What does Genesis 3:4 mean?
ESV: But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.
NIV: "You will not certainly die," the serpent said to the woman.
NASB: The serpent said to the woman, 'You certainly will not die!
CSB: "No! You will not die," the serpent said to the woman.
NLT: You won’t die!' the serpent replied to the woman.
KJV: And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
NKJV: Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
Verse Commentary:
After drawing the woman, later named Eve, into a conversation about God's restrictions for their food, the serpent now flatly contradicts God. This creature—Satan in a serpent's form—rejects God's warning that the humans would die if they ate fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

This conversation serves as a prototype for temptation to sin. The serpent's strategy begins with starting a conversation about it, then subtly questioning the fairness of the command, then candidly calling God a liar. To this day, every temptation to sin is, at some level, a question of God's character using that same path: Did God really make that statement…is God really telling the truth…should I trust what He says…don't I actually know better…shouldn't I choose my own way? These are the questions, and the path of pride and sin, through which the serpent will lead Eve.

One key aspect of the serpent's strategy, of course, is that he never fully lies. Compelling deception is always built on half-truths about God's intentions and restrictions. As we'll soon see, Adam and Eve did not instantly die physically after eating fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. However, they did die as a result of their decision, both spiritually and physically. They began the "slow dying" of the aging process and they immediately lost their deep connection to God. They became spiritually separated from the source of all life. In the New Testament, Paul will describe this as being dead in our sins, the state of spiritual death each of us continues to be born into (Ephesians 2:1–2).
Verse Context:
Genesis 3:1–7 tells the story of Satan's temptation of mankind, the first human sin and the immediate consequences which followed. Created sinless, ''very good,'' and placed into a perfect environment by a fair and loving Creator, Adam and Eve choose to sin anyway. They earn spiritual death and separation from God, as well as lives punctuated by pain, conflict, and frustration, ending in physical death. This is followed by God's response to human sin, tailored to each of the parties involved. The following chapter will tell the story of the beginning of human life apart from God and the garden.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 3 tells the story of paradise lost by the willfulness of human sin. Humanity was originally given every perfect thing they could need or want, and virtually no restrictions. Despite that, Adam and Eve needed only a bit of prompting from a talking serpent to disobey their good Creator. Immediately overcome by shame and quickly cursed by God, the painful story of human history begins with their exit from the Garden of Eden.
Chapter Context:
Genesis 2 ended with the last glimpse of a sinless world. Adam and Eve are perfect in themselves, in their purpose, and in their relationship as husband and wife. Chapter 3 tells the story of that paradise lost; the result of the first willful human sin. The consequences: immediate shame and lifelong separation from their home with God. Chapter 4 will describe the beginning of their lives together, the beginning of the painful story of human history.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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