By Dr. Anne Davis
Are you prone to the sin of Eve?
Both Adam and Eve committed the same sin, but each was enticed by a different temptation. What is the sin? Are you also prone to these temptations?
The sin was failure to obey God, but aren’t we all guilty of that sin? The important question is this. “To what extent are you failing to obey God?”
God said to Adam, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). I am personally humbled that God explained the consequence of disobedience to us because that makes the commandment easier to follow. So, God’s commandment was to refrain from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
After this, God made the woman, Eve, to be Adam’s helper, and we can assume that Adam communicated to his wife God’s decree not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Now let me ask you. How well do you know the commandments of God in the Holy Writings? Judaism finds 613 laws although many Christians claim they are only required to follow the Ten Commandments. Yet, that Christian position is untenable. For example, the following commandments are not in the Ten Commandments: to love God (Deut. 6:5), to refrain from profaning God’s name (Deut. 22:31), to express love to aliens (Deut. 10:19), and to refrain from speaking ill of another person (Lev. 19:16). So, how well do you know the commandments of God in the Holy Writings?
Fortunately, we do not need to memorize 613 laws. The apostle Paul tells those who have the gift of the Holy Spirit through their faith in Christ that they “show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness” (Rom 2:15). The Greek word translated “conscience” means an innate discernment between what is right and what is wrong. Thus, God has created mankind to know intuitively what is morally right and wrong.
So, you have no excuse when you commit a sin because you know intrinsically what is right with God. When you act contrary to the ways of God you are committing the same sin as Adam and Eve.
What, then, are the two temptations that led to the sin of disobedience in the Garden of Eden?
Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6). That is, Eve saw something she wanted, and she took it. How often do you act on something that you want without considering what is morally right with God? Are you prone to the sin of Eve?
What about Adam? Eve “gave also [the forbidden fruit] to her husband with her, and he ate”” (Genesis 3:6). Thus, Adam simply acted without thinking of the consequences, which, I suspect, is a common action among God’s people. Are you prone to the sin of Adam?
I trust you have answered “yes” to both questions. However, God does not leave us with negative thoughts of our sinful nature. We learn that God only sees our hearts, not our sins. For example, God told the prophet Samuel, “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
So, God wants us to have a positive attitude. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, we learn that “Christ Jesus was not yes and no [which is, positive and negative], but is yes [positive] in Him. For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes [positive] (2 Cor 1:19-20).
So, God only sees the heart, and He encourages us to have a positive attitude as we strive to do our best to do what is morally right in His eyes. Yet, we must first acknowledge that we have sinned the sin of Adam and Eve, which is disobedience, and have been tempted as they were.
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Dr. Anne Davis is a professor of Biblical Studies who enjoys working with graduate students to enhance their exegetical skills for exploring the depth of Scripture.