Introduction: Have you noticed that there are “types” of personalities? By that I mean people tend to fall within certain categories of thinking about life and living. My belief is that Satan is a master on this subject, and has a “pattern approach” to those who share similar ways of thinking and acting. Let’s see if we can turn that around this week. If Satan has certain planned ways to encourage sin, we should see what we can learn about Satan’s approach to help protect us against falling into sin. Come with me as we explore this idea in Genesis 3!
I. The Temptation of Eve
A. Read Genesis 3:1. Is this some smart snake? What is “the serpent?” (Read Revelation 12:9. This is none other than Satan, the devil! He deceives humans and we are observing his work here.)
1. Why is this serpent compared to other beasts? How is Satan a beast? (A reasonable conclusion is that Satan has taken the form of a snake. Snakes do not have the power of speech.)
2. If you were Eve’s life coach, what would you advise she should do in response to this question? (She should have walked away.)
3. What do you think about Satan’s question? (On its face it is a stupid question. Of course they could eat from the trees in the garden.)
a. What does this teach us about Satan’s approach to making humans sin? (Satan’s first goal is to get us to engage with him. Make us feel superior. Eve felt confident in giving an answer because this was an obviously uninformed snake.)
B. Read Genesis 3:2-3. Is Eve correctly stating God’s rule? (Read Genesis 2:16-17. God did not include in the rule anything other than a prohibition on eating.)
1. Notice that God stated the rule to Adam, not Eve. Do you think Adam added the part about not touching because he thought he was being helpful to his wife? He was looking out for her welfare by telling her not to even touch the fruit?
2. Read Deuteronomy 4:2. What does God say about adding to His word? (We may think we are doing good for those we are guarding by helping them steer clear of sin. But adding violates God’s command.)
C. Let’s skip ahead a little. Read Genesis 3:6. What did Eve do before she ate the fruit? (She evaluated how it looked, and she touched it.)
1. When she touched the fruit and she did not die, did that embolden her to eat the fruit? (I think it did. This illustrates the grave error in overstating what God prohibits.)
II. Satan’s Game Plan
A. Read Genesis 3:4-5. Let’s analyze how Satan tempted Eve. Do you think that Satan carefully planned how he would approach Eve? (I have no doubt. Not only was this an incredibly important event in the controversy between good and evil, but there is no record that Satan had access to Adam and Eve to tempt them outside of this event. This appears to be an agreed upon test between God and Satan.)
B. Look again at Genesis 3:3 and read Genesis 2:9. Where does Genesis 3 say the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is placed? Where does Genesis 2 say the Tree of Life is placed? (They are together in the “midst” of the garden. This suggests they are together in the middle of the garden.)
1. Why? (This is evidence that Eden was created with the agreed-upon contest in mind. There can be no doubt that Satan brought his best temptation to this contest.)
C. Let’s go back and re-read Genesis 3:4. Is disputing God essential to temptation?
1. If you want to be alert to temptation, what should you conclude when you hear or read something that contradicts the Bible? (You should be on high alert! This is the point where many people decide that they should use their wisdom and determine who is right. What a sad mistake.)
2. Other than God’s word, was there any evidence that Satan was lying? (Eve could not logically believe that she was immortal because of the existence of the Tree of Life and the fact that she regularly (it seems) ate from it. In support of this see Genesis 3:22-24.)
D. Read Genesis 3:5. I’m doubtful that directly contradicting God would have been successful. What did Satan add to make his temptation more persuasive? (It was an appeal to vanity – she would be like God. It was an appeal to conspiracy – God was keeping something from her.)
1. Read Genesis 1:27-28. Was Satan offering Eve anything that she did not already have? (She was already like God. The real issue was whether she would trust God’s decision about the state of her knowledge and whether she would trust God on the issue of the death penalty.)
a. As Eve was working this out in her mind, what did Adam’s decision to protect her by overstating God’s command do? (When she touched the fruit and did not die, she concluded that God lied.)
b. How many things have we lied to our children and church school students about when it comes to God’s commands?
III. The Temptation of Adam
A. Read Genesis 3:6. The text is ambiguous about when Adam “was with her.” Is it possible that he was standing by Eve when Satan first started speaking to her? (That seems impossible. Surely he would have said something. Surely they would have discussed this together. This would also have given Adam the opportunity to correct what God actually said about touching the fruit.)
1. When does it seem logical that Adam showed up? (As Eve was eating the fruit. Nothing else makes any sense to me.)
B. Genesis 3:6 does not explain why Adam ate the fruit Eve gave him. Read 1 Timothy 2:13-14 for the explanation. I think Paul intends this text to say something positive about Adam. Do you think this makes a positive or a negative comment about Adam?
1. Which is better in your mind, to intentionally sin or sin because you were deceived?
2. Let’s discuss the nature of Adam’s temptation. Do you think that Satan intentionally targeted Eve first?
a. If so, does that mean that Adam was less likely to fall for Satan’s deception?
b. If so, what does that suggest about married couples dealing with temptation together?
c. What does Adam’s failure teach us about Satan’s strategy about the use of those we love? (The reasonable conclusion is that Adam chose Eve over God. We should not make that mistake.)
IV. The Human Failure
A. Read Genesis 3:9-12. We just discussed that Adam fell because he did not want to give up Eve. What is Adam doing here? (Blaming Eve!)
1. Why? How does this make any sense? If Adam was willing to give up his future to be with Eve, why would he tell God the sin was her fault? (Sin was not yet real to Adam when he chose Eve. Now that he realizes the beginning consequences, his attitude changes.)
a. Have you sinned with someone that you thought would stand with you, and then found out differently? Is that a strategy of Satan?
2. Who else is Adam blaming? (God! He says God gave Eve to him.)
3. Think about this. If you are disappointed in how family and friends respond to their sins, consider how Adam, who was created perfect, responded.
B. Read Genesis 3:13. Who does Eve blame? (The serpent.)
C. Read Genesis 3:14. How does this make sense? If Satan took the form of a serpent, why does the serpent get punished? (Read Revelation 12:9. I think this punishment is primarily directed to Satan. He is thrown to earth. His future is with the dust of earth.)
D. Friend, this story is about trusting God when we face temptation. Trust Him by not adding to His commands. Trust God’s word when others question it. Always put God first. Will you determine, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to defeat Satan’s strategies by trusting God?
V. Next week: Cain and His Legacy.
Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.