It is tempting to read the Bible’s account of the first sin and tell ourselves that we wouldn’t make the same mistake Eve made. However, the truth is that we repeat Eve’s mistake over and over again because we use the same faulty logic she used. Let’s look at the faulty thought process that led Eve to eat from the forbidden tree and then we will look at examples of how we make the same mistake she made.
After Yahweh God created the man, He gave the man some instruction. Notice what the man could and could not eat, and notice the consequences for disobedience.
Gen. 2:16 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;
Gen. 2:17 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.”
God told the man that he would die if he ate from the forbidden tree. Let’s be clear about what God meant with the word die. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew. Verbs in Biblical Hebrew do not have past tense, present tense, and future tense like English verbs; instead, verbs in Biblical Hebrew are perfect and imperfect. Perfect verbs refer to action that is complete. Imperfect verbs refer to action that is ongoing. When God told the man that he would die if he ate from the tree, God used the imperfect form, referring to an ongoing action, Basically, God told the man that if he ate from the tree, he would be dying.
In Genesis 3 we read about some interaction between the serpent and the woman. Notice that the serpent asked a question. Compare what the serpent implied with his question versus what God had actually said.
Gen. 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
Yahweh had told the man he could eat from any tree of the garden except one, but by asking his question the way he did, the serpent implied that Yahweh had forbidden them to eat from any tree. The serpent wasn’t lying, but he was being deceitful.
Now read the woman’s response. How well did she understand God’s commandment?
Gen. 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;
Gen. 3:3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”
Eve answered very accurately. She clearly understood what God’s commandment was. She also used the imperfect form of dying, meaning she clearly and accurately understood the consequences.
Verse 4 and 5 are a mixture of truth, lie, and deception.
Gen. 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!
Gen. 3:5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Verse 4 was a lie. God had clearly said they would be dying if they ate, but the serpent was saying they would not be dying if they ate.
Verse 5 was a true statement. God said the same thing when He removed Adam and Eve from the garden.
Gen. 3:22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil;
However, verse 5 was also deceptive because the serpent made it sound like it would be good to know good and evil. The reality was that it was not good for the man and woman to know good and evil.
Next, the woman started to rationalize. In these next verses, notice what she observed and what she did. What erroneous thought process led Eve to eat from the tree?
Gen. 3:6 When the woman 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, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
The woman observed that the tree had good food on it and that it was pleasant to look at. When she observed that, she ate from it. In other words, she thought that since the tree had good food, then it must be OK to eat from it.
The next verse tells us the immediate aftermath of their actions.
Gen. 3:7 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 loin coverings.
The point of all this is that the woman rationalized. God clearly commanded the man and woman not to eat from The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It didn’t matter whether or not the tree was good for food, the man and woman were not to eat from it even if it was good for food. The woman focused on the fact that the tree had good food on it and was deceived into thinking it was OK to eat from it.
We also rationalize, just as the woman did. God gave us many commands, but we use the same faulty thought process to convince ourselves it is OK to ignore some of His commands. For example, the Bible clearly places limits on what women can do at church.
1Cor. 14:34 The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.
1Tim. 2:11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.
1Tim. 2:12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
Today, many churches have women leading committees, leading worship, serving as directors of ministries, praying aloud in church services, teaching men, serving as elders, and serving as pastors. These actions are justified with rationalizations such as
- The commands regarding women were cultural.
- Women do a good job in these roles.
- This woman is more qualified for this role than any man.
- This woman has been very effective doing this ministry.
These statements are probably true, but it doesn’t matter if women can do it or if they are very good at it or if they are the best at it. If God prohibited something, then it is wrong, just as it was wrong to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The same is true of all of God’s commandments. If God prohibited something, then it is wrong, even if His command seems to be illogical or senseless.
Here’s another way to look at this. Obedience is how we demonstrate our love for God. Obeying God when his commands don’t make sense shows much more love than obeying God when His commands make perfect sense. Likewise, obeying God when His commands are not culturally acceptable shows much more love than obeying God when His commands are culturally acceptable. Let’s demonstrate our love for God by obeying Him in all things, even when it seems illogical, and especially when we need to go against our culture in order to obey God.
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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”