In order to read the text of Genesis and be as true to the original meaning as closely as possible, it is necessary to go back to the original Hebrew.
The Beguilement of Eve
Beguilement is defined as “To influence by trickery…; mislead, delude. To take away from by cheating or deceiving. To charm or divert.”
The Hebrew נָחָשׁ (nâchâsh – ‘ch’ is a hard guttural sound, like k) is derived from an unused word, but it makes a sound like the hissing of the snake, so the word (serpent) is the sound it makes.
According to Dr. Michael Heiser, הנחש (hanachash), as a participle (comes from a verb) with the definite article attached and prefixed to it, can be translated as “the one who dispenses divine knowledge, the one who practices divination.” If it’s an adjective with the definite article, then it can be translated as “the shining one.” This is a triple entendre word play: image of the serpent (divine throne guardian), information from divine realm (divination), shinning spokesmen associated with divinity (brazen, bronze-like).
“Now the Nachash was more arum (cunning, crafty, wiley) than any beast of the sadeh which Hashem Elohim had made. And he said unto the isha, Really? Hath Elohim said, Ye shall not eat of kol etz hagan?”
Bereshis 3:1 OJB (Orthodox Jewish Bible)
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?””
Genesis 3:1 NIV
So, we have this hissing animal-being in the garden with the first humans, and we learn he already has an agenda apart from God’s. Reading a bit further into Genesis, God blessed Adam and Eve, saying: “Be fruitful and multiply, cultivate the earth, and control it. Rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 9:7).
Is the serpent jealous of the blessing because he wanted to rule the earth? This seems to be the plan of Satan in the world, so then it makes sense that he would want to strike out at God’s creation; but not just that, at the pinnacle of His creation—Man. It is by devising a scheme to destroy mankind that the serpent planned to surpass him.
There is a question of the real meaning of the fruit on the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Not simply is it a sweet morsel to eat, but something even sweeter. I must credit my good friend with opening my mind to this possibility while we lunched at a favorite bakery restaurant. She deserves laurels for giving me a completely new idea I had never considered!
“And when the isha saw that HaEtz was tov for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and HaEtz to be desired to make one have seichel, she took of the p’ri thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her ish with her; and he did eat.”
Bereshis 3:6 OJB
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
Genesis 3:6 NIV
What is this sweet fruit that Eve saw that was pleasing and desirable for gaining wisdom?
“Eve looked at the tree. Its fruit looked good to eat, pleasant and attractive. But her heart warned her not to give up eternal life for the sake of power and pleasure. She was torn between her desire to eat and her fear of death, and she could not resist the temptation.”
Genesis 3:6 – Hebrew and KJV
וַתֵּ֣רֶא הָֽאִשָּׁ֡ה כִּ֣י And when the woman saw that (watêre)
ה֣וּא לָעֵינַ֗יִם וְנֶחְמָ֤ד הָעֵץ֙ לְהַשְׂכִּ֔יל a tree to be desired (wenehmād)
לְמַאֲכָ֜ל וְכִ֧י תַֽאֲוָה־ ה֣וּא לָעֵינַ֗יִם and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes (taawāh)
וְנֶחְמָ֤ד הָעֵץ֙ לְהַשְׂכִּ֔יל וַתִּקַּ֥ח מִפִּרְי֖וֹ to be desired to make [one] wise, she took (lehaskīl)
Several New Testament writers describe how the eye can lead to sin. We see something desirable, feel in our hearts its pull, and we think on it and consider it, then act upon it and it becomes sin. It is not just the seeing that is the sin, but the whole process that once seeing we act upon it.
On not loving the world and its distractions: For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world (1 John 2:16 NIV).
Cause to stumble: And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, (Mark 9:47 NIV).
The serpent is the embodiment of Satan. Not merely a brutish beast, the serpent was crafty and wiley, an intelligence among man and the animals. My guess is that it was this inner evil that somehow bewildered Eve and enticed her with an alternative to God’s plan. Not knowing how sin would corrupt, our Mother became enamored with making a decision she thought her own. Indwelt by Satan, the serpent beguiled her with his beauty, and became the object of her sin.
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
2 Corinthians 11:3 KJV
“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 11:3 NIV
To do evil in the eyes of God is a recurrent theme of the Old Testament when the bad kings allowed the pagan high places to remain in Israel. They led to idolatrous practices and pulled the Israelites away from YHWH. They seduced Israel at home in comfort away from the One who would give her every comfort in eternal life. Thus, idolatry is akin to spiritual adultery.
Temptation succeeds at first by exciting our curiosity. Our great security against sin lies in being shocked at it. Eve gazed and reflected when she should have fled. The serpent created an interest, excited her curiosity about this forbidden fruit. And as this excited curiosity lies near the heart, I believe Eve was seduced, excited, and desired what the serpent offered her. I believe the forbidden fruit was no tasty morsel, but the envelopment of sexual union with the serpent, as Satan in his angel of light form.
Through this craving for an enlarged experience unbelief in God’s goodness finds entrance. In the presence of forbidden pleasure we are tempted to feel as if God were grudging us enjoyment. The very arguments of the serpent occur to our mind. No harm will come of our indulging; the prohibition is needless, unreasonable, and unkind; it is not based on any genuine desire for our welfare. This fence that shuts us out from knowing good and evil is erected by a timorous asceticism, by a ridiculous misconception of what truly enlarges human nature; it shuts us into a poor narrow life. And thus suspicions of God’s perfect wisdom and goodness find entrance; we begin to think we know better than He what is good for us, and can contrive a richer, happier life than He has provided for us. Our loyalty to Him is loosened, and already we have lost hold of His strength and are launched on the current that leads to sin, misery, and shame. When we find ourselves saying Yes, where God has said No; when we see desirable things where God has said there is death; when we allow distrust of Him to rankle in our mind, when we chafe against the restrictions under which we live and seek liberty by breaking down the fence instead of by delighting in God, we are on the highway to all evil.
The Etiology of the Snake
The original serpent in the Garden of Eden had a different anatomy than the snakes of today. It was upright and walked on two legs. This serpent looked like a reptilian hominid, rather than a simple snake. This is why today’s snakes have hip bones—they originally walked upright! When God cursed the serpent, He changed its form to become the lowest creature, crawling in the dirt.
The the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened and they knew they were naked. Everything that had protected their simple ignorance had, in an instant, been blown away. Conscience was born in the clearing and produced shame. They suddenly realized that to be naked was to be without the entire covering of the Father. It was as though they had shed the skin of their childhood and come upon adulthood unawares.
With Sin Come Excuses
When God was walking in the garden and called to Adam, the pair hid because they were ashamed to be naked. I’ve always thought the scene would be interesting with directional notes (in parentheses)…
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day (the Lord’s got big feet; that, or He was whistling…) and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Oops, just gave yourself away).
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? (Spoken with boldness; pregnant pause) Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to?” (Giving them a chance to explain…)
(Here is where the pendulum of hurt starts to move.)
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me (pointing to her as an excuse)—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (We know the “fruit” is sexual Union.)
(The pendulum swings away from Adam for now.) 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
(Aghast that she should receive full blame, points to the serpent.) The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
(The pendulum swings and stops at the serpent.)
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this (Cue violent music),
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your seed (offspring) and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
(At this, the beautiful serpent transforms down to a regular snake; the pendulum begins to swing back and stops at Eve.)
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
(She begins to cry. Pendulum swings all the way back to the man.)
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it’ (Here it comes.),
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
(As the camera fades, Adam is left pondering this work and what they had done. End scene.)
So Eve copulated with both the serpent and Adam. This is shown in the text when it says they both ate the fruit of the Tree. I bet you didn’t see that coming!
In order to relieve their shame, God took the life of an animal and clothed them. Our Parents learned that pain and blood are necessary to pay for sin, that it inflicts injury, and changes the relationship we have with God and each other. And we cannot rise above sin without the Father’s intervention that shows the sorrow He suffers on account of us.
Soon after leaving the garden, chapter 4 relates that Adam knew his wife (again) and she conceived. We know she had been seduced by the serpent, and now she makes love with her husband. What is the result of all this?
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 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 translations of these verses must be examined. Going back to the Hebrew, we find that acquiring a man from the Lord is not simply being given a baby boy from God.
קַ֔יִן וַתֹּ֕אמֶר קָנִ֥יתִי אִ֖ישׁ אֶת־ and said, I have gotten a man (qānîtî)
Elsewhere (such as in Ruth 4:9 and 4:10), it is properly translated as bought or acquired.
The translation in verse two of “bore again” is different than what you were taught in Sunday School. Of the 280 times ‘eṯ- is used, the majority are translated with. (Here, it gives the idea of something in progress.)
קָנִ֥יתִי אִ֖ישׁ אֶת־ יְהוָֽה I have gotten a man (with) the LORD.
Strong’s Hebrew #854 – ‘eṯ-, of intercourse of different kinds with another, e.g. after verbs of making a covenant or contract.
My best guess is that because Eve’s pairing with the serpent was sin (different kinds), God made her understand why it was evil and promise to only bed Adam (contract). It denotes a continuation of something. As in the birth isn’t over, there’s a second babe following the first, Abel follows Cain.
The boys were twins. Eve was pregnant by both males at the same time. The scientific term for this is Heteropaternal Superfecundation.
Here we have the birth of two boys, the first of which – Cain – is a hybrid of his mother Eve and his father the serpent, while younger twin Abel’s paternity is of Adam. These are two completely different boys. Whereas Abel was a shepherd, Cain was a farmer. Cain’s personality is of his father, Satan (Am I my brother’s keeper?).
After Cain murders Abel, Adam and Eve have Seth. Thus we have the beginning of mankind in two distinct varieties: hybrid and human.
I’ll leave you here with one last thought.
“Surely the candid mind, the clear-judging conscience can be at no loss to explain God’s solicitous concern for the sinner; and must humbly own that even that unfathomable Divine emotion which is exhibited in the cross of Christ, is no exaggerated and theatrical demonstration, but the actual carrying through of what was really needed for the restoration of the sinner. Do not live as if the cross of Christ had never been, or as if you had never sinned and had no connection with it. Strive to learn what it means; strive to deal fairly with it and fairly with your own transgressions and with your present actual relation to God and His will.”