Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said…
Corroborative of the Mosaic account of the Fall are numerous ancient corrupted traditions. Thus —
1. On an ancient bas-relief of the story of Prometheus and Pandora, a man and woman are represented standing naked and disconsolate under a tree; and a figure seated on a rock is strangling a serpent.
2. Apollo destroys the serpent Python, and is crowned with laurel.
3. Hercules — who in his infancy had destroyed a serpent — gathered the apples of Hesperides, having killed the serpent that kept the tree.
4. Many gems, etc., represent Hercules killing a serpent entwined about a fruit-laden tree.
I. THE FIRST TEMPTATION.
1. To be tempted, and to sin, two different things. Christ was tempted but did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).
2. Its source —
(1) Not man, who was holy, innocent, happy. "A solicitation to sin could come only from without."(2) Not from God. He "tempteth no man" (James 1:13).
(3) But from the devil. Disarmed suspicion by assuming a familiar form. No living creature, not even the serpent, then inspired fear.
3. Appeared thus to Eve, whose knowledge was partial. Speech used by a serpent would have "opened the eyes" of Adam, who had named the beasts according to their nature.
4. Concealed the real death that would be introduced. Told a partial truth: "your eyes shall be opened." Half truths are the devil's most successful lies. Thus Tennyson says: —That a lie, which is part a truth, is ever the blackest of lies;
That a lie, which is all a lie, may be met, and fought with, outright;
But a lie, which is part a truth, is a harder matter to fight.
II. THE FIRST SIN. Apparently small, and by the thoughtless often spoken lightly of, as such. But as all sin is a violation of principle, injures the moral sense, imperils the soul, and dishonours God, no transgression can be truly called a little sin. Sin is the transgression of law (1 John 3:4). This was the only sin that could be committed, since there was but one law (Romans 4:15). It was great, because the only one possible. It contained the elements of all evil: disobedience (Romans 5:19), pride, unbelief, blindness, ingratitude, selfishness, covetousness, etc. As from small fountains, mighty rivers nave their beginning; so from this sin, all transgression took its rise and character (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22).
(J. C. Gray.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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?