‘Are Adam and Eve responsible for bringing God’s judgement upon the world by allowing sin to enter it?’ (part 1)
‘But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.’ Matthew 12v36
The failure of Adam and Eve to be obedient to God lies at the root of all Christian understanding about sin and judgement. Early in the Book of Genesis we are informed that the pair occupy a world (the Garden of Eden) that is without sin. They are also perfect in this regard being sinless themselves. But then disaster strikes when the devil – a malevolent angel who has rebelled against God – takes up residence in the Garden and tempts Eve to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. She complies and encourages Adam to join her in this venture only for God to find out and banish them from the Garden into a wilderness of toilsome work, pain and shame. Moreover, their transgression has far reaching consequences in the error not only affects their relationship but also every other human born after them who are subject to the same statute of judgement.
Okay, setting aside the obvious questions about the devil’s presence in a perfect world and the fairness of God’s judgement, the real issue rests with the complicity of Adam and Eve in bringing sin into the world. Given the simplistic metaphor of fruit – used to describe how the Knowledge of Good and Evil was consumed by the pair – one might question whether they can be judged? After all, having not consumed the fruit before, did they have adequate knoweldge of it to make an informed decision and the right choice?
In Genesis 3, we are told God had warned Adam and Eve not to eat its fruit and the dire consequence that awaited them if they did:
‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it or you will die.’
Today, with the benefit of hindsight and biblical knowledge, most Christian scholars will tell you that the ‘death’ mentioned refers to the couple’s spiritual state and not their actual physical demise. Of course, this raises an even more interesting question as to how equipped Adam and Eve were for such challenges if uninformed about the devil’s presence in the Garden and his desire to corrupt them. Moreover, the naivity of Eve who readily eats something she has been told will kill her. Persuassive words of the devil aside, might we do better to consider Adam and Eve as rather child-like in their appreciation of the dangers around them. Moreover, their inability to refrain from consuming a fruit they have been told will kill them?
To be continued….