Sin Transforms Man

It's terrible, but that's not all.

Genesis 3:4-7 (ESV)

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

So, after the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, they eat the fruit and then the eyes of both were opened. So, how was the tree a delight to the eyes while their eyes were closed? Obviously, “the eyes of both were opened,” means something other than just the movement of eyelids.

And it changed mankind forever. We’ll understand more about who we are if we can figure out what that change was.

Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t specifically explain this transformation – other than to say that we fell into sin (and then to illustrate sin for the whole rest of the book). However, we do have two great clues.

First, the text doesn’t say, “they saw that they were naked,” it says, “they knew that they were naked.” Since it’s the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the fact that they now “know” something makes sense. There are other cases where “eyes opening” has this sense.

Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. – Numbers 22:31a

So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. – 2 Kings 6:17b

The other big clue is an assumption based on systematic theology – this “disaster” is actually part of God’s plan. The idea that this took God by surprise is ruled out by the understanding that God is outside of time. Thus, we know that the transformation made by their eating the fruit of this tree has a purpose. We may not be able to figure out what it is, but there is one.

This is one of the toughest and most important subjects in all of theology. We’ll get back to it.


Because they ate of the tree, we have sins we need to get rid of. But because they ate of the tree, we also have an extra aptitude to study those sins.

Without the knowledge of good and evil, we could never have compiled a list seven deadly sins. Without that knowledge we would have no way of knowing what our signature sin is.

So, in a wondrous way, the problem and the solution are inextricably linked. We’ll see this in greater detail when God passes sentence on Adam, Eve and the serpent.

Praise Him for His magnificent ways.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

Today's ReVision

Know the Good News is Good

If we know how good it is, we'll proclaim it gladly.

Join the Ailbe Community

The Fellowship of Ailbe Newsletters