The Pair Expelled from the Garden Part 1 of 3 (series: Lessons on Genesis)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

September 3, 2013

The Book of Genesis
By: Tom Lowe


Lesson I.B.6: The Pair Expelled from the Garden.


Gen. 3.22-24 (KJV)

22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned everyway, to keep the way of the tree of life.


Commentary

22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

And the LORD God said,
“And the Lord God said,” was not said to the ministering angels, but within himself, or to the other two Divine Persons.

Behold,
The LORD God has something to say and He wants our attention; “behold” means observe, watch, see, consider, and pay attention. The pair has already shown their weakness when confronted by temptation; a lack of will-power and a desire to “do their own thing,” therefore the LORD God will act to insure they cannot eat from the tree of life:
1. For fear that by eating of the fruit he would recover that immortal life which he no longer possessed (Although it is certain that man would not have been able, even by devouring the whole tree, to enjoy life against the will of God.).
2. For fear that the first pair, through the fruit would confer upon themselves the attribute of eternal life, which would not be the result of salvation, but through the sin of disobedience.
3. For fear that man could conceive the idea that immortality might still be secured by eating from the tree, instead of trusting in the promised seed, and under this false impression attempt to take its fruit, which, in his case, would have been equivalent to an attempt to justify himself by works instead of faith.
4. For fear that he would endeavor to partake of the symbol of immortality, which he could not do again until his sin was atoned for and he was purified: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:14).

the man is become as one of us,
It is not likely that Jehovah refers here to the words of the tempter: “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” (Gen. 3.5). Neither is He saying “the man is become” like the angels, but rather like the Divine Persons: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26). “In our image, after our likeness” was a unique and distinctive characteristic of man. And in what did this image of God consist? Not in the erect form or features of man, not in his intellect, for the devil and his angels are, in this respect, far superior to man; not in his immortality, since he does not have, as God has, a past as well as a future eternity of being; but in the moral nature of his soul, commonly called original righteousness: “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions” (Ecclesiastes 7:29 ). God made man upright; Adam was upright in all respects. No one could find a fault in him; he was devoted to God. Man, as he came out of God’s hands, was (as we may say) a little picture of his Maker, who is good and upright. But he was marred, and in effect unmade, by his own foolishness and badness. Man, instead of resting in what God had provided for him, was seeking to better himself, like the prodigal that left his father’s house to seek his fortune. Instead of being for God’s institutions, he was for his own inventions. The law of his Creator would not hold him; he would follow his own desires and inclinations.

to know good and evil:
“To

know good and evil” implies an acquaintance with good and evil which did not belong to him while in the state of innocence. The language seems to hint that a one-sided acquaintance with good and evil, such as that possessed by the first pair in the garden and the unfallen angels in heaven, is not as complete a knowledge of the inherent beauty of the one and essential wickedness of the other as that which is acquired by beings who pass through the experience of a fall, and that the only way in which a finite being can even come close to such a comprehensive knowledge of evil as the Deity possesses without personal contact—He can see it as it rests everlastingly spread out before his infinite mind—is by going down into it and learning what it is through personal experience.

“The man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” has been interpreted in several ways by some well-known commentators:
1. It is generally understood to be an irony or sarcasm aimed at man's deception by Satan, who promised man that he would be like God if he ate the fruit from the forbidden tree, and Adam and Eve believed him and expected to be like gods, knowing good and evil. It is as if God is saying “Behold the man, see how much like a god he looks, with his coat of skin upon his back, filled with shame and confusion for his foolishness, and miserable from a sense of what he had lost, and in a view of what he was sentenced to.” And yet, we must understand that God does not rejoice over man's misery, and insult him while he is so miserable, but His words are meant to convince him of his foolishness, humble him, bring him to a more open repentance for his willful disobedience, and to give credit to the devil for his part in the affair.
2. Another opinion, which I also embrace, is that God was serious when he said this, since this was after man was brought to an awareness of the evil he committed, and had repented for it, and had had the promised seed revealed to him as a Savior; and, as a symbol of justification and salvation by Him, he was clothed with garments provided by God himself: therefore the words are to be considered:
a. as a declaration of his present state and condition, in Christ, by whose righteousness he was made righteous, even though he had lost his own due to his sin; to whose image he was conformed; and was now restored to friendship and peace with God, favored with his gracious presence, and having faith and hope of being with him for eternity. Now the eyes of his understanding were enlightened by the Spirit and grace of God, to know the good things which God had provided for him in Christ, and in the covenant of grace, which was a better covenant than that under which he was made, and which he had broken; and to know the evil nature of sin, and the atonement for it, by the death and sacrifice of the promised seed.
b. as a declaration of man's past state and condition, and may be rendered, "behold, the man was as one of us,” that is, as one of the Persons in the Deity, like the Son of God, after whose image, and in whose likeness, he was made; both as to his body, that being formed according to the idea of the body of Christ in the divine mind, and which was not begotten, but made out of the virgin earth; and as to his soul, which was created in righteousness and holiness, in wisdom and knowledge, and was like Him in the rule and power he had over all the creatures: and besides, he was in many things a type of Christ, a figure of Him that was to come; especially in his being a federal head to his posterity, and in his offices of prophet, priest, and King; and being created in knowledge, after the image of Him that created him, and having the law of God inscribed on his heart. He knew what was good and what should be done, and what was evil and to be avoided. But now he was in a different condition, in different circumstances, had lost the image of God, and friendship with Him, and his rule over the creatures; and had ruined himself, and all his posterity, and was become unholy and unwise; because being tempted by Satan to eat of the forbidden fruit, under an expectation of increasing his knowledge, he had lost to a great degree what he had.

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