She Shall Be Called Woman

 

 Part One Session Four

 

In Genesis 1 and 2 we find God’s plan for His creation.  Genesis 3 tells the consequences of disobedience.  There is so much in these first chapters that we will not address as our job here is to look at myths associated with women.  We encourage additional study and prayer on all aspects of these critical chapters.

 

For clarity we will sometimes call the woman Eve in this section even though she does not receive that name until Gen 3:20. 

 

Myth Five: That Eve caused Adam to disobey God and is responsible for the fall. 

 

Please read Genesis 3:1-12

 

Gen. 3:1-3  “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'" 

 

There are some important things we should notice from this passage:

 

First, If we were reading in Hebrew it would be clear that the word “you” is plural.  The woman responds with “we” and in Genesis 3:6 are the words “her husband with her” making it clear that both the man and the woman were hearing the words of the serpent (Satan)(1) even though he was speaking to Eve. 

 

Second , the serpent subtly twisted God's original affirmative statement into a negative statement. God had said "Of every tree of the garden you may eat freely, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat..." (Genesis 2:16). The serpent deliberately misrepresented the word of God. Of the many trees, including the Tree of Life, there was only one tree  from which God had directed they should not eat. This is what Satan emphasized, subtly influencing Eve to focus on the one tree God had forbidden, rather than all those He had not forbidden. "Has God indeed said "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"

 

God said "you can do all these things, but don't do that particular thing because it won't be good for you." When the serpent twisted God's word, Eve heard the message this way: "you can do all these things, but don't do that particular thing because  you’re not good enough, or God is keeping something from you.  This was the moment of deception for the woman. She began to doubt God's word and then the serpent moved on to blatant lying:

 

Gen 3:4-6  "Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate."

 

1 John 2:16 describes for us the three kinds of temptations to which the human race falls prey. We see these three temptations clearly here in the garden. Eve sees that the tree is good for food (lust of the flesh); is pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes); and desirable to make one wise (the pride of life). Jesus, the last Adam, was tempted with the same three things but did not fall into sin. (Luke 4:1-10) 

 

Look closely at the last words in Genesis 3:6  She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.  The big problem comes from the fact that Adam was there during the conversation, was not deceived by what was being said, and yet he did not stop it.  He let the conversation continue even though he know that Satan was lying.  He watched her eat, and then he ate.  

 

We can only speculate on why Adam acted in this way as the Bible does not say.  We do know that he was there and he could have intervened when the conversation first started.  Whatever his reason it had to be self-serving since it certainly did not serve God or the woman.  

 

Most of us have read the New Testament scripture contained in 1 Timothy 2:14: "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression." The traditional interpretation of this verse has been that Paul was stating women cannot be trusted with spiritual responsibility because Eve was deceived but Adam was not. In other words, women are very gullible and easily misled. Many leaders throughout church history have gone a step further and openly taught that women should never be trusted in any matter at all because it was a woman who led the man sin.

 

In later sessions we will see additional statements from some who are historically known as our "church fathers" or fathers of the Christian faith. . Some of these statements may shock you.  They include,

 

“Because of you we are punished by death....because of you, women, the Son of God had to die". Tertullian

 

"Woman is defective and misbegotten". Thomas Aquinas 

 

All women are born that they may acknowledge themselves inferior to the male". John Calvin

 

These are only a small sample of many such statements made and repeated by Christian leaders throughout church history to the present day.

 

Well, so much for the historical view of women. How good it is to know that the historical view is NOT the scriptural view. Is it true that Eve was solely responsible for the human race falling into sin, or is it a myth? And was Paul really blaming women for the fall when wrote to Timothy "Adam was not deceived......."

Let's now take a closer look at what happened in the garden:

 

Genesis 3: 7-12  "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?" Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."

 

God calls Adam and Adam answers this way: "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself." (v.10) Adam's constant use of "I" reveals he is determined to distance himself as far as possible from Eve. However, it is his next statement that reveals the true state of his heart. "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." (v. 12) 

 

First Adam blamed God, for the fact that he has sinned - "the woman YOU gave me....". Then he blamed Eve: "SHE gave me of the tree", and then lastly, having explained that it really isn’t his fault he admits, "I ate". Adam displayed absolutely no consciousness of having been deceived, because he, unlike Eve, was not deceived.  (Eve knew she had been deceived as we will see v. 13 "the serpent deceived me, and I ate.") Adam, however, knowingly rebelled against God's authority when he ate from the tree. Far from being deceived, Adam made a deliberate choice to disobey God. The scripture in 1 Timothy 2:14 confirms this fact when Paul states "And Adam was not deceived."  (We will return to study the passage in 1 Timothy more in depth at a later time when we study the New Testament scriptures about women).

 

Then God speaks to the woman.  13 And the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."  Most teaching says that she blamed the serpent thus making both man and woman try to put the blame elsewhere.  However she states the truth with Satan right there to hear her.  She confesses her sin--interesting.  Notice that God takes into account what both Adam and the woman have said when He speaks prophetically to them and curses the serpent.

 

There is no question that both Adam and Eve sinned. Eve on the one hand was led into sin through deception. Adam was not deceived but knowingly sinned through rebellion to God's authority.  Let us leave you with one last challenge for any who are still struggling with the "myth" that Eve alone was responsible for mankind's fall into sin - One person by the name of Judas was responsible for betraying Jesus and assisting the Jewish authorities to arrest Him, ultimately leading to His crucifixion. That person was a man. Therefore all men forever should be deemed untrustworthy and weak because it was one of the male gender who betrayed Jesus. 

Do you consider that to be a biased and untrue statement? Well, of course it is! If women are going to be forever regarded as untrustworthy and weak because Eve was deceived, why is this kind of reasoning only found to be biased and unscriptural when applied to males? 

 

Footnotes

 

1)   Revelation 9:1   "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

 

QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSION POINTS

 

1.  Have you ever believed or been taught, subtly or otherwise, that it is the fault of Eve that mankind fell into sin? What has your inner response been?

 

2.  Had you ever realized that Adam was present when Eve was talking with the serpent?  If not, how has this affected your understanding?

 

3.  What is your response to the quotes from the church fathers?

 

4.  In what ways has this session impacted you?

Please feel free to make any other comments or remarks or to ask any questions you may have on this session.

 

Click here to discuss 

 

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