Is Eve Guilty? (New Series)

After meditating on the implications presented in this post, the question asked in the title is logical. If all humanity was inside Adam when he sinned, except Eve, could that be one reason she was created second? So that she would have Adam’s humanity, but without his sin? But does that mean she is guiltless? Did Eve sin?

1 Timothy 2:14 says that Eve ate the forbidden fruit because she was deceived. Eve herself says the serpent convinced her to eat. Yet, both Adam and God recognize merit in Eve, post-eating. Adam declares she is a life-giver, the mother of the living! And it is Eve who receives the first promise of God.

In the next few posts, I’d like to detail some reasons why I question Eve’s culpability from Genesis 3.

8 thoughts on “Is Eve Guilty? (New Series)

  1. Her Eyes Were Opened and She Was Like God (Gen 3:5)
    Commentary by Wolf

    There is a Christian mysticism afoot in the world, and we can thank “Eve” for having tasted it first and given it to her helpmate. . . .

    Some of the early Church Fathers (Irenaeus, Origen) regarded Adam and Eve as literally children growing up in their Parent’s Garden. Being children, the fruit of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen 2:17) was naturally inaccessible to them; yet, God planted this tree in the middle of the Garden because he definitely wanted them to eat of it when he discerned that they were ready. As often happens, however, children rush ahead and seize adult ways prematurely. According to Origen, Eve’s initiative merely represents the well-known case that girls mature earlier than boys. The serpent in this narrative is not what will later be identified as Satan in disguise (Wis 2:24; Rev 20:2) but the wisdom figure of ancient cultures. The serpent, accordingly, reveals quite rightly to Eve that by touching the fruit, she will not die—on the contrary, “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened [so as to discern good and evil], and you will be like God” (Gen 3:5). They ate and “the eyes of both were opened” (Gen 3:7)—just as the serpent revealed.

    The fact that they notice, for the first time, that they are naked only demonstrates that they are indeed seeing with adult eyes (and have lost the innocence of childhood). Then, once God discovers what has happened, he does not curse them (as you note). How could he? Rather, God says, “See, the man [lit., “earthling”] has become like one of us, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:22). Thus, God excludes them from the Garden where they might also eat of the tree of life and live forever.

    In so doing, God, acting like a good father, gets Adam ready for the curses of farming, and Eve is prepared for the curses of childbearing. In brief, Adam and Eve enter into the adult world wherein their Parent will no longer do everything from them.

    This reading of Genesis (which prevails today within the Eastern Orthodox Churches and within many Jewish circles as well) captures much more of the deep nuances of the ancient narrative than do those later readings that imagine Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan and committed a grievous sin worthy of death. Anselm regarded the crime as one of unpardonable treason since the children of God had taken the side of God’s enemy against him. In Anselm’s day, the punishment for treason was death, not only for the guilty participants in the crime, but for their children as well. It thus seemed natural that the death penalty imposed (‘spiritual death”) fell not only upon our first parents but upon all their future children as well.

    There is a Christian mysticism afoot in the world, and we can thank “Eve” for having tasted it first and given it to her helpmate. . . .


    1. After thinking over this from your last comment, I have a few questions…

      If I understand correctly, you are saying Adam and Eve did not disobey? They made a wise choice? Why then would God not want them to live forever as wise grown ups?

      How are Paul’s claims in Romans 5 that sin and death entered the world by Adam answered then?


      1. I’m familiar with that theory from a few modern Biblical scholars (I actually find it somewhat convincing) and I don’t think that means Adam and Eve didn’t sin. The essence of sinning is living apart from how God commands, which they clearly did. Even if He intended for them to have that knowledge eventually, apparently it was still wrong and sinful to do so at that time. In the same way that it’s illegal for children to engage in alcohol consumption or sex. The act isn’t inherently bad, but it’s harmful at that point because they can’t handle it maturely. So we set rules to prohibit it until they’re ready.


      2. John (below) gives a well-crafted reply.

        Consider also that “sin” is decidedly not the key feature of the Genesis text; rather, the central features is “their eyes were opened.”

        Consider also that the serpent is not a deceiver but a revealer. Eve believes that the fruit of the tree is poison [‘even if you touch it you shall die’]. The serpent, on the contrary, reveals that the fruit “opens the eyes” to see good and evil as God does [‘for God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God’]. Who was correct?


      3. As for Paul, he follows the line of thinking found in the Jewish BOOK OF ADAM AND EVE []. Here now the serpent=Satan and the “sin” of Adam is enforced.

        But notice, also, that Jesus makes no mention of the “sin” of Adam and Eve. If Jesus had understood his own death to be the source of forgiveness for all sins beginning with the sin of Adam, then do you not think he would have said something. Rather, Jesus thought of the Father as ready to forgive, even in the case of those who believe that they are not worthy, as in the case of the Prodigal Son.


  2. Hi, they were both commanded not to eat from the tree and they disobeyed.

    But I think it was set up for them to fail.

    Without sin, there would be no clear picture of who God is. Think about it.

    If there were no sin there would be no need for:


    How could we know who He really is without sin? Just a thought.


  3. My initial reaction is that you may be overreaching on that conclusion. In earlier posts about gender you’ve usually taken the approach (which I think is the right one) that culture strongly influences the style and content of many Biblical passages. From an ancient Jewish perspective, there’s no need to mention Eve in the verses you referenced in the previous post – women were largely reflections of their husbands, so it went without saying that sin came about through Adam AND Eve. Afterall, in that culture sins of the father could be imputed not only to immediate family, but to unborn generations.

    There’s certainly an argument that the nature of her sin may be different, but it was still sin. Though I’m curious to read a post about how “The serpent is to blame for Eve’s sin.” Demonstrating that Eve was more or less innocent would certainly change things.


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