What About Eve?
I have wondered all of my life what might have happened if Adam had chosen to not accept the temptation to sin when Eve offered him the fruit. It was possible after all, and it even can be instructive for situations today when we are tempted in certain ways. It was not inevitable that Adam had to sin; he did have a choice after all. He didn't have to distrust God just because Eve had been deceived and was offering him a temptation to join her in disobedience.
What usually turns up in most discussions on this topic is the assumption that most likely Eve would have had to die if Adam had chosen not to join her in sin. Based on this assumption, which I am rather certain was what Adam was also thinking, the argument usually takes on the nature of Adam's wrestling with the fear that the love of his life would be lost to him forever and that such a choice was simply to overwhelming for him to seriously consider. His attraction to Eve and her overwhelming beauty simply became more valuable to him in that moment than his trust in the God who had created him. (Of course, what does that say about the comparison between Eve's beauty and God's beauty and attractiveness.)
I agree that this line of reasoning could easily have taken place in Adam's heart and mind when faced with his agonizing encounter with a wife who had fallen under the spell of their enemy. He also may have been exposed to an increased spell of that mysterious attraction that we would call magic today, that magnetic feeling that seems to compel us to follow our curiosity until we can find out what is so intriguing about a force that is beyond our comprehension. As Eve fell under the spell of Satan and ate of the fruit, she then became an extension of the foothold that Satan was gaining on this planet and in turn was used to intensify the temptation to Adam beyond the vicinity of the forbidden tree.
What has somewhat puzzled me for many years was the point that Adam; might have assumed that Eve would have to die because of the sin she had already committed. What I have also noticed is that nearly everyone I have heard discuss this today makes that assumption when discussing this event. We seem to just jump to the conclusion that since Eve broke the rule then Eve had no choice but to suffer death and God would likely have had to give Adam another wife in her place or leave him lonely.
But this is where I quickly run into logic that contradicts what I have been learning about God's character for the past few years. It is simply not like God to discard Eve and offer Adam a new replacement. God loved Eve just as much as He did Adam and it is simply not possible that God would be so callous and crass as to treat her or Adam in such a way.
Of course, the other turn that the discussion sometimes takes is that if Eve was not replaced then God would have had to send His Son to die for Eve to redeem her before she could be restored to her relationship with Adam. This makes more sense in regards to being consistent with the character of God, but I am sensing that there is still much more to this that we are missing and that may not be so unimportant as many may assume.
Some people think it is fruitless to even have such discussions because it is hypothetical. Adam sinned along with Eve and that is that so there is no point in going back and considering the “what ifs” of the situation. But I don't agree with that at all. I believe that God wants us to learn from the past. The whole purpose of the Bible and the stories presented there are in order for us to learn from other's mistakes and make different choices ourself in similar situations. If this is true then the story of Adam and Eve is no exception. If I am not to follow the wrong example of Adam and surrender to the motives that led him to choose sin and Eve over God, then I need to be willing to ponder and pray about what alternative Adam could have chosen. For if I find myself in a similar emotional situation it would be very helpful to be aware that there is an alternative that exists even if Adam did not pursue that course.
There is a text that came to my mind this morning in regards to this that I find rather intriguing. It is a text that has also baffled many people and has probably generated a great deal of discussion and debate for centuries. But I also believe that much of the debate is caused as a result of our false ideas about God and our legalistic approach to spirituality. Because we base our concepts of God and perceive religion as mostly keeping rules and controlling behavior instead of viewing it in terms of relationships and attitudes, we always come up with legal-oriented conclusions when talking about such situations. But I am learning that we need to begin to apply different paradigms to these stories.
All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death. (1 John 5:17)
When I take this verse and apply it to the story of Adam and Eve in the garden, I find some rather intriguing and compelling options present that are not typically involved in such debates. Paul makes it very clear that Eve's sin was evaluated differently than Adam's. Eve was deceived; Adam was not deceived but made a clear, conscious choice of turning away from trust in God. His sin was rebellion because he was much more aware of the issue of allegiance involved than Eve had thought about. He was not sinning because he was deceived but because he chose to desire his own pleasure over obedience to God.
And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. (1 Timothy 2:14) In this verse it can be seen that Eve fell into transgression whereas Adam chose to disobey. It seems to take on the difference between making a mistake or deliberately choosing to disobey.
This text comes in the middle of some of Paul's instructions to Timothy about men and women and their function in the church which has been largely misunderstood and misapplied for a long time. I recently have done some research and have heard some teachings that helped to clarify these passages immensely for me. It has helped me to make sense of the confusion surrounding the roles of men and women in the church. That has also helped contribute somewhat to better understanding what was really going on in this story about Eve and Adam and their relationship to temptation and to sin.
As I think about this view of considering Eve's sin differently than Adam's, I begin to see another possibility that is described in the verse just previous to one quoted above. If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. (1 John 5:16)
This presents a very fascinating alternative to the typical options in most discussions about what could have happened if Adam had chosen not to follow Eve into sin. As I see a principle emerging from this verse not considered before, it seems that Adam actually could have been given another alternative whereby Eve could have been restored through his intercession for her as described in this verse. I certainly do not understand all the implications of what this means, but I do believe that this is a truth that is largely overlooked and even seldom used, but it is still very valid. I am not interested in knowing all the legal or traditional interpretations for this verse nearly so much as I would like to understand the true intent for God having this principle stated here in this passage. What is it that could be accomplished if we truly understood the ramifications of our potential ability to pray for others who have sinned in this way?
I personally believe that it is quite possible that the sin of Eve could come under this classification of a sin not unto death as John puts it. This kind of sin seems a bit obscure to my thinking at this point still, because of the stark delineation between right and wrong, sin and righteousness that I was brought up to believe. But I now believe that there is something very important for me to learn here and quite possibly if I learn it correctly it may become an valuable tool or method to use in critical situations both for me or for others around me.
It intrigues me to think of what God might have revealed to Adam if, in his consternation and deep anguish over the potential loss of his fabulously lovely wife Adam had chosen loyalty and trust in God above his love for Eve. Adam did not have to know ahead of time just how this option could work for him because that is just what faith is all about, trusting before knowing. But evidently God had this option available for Adam just as it is still available today and remains largely unused by most people still. But if Adam had chosen God over Eve I believe that God would have then revealed to Adam this principle and obviously the rest of history could have been dramatically different than what it is now.
I want to listen for more insights on this obscure but potentially powerful principle that was missed by Adam. I want to learn to pray for others and to become a channel of life for them instead of a source of fear, pain or judgment for others. I want to learn to see things from God's viewpoint and to trust in Him even when, like in Adam's situation, all seems hopelessly lost and impossible. I want to believe more in the possibilities that God can bring than to dwell on the difficulties that I can't figure out.
So help me God.