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Genesis 3:6--The Blame Game

In Genesis 2:15-17, God commanded “the man” not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the previous commentary for Genesis 3:1-6, the question was raised as to why Satan targeted Eve, rather than Adam. One of the possibilities considered was that since Adam was given the “thou shalt not eat” command directly from God, Satan might have considered Adam the more formidable adversary.

However, we’re faced with another question in verse 6. Most English translations of this verse state that Eve took the fruit, ate it, and gave it to her husband who was with her. Here’s the dilemma. Does the term “with” mean that he was “with” her in the garden, “with” her in the surrounding area, or could “with” mean he was standing alongside her as Satan and Eve were having their dialogue about the fruit? Or, could it represent an elapse of time? Perhaps she gave him the fruit when he was “with” her at some later point in the day.

If Adam was, indeed, standing next to Eve during her discussion with Satan, why didn’t Adam speak up and defend God’s message? Since there’s the possibility that he might have been the only one to whom God commanded not to eat of the tree, why wasn’t he the one to take a stand, or take a more authoritative role in the situation?

The fact that a creature of the garden was speaking, and speaking rationally and intelligently no less, would have left anyone dumbfounded under the circumstances. Perhaps Adam got caught up in the idea that this serpent was talking to Eve, and she was actually talking back to him! He may have been thinking, “What is this world coming to? She’s conversing with this creature just like she converses with me and God.” Let’s face it. Adam could have been rendered speechless.

Perhaps Adam was so caught up in the scene before him that he failed to discern the crux of the debate that was taking place. Eve could have taken a bite and been handing the rest off to Adam before he even realized what had happened. At that point, his intervention would have been one bite too late.

We have to remember, too, that Adam had not yet been placed in an authoritative role over Eve. That didn’t happen until God handed out the consequences of their disobedience a few verses later (3:16). While in the garden, and at the time of Satan’s approach to Eve, she and Adam were equals. He might have felt that his interference would have been disrespectful to Eve. After all, who was he to question her, or to tell her “don’t do that”?

It’s clear in 2 Corinthians 11:3 and 1 Timothy 2:13 that God recognizes Eve as the one who was deceived. However, God doesn’t let Adam off the hook. We see in Romans 5:12 that “by one man sin entered into the world.” Verse 14 refers to “Adam’s transgression.” Verses 12-21 repeat the theme “through the offense of one” (v. 15), “by one that sinned” (v. 16), “by one man’s offense” (v. 17), “by the offense of one” (v. 18) and “by one man’s disobedience” (v. 19). In 1 Corinthians 15:22 we read “for as in Adam all die.”

At the time, though, Adam didn’t see that he was at fault in any way. After eating of the fruit (vss. 8-13), it’s Adam to whom God first speaks and asks if they ate of the tree. Adam was quick to pass the blame onto Eve, and even included God as part of the problem by saying, “The woman you gave me, she gave me of the tree.” Then, when God turned his attention to Eve, she passed the blame onto the serpent. Just like the “Hot Potato” game, where no one wants to be left holding the potato, no one wants to be left bearing the burden for his or her actions. Ever since the first sin and act of obedience against God, mankind has been trying to escape responsibility by putting the blame for his or her failure on someone else. Unfortunately, though there may be some miniscule bit of truth in the popular phrase “the devil made me do it,” that excuse just doesn’t cut it with God.

Just as Adam and Eve fell short of obeying God in the garden, we have all sinned, and “come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We’re all imperfect, and we don’t measure up to God’s standard of perfection. There’s no one we can pass the blame onto for our sinful state. We can come up with all the excuses we can think of for our shortcomings, but it doesn’t change the fact that we are sinners in need of a restored relationship with God, and a means of overcoming the spiritual death that was brought on through Adam’s sin. Hallelujah that He didn’t leave the “how to” of restoring that relationship up to us. He bore that responsibility Himself:

“And, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:14-17)

iThe Hebrew Tenakh and two Hebrew Interlinear references, which translate Hebrew word for word into English, do not include the word “with” in this text. However, I chose to include it in the commentary on this verse because it is my intent to challenge readers of the Scripture to pause as they read, to ask the “what if” questions and see the broader scope of the events that occurred in biblical times. Though a record of man’s original sin, the text is full of application and principles by which we can live today.


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