SHE TOOK OF THE FRUIT THEREOF, AND DID EAT
By John C. Carpenter
In the book of Genesis, we find the verses about the temptation,
rebellion, and original sin of mankind against God, a time in history commonly referred to as the fall of man. First, in chapter two,
we read, And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made
the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden,
and the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:8-9). And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden
thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest
thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:16-17). Then in chapter three, we read, Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of
the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. But of the fruit of the tree which is in
the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto
the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall
be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and
a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he
did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves
aprons. And they heard the voice 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 amongst the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:1-8). Mankind became a sinner for the first time in the
garden eastward in Eden, but God the Father was not caught off guard. He had a plan from the beginning.
ALL THAT IS IN THE WORLD
we examine the temptation of man, we should understand one necessary concept. That concept is worldliness, and its characteristics
as described by the scriptures. While we live in this world, we humans will be continually subjected to temptations, and these temptations
will always come from the devil, will always involve worldliness, and the worldliness will always take one or more of three forms.
In his first epistle, the apostle John educates us as to what those three forms are. John writes, Love not the world, neither the
things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 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 (1 John 2:15-16). Man will
always be tempted to sin through either the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life. There may be some who do
not consider pride a lust, but, nevertheless, if we think about it, pride is definitely one form of lust. John also explains here
that these three lusts are all that are in the world.
The word lust is translated from the Greek word epithumia, which means
a longing especially for the forbidden, concupiscence, or to strongly covet or desire. In verse 16, the word flesh is translated from
the Greek word sarx, which refers to our human nature with its physical and moral frailties, our physical body and its strong cravings,
or our carnality. The lust of the flesh is seen in our strong cravings for any of our physical appetites such as drink, food, confort,
rest, sex [or a thousand other cravings]. The flesh can also be reflected in our thought processes.
In verse 16, the word eyes is
translated from the Greek word ophthalmos, which means vision, envy, side glance, gazing, or sight. The lust of the eyes, according
to scripture, involves our strong cravings for those things which we see in the world, such as position, power, money, other people,
security, physical things such as cars, houses, boats, or property. Interestingly, in the book of Matthew, the things we see are described
as kingdoms: Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth [revealed] him all the kingdoms of the world,
and the glory of them (Matthew 4:8). In this verse, the devil refers to kingdoms of the world. Kingdoms is translated from the Greek
word basileia, which means a realm, rule, to reign, sovereign, or a foundation of power, In this context, seeing kingdoms can refer
to realms involving ruling and reigning with power, such as is found in the work world. In verse 16, the word pride is translated
from the Greek word alazoneia, which means self-confidence, or boasting. The things that lead to pride, confidence, or boasting might
include intellect, physical looks, power, personality, talent, influence, eloquent speech, athletic abilities, or many other things
which would cause us to show off or boast.
Additionally, our subject verses instruct us that God planted a garden eastward in
Eden, and then put the man whom he had formed into the garden. God also caused there to be a total of four trees in the garden eastward
in Eden: a tree that is pleasant to the sight [which symbolizes the lust of the eyes], a tree good for food which [symbolizes the
lust of the flesh], the tree of knowledge of good and evil [which symbolizes the pride of life], and the tree of life in the midst
of the garden [which symbolizes Jesus Christ and the life available through faith in Him]. We can accept the idea that the tree of
knowledge symbolizes the pride of life because in Paul's letter to the church in Corinth knowledge is closely associated with pride: Now
as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge [knowing, knowledge, science, understanding] puffeth
up [to inflate, make proud, prideful, or haughty], but charity edifieth [contructs, builds up, edifies] (1 Corinthians 8:1). We also
know that pride preceeds rebellion, sin, a fall, and destruction: Pride goeth before destruction [affliction, breaking, bruising,
vexation], and an haughty spirit before a fall [falter, stumble, totter, ruin] (Proverbs 16:18). Scriptures clearly correlate knowledge
with pride followed by destruction.
SHE TOOK OF THE FRUIT THEREOF, AND DID EAT, AND GAVE ALSO TO HER HUSBAND
was tempted with all that was in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, we can rightfully
ask when and where did this temptation take place. The answer is found early in the book of Genesis. This temptaton took place in
the garden east of Eden and shortly after the creation of mankind.
Prior to the temptation of mankind, we find various biblical
events which could be discussed, such as the creation of the heavens and the earth (Gen 2:4-6), the creation of Adam (Gen 2:7), God
planting a garden eastward in Eden and putting Adam in this garden (Gen 2:8), the mention of every tree that God put in the garden,
or a river that went out of Eden to water the garden (Genesis 2:8-10), God's creation of a help meet for Adam and Adam naming herwoman because she was taken out of man (Gen 2:18, 21-23), but discussion of these topics is beyond the point of this article. The
focus of this article is only on the temptation and failure of man, and God providing a remedy through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Genesis, chapter 3, we find the actual temptation of man [and woman]. We are instructed that the serpent, through his subtlety, completely
confused and deceived Eve: Now the serpent was more subtil [Hebrew arum, which means cunning in a bad sense, crafty, prudent, to be
or make bare, be smooth, clever, or cunning]than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea,
hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden [which included the tree of life in the midst of the garden]? And the
woman [Eve] said unto the serpent, We may eat of [all] the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is
in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto
the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall
be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree [of the knowledge of good and evil] was good for food [the
temptation to the lust of the flesh], and that it was pleasant to the eyes [the temptation to the lust of the eyes], and a tree to
be desired to make one wise [the temptation to the pride of life], she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto
her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes [knowledge, understanding] of them both were opened [observed, apparent, obvious],
and they knew [understood] that they were naked [crafty, subtle, guilty, shame]; and [because of their guilt and shame] they sewed
fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons (Genesis 3:1-7). Eve was now not only deceived, but apparently confused as well. God
had commanded Eve [and Adam] to not eat of only one tree in the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, yet Eve was now
claiming to the devil that the tree God commanded them not to eat from was the tree of life [which symbolizes Christ and eternal life
available through faith in Him] in the midst of the garden. Additionally, after Eve and Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil, they suddently realized that they had been not only disobedient, but they now felt guilty and shameful.
verses 3:6-7, Eve was tempted with three things - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - and she completely
failed the test on all three accounts. The scriptures instruct us that the woman saw that the tree [of the knowledge of good and evil]was good for food [and failed the temptation of the lust of the flesh], and that it was pleasant to the eyes [and failed the temptation
of the lust of the eyes], and a tree to be desired to make one wise [and failed the temptation of the pride of life], she took of
the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat also. Eve and Adam were now both guilty of
sinful rebellion against God and His will.
Led by Eve, who was completely confused and deceived by the serpent about God's command,
Adam and his help meet Eve both failed to overcome the temptations presented to them by the serpent. They both ate of the fruit of
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which God had commanded them not to partake of. This time in biblical history is the point
at which mankind is considered to have first disobeyed the commands of God, and for the first time sin became a reality and presence
for each and every human being. This period of time is also usually referred to by biblical scholars as the fall of man. But, fortunately,
despite this sin, this fall, of man, God the Father was not caught off guard by this fall of man. He had a long-planned solution to
this problem of tempation and rebellious sin.
BE OF GOOD CHEER; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD
Mankind may have failed the worldly
temptations of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, but God the Father had One man who would eventually
be successful, One who would successfully overcome all of the temptations presented to Him: that man was and is Jesus Christ. In the
book of Matthew, we can read about a second major tempation, the devil's temptations of Jesus Christ.
Christ's first temptation:Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights,
he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made
bread [the temptation of the lust of the flesh]. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by
every word [Greek rhema, utterance, topic, or saying, which specifically refers to the operation and movement of the Holy Spirit]that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:1-4).
Christ's second temptation: Then the devil taketh him up into the holy
city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down [temptation to
the pride of life]: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up,
lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Christ's third temptation: Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all
the kingdoms of the world [the tempation to the lust of the eyes], and the glory [dignity, honor, praise, worship] of them; And saith
unto him, All these things [that you see before you] will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto
him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil
leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him (Matthew 4:8-11).
In His first tempation, the temptation of the
lust of the flesh, the scriptures instruct us that the Lord had fasted for forty days and forty nights, and He was very hungry. At
Jesus' point of greatest physical need, that is, extreme hunger and weakness, the tempter tempted the Lord to feed His hunger by telling
Jesus to command the stones on the ground to become bread. But, the scriptures instruct us that Jesus passed this temptation. He resisted
commanding the stones to become loaves of bread, and responded to the tempter that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every
word [Greek, rhema, operation of the Holy Spirit] that procedes out of the mouth of God. Jesus Christ was subjected to the temptation
of the lust of the flesh, but He successfully resisted and overcame this temptation.
Secondly, Jesus was tempted to the pride
of life. The devil took Jesus to a very high place in Jerusalem referred to as the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Jesus, if thou
be the Son of God [if you are who you say you are, and you are all powerful and all knowing], throw yourself down. The devil said
to the Lord, if you are truly the Son of God, all you have to do is ask your Father in Heaven to send angels and have them save you
from dashing your foot against a stone below this pinnacle. In these words, the devil was tempting the Lord Jesus to use His supernatural
powers and pridefully call on His heavenly Father to help Him and prevent Him from being injured. But, the scriptures again instruct
us that Jesus did not respond to the devil's deception. Jesus passed this temptation. He resisted throwing Himself off the pinnacle
of the temple, and then having to call upon His all-knowing and all-powerful Father to help and deliver Him. Jesus again commanded
the devil that he should not tempt the Lord thy God. Jesus Christ was subjected to the temptation of the pride of life, but He successfully
resisted and overcame this temptation.
Thirdly, and lastly, Jesus was tempted with the lust of the eyes. The devil took Jesus
to a high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and told Jesus that he would give him all
these things that Jesus saw if Jesus would fall down and worship the devil. Jesus resisted the devil's temptation, saying to the devil,
thou shalt worship only the Lord thy God, and Him only shall you serve. Jesus Christ was subjected to the temptation of the lust of
the eyes, but He successfully resisted and overcame this temptation.
Christ referenced His own overcoming of His temptations
to His disciples, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world [Greek kosmos, meaning adorning,
arrangement, decoration, the world and its inhabitants; but also symbolically referring to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh,
and the pride of life] ye shall have tribulation [Greek thlipsis, meaning afflicted, anguish, burdened, persecution, pressure, or
trouble]: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world [with its lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life] (John
16:33). In verse 33, the word overcome is translated from the Greek word nikao, which means to subdue, conquer, prevail, success,
or get the victory. When Christ said He overcame the world, He was telling His disciples that He had been tempted by all that was
in the world, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, and the lust of the eyes, and He had succesfully and victoriously conquered,
prevailed, and subdued all temptatons found in the world.
The book of Hebrews also confirms the temptation of Christ and His
victory over sin: Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold
fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points
tempted like as we are, yet without sin [miss the mark, fault, trespass, offence] (Hebrews 4:14-15). Christ's victory and overcoming
of temptation to disobedient sin was the clear antidote to the rebellious sin of Adam and Eve in the garden eastward in Eden
IS HE THAT OVERCOMETH THE WORLD, BUT HE THAT
BELIEVETH THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD?
Adam and Eve [now all of mankind is guilty]
failed their tempations in the garden east of Eden. They were given the opportunity to be obedient and faithful before God the Father,
and they failed miserably. However, despite this failure, there is one piece of good news for mankind. Jesus Christ was not only tempted
with all worldliness, but most importantly, overcame His three tempations presented to Him by the devil in the wilderness. Because
Christ overcame and was victorious in His temptations, mankind is now given the opportunity to overcome and have victory over his
temptations. However, the scriptures make it clear that there is one requirement for becoming an overcomer as Christ ovrcame: faith
in Jesus Christ. Look what the scriptures instruct us about how sinful and guilty man can become an overcomer, like Christ.
teaches that the overcomer gains the victory through the atoning death of Christ and our belief in and witness of Christ and His gospel:And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: forthe accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them [the brethren] before our God day and night. And they overcame [conquer,
prevail, subdue, have victory over] him by the blood [death and atoning blood] of the Lamb, and by the word [Greek logos, Christ and
the gospel of Christ] of their testimony [record, report, or witness of Christ and the gospel of Christ]; and they loved not their
lives unto the death (Revelation 12:10-11).
The apostle John also explained that the overcomer is the one who believes that Jesus
Christ is the Son of God: For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even [specifically] our
faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5). If you believe that
Jesus is the Son of God, you immediately become an overcomer, not because you have overcome all of your temptations, but because Christ
overcame all of His tempations.
The apostle Paul wrote the church in Corinth, So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption,
and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in
victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory [over death] through [faith in] our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
Because of the believer's faith in Jesus Christ, Christ's ovecoming and victorious life becomes the believer's overcoming and victorious
Adam and Eve failed to overcome their temptation, but thankfully God has made overcoming temptation, sin, and guilt possible
through faith in Jesus Christ - and that overcoming faith has great reward, as the scriptures teach. John, the revelator, explains
the many rewards and promises of Jesus Christ available to the overcomer, that is, the one who has faith in Jesus Christ. Christ said,him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (Revelation 2:7), He that
overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death (Revelation 2:11), To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna,
and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it (Revelation
2:17), he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with
a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the
morning star (Revelation 2:26-28), He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name
out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels (Revelation 3:5), Him that overcometh will
I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of
the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name (Revelation
3:12), To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in
his throne (Revelation 3:21), and, lastly, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that
is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he
shall be my son (Revelation 21:6-7). This last statement reflects possibly the best reward: the overcomer, the one who believes on
Christ, shall inherit all things, God shall be his God, and he [or she] shall be God's son [offspring].
Paul appropriately summarized
to the Corinthian church, And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man [Adam]is of the earth, earthy [worldly, natural, and failed in worldly tempation]: the second man is the Lord from heaven [heavenly, spiritual,
and overcame worldly temptation]. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also
that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we [spititual who believe on Christ and have overcome] shall also
bear the image [likeness, representation, resemblance] of the heavenly (1 Corinthians 15:45-49). Wow! Spiritual overcomers shall resemble
the heavenly. AMEN.