Genesis 3 is a case study of the dynamics of desire. How did the struggle of eating of the tree or not change them, or us? If we look at Gen 3, how did they realize they were naked, and what did that mean to them, because they were naked all along. As a result, they hid from God. God asked where Adam was. Adam says he is hiding because he was naked. God dismisses their excuses of who made them do it. Adam says it was the woman, and the woman says it was the nachash. But this is what we do, too. Consequences come up for this event of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam will work, sweat, toil and have body aches. Chava was to have children, but now she will have pain in childbirth. The nachash will no longer walk upright, but will crawl on its belly, eat dust and be despised. We have major eschatological pictures in these passages. The “seed of the woman” and the “seed of the serpent” will have enmity with each other. There is the implication of the virgin birth of the Messiah, and the false messiah is alluded to.
The punishment for Adam and Chava was exile, but that was for their own good. In their state now, it would have been disastrous to eat of the tree of life. God placed Cherubim to guard the way to it. Adam and Chava have a distorted reality now about being naked. Instead of being ashamed that they disobeyed, they emphasized the fact that they were naked. Why did God ask where they were? He obviously knew where they were physically, but he is asking where they were spiritually. He was asking “for us.” So, the commandments are not to please God totally, they are for us in order to “steer” our desires. When Adam answered, he said he was afraid. Before he ate, he knew he was naked, but he wasn’t afraid. Why the fear?
We don’t like it when we sin, or at least we shouldn’t. We don’t like the feeling. We can lose motivation and we feel “sick” inside. We can become “dysfunctional” with guilt. Some have said that tribulation is good for us, and it develops character. But, on the contrary, tribulation doesn’t develop character, it reveals it. The bars and the honkytonks are full of people who have had tribulation and they are full of dysfunction and guilt. And that is what sin does. In our heads we know that we can be forgiven, but transferring that to our functioning doesn’t always compute. We can feel the separation, and we tend to “beat ourselves up” over it. We have an “inner voice” telling us we are no good, we don’t deserve to be happy, we aren’t really saved, we shouldn’t be around anyone and so on. But, we need to rise up and not listen to that “inner voice” that condemns us and tells us “we should hide” from God and what he has called us to do.
So, God asks “Where are you” so that we will answer and deal with it. Once there was a guy on the radio who was talking to a guy who called in. You will see this conversation everywhere once you see this. He said because of his religion, he abstained from pre-marital sex. The radio host asked “Are you a normal guy?” Then the host said “DO you have any desires? Why do you think the Lord placed those desires in you if he did not want you to experience them and act on them?” That’s the same thing the nachash said to Chava and Adam. Desires are from God, and passions are good. But, the radio host is saying that God’s commands are not the primary voice we should listen to. He was saying that the primary voice is what “whispers” to us on the inside through the passions. To be human, we must have passion and desire, but the Lord is the ultimate one who knows good and evil. We need to get ourselves in line with him and his pleasure. In Hag 1.8 it says, “Go up to the mountain, bring wood and rebuild the Temple that I may be pleased with it and be glorified.”
Yeshua spoke what the Father gave him. He is the Living Torah and a view of how and what God thinks. He said he is the way, the truth and the life. The Torah is the “spice” that directs life. Spice in Hebrew is “tavlin” and we can talk about spice, but we can’t live on it. If we are hungry, and you had to choose between a steak or a spice, we would choose the steak. But, spice “directs” the food. You can direct food many ways, depending on the spice you use and the quantity. Sometimes we like it hot, so we put some jalapeno or chili pepper on something. Maybe something needs some salt. The Torah gives direction to our drives and passions. There is a book called “The Spice of Torah” by Judaica Press that brings out these concepts in the area of gematria, or numerical values of words and phrases in the Torah. Passion depends on how it is driven, whether it is for good or evil. This is true of any emotion we have. Jealousy is good if you are jealous for the things of God. Hatred is good if you hate evil. Without the Torah, these emotions are like driving without a steering wheel. Our personal desires kick in and we have chaos. Before the tree of knowledge incident, man was in balance, but afterward, we aren’t. We have a new found fear after the tree, we are aware of the voice of God. Even those who don’t believe are aware of it. They know something is wrong and there is an emptiness.
Gen 3.10 says, “And he said ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.'” Before the tree, he knew he was naked. After the tree, he was afraid of being naked. Then we have exile, the consequence. The main objective of the exile should be a desire to come back, to return to God. This fills that place of emptiness, where you feel secure. You will feel directed and guided. Now, here is a question. Adam received the instruction about the tree in Gen 2.16-17, before Chava was even created. Could he have misled her in what he told her about it? We don’t know, it doesn’t say. But everything she knew about the instruction about the tree had to come from Adam because she wasn’t there. But, we always have a problem because we take for granted what someone else tells us without checking it out for ourselves. This comes into play today. Don’t take a teachers word for it, check things out and do research for yourselves. Teachers “mess up” when we study and present things to others, too. As a side note, we should give credit where credit is due and where we got the information.
Here is an example of “checking something out.” In James 5.13-15 we read about when someone is sick, let him call for the elders of the church and they can pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. Some churches and messianic groups, and we have seen this many times, will call for the sick to come to the altar at the front, lay hands on them and anoint them with oil. But that is not what this is saying. In the first century, people don’t have Walgreen’s and Tylenol. They used oils, spices and various medicines, sometimes in the oils, like Vix Vapor Rub. The word for anointing is “aleipho” and it means to “rub, smear or to cover.” In the Zodiates Study Bible on this verse it says that this act was not used in a religious manner. Oil was used for medicinal purposes (Isa 1.6; Luke 10.34) and so this verse basically says to pray for the sick person, but to “render the medicine” as well. We have transferred that to “Holy Spirit oil” and so on. What good is a verse if we misapply it? It is of no value, and it becomes a “form” and an “empty ritual.” If you are sick, go to a doctor and the elders for prayer.
Here is another one. Heb 6.1-2 lay out the elementary principles of the faith. One of these principles is the “laying on of hands” called “semichah” in Hebrew. Are we doing it the way they did, with the same thoughts? How much do we know about “semichah” in the first placed, and it is an elementary principle of the faith after all. Semichah is not a magical gesture establishing a “point of contact” between man and God. It also is not a symbolic gesture implying that a certain animal (a “korban”) is a substitute for the individual giving it. Instead it is a solemn attestation that the korban has come from that particular person who is performing the semichah on the animals head. That is why it says in 1 Tim 5.22 to “not be hasty in laying hands upon anyone.” This is especially true when “ordaining” someone for the ministry. They may not be ready for it. It does not mean to get someone in a circle and have everyone touch them somewhere. That is not what the writer of Hebrews is talking about. This is the lesson we should learn from Gen 2.16-17. Chava was told by Adam about the tree, and we have no idea what she understood about it. We do know she mentioned several differences on the instruction in Gen 2.16-17 and Gen 3.2-3, and we have talked about them.
In conclusion, we have two trees in the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. Both of these trees stand for the written voice of God. We also know that we have a voice inside of us, a second set of trees, that conflict with this voice of God that is written. This “voice” consists of our passions and desires. We will get these two trees mixed up because we see through a glass dimly, and things can get confused out there in life. We sometimes believe this inner voice is the voice of God, and we say we are being led of the “Spirit” when we really aren’t. The true test is to line up what this inner voice says with what the Lord has said in his written word. If it lines up, then we are on good ground. If it doesn’t, then we know that inner voice is just our own desires and passions, and should be ignored. Adam and Chava did not do this, and followed that inner voice that misled them. This is the lesson we should take from Gan Eden and know that the Lord is moving to bring mankind and the earth “back to the garden.”
SOURCES USED IN THIS STUDY INCLUDE:
The Beast that Crouches at the Door by Rabbi David Forhman
Gan Eden video by Hatikva Ministries
Judaism in the First Century of the Christian Era by George Foote Moore
Jewish Encyclopedia article on “Groves and Trees” and “Asherah”
Got Questions website on “Soaking Prayer”
Midrash Bereshit Rabbah
Shottenstein Interlinear Bible
Samson Raphael Hirsch
Maimonides “Guide to the Perplexed”
The Spice of Torah-Gematria by Judaica Press
Zodiates Study Bible
Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon of the Old Testament