We read in Genesis 3 that there was a real serpent and it received a real physical curse to crawl on its belly and eat dust for the duration of its life (Genesis 3:14). But Satan is not a physical being. He can, however, operate in the physical world. He is a spirit being who operates in the spirit realm. We may read about Satan’s power and characters in the following Bible verses: 1 Peter 5:8; Matthew 16:23 and Ephesians 6:12.
Explanation of Genesis 3, Verse by Verse.
Genesis 3:1-3: Adam and Eve clearly understood they were not to eat of the forbidden fruit; neither should they touch it, lest they die.
Genesis 3:4: Satan (posing as a serpent) lied, "Ye shall not surely die”. This was a bold contradiction to the word of God, which said "Ye shall surely die."
Genesis 3:5-7: The reward which the deceiver (Satan through the serpent) promised was quickly and painfully realized. Adam and Eve could no longer delight in communion and fellowship with God. With fear and shame, they dreaded to meet Him. The fig-leaf garments showed Adam and Eve’s penitence and their effort to establish and maintain virtue.
Genesis 3:8-11: The natural impulse of guilt was to hide from God. But God sought them out and re-affirmed the threatened penalty.
Genesis 3:12, 13: In reply to God’s inquiry in verse 11, Adam told the plain truth, without any effort either to justify himself or to blame anyone else. Eve's reply was likewise truthful. Neither one tried to cover up the sin by lying about it. Nor did they ask for mercy. They believed that what God had threatened He must execute. No hope of a redeemer could have entered their minds.
Genesis 3:14 is a figurative expression of the penalty of Satan. His flagrant, willful sin gave evidence of deliberate and determined disloyalty to God. Satan offered no excuse, sorrow, or repentance. Therefore, God said the serpent (Satan) would no longer walk upright – respected and honored among the holy angels. He should be cast down in the dust of humiliation and disgrace. Although he would be permitted to bruise the heel of humanity, ultimately a mighty son of mankind, Jesus, the seed of the woman, would deal the fatal blow upon his head.