“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?”
King James Version (KJV)
3:1-5 We have here an account of the temptation wherewith Satan assaulted our first parents, and which proved fatal to them. And here observe, The tempter, the devil in the shape of a serpent. Multitudes of them fell; but this that attacked our first parents, was surely the prince of the devils. Whether it was only the appearance of a serpent, or a real serpent, acted and possessed by the devil, is not certain. The devil chose to act his part in a serpent, because it is a subtle creature. It is not improbable, that reason and speech were then the known properties of the serpent. And therefore Eve was not surprised at his reasoning and speaking, which otherwise she must have been. That which the devil aimed at, was to persuade Eve to eat forbidden fruit; and to do this, he took the same method that he doth still. 1. He questions whether it were a sin or no, #Ge 3:1|,2. He denies that there was any danger in it, #Ge 3:4|. 3. He suggests much advantage by it, #Ge 3:5|. And these are his common topics. As to the advantage, he suits the temptation to the pure state they were now in, proposing to them not any carnal pleasure, but intellectual delights. Your eyes shall be opened - You shall have much more of the power and pleasure of contemplation than now you have; you shall fetch a larger compass in your intellectual views, and see farther into things than now you do. You shall be as gods - As Elohim, mighty gods, not only omniscient but omnipotent too: You shall know good and evil - That is, everything that is desirable to be known. To support this part of the temptation, he abuseth the name given to this tree. 'Twas intended to teach the practical knowledge of good and evil, that is, of duty and disobedience, and it would prove the experimental knowledge of good and evil, that is, of happiness and misery. But he perverts the sense of it, and wrests it to their destruction, as if this tree would give them a speculative notional knowledge of the natures, kinds, and originals of good and evil. And, All this presently, In the day you eat thereof - You will find a sudden and immediate change for the better.