Genesis 3 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Genesis 3 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 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?

(3:1) "The serpent ... said unto the woman."
A clever serpent talks to Eve about trees, death, and the knowledge of good and evil. He persuades her to eat the forbidden fruit. She takes the first bite and gets the full blame (3:12, 16).
The serpent
There are several things wrong with the summary of the author of the SAB. First of all, it is clear that the devil himself used a serpent here to speak to Eve, so it was not simply a serpent. As John Gill explains:

the words therefore may be rendered, "that serpent"; that particular serpent, of which so much is spoken of afterwards; "or the serpent was become", or "made more subtle", that is, not naturally, but through Satan being in it, and using it in a very subtle manner, to answer his purposes, and gain his point: for though a real serpent, and not the mere form or appearance of one, is here meant, as is clear from this account, and the curse afterwards pronounced on it; yet not that only, but as possessed and used by Satan as an instrument of his to accomplish his designs, as is evident from its having the faculty of speech, and the use of reason, employed in a very artful and sophistic manner: nor is it rational to suppose that human nature, in the height of its glory and excellency, should be outwitted and seduced by a creature so inferior to it; besides, the Scriptures always ascribe the seduction of man to the devil; who, because he acted his deceitful part in and by the serpent, is called the serpent, and the old serpent, and the devil and Satan, 2 Cor. 11:3.

Secondly, if Eve had eaten and Adam not, there would not have been a Fall. The covenant of works was made with Adam, not Eve. I.e. if Adam had obeyed God, his descendants would not have a fallen nature, but would be as equally as Adam have had the ability to choose freely between good and evil.
So Eve does not get the full blame. God starts with Adam, and then works his way backward, see verses 11-14. And it wasn't about the bite, it was about believing the devil, and not believing God. She believed that the devil was right, that she would be as God. She did not believe God who had commanded not to eat from this tree.
At the bottom of this chapter, the author of the SAB links to some fringe cults who believe that the account of The Fall says something completely different than it says. I won't comment on those, except to say it is clear that Cain was of the seed of Adam, see chapter 4:1.

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3 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.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 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.

6 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.

(3:6) "When the woman saw that the tree was ... to be desired to make one wise, she ... did eat."
Is wisdom a good thing?
The author of the SAB interprets death in an extremely narrow sense: the death of the body. But the Biblical meaning is far more extensive. At this point his body gained the capability to die. It became corrupt. What did die at this point was Adam's righteousness and his ability to choose freely between good and evil.

7 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.

8 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.

(3:6) "And he did eat."
In 2:17 God said that if Adam eats from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then the day that he does so, he will die. But Adam eats the forbidden fruit and yet lives for another 930 years (5:5).
When did Adam die?
The consciences of Adam and Eve spoke, therefore they hid themselves. They could not bear the thought to appear before their Maker and Judge.
On if God has a body: no. But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has a body, as he is both man and God. He appeared here in the form of a man.
On if God knows everything: yes. But this tribunal was not trying to discover facts, but to establish them in open court.

9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

(3:12-13) "The woman ... gave me of the tree.... The serpent beguiled me."
Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent.
Yes, sad isn't it? Here we clearly see the operation of The Fall. Everyone gets the blame, except we ourselves. That's the difference when the Holy Spirit operates, then the sinner will say (Psalm 51:3): “For I acknowledge my transgressions.”

13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

(3:14) "Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat."
God curses the serpent. From now on he will crawl on his belly and eat dust.
It is interesting to note that snakes do have legs, on the inside, not visible, and no longer used.
Also snakes do eat dust.

15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

(3:15) "I will put enmity ... between thy seed and her seed."
The Two Seed Theory
The two seed theory links to a fringe cult which misuses the Bible to reach a predetermined conclusion.

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

(3:16) "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. ... Thy husband ... shall rule over thee."
God punishes Eve, and all women after her, with the pains of childbirth and subjection to men.
What the Bible says about women's rights
It is more correct to say that childbirth would be painful from now on. It was not painful before. The subjection is a punishment, that's right. Only in heaven will the distinction be erased.

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

(3:17) "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife"
Adam is also punished, although less severely. He now will have to work for a living because he "hearkened unto the voice" of his wife.
Adam is punished less severely?? He is the head of the covenant that God made with man. All days of his life, every day, he will be reminded that the earth will not bring forth its former plenty.

18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

(3:17-18) "Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth"
But God is not done cursing yet. He curses the ground and causes thorns and thistles to grow. Before this, according to the (false) Genesis story, plants had no natural defenses. The rose had no thorn, cacti were spineless, and nettles had no sting. Foxgloves, oleander, and milkweeds were perfectly safe to eat. [more]
Indeed, before The Fall there were no thorns and thistles, or if they existed, they were not a weed.
The author of the SAB is incorrect in saying there were no defence mechanisms before The Fall. They were not used as a defence and not created for that purpose. But they could be used as defence. It is impossible from the anatomy of an animal to see if it is a herbivore or carnivore, see Job 41:14.

19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

(3:20) "The mother of all the living"
Is everyone descended from Adam and Eve?
Yes, everyone is descended from Adam and Eve. See Heb. 7:3 where the author of the SAB reads a contradiction.

21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

(3:21) "The LORD God make coats of skins"
God kills some animals and makes some skin coats for Adam and Eve.
Humans no longer could walk around naked, but their shame had to be covered.

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:

(3:22-24) "Behold, the man is become as one of us."
God expels Adam and Eve from the garden before they get a chance to eat from that other tree -- the tree of life. God knows that if they do that, they will live forever. A spooky thought indeed for an insecure god.
How many gods are there?
Although God told Adam not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (2:16-17), he never told him not to eat from the Tree of Life. God said that Adam would die the day that he ate from the forbidden tree (2:17). Well, Adam ate from that tree (3:6), so why was God worried that Adam might eat from that other tree (the Tree of Life) and live forever?
BOM: Alma 42:2
Yes, man now knew about evil. And what a horrible thing it was. And if they had eaten from the Tree of Life, they would have been in that horrible state of sin forever. So this is not about insecurity, it is about protection. We can be delivered from this body of sin, and through death every believer will be, see 1 Cor. 15:42-43.
The author of the SAB also appears confused by saying “[God] never told him not to eat from the Tree of Life: ” that's true, because before The Fall it was not forbidden to eat from this tree. After The Fall this tree was made inaccessible.
On how many gods there are: only one. But the one God consists of three Persons. as this verse clearly indicates. Because by becoming one of us not God's being is described, which man can never attain, but his length of life: eternal, and all three Persons live eternally.

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 Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.