here or hereafter; but He can only be known by His own revelation, and by the faith which He Himself imparts, and which, moreover, always seeks divine revelation as its proper object.

Thus, then, we can, in some measure, enter into the meaning and power of the statement, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” Cain had no faith, and therefore he offered an unbloody sacrifice: Abel had faith, and therefore he offered both “blood” and “fat,” which, in type, set for the presentation of the life, and also the inherent excellency of the Person of Christ. — Mackintosh, pages 69-70.


Of Abel we read that “God testified of his gifts.” He did not bear witness to Abel, but to Abel’s sacrifice; and this fixes, distinctly, the proper ground of a believer’s peace and acceptance before God. 

There is a constant tendency in the heart to ground our peace and acceptance upon something in or about ourselves, even though we admit that that something is wrought by the Holy Ghost. Hence arises the constant looking in, when the Holy Ghost would ever have us looking out. The question for every believer is not, What am I? but, What is Christ? — Mackintosh, pages 71-72. 


Had Abel been accepted on the ground of aught in himself, then, indeed, Cain’s wrath, and his fallen countenance, would have had some just foundation; but inasmuch as he was accepted exclusively on the ground of his offering, and inasmuch as it was not to him, but to his gift, that Jehovah bore testimony, his wrath was entirely without any proper basis. This is brought out in Jehovah’s word to Cain—”If thou doest well, (or, as the LXX reads it, “if thou offer correctly”) shalt thou not be accepted?” The well-doing had reference to the offering. Abel did well by hiding himself behind an acceptable sacrifice: Cain did badly by bringing an offering without blood; and all his after-conduct was but the legitimate result of his false worship. — Mackintosh, pages 73-74. 


[Cain] is a type of the many in these times who will descant upon the benevolence and love the the Creator, and are ever ready to laud Him for those attributes, and claim the benefit of them, without any reference to their own unworthiness and sinful condition, without a thought of that perfect holiness and justice which are as much elements of the mind of God as love itself. — Pember, page 181. 


What does John mean when he says that Cain was of the wicked one?  [For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous (1 John 3:11-12)] The Spirit means to bring out the idea that Cain was not only an ugly fratricide, but a tool of Satan to make an immediate and deadly attack upon the promised seed of the woman, but as usual, Satan overshot the mark for God made the death of Abel and wonderful picture of Calvary and gave Seth as a picture of the risen Savior (Genesis 4:25), who became a father of a holy seed after the cruel death of the innocent one. — Bultema, page 22. 


Only recently have I heard the take on this passage that the problem with Cain’s offering wasn’t that it didn’t involve blood, but that Cain had the wrong attitude. In other words, Cain’s fruit would have been acceptable to God if his heart had been in the right place. I can’t see it. There’s no denying that Cain didn’t have the right attitude, and that he should have. But if the problem was Cain’s attitude alone, then his standing before God would be based on his own performance—his works. But a sacrifice of blood isn’t acceptable based on the performance of the person doing the sacrifice, but rather on the work of Christ on the cross.

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Genesis 4:1-2

1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.”

Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

The following paragraph by Morris is conjecture, but I think it makes sense enough to be a possibility.

It seems reasonable to infer that, after the expulsion from Eden, God had made gracious provision to continue to commune with man, even though now “at a distance,” on the basis of His promise of a coming Redeemer, whose shed blood would be the price of redemption. He had shown Adam and Eve that an “atonement” required the shedding of innocent blood to provide a “covering” for the guilty. Probably at an appointed time and place, men were able to meet God, first being careful to approach Him by means of a proper offering, especially marked by the principle of substitution—the innocent for the guilty. — Morris, page 133.


This is the first use of the familiar Biblical euphemism for marital intercourse; “Adam knew his wife.” Such an expression uniquely emphasizes both the full harmony and understanding of man and wife (one flesh) and also an ideal awareness of God’s primeval purpose as implemented through the human capacity for sexual love and reproduction.

The name Cain means “gotten” and is obviously derived from Eve’s exclamation of joyful acquisition. … Eve not only was thankful for a child, but also that the Lord had enabled her to begat a man. This seems to be a further expression of faith that her babe would grow to manhood. It is possible that she hoped this might be the promised Deliverer, even though he was not in a specific biological sense a “seed of the woman.” As a matter of fact, he “was of that wicked one” (1 John 3:12), and thus was the first in the log line of the Serpent’s seed.

Cain’s younger brother, Abel, was truly in the household of faith, however, He is the very first mentioned in the long line of men of faith recorded in Hebrews 11 (v.4). He is called “righteous” and a prophet (Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:50-51). … As a prophet, he must also have received God’s Word by divine revelation and preached it by divine enablement. But Cain refused it and disobeyed.

the name of Abel means “vapor” or “vanity,” and suggests that, by the time of Abel’s birth, Eve had become thoroughly impressed with the impact of God’s curse on the world. God had indeed made the creation “subject to vanity” (Romans 8:20).

As the boys grew, Cain became a farmer and Abel a shepherd. Both were honorable occupations, Cain’s fruits provided food and Abel’s sheep providing clothing for the family. In addition, it is probable that the sheep were to be used for sacrifice. … Man was not authorized until after the Flood to use animals for food (Genesis 1:29; 2:16; 3:19; 9:3). —Morris, pages 134-135.


In the persons of Cain and Abel, the first examples of a religious man of the world and of a genuine man of faith. Born, as they were, outside of Eden, and being the sons of fallen Adam, they could have nothing, naturally, to distinguish them one from the other. They were both sinners—both had a fallen nature—neither was innocent. …

What, therefore, made the vast difference? The answer is as simple as the gospel of the grace of God can make it. The difference was not in themselves, in their nature or their circumstances; it lay entirely in their sacrifices. This makes the matter most simple for any truly convicted sinner—for any one who truly feels that he not only partakes of a fallen nature, but is himself, also, a sinner. The history of Abel opens, to such an one, the only true ground of his approach to, his standing before, and his relationship with, God. It teaches him, distinctly, that he cannot come to God on the ground of anything in, of, or pertaining to, nature; and he must seek, outside himself, and in the person and work of another, the true and everlasting basis of his connection with the holy, the just and only true God. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews sets the whole subject before us in the most distinct and comprehensive way, “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4).


Thus the first dispensation ended in failure, yielding as its result a mournful proof that man is a being too weak to retain his innocence even in the most favourable circumstances. it now remained to be seen whether after the experience of the fall, after tasting the bitter consequences of sin, he could recover his position and become again obedient and holy. Of this God made trial in several ways.

First, in what we may term the age of freedom, during the lapse of which He left Adam and his descendants almost entirely to their own devices. Marriage had indeed been instituted: and they were instructed to approach Bod by means of typical sacrifices, and commanded to toil for their bread by tilling the earth. But beyond this God would neither Himself issue laws nor suffer men to do so. The sword of the magistrate might not be used for the repression of crime: even the murderer should be unpunished, as we may see by the case of Cain. No government was permitted: every  man should go in his own way, and do that which was right in his own eyes. 

Thus the fitness of man for a condition of extreme liberty, and the worth of a trust in the innate justice supposed to lie at the bottom of the human heart, have been already tested by the great Creator. — Pember, pages 165-166.


Eve’s statement is to be translated, “I have acquired a male, the Lord.” In other words, Eve’s expectation regarding Cain, her first male child, is that he is none other than the promised “seed” of 3:15, who, as God incarnate, would restore humanity to their pre-Fall ideal by “crushing” Satan’s head and ending the reign of sin over Creation. — Wechsler, page 116.


In their desire to worship, therefore, the brothers quite naturally present to the Lord that which is theirs to give—namely, a fruit offering and a flock offering. The reason Cain’s offering is rejected is not because it was a non-animal offering (this distinction is only  made later on in the Law of Moses, and even then fruit/grain offerings are specified as a legitimate type of offering; (cf. Leviticus 2:1.), but rather because Cain’s heart, or attitude, was not consistent with the act of worship. — Wechsler, page 116-117


I’ve heard Wechsler’s viewpoint before, but I don’t think I fully agree. Yes, the Mosaic law speaks of grain offerings, but as far as I can see from Leviticus 2, they are for memorials and worship, not for sin offerings. As Hebrews 9:22 says, “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” There’s not blood in fruit. Yes, Cain’s attitude was wrong, but I don’t believe that was the only problem with his offering. That fact that Abel knew to kill a sheep to offer it to the Lord is evidence that God had revealed His will regarding blood sacrifices. Otherwise, there would have been no reason to kill the sheep.

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Genesis 3:22-24

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—

23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.

24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Verse 22 gives a brief insight into the inner councils of the tri-une Godhead. As in Genesis 1:26, such a council was recorded relative to the decision to make man, so now the council decrees his expulsion from the garden and the tree of life. In both passages, the divine unity is stressed (“And the Lord God said”) and also the divine plurality (“Us”). — Morris, page 131.


To “keep” ( or “guard”) the way of the tree of life, God placed at the east of the garden two cherubim, with a revolving swordlike flame …These creatures, apparently the highest in the angelic hierarchy, are described more fully in Ezekiel 1:4-28; 10:1-22; and Revelation 4:6-8. Satan himself had once been the “anointed cherub” (Ezekiel 28:14) on God’s holy mountain.

The cherubim are always associated closely with the throne of God (note Psalm 18:10; 80:1; 99:1) and it is thus intimated that God’s presence was particularly manifest there at the tree of life. Later, His presence was especially revealed over the mercy seat in the holy of holies in the tabernacle (Exodus 25:17-22; Hebrews 9:3-5), and it is significant that this mercy seat was overshadowed by two golden representations of the cherubim. It was here that once each year the high priest entered with the sacrificial blood of atonement to sprinkle over the mercy seat (see Leviticus 16; Hebrews 9:7-9; 24-28).

By analogy, it may well be that it was here, between the cherubim guarding the way to the tree of life, that God continued at intervals to meet with Adam and those of his descendants who desired to know Him. — Morris, page 132.


Fallen man, in his fallen state, must not be allowed to eat of the fruit of the tree of life, for that would entail upon him endless wretchedness in this world. To take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever in our present condition, would be unmingled misery. The tree of life can only be tasted in resurrection. To life forever in a frail tabernacle, in a body of sin and death, would be intolerable. — Mackintosh, page 55.


The verb “shakan,” translated “and he placed,” should be rendered “and He set up the tabernacle” as it has been so translated in Joshua 18:1, where the same verb is given its right meaning. Then we can understand how the two brothers could bring an offering unto the Lord. The Lord had a tabernacle at the East of the Garden of Eden.  — Bultema, page 19.


Adam and Eve, though forgiven, are no longer able to experience that ideal of intended intimacy with God in the garden, from which they are sent out towards the east: so too is Cain sent eastward as a consequence of his sin (4:16); and so too does man move further east before building the tower of Babel (11:2). This direction is first reversed in the Bible by Abraham’s father Terah, who sets out towards Canaan in 11:31, implying a desire on his part to draw closer to God. It is finally reversed by Christ Himself at His second advent, when, as described by Ezekiel, “the glory of God” (Jesus; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:7; Hebrews 1:3) returns to the Temple “from the way of the East” (Ezekiel 43:2). It is there, Ezekiel goes on to say, that God (the Son) will establish His throne and “dwell” for all eternity. — Wechsler, page 114.

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Genesis 3:20-21

20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

21 Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.

Adam called his wife’s name Eve (meaning “life”) because she was the “mother of all living.” He thus indicated his faith in God’s promises, not only that they would have children but also that through this means God would send the “seed of the woman” to bring salvation.  … In spite of their condemnation unto death, God promised they would indeed live long enough at least to have their children and raise them. They believed God’s word and so were saved. — Morris, page 129.


The robe which God provided was an effectual covering, because He provided it; just as the apron was an ineffectual covering, because man had provided it. Moreover, God’s coat was founded upon blood-shedding; Adam’s apron was not. So also now, God’s righteousness is set forth in the cross; mans’ righteousness is set forth in the works—the sin-stained works—of his own hands. … the sinner may feel perfectly at rest when, by faith, he knows that God has clothed him; but to feel at rest till them, can only be the result of presumption or ignorance. — Mackintosh, pages 54-55.


[God] took away their coverings of fig leaves, and clothed them with coats of skins. Most significant was the action: for by it He testified that their shame was not groundless, that there was need of a covering, but that the best the sinners could make for themselves was of no avail. … They must learn that only by life can life be redeemed; that if the sinner die not, there must be a Substitute; that the Most High is holiness and justice as well as love, and can by no means clear the guilty. — Pember, pages 158-159. (He proposes that it was at this point that God initiated animal sacrifice.)

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Genesis 3:17-19

17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

cursed is the ground (v.17) — The word “ground” is the same as the word for “earth,” referring to the basic material of the physical world.

Thus, the entire “creation was made subject to vanity.” The earth began to “wax old, as doth a garment” and ultimately “shall perish” (Hebrews 1:10-12). Since all flesh is made of the earth’s physical elements, it also is subject to the law of decay and death and as “grass, withereth … and falleth away” (1 Peter 1:24). It is universal experience that all things, living or nonliving, eventually wear out, run down, grow old, decay, and pass into the dust. — Morris, page 126


The curse on man himself was fourfold: (1) sorrow, resulting from continual disappointment and futility; (2) pain and suffering, signified by the “thorns” which intermittently hinder man in his efforts to provide a living for his family; (3) sweat, or tears, the “strong crying” of intense struggle against a hostile environment; and finally (4) physical death, which would eventually triumph over all man’s efforts, with the structure of his body returning to the simple elements of the earth.

But Christ, as Son of Man and second Adam, has been made the cures for us (Galatians 3:13). He was the “man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3); acquainted more with grief than any other man, He was wounded, bruised, and chastised for us (Isaiah 53:5), and indeed wore the very thorns of the curse as His crown (Mark 15:17); in the agony of His labor, He sweat as it were drops of blood (Luke 22:44), and “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears” (Hebrews 5:7). And, finally, God brought Him into the “dust of death” (Psalm 22:15).

Therefore, because He bore all the curse Himself for us, once again the dwelling of God shall someday be with  men and “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it: and his servants shall serve Him” (Revelation 22:3). — Morris, page 127.


Adam’s chastisement is essentially identical to that of Eve, consisting of both a psychological component—namely, the specific desire to “master” the other, as already pronounced in v. 16—and a physical component—namely, the specific experience of toil, which  is in fact the same word used in v. 16 to describe the increased “pain” of the woman’s childbirth (and which may otherwise be translated “hard labor”). These intentional parallels between the chastisements applied to the man and to the woman serve to underscore the point that, despite their differing roles and responsibilities, the way in which God chastises the sin of children—whether male or female—is essentially the same, reflective of the fact that He is equally concerned for the restoration and ultimate “good” (i.e., that which is best) of each one. — Wechsler, page 109.


The physical death to which God refers in the last line of v. 19—”and to dust you shall return”—does not represent the still further chastisement of Adam being made mortal, for Eve—to whom no such statement is made—likewise eventually dies, and from v.22, in any event, it is clear that “immortality” was not part of their created nature, but in fact a quality conveyed by the tree of life. By this statement, therefore, God is simply indicating the endpoint of man’s life of hard toil—i.e., strictly physical death, or the “first” death—which is the inevitable consequence of being restricted from the tree of life. By the same token we see that it is the unrestricted access to this same tree of life—which appears again not surprisingly, in the New Jerusalem (i.e., the New Eden), in Revelation 22:2—that enables the redeemed children of God to live, as they were meant, in a fixed state of “incorruptibility” (i.e., sinlessness) for all eternity. — 

I really like the connection Morris makes between the curse delivered to Adam and the suffering of Christ who took our curse upon Himself. The parallels are unarguable and comforting.

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Genesis 3:16

16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

This is the traditional take, supported by several of my commentaries.

Although God’s grace was manifest in this particular way [the promised seed, Christ] toward woman—despite her being the vehicle through which Satan gained control over the world—she was nevertheless to be the subject of special judgment, though even this would be for the ultimate good of humanity. Eve shared in the curse on Adam, since she was also “of the man”; but in addition a special burden was placed on her in connection with the experience of conception and childbirth, the pain and sorrow of which would be “greatly multiplied.” It had been appointed to her to be the “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20), but now her children to all generations would suffer under the curse. Their very entrance into the world would be marked by unique suffering, serving as a perpetual reminder of the dread effects of sin.

The function of reproduction and motherhood, originally given as the joyful fruition of God’s purpose in her creation, but now marred so severely by her “lust” for withheld knowledge, which conceived and brought forth sin and death (James 1:15), would thus be marked by unique suffering in its accomplishment. Furthermore, she who had acted independently of her husband in her fateful decision to taste the desired fruit, must henceforth exercise her desire only to her husband and he would bear rule over her.

It is surely true that, in the Israelite economy outlined in the Mosaic code, and even more in the Christian relationships enjoined in the New Testament, the role of the woman is eminently conducive to her highest happiness and fulfillment … In nominally Christian countries, of course, and even in many Christian homes and churches, the proper roles of husband and wife have often been distorted in one direction or another. This can best be corrected by simple obedience to God’s revealed Word on such subjects (see Matthew 19:3-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1-10; Ephesians 5:22-23; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 3:11-12; 5:14; Titus 2:4-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7, etc.). Morris, pages 122-124

Taylor has a more modern take.

The ideal state is for man and woman to be co-heirs, co-equals. There is nothing in this passage that prevents us striving for that. Remember, this is a curse, not a command. Over the ages, Christians have misinterpreted this verse as declaring the rightness of women’s inferiority to men. In fact, the opposite is being stated. God is saying that there will be natural tendency for men to rule over women, but that in fact this is not how matters were intended to be. … The curse merely explains that something went very wrong to cause the world to be unequal. — Taylor, pages 111-112

Wechsler, as always, digs deeper and finds a more satisfying take.

As God moves back up the chain of responsibility that was shamefully “up-ended” by Adam and Eve, God shifts from pronouncing judgment to the issuing of chastisement—which latter is always motivated by love and intended for improvement (CF. Psalm 119:75; Proverbs 3:12; Hebrews 12:6). His chastisement of the woman consists of two parts: the first is that He would “greatly multiply” her pain in childbirth, the ongoing reality of which is abundantly evident. Noteworthy, however, is God’s use of the expression “greatly multiply,” which implies that there was intended to be a certain degree of “pain” even in the ideal (i.e., pre-Fall) state! … Pain, which is in essence simply “an unpleasant sensation” serves a quite positive purpose, and one for which it need not be of an intense kind—to wit, it tells us when we have “pushed” our bodies too far or applied them beyond what they were meant to do or bear. With respect to childbirth in particular, pain serves the purpose of informing the mother that the baby is coming, for which process she must be physically prepared and able to adjust her body as necessary. 

The second part of the woman’s chastisement is that her “desire shall be for” her husband—the “desire” here being not the emotional desire that was unquestionably present in their pre-Fall relationship, but rather the psychological desire to dominate and control her husband. This this is so is clear from (1) the contrast with the following clause, “but he shall rule over you”—which, it must be stressed, is not intended as God’s “ideal correction” to the woman’s desire for masterly, but is in fact also part of God’s chastisement, according to which the man will likewise seek to exercise mastery and control over the woman (the ideal being that they were to rule together, with final authority and responsibility resting with the man; and (2) the word here used for “desire” is used again in the very next chapter (the only other occurrence of this word in the Pentateuch!) where it is again followed by a contrastive clause and paralleled  by the same verbal root for “rule” as in 3:16—i.e., God’s warning to Cain (4:7): “[sin’s] desire is for you, but you must master it.” Such parallels are clearly intentional, and hence intended to be similarly  understood—especially given the larger structural and thematic-theological parallels between God’s response to the sin of Adam and Eve in chapter three and that of their firstborn son Cain in chapter four. — Wechsler, pages 107-109

What to make of all this. That God wills that husbands be the head of their household is irrefutable. That God sees men and women as equals, but with different roles, is also irrefutable. Taylor’s take conveniently ignores all the verses (many of which are included in Morris’s quote above) that make these things clear. His explanation smacks of “explaining away,” not “explaining.” His use of the word “inferior” to describe women’s traditional role is a straw dog argument.

Wechsler’s take works for me. That God intended husbands and wives to be in a mutually-beneficial, loving, respectful partnership (under the headship of a loving husband who always has his wife’s best interest as his goal) is clear. That this isn’t often the case is also clear. That the curse creates a tension in the relationship makes sense.

That the Pauline verses linked above show the best way to reduce that tension also makes sense.

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Genesis 3:14-15

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.

15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”

The Adamic Covenant conditions the life of fallen man—conditions which must remain till, in the kingdom age, “the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). The elements of the covenant are:

  1. The serpent, Satan’s tool, is cursed (v.14; Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 11:3, 14; Revelation 12:9) and becomes God’s graphic warning in nature of the effects of sin—from the most beautiful and subtle of creatures to a loathsome reptile. The deepest mystery of the cross of Christ is strikingly pictured by the serpent of bronze, a type of Christ “made sin for us” in bearing the judgment we deserved (Numbers 21:5-9; John 3:14-15; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
  2. The first promise of a Redeemer (v.15). Here begins the “highway of the Seed”: Abel, Seth, Noah (Genesis 6:8-10), Shem (Genesis 9:26-27), Abraham (Genesis 12:1-4), Isaac (Genesis 17:19-21), Jacob (Genesis 28:10-14), Judah (Genesis 49:10), David (2 Samuel 7:5-17), Immanuel-Christ (Isaiah 7:10-14; Matthew 1:1, 20-23; John 12:31-33; 1 John 3:8).
  3. The changed state of the woman (v.16), in three particulars: (a) multiplied conception; (b) sorrow (pain) in motherhood; (c) the headship of the man (cp. Genesis 1:26-27). Sin’s disorder makes necessary a headship; it is vested in man (Ephesians 5:22-25;
    1 Corinthians 11:7-9; 1 Timothy 2:11-14).
  4. The light occupation of Eden (Genesis 2:15) changed to burdensome labor (Genesis 3:18-19), because of the earth’s being cursed (3:17).
  5. The inevitable sorrow of life (v.17).
  6. The brevity of life and the tragic certainty of physical death to Adam and all his descendants (v.19; Romans 5:12-21. — Scofield, page 7.

eat dust (v.14) — a term of humiliation

It should be noted … that all other animals were brought under the curse at this time, though none of them had “sinned.” The serpent was merely cursed “above all” the rest, but “every beast” henceforth had the “sentence of death” in is members. Each was part of man’s dominion and it was by man’s sin that death came into the world, infecting everything in that dominion. — Morris, page 3

enmity (v. 15) = from the same root as “enemy”

By persuading them to follow his word instead of God’s word, Satan [may have] believed that he had now won the allegiance of the first man and woman and therefore also of all their descendants. … Satan was now the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the woman especially, who was to bear the earth’s future children, would readily follow him. … But if such thoughts as these were in Satan’s mind, he was not only the deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9), but he himself was deceived most of all. The woman, in the first place, would not become his willing ally. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman,” God said. Neither would she rule over her husband. “They desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Conception and childbirth would not be easy and rapid. “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.” — Morris, pages 119-120.

The term “seed” of course has a biological connotation, but this is not strictly possible here. Neither Satan, who is a spirit, nor the woman would be able to produce actual seed; only the man was created physically to do this. These two seeds, therefore, must refer primarily to spiritual progeny.

Specifically, it appears that Satan’s see consists of those who knowingly and willfully set themselves at enmity with the seed of the woman. They partake in a very specific sense of the character of the Adversary (John 8:44; Ephesians 2:2-3) and seek to oppose God’s purpose in creation and redemption.

The “seed of the woman,” on the other hand, would refer in the first place to those in the human family who are brought into right relationship with God through faith, children of the Father. The prophecy forecasts the agelong conflict between the children of the kingdom and the children of the wicked one, beginning with Cain and Abel (Matthew 13:37-40; 1 John 3:8-12), and continuing to the end of the age (Revelation 12:17).

The primary seed of the woman is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ; and it is not the seed of the serpent, but Satan himself, who battles and is destroyed by this Seed, according to verse. 15. 

There is clearly an inference of human birth here; in fact, verse 16 mentions the sorrow that would attend conception of the woman’s children. It is also clearly implied that someday one would be supernaturally conceived and born of a virgin. This promised Seed would not partake of the inherited sin nature of Adam’s children, but would nevertheless be a man. He would not be born under Satan’s dominion as would other men, and would thus be able to engage the Serpent in mortal combat. Finally, though bruised in the conflict, He would emerge as victor, “bruising” (literally crushing) the Serpent’s head, destroying the works of Satan and setting the captives free!

This promise is, of course, fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He appeared to be mortally wounded when He died on the cross, but He rose again and soon will return to cast the devil into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). And in His very dying, “bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5), He satisfied the just requirements of God’s holiness. He died for the sin of Adam, and therefore also for the sin of all who were “in Adam.” “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). — Morris, pages 121-122

There is an implied reference to this great prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, which should read: “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” The definite article before “virgin” indicates one that was previously promised. Similarly in Jeremiah 31:22: “For the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth. A woman shall compass a man.” An ordinary conception would not be a new thing. 

The promised Seed would one day be born of a human woman, but Satan was left in the dark as to which woman and at what time. Both he and Eve may have thought initially it would be her firstborn son. Later on, as the centuries passed, Satan continued his attacks against all the males born in the promised line, particularly those who were objects of special prophetic interest (e.g. Noah, Abraham, Jacob, David), in case one of them might be the promised Seed. — Morris, page 122.

Though Adam might, and, through grace, did, see and feel that he could never accomplish all that had to be done, yet God revealed Himself as about to achieve every jot and tittle thereof by the seed of the woman. In short, we see that he graciously took the entire matter into His own hands.

He made it altogether a question between Himself and the serpent; for although the man and the woman were called upon individually to reap, in various ways, the bitter fruits of their sin, yet it was to the serpent that the Lord God said, “Because thou hast done this.” The serpent was the source of the ruin, and the seed of the woman was to be the source of the redemption. Adam heard all this and believed it, and, in the power of that belief, “he called his wife’s name the mother of all living.” — Mackintosh, page 58.

Though one may describe God as “punishing” all three, God’s words to Satan are characteristic of judgment (which always proceeds from condemnation), whereas His words to Adam and Eve are characteristic of chastisement (which always proceeds from love, never condemnation). As characteristic of God’s expression of judgment throughout the Bible, so too here God’s words to Satan express the ideas of complete defeat (i.e., “dust you shall eat,” which, as in Micah 7:17, is here figuratively intended) and absolute diminution of life—which is the exact antithesis of blessing (i.e., the expansion and enhancement of life), and hence, not surprisingly, here explicitly associated with “cursing” (i.e., “cursed are you…”). By contrast, it should be noted, God does not directly curse Adam or Eve, since this would be inconsistent with the fact that He has already blessed them; rather, He curses the ground so that the added labor and difficulty by which Adam derives his sustenance will be a constant reminder of his sin, as well as God’s paternal love (in not cursing him), and thus both a deterrent to further sin as well as a motivation to loving obedience. — Wechsler, page 105. 

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Genesis 3:9-13

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

It may be noted incidentally that the shame of nudity is no artificial inhibition introduced by the conventions of civilization … It has its source in this primeval awareness of sin, and is only discarded when the moral conscience has been so hardened as to lose all sensitivity to sin. … Except for the brief period of Edenic innocence, nakedness before anyone other than one’s own husband or wife is, in the Bible, considered shameful (Genesis 9:23; Exodus 32:25; Revelation 3:18, etc.) — Morris, page 116-117.

Nakedness was not a sin at the beginning. Genesis 2:25 tells us, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Nakedness had never previously been a hindrance to fellowship with God. It was their shame and guilt, due to their sin, that caused their nakedness to be a problem. — Taylor, page 106. 

So rapidly had sin pervaded the hearts of both Adam and Eve that, when God began to question them, Adam blamed his wife and eve blamed the serpent, neither being willing to acknowledge personal guilt. In fact, Adam, by implication, cast the blame on God Himself, emphasizing that it was all because of “the woman whom thous gavest to be with me.” — Morris, page 117.

Eve was not responsible for Adam’s sin, as we have noted several times already. she was not Adam’s representative. When Eve sinned, it was her own sin. Adam, however, was our representative. Unlike Eve, Satan did not deceive him. in other words, he knew exactly what he was doing. His was the greater sin, and his sin was imputed to you and me. Adam’s foolish comments are not to go unregarded by God, but for the moment he moves on to question Eve. She also has the opportunity to repent. She does not. She also engages in the art of blame shifting. She blames the serpent, who, of course, is guilty, but he is guilty of his own sin, not Eve’s. Eve’s sin is not to go unnoticed, but for the moment God addresses the sin of the serpent. — Taylor, pages 107-108.

God’s response to the sin of Adam and Eve is not merely that of a Creator, nor even that of a God who is merely just: rather, it is the response of a God who desires to be—and be seen as—a Father in every ideal sense of the word. In this respect the detailed description of how God responds to the couple’s sin is not just important, but paradigmatic, insofar as it “sets the course” for the way in which we are to anticipate and assess God’s response ever thereafter to the sin(s) of those whom He likewise considers His children—whether Israel nationally, or individual believer. At the same time, to highlight God’s paternal response to the couple, we are also presented with the foil (i.e., clear contrast) of his unmitigated judgment of Satan—this contrastive purpose of which (i.e., to highlight God’s paternal mercy) is quite likely one of the main reasons that God permitted him to instigate the temptation in the first place. — Wechsler, page 102.

Unexpectedly to Adam and Eve, since they are anticipating God’s immediate (and just) response to their sin, the Son does not call out to them in wrath, but in a tone of gentle and patient questioning. … These questions are not being asked for His own benefit (i.e., to supply Him with information He didn’t otherwise have), but for the benefit of the ones being questioned. Rather than “bash” them over the head with judgment because His honor was offended, God responds in a way reflective of a fundamental concern for their welfare and betterment; He wants them to understand why what they did is so bad, that it might serve as a deterrent to future sin. Thus, the first question (which, is should be noted, God addresses to the man, since He holds him primarily responsible)—”Where are you?”—is intended to bring the couple to a clear recognition of where their sin has led them—namely, to a tragic distance from God with a further barrier (the trees) between them. and by the second question—”What have you done …?”—God’s intention is for them to clearly understand how then ended up at this less-than-ideal distance from God.

God’s paternal—and even gentle—mercy (i.e., not giving them the punishment they do deserve) is further evident in the fact that, in asking the second question, God even supplies the content of their confession (i.e., “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?), in response to which, therefore, the man need only say “Yes,” or “I ate” to acknowledge his sin. And indeed Adam does say this—but only after seeking to mitigate his guilt by shifting much of the blame to the woman—who, after all God Himself gave him. Nonetheless, God plays along, and, in response to His similar question to Eve—the asking of which indicates that His personal interest in the woman’s welfare is just as keen—He receives essentially the same response, with much of the blame being shifted to Satan. That these questions were indeed intended to draw the couple out to confession is underscored by the observation that God asks no question of Satan—precisely for the reason that the point of the questions (i.e., to induce confession) does not have any application to him, for Satan is not God’s child. 

Another significant observation with respect to God’s questions here is that once the man and the woman say “I ate,” God ceases His questioning and moves on. If the purpose of these questions is truly to draw each of them out to confession, one may reasonably conclude from this that God’s purpose has been satisfied—a conclusion which is established as a certainty by verse 21, where God expresses toward the couple one of the most vivid and visual examples of forgiveness to be found anywhere in the Hebrew Bible. Inevitably, therefore, the further conclusion emerges that God is satisfied with less than perfect confession!  In His paternal mercy and perfect love, God fervently desires to express forgiveness towards His children (and what good parent wouldn’t?), the theological-thematic emphasis of this episode therefore being on God’s mercy rather than on the couple’s merit. — Wechsler, pages 102-104.

There’s much in the commentary quotes that isn’t explicitly spelled out in Scripture, but it’s consistent with the rest of Scripture. I think it holds water. I especially like Wechler’s final point that God’s response was based on His mercy and not by man’s merit.

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Genesis 3:7-8

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

knew (v.7) — the beginning of the second dispensation, Conscience

Paintings of Adam and Eve always show them with leaves over the parts of their bodies that we would me most anxious to cover. The word “coverings” is from a Hebrew word for “belt,” or “girdle.”

The serpent had promised that they would acquire wisdom and become as gods, knowing good and evil. Instead, there came over them the realization of what they had done and an awful sense of shame enveloped them. As they remembered that the divine injunction had been to “multiply and fill the earth,” they realized that the very fountainhead of human life had now become corrupted by their disobedience and they became acutely aware of their nakedness. Their children would all be contaminated with the seed of rebellion, so that their feeling of guilt centered especially on their own procreative organs. The result was that they suddenly desired to hide these from each other, and from God. (Morris, page 115).

God was “walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” The more or less offhand way in which this is stated indicates that this was a normal event, perhaps a daily appointment time at which the Lord met with them for communion and fellowship. This is no crude anthropomorphism, but a repeated, or even continual, theophany, i which the Word of God, Christ preincarnate, clothed Himself in human form in order to communicate with those whom He had created in His own image. — Morris, page 116.

[Satan] had said, “your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”; but he had left out a material part of the truth, namely, that they should know good without the power to do it, and that they should know evil without the power to avoid it. — Mackintosh, page 43.

I think this next quote from Mackintosh is brilliant, especially the second paragraph.

It is well … to know how conscience works—to see that it can only make cowards of us, as being the consciousness of what we are. Many are astray as to this; they thing that conscience will bring us to God. Did it operate thus in the case of Adam and Eve? Assuredly not. Nor will it in the case of any sinner. How could it? How could the sense of what I am ever bring me to God, if not accompanied by the faith of what God is? Impossible. It will produce shame, self-reproach, remorse, anguish. It may also give birth to certain efforts on my part to remedy the condition which it discloses; but these very efforts, so far from drawing us to God, rather act as a blind to hide Him from our view. This, in the case of Adam and Eve, the discovery of their nakedness was followed by an effort of their own to cover it—”they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.” this is the first record we have of man’s attempt to remedy, by his own device, his condition, and the attentive consideration thereof will afford us not a little instruction as to the real character of human religiousness in all ages. In the first place, we see, not only in Adam’s case, but in every case, that man’s effort to remedy his condition is based upon the sense of his nakedness. He is confessedly naked, and all his works are the result of his being so. This can never avail. I must know that I am clothed before I can do anything acceptable in the sight of God.

And this, be it observed, is the difference between true Christianity and human religiousness. The former is founded upon the fact of a man’s being clothed; the latter, upon the fact of his being naked. The former has for its starting post what the latter has for its goal. All that a True Christian does, is because he is clothed—perfectly clothed; all that a mere religionist does, is in order that he may be clothed.— Mackintosh, pages 44-45.

“Don’t eat of the tree was law” and the law was given to show our inability to achieve salvation on our own. It was given to make us all guilty before God—even Adam and Eve.

These two verses bear out that the death which God warned Adam in Genesis 2:17 would take place “in the day” that he ate was not an empty threat, as Satan had deceived Eve into thinking. The death which they experienced, however, was not that of immediate physical cessation, nor was it that of becoming “subject to death (i.e., mortal), since this was already the case before they ate (their potential immortality being centered in the unrestricted fruit of the Tree of Life, from which they had not yet eaten (cf. 3:22). Rather, as presented in connection with this first occurrence, death as biblically defined is to be fundamentally defined as separation. In this case, specifically, as an experienced separation—i.e., a separation or “break” in the ideal experience of their relationship with God and with each other—rather than, as elsewhere, a positional separation—i.e., a separation in the fact of their relationship. — Wechsler, pages 98-99.

The sense of this … is that their newly acquired knowledge of what constitutes good and evil “opened their eyes” [gave them wisdom] to see that what they had done was evil and had justly left them “naked”—i.e., exposed—to God’s impending punishment. — Wechsler, page 100.

In this case—an parallel to the impact on their spiritual relationship with God—the “death” or “disjunction,” is not in the fact of their relationship (the couple is still married). but in the ideally intended experience of that relationship, outwardly reflected in the barriers that they set up between those parts of themselves that are most representative of physical intimacy. — Wechsler, page 100

The impact of the couple’s sin on their relationship with God—i.e., “death’ that He warned would occur “in the day” that they ate—is here borne out, just as in their relationship with each other, by a “break” or “separation” in the experience of that relationship. This consequence is presented with especially tragic emphasis by the depiction of “the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” Insofar as the verb “walking,” consistent with its usage elsewhere in Hebrew narrative, logically implies the use of feet, it must be concluded that God has at this point taken human form—and if so, as in Genesis 2:7 it is the Son specifically who is here in view. The verb here translated “walking” moreover, is a relatively infrequent form of the verb that indicates not a walking from point “A” to point “B,” with a specific endpoint in view, but rather a “repeated” or “circular” type of walking that is more precisely represented here by the English verb “strolling.” He wants them (and we who read this) to know that His ideal intention was to enjoy fellowship with His human children to the fullest capacity of our created nature, which is both physical as well as spiritual. … The tragedy in this passage is that God’s first children are pushing away this privileged experience of fellowship by using those very things that their divine Father gave them for their good (i.e., the trees of the garden) as a barrier to His presence. — Wechsler, pages 101-102.

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Genesis 3:6

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

There was not the slightest reason why [man] should sin, but he could if he so desired. God had made him perfect and placed him in a perfect environment, with every need fully supplied. He did not have an inherited sin nature, as we do now; so he was fully capable of resisting any external pressure toward sin.

The tragic fact, however, is that he did sin, and thereby brought sin and death into the world. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin;and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12. “In Adam, all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

As the tendency toward death is inherited by all men, so also is the tendency toward sin. No descendant of Adam has ever lived to an age of conscious awareness of right and wrong without actually choosing wrong. He has become a deliberate sinner because he has inherited a sinful nature, which leads him to sin in practice. thus, “death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Each person continues under the divine judgment of death, not only because of Adam’s sin, but because of his own deliberate sin. — Morris, pages 112-113.

It is remarkable that the particular attributes of this fruit that seemed so tempting are the same as the overt characteristics of practically every type of temptation which man faces today.

To [Eve], it seemed that the tree was: (1) “good for food” (that is, something appealing the the physical, bodily appetites); (2) “pleasant to the eyes” (that is something appealing to the emotions—the esthetic senses); (3) “desired to make wise” (that is, appealing to the mind and spirit, and to one’s pride of knowledge and spiritual insight).

This threefold description is perfectly parallel to the outline of 1 John 2:16: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” Temptations thus may be directed against either the body, soul, or spirit—or, as in Eve’s case, against all three at once. The source of the temptation is said by James, again stressing all three aspects, to be “earthly, sensual, devilish” (James 3:15).

On day, of course, the Second Adam would come into the world, and He would also have to be tempted in all points like as we are (Hebrews 4:15). At the very beginning of His public ministry, He was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil” (Luke 4:1-2). The temptation again was of the same threefold scope: (1) appeal tot he physical appetite, offering bread when He was hungry (Luke 4:3-4); (2) appeal to the covetous and esthetic emotional desires, offering possession of all the world and its kingdoms (Luke 4:5-8); (3) appeal to spiritual pride, offering world-wide recognition as the one of highest intellectual and spiritual eminence, under the special protection of the holy angels (Luke 4:9-12).

It is significant that the Lord Jesus overcame the wicked one (1 John 2:13-14)) by reminding both Himself and Satan of appropriate instructions and promises in the Word of God. — Morris, pages 113-114.

Many have suggested that [Adam ate the fruit] out of love for Eve, choosing to share her sin and guilt rather than leaving her to face God’s judgment alone. … However, this motive would almost make Adam appear noble in sinning, and the Bible never implies such a thing. His sin was deliberate, wicked, and inexcusable, In fact, it was not by Eve’s sin, but by Adam’s that “sin entered into the world, and death by sin.” All future human beings were “in Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:22) and even Eve herself had been formed “of the man” (1 Corinthians 11:8). He was the true federal head of the race and it was “through the offence of the one [that] many be dead” (Romans 5:15). — Morris, pages 114-115.

… Biblical “wisdom,” in its most fundamental sense, concerns not the amount of one’s knowledge, but rather the ability to “divide” or “distinguish” our knowledge into the proper categories of what is morally and theologically good and bad, right and wrong. Adam and Eve at this point do not have this knowledge—or, rather, they are just beginning to acquire it; they are truly in a state of almost absolute “innocence.” In order, therefore, to acquire and develop this ability, they have only one of two recourses: God, who is the source of all truth and moral distinction, or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, by the eating of whose fruit this ability would be immediately and fully imparted. The temptation and potential sin in this instance is thus to take a “shortcut” around God—to remove ourselves from dependence on God. By eating from this tree the couple would immediately gain that knowledge/ability that they could otherwise only acquire over time through constant recourse to and interaction with their divine Father. — Wechsler, page 97.

[Comparing the temptations of Adam and Christ] … in Adam’s case, his yielding to temptation results in the depravity of all mankind, since all mankind is inevitably linked to him through descent, whereas in Christ’s case, His victory over temptation ensures the success both of His own ministry and hence results in the justification (i.e., eternal salvation) of all those who are linked to Him by faith. It is precisely this clear and compelling contrast that stands at the core of the discussion in Romans 5:12-21, “for just as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous” (v.19). — Wechsler, page 98.

Still thinking this through … Were Adam and Eve capable of sinning before the fall—Eve misquoting Scripture, both of them reaching for the fruit prior to eating it—but not held accountable for that sin because they didn’t “know” it was sin?

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