Adam, Eve, and Satan in the Garden


I’m going through one of Professor Scott Hahn’s books titled “First Comes Love”, which goes over how we as humans fit into the Trinitarian life of God.

In the middle of the book, he discusses Adam & Eve in the Garden, and he offers a very interesting & fresh explanation but one which I haven’t encountered before. His points are as follows:

Adam was placed in the Garden, and the jobs he was given by God were to till the Garden and guard it. This begs the question: why was he guarding the Garden if he had mastery over all the animals? Who was he keeping out?

Later, after Eve’s creation, Adam & Eve encounter the Serpent. This serpent wasn’t a traditional animal, like a small cobra, but would have been a powerful & intimidating beast. The word “serpent” in Genesis is the same Hebrew word used to describe “dragon” or “sea monster”. Satan, manifested as this Serpent, would have been capable of physically killing Adam and his wife.

Adam’s sin, even before he ate of the fruit, was his silence and his unwillingness to accept martyrdom in the service of God. He could have rejected the Serpent’s offer, despite the Serpent’s ability to kill him, and yet out of fear and lack of faith in God, he instead gave in. Thus, he did not die in body (Hebrew: die), but rather he died in Spirit (Hebrew: die die. It is a superlative of normal death).

Jesus came because he needed to fulfill the service unto death which Adam failed to do.

The book goes into much greater detail than this, and I would strongly recommend giving it a read for those further interested.

This explanation makes an enormous amount of sense in the context of the entire narrative of scripture from Old Testament to New Testament. My question is: how long has this interpretation been around? Scott Hahn isn’t a little league Bible scholar and I’m assuming he didn’t just invent this explanation on his own. It must have earlier roots.

Anybody know? Thanks.


Thanx, TK421 for the insight,
I also have some insight on Eve and the Tree,
Mary, the second eve, was at the Tree of Life(Cross)
which bore the Fruit of her womb, Jesus, those who
eat of this fruit will live forever!


That is interesting about guarding the garden, I cant think of anything/anyone that would be in Eden, that would be a danger to the garden???

Ive always thought they used the term snake for our benefit, so we can understand it better, when its likely the true form of this ‘dragon’ was something much larger, I think we neglect to imagine there were likely some animals in Eden that we do not know about, some may have been similar to a dinosaur/dragon, reptilian in appearance yet more frightening than your average snake.

Also keep in mind, there are few other verses and historical statements/quotes, regarding some animal, that we would call a dragon, that DID exist.


Seems there are various versions of what the Garden was all about.


I certainly am not a theologian, Bible scholar or any other expert in pretty much any field, but I have a small problem with this explanation - if the serpent was capable of killing Adam and Adam knew this and so was fearful, he would not be entirely culpable for the sin of disobeying God, eating the apple, etc.

I certainly would not claim to know the mind of God, but since we are imagining what may have been happening I’ll go ahead and share my thoughts. Given the severity of the punishment visited on Adam and Eve, I suspect there was no fear of harm or other mitigating circumstances. What reason would Adam have for fear before eating to the fruit? God had given him dominion over pretty much everything in the garden. Death, pain, and suffering had not entered the world so there would be no reason to fear something that did not exist.

Call me a traditionalist or simpleton when interpreting this particular event in the Bible. Adam’s sin was first and foremost disobedience. God placed one limit on him, and he chose to ignore it because another being convinced him to ignore it. Just like people today, God told him what not to do, and he did it anyway.



Recall that Adam and Eve lived in a material physical environment where weeds needed space to enjoy the sunshine.

Ive always thought they used the term snake for our benefit, so we can understand it better, when its likely the true form of this ‘dragon’ was something much larger, I think we neglect to imagine there were likely some animals in Eden that we do not know about, some may have been similar to a dinosaur/dragon, reptilian in appearance yet more frightening than your average snake.

A bit of common sense here.

How would you describe a powerful evil spirit, that did not have a human’s decomposing anatomy, and yet, this spirit had great power to tempt tiny human beings?


I agree, death came AFTER they sinned. They were not subject to death before sinning. Adam and Eve were to protect themselves from sin, (serpent). That’s why God warned them they would die if they disobeyed HIM. It was a test to see if they loved God more than themselves. Pride is a terrible sin. God Bless, Memaw


Wouldn’t pride have been one of the effects of the sin? How could they be prideful if this is so?
If not and the first humans were prideful before sinning, then how did they cause the fall?


I don’t know how long the interpretation has been around but Jeff Cavins makes the same point in his Bible Timeline study.

If Eve and Adam had refused to eat then the serpent would have physically killed them. Adam and Eve did not trust that God would have or could have raised them from the dead.

When the text is read in this light it just clicks, everything makes sense, and the text takes on a christological sense. Already it points to Christ’s resurrection.

The text is less about disobedience then it is about trusting our Loving Father. Everyone wants to focus on obedience but few focus on trust. Christ went to the Cross trusting that God would raise him from the dead. Mary encouraged him to complete his mission in that same trust. These are the new Adam and new Eve. They trusted where the first Adam and Eve did not.



If the original human Adam had refused to eat, then you and I, as Adam and Eve’s descendants, would have been born in the State of Original Holiness aka State of Sanctifying Grace.

Paragraph 404,Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition. I put the significant sentence in bold.
404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam “as one body of one man.”293 By this “unity of the human race” all men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as all are implicated in Christ’s justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.294 It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed” — a state and not an act. (360, 50)

Regarding trust and abusing his freedom and the original act – CCC paragraph 397
397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of.278 All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness. (1707, 2541, 1850, 215)


I don’t know why you quoted CCC 404. That has nothing to do with my post.

My post, 1) states that Jeff Cavins shares Dr. Hahn’s interpretation and, 2) offers my opinion that the focus on obedience apart from trust misses part of the meaning of the scripture.

CCC 397 which you cited mentions trust specifically stating that disobedience and lack of trust was the sin.

At the end of the day my faith is based on exactly this - trust that God can and will raise me from the dead at the end of time if I persevere to the end.



That’s another new question for me :

Why didn’t satan kill Adam and Eve, would have been easier, get rid of the humans before they even get started…

Some how I can’t see that satan could kill them in the garden, to much of God’s love around…

And satan doesn’t threaten them with death, he tells them they will be like God.

Does the author of the book explain why he thinks satan didn’t kill them out right?



Satan didn’t kill them because they ate. He knew that as soon as they ate they were going to die.

But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die. (Genesis 3:4)

Remember that Satan is a liar. He knew they would die. The thing is that either way, whether they ate or not, they were going to die.

Remember all those people in the Bible who lives 800 and 500 and 150 years? The lifespan of people continuously decreased as time went on. This would have shocked the ancient Semitic readers not because people were living so long but because people were dying in the first place, and at progressively younger ages.

Adam and Eve would have lived forever if they had not eaten. But they ate, and they died. We inherit their original sin, we sin ourselves, and we die.

***For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. *(1 Corinthians 14:21-22)

Here is the point which both Dr. Scott Hahn and Jeff Cavins make in their Bible studies; if Adam and Eve had refused to eat then the ancient serpent would have killed them. Like Christ they would have trusted God, and God would have raised them from the dead and they would have lived forever.

***For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. *(Romans 6:23)

Satan didn’t kill them because they ate. He knew that as soon as they ate they were going to die.



I am very familiar with the interpretation that Satan threatened Adam and Eve (“You will not die” meaning “I will not kill you”). While certainly possible, it seems unconvincing in my mind.

If this comment were a threat, then a consistent reading of the text would view God’s comment as a threat, too (“the day that you eat of it you shall die” - Gen 2:17). However, I think most people would agree that God’s comment was foretelling the consequences of such an action, not threatening Adam and Eve. It seems more plausible that Satan simply lied, made God seem like a despot and encouraged Eve to eat of the “beneficial” fruit that she found appealing. We still have the lack of obedience and trust without seemingly stretching the meaning of the text.


You are disagreeing with something I didn’t say.

I never said “You will not die” was a threat. I said in post 13 just above your post that “You shall not die” was a lie.



You misunderstand, my comment was less involving your personal view and more addressing what you were actually saying, that is, Hahn and Cavins believe there was some physical threat to Adam and Eve from Satan. Now, I have heard it directly from Cavins (most likely Hahn, too, but I cannot recall with absolute certainty) that the line “you will not die” was a threat.

However, I am now curious as to why you believe Satan would have physically killed Adam and Eve if they did not eat of the forbidden fruit (your #9 comment). Apart from the possible threat theory that you seem to be distancing yourself from, the only other thing I read in this discussion is that Satan could have killed them so therefore he would have.


I see it in the unity of Scripture. One example out of many is Hebrews 2:14 which says that the devil has “the power of death.”

I see it in the allegorical sense of scripture. It points directly to the resurrection of Christ.

I wish I could offer you more.



I really doubt God would have allowed Satan to kill them if they refused to eat, remember EVERYTHING that Satan does, he does only because God ALLOWS it, God obviously allowed Satan to come up to them in the garden and tempt them, Satan cannot act on his own.


This is very much possible, but Adam might have failed to have faith in this.

Christ was likewise tempted in another garden, and he cried out to God three times. Adam cried out to God zero times. Satan, as an angel, possesses enormously more strength than man was given. Therefore, without God’s aid, Satan had the indisputable upper hand over Adam & Eve. Adam had only encountered God, himself, his wife, and the animals up until his encounter with the Serpent. He encountered something that was not like God, and not like him, and yet possessed a terrible intellect.


Please provide the proper citation, link, book, page number, publication title and publisher for this statement which appears in your post 13 above.
“Here is the point which both Dr. Scott Hahn and Jeff Cavins make in their Bible studies; if Adam and Eve had refused to eat then the ancient serpent would have killed them.”

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