SDMB weekly Bible Study (SDMBWBS)-Week 2 Genesis 3

SDMB weekly Bible Study (SDMBWBS)-Week 2 Genesis 3

Welcome to the SDMB weekly Bible Study (SDMBWBS). This week we will be discussing Genesis 3. Since the discussion can turn into a very broad and hijackable thread, we would like the following rules to be adhered to:

  1. These SDMBWBS threads are to deal with the books and stories in the Bible as literature. What I’m hoping to achieve is an understanding of the stories, the time in which they were written, context, and possibly its cultural relevance.

  2. While it is up to the individual to choose to believe or disbelieve any portion, that is not to be the discussion of the thread. If you must, please choose to witness/anti-witness in Great Debates.

  3. The intention is to go through the Bible from front to back in order. While different books are needed to be referred to in order to understand context, please try and keep the focus on the thread’s selected chapter(s)/verse(s).

  4. Since different religions have chosen which books to include or omit, the threads will use the Catholic version of 46 Old Testament Books and 27 New Testament Books. It’s encouraged to discuss why a book was included/omitted during the applicable threads only. BibleHub, as far as I know, is a good resource that compiles many different versions of the verses into one page.(Also the SDMB Staff Reports on Who Wrote the Bible). Please feel free to use whatever source you want, including-and even more helpfully-the original language.

  5. Hopefully we can get through these threads with little to no moderation. A gentle reminder that if a poster comes in and ignores these rules, please use the “report post” function instead of responding.

Link to previous thread:
Genesis 1:1 to 2:25

Here’s a link to the chapter:

This is a Cecil Adams post regarding this chapter which answers:
*Where did the idea come from that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was an apple? Genesis just says “fruit.” Does Jewish tradition have it as an apple, or is it strictly a Christian thing? Come to think of it, the fruit of discord of the Greek goddess Eris was also an apple. Why are apples considered to be the troublemakers of the produce world? *

It’s not about a talking snake. In their pre-Fall state Adam and Eve could talk with all of the animals, and were for all intents and purposes animals themselves. In the Talmud a reason given for the snake’s tempting of Eve is that it’s jealous of the attention that God has shown the humans. The idea that the snake is the devil doesn’t occur in Genesis, and is a later introduction. Certainly the author of Revelation identifies the snake with Satan, and in the Qu’ran, the snake is also identified with Iblis/Satan. In the Qu’ran the snake speaks with both Adam and Eve, not just Eve.

In Ezekiel 28:12-17, the prophet speaks to the king of Tyre, though it would appear he’s actually addressing Satan:

12 “Son of man, (A)take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God,

“You [a]had the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 “You were in (B)Eden, the garden of God;
©Every precious stone was your covering:
The (D)ruby, the topaz and the diamond;
The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;
And the gold, the workmanship of your **(E)settings and [c]sockets,
Was in you.
On the day that you were created
They were prepared.
14 “You were the (F)anointed cherub who [d]covers,
And I placed you there.
You were on the holy (G)mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the (H)stones of fire.
15 “You were (I)blameless in your ways
From the day you were created
Until (J)unrighteousness was found in you.
16 “By the (K)abundance of your trade
[e]You were internally (L)filled with violence,
And you sinned;
Therefore I have cast you as profane
From the mountain of God.
And I have destroyed you, O [f]covering cherub,
From the midst of the stones of fire.
17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your (M)beauty;
You (N)corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;
I put you before (O)kings,
That they may see you.

The Hebrew name of Eve is Chavvah (a soft German “ch” at the front)l which means “Life”.

Some interpreters see a connection between this snake and Set/Apophis from Egyptian mythology. Set is a snake-headed god who kills his brother Osiris. Apophis is the great snake-demon-god that eats the sun during an eclipse, killing Ra. I don’t see that much of a connection myself.

“Man has become like one of Us”, I interpret as the Lord God speaking to the angels.

The cherubim are not little cupid/putto characters. They’re described in Ezekiel 10:12-14 as being compound creatures:

12 Their (A)whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings and the (B)wheels were full of eyes all around, the wheels belonging to all four of them. 13 The wheels were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels. 14 And ©each one had four faces. The first face was the face of a cherub, the second face was the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.

Was it a snake at the beginning of the chapter though? I thought it was a serpent (I’m thinking like iguana or something with legs) which is then cursed by God to be on its belly for the rest of time.
“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat
All the days of your life;"

There’s a really long-standing tradition that the snake/serpent was a lizard who lost its legs in the curse. It may be a “just-so” story explaining why the snake has no feet.

Interesting that I’ve heard all of this as a Christian, as most of the Talmud is completely foreign to us. The idea that all the animals could talk isn’t as prominent as the idea that the snake was jealous.

This usually goes along with the idea that the snake could not have been Satan himself even with the later interpretation, but that Satan talked with the snake and convinced it to be jealous, or even took over the body of the snake. What the latter says about the fairness of God punishing all snakes, though, isn’t too kind.

Then again, every snake from then on was punished, just like every human was punished with literally punished with hardships and figuratively sin.

Does the Talmud or other Jewish tradition even consider this an illustration of Man’s fall?

Shouldn’t this be “week 2”?

Umm… when the sun sets it will be? Actually, if a mod can change the title that would be great!

That was so quick. Thanks!

I find it interesting that they gain the knowledge of “good and evil” and immediate set to covering themselves up. Adam & Eve link their nakedness with ‘evil’. Beforehand, they thought it perfectly fine. One wonders, without the wisdom gained from the fruit of the tree that Adam & Eve were doing good and the tree merely ‘opened their eyes’ to be able to see evil for the first time and to open the gates for them to start doing evil.

No-if it was evil for Adam to be naked before he ate of the fruit, then it was evil before he ate of the fruit, even if he didn’t realize it. Otherwise, eating of the fruit can be said to have created evil.

Not the creation of evil, but the making something that was good (or at least neutral) into an evil.

Obvious it seems God didn’t consider it evil to begin with - or else they’d be covered earlier than that.

But that’s saying that evil didn’t even exist before he ate the fruit-anything they did was automatically good just because they didn’t know any better. Anything from using sheep eyes for marbles to weasel stomping would be allowed just because they were ignorant.

My take is that before they ate of the fruit, they were animals. Animals don’t know good vs. evil, they just are.

One etymological note: the English word “innocent” originally meant naked.

Just a hypothesis of mine, but … Pretty much all reptiles go “on [their] belly” and “eat dust”, even the ones with legs. That is, they’re very low to the ground. Perhaps the “serpent” was actually a dragon (The Revelation frequently uses “dragon” to refer to the Devil) — a majestic, intelligent, possibly winged creature. After he messes with Adam and Eve, God’s all, “Just for that, you’re gonna crawl on your belly from now on.”

As the post underneath yours by Prof. Pepperwinkle states, yah, kinda. Though I’d assert they maybe were more advanced ‘animals’. However with the knowledge of evil, that opens up a whole new can of worms - one can deliberately cause evil, whereas prior to any “bad” acts were unwittingly done.

I like this take on it and buy into it as an explanation. But I’m pretty sure there is evil in the animal kingdom, specifically among dolphins and monkeys but probably others as well.

Prof. Pepperwinkle:

Man’s separateness from animals is quite clearly emphasized in these early chapters of Genesis.

After the fall, they were made MORE animalistic - subject to the tribulations of nature (having to toil for food, painful childbirth), as opposed to the easy life in Eden. Before the fall, they had but one temptation, a spiritual one - disobedience to G-d over satisfying their lust for the forbidden. After, the need to produce and procure food, to avoid hunger, exhaustion and pain became an additional drive, and as such, a less “pure” virtue-vs-sin calculation.


I think the intent there is that having sinned, they suddenly felt “exposed.” Their first instinct was to cover up and hide. Before sinning, they had nothing to be ashamed of before G-d. After sinning, they realized that what they had done was wrong and sought to somehow hide this shame (though of course it’s not possible to hide anything from G-d, as Adam and Eve found out).

Original Sin and the Fall of Man are foreign to Judaism.

In the story of Gilgamesh, the woman, Shamat, opens the man’s mind and leads him to knowledge (by going to bed with him for a week straight–more fun than fruit, if you ask me :slight_smile: ) and this is presented as a good thing.