Most people only know the basic story of Adam and Eve from the account in Genesis. In Part 1 we looked at what the Bible says about Adam, his life in the garden, his responsibilities, and his relationship to Eve. We went beyond the Collective Christian Subconscious and looked at what the Biblical text actually says. Even though a few of these minute details may have come as new information, the broad strokes of the creation are ingrained in many people’s minds. But, what many don’t know is that there are a few more wonderful bits of information in the New Testament that enhance our understanding of the Genesis account and allow us to know the truth of the matter.
Adam Not Deceived
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.1 Timothy 2:13-14, King James Version
We got to that point pretty quick, didn’t we? That’s the name of the article after all.
In 1 Timothy, Paul writes to one of his own disciples, Timothy, who is a young man full of faith and is confronting false teachings in the church of Ephesus. Paul is giving Timothy advice on how to handle these situations by reinforcing good, sound doctrine in how those in the congregation should act. Specifically, the leaders. One of the topics he touches on briefly is a woman’s place in the church. He tells Timothy:
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.1 Timothy 2:11-12, King James Version
Paul’s reasoning is that women should not be teaching scripture to others explicitly because Eve was deceived. She was in transgression, or in violation of the rules and laws. Because of this error in judgment, women were to be in secondary in spiritual matters under their husbands. They were not to usurp power or take authority in the congregation.
We aren’t here to debate a woman’s place or role in the church or their married lives right now, we can study that later.
But, Paul states plainly that Adam was not deceived.
In the original Greek the word deceive is apataō, which means to cheat, beguile, delude, or deceive.
We can begin to draw from this bit of information that Adam, at least in Paul’s eyes, most likely knew what he was doing. But how can we be certain?
First, Paul was a Pharisee, the ruling body of the Jewish faith, himself. Not only was he a member of this august group, but so was his family. Paul was raised with Jewish oral and written traditions, and was steeped in these stories. He likely lived most of his days in the synagogues of Israel. These ideas were second nature to him, making him a master of the scriptures, what we call the Old Testament now.
But, we want to be sure for ourselves too. Not just take one off hand comment as fact or build doctrine from it. Any time we want to build a true biblical perspective we always want to make sure we can confirm our suspicions with two or more “witnesses.”
Adam as a Prototype of Christ
With a simple keyword search in any online bible like Blue Letter Bible, we discover there are a handful of other scriptures that reference Adam.
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.Romans 5:14, King James Version
Here in Roman’s 5:14 Paul is saying that Adam did transgress against God’s rules, yes, but the picture may not be as simple as we would expect. Paul states that Adam and Christ are similar, the word similitude is used here to draw a parallel between what Adam did and what Christ did. This may imply that Adam made some sort of sacrifice, like Christ, but where as Christ’s brought life, Adam’s sacrifice brought death. These events had a similar “spark” so to speak, drawn from the same well of emotions, but Adam’s sacrifice didn’t and couldn’t have the power Christ’s did.
Does the olde English make the verse hard to follow? Try the same verse translated from the International Standard Version:
Nevertheless, death ruled from the time of Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the same way Adam did when he disobeyed. He is a foreshadowing of the one who would come.Romans 5:14, International Standard Version
So Adam disobeyed God’s commandment, that is clear, but when we add this information to the 1 Timothy verse above we can begin to paint a picture of what may have really happened. Adam may have been fully aware of the choice he was making.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.1 Corinthians 15:22, King James Version
This verse from 1 Corinthians reiterates my statement above from Romans. Adam, even though he sacrificed himself, that sacrifice only brought death, rather than the life giving sacrifice of Christ.
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.1 Corinthians 15:45, King James Version
Paul’s sentiment is echoed later in the same book. So now, we have a couple of witnesses to the fact that Adam was making some sort of selfless sacrifice, much like Christ did later. But, because Adam was breaking the law (I’m using “the law” as a clean cut statement here, not the specific ten commandments as we might think of them), rather than fulfilling it like Christ, his sacrifice only brought death upon the human race. Christ’s life giving sacrifice is why one of Jesus’s titles is “The Last Adam,” derived from this verse. All men before Christ brought death as children of Adam. Christ’s death brought life if you have accepted him as your lord and savior, redeeming us from Adam’s sacrifice.
Adam’s choice being referred to as a sacrifice implies he made the choice knowingly and with purpose.
So What Happened?
We can rapidly paint a picture based on all the information we have here. The image may not be detailed, but it is in much more focus than if we simply relied on our subconscious knowledge about the story of Adam and Eve. These verses bring nuance to the situation we all know. The story isn’t as cut and dry as we might believe.
Eve had fallen. Adam knew the consequences of this and understood that God would either destroy her or send her away. Rather than let her suffer alone, Adam took the fruit from the woman he loved so much, the woman God had made to be with him.
Adam ate of the fruit because he would not let Eve suffer her fate alone. He would suffer with her.
This sacrifice was made of righteous mind but resulted in a sinful act, damning humanity.
After that, Adam had his eyes opened, fully aware of the knowledge of Good and Evil just as the Serpent had promised Eve.
As a result God, a holy being, could no longer dwell with the unholy Adam and Eve and, by extension, the entirety of humanity. For their choice, God cursed the Earth. But, there was an additional punishment for Eve’s role, God cursed the act of childbirth.
Why would God let this happen is probably your next question.
Free Will Vs. Predestination
Many of us know that God is omnipresent and omnipotent, meaning God is everywhere and knows everything. Because God is everywhere that means that God exists outside of time as well. He sees the future and exercises this gift via his knack for giving prophecy. In the book of Enoch, the angels ask him specifically to use this gift to look into the future. God is the only being capable of this. Angels, including Lucifer/ Satan are not.
This leads to a debate on free will vs predestination. Many people put themselves in a box and think about events as simply a result of cause and effect. Are we really in control of our actions when a big man in the sky is making plans for us? This mentality comes from the philosophical outlook of movies like The Matrix. These bleak and black pilled outlooks reduce your actions, and ultimately your character, to nothing. There is no meaning with this type of philosophy. With this philosophy we are only pawns to a careless and capricious god, or fate, or karma.
But, that’s not how this works in God’s world. You matter and your decisions matter significantly. In Christianity, your entire redemption hinges upon a decision and a commitment to abide by that single decision. You have to make a decision on whether to give into sin, or make an attempt to put it behind you, strive against, and turn from your wicked ways with the power of Christ.
When Adam was holding that fruit and looking at his wife, God watched Adam make the choice, allowed him the freedom to make it. God already knew this would happen. The choice is what mattered, but God allowed him to make it of his own will. In that moment, Adam’s character was proven, his heart was made known. The first man proved himself capable of incredible love. The Apostle John puts it best:
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.John 15:13, King James Version
Because sin had entered into his heart, Adam’s sacrifice was not redemptive like Christ’s would be in the future. Adam’s sacrifice, although beautiful, would only bring eternal death and not eternal life. God didn’t allow this to happen on accident. Adam’s actions did not surprise God. God knew that this would happen and trigger a series of events over the course of all human history. God watched Adam give everything for love in the same manner he, himself would give everything on a cross thousands of years later for you and I.
I think that’s important to remember when we think about why God “allows” certain things to happen. God doesn’t need automatons. He loves you. His “plan” as people glibly put it, is relatively simple. He wants to dwell with you as much as Adam wanted to be with Eve. All this *waves arms around wildly,* this thing we do in between birth and death called life is about improving your character through Christ so you understand what that truly means and appreciate the love of your creator.
Image: I don't know where the main image of this article is from, but the way they are looking at each other... the artist just got it. The inset image by Masaccio, oh man, look at those haunting expressions on their faces. Sheer anguish.