The nature of Eve’s sin is different from Adam’s.

In previous posts, I ask if Eve is culpable for her sin. Was she created second to provide a way for Jesus to be born of Adam, yet without Adam’s sin? One reason why I question her culpability is that her sin is different from Adam’s.

Psychopath Theory?

My husband and I discussed the temptation a few weeks ago. He insisted that Adam had to have been “insane” to witness the serpent’s deception, knowing it was wrong, and then go along with it to please Eve. I think he used the word “psychopath.”

Adam was formed first. That means his experience with God was farther along than Eve’s. We know that Adam witnessed the creation of the animals, his wife and possibly the Garden planting. (Gen 2:18-20, 7-8) After seeing the power of God; after experiencing His creative abilities; after knowing that God is something completely “other” than he was; after all this, how could Adam believe the serpent when he says, “You will not certainly die…For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil?” He wouldn’t have. Adam knew the serpent lied. Yet, he didn’t step in at any point to defend God, defy the serpent or enlighten Eve.

Treachery.  As my husband puts it, this is the disregard of a psychopath. My husband concludes there is no way Adam could have been present when the serpent was tempting Eve.  He’d rather stretch out the temptation timeline so that Adam would not be present than believe perfect Adam would let his wife be duped. He thinks Adam ate later, after Eve was tempted. Adam then ate because he wanted to join his wife in her actions; in the process, defying God and sinning. That appeals to his chivalrous nature better, I guess!

We don’t know. It’s all theories and conjecture.

But we do know this.

  1. Eve was thoroughly deceived. (1 Tim 2:14) She was led astray. (2 Cor 11:3) She thought eating and giving the fruit to Adam would be beneficial. (Genesis 3:6)
  2. Adam knew better and ate to defy God.  Adam treacherously rebelled. He purposely broke God’s command. He disobeyed. (Job 31:33, Hosea 6:7, Romans 5:12-21).
  3. God discerns heart motives and desires mercy and compassion. (Hosea 6:6, 1 Sam 16:7)

Adam’s sin was intentional.

Some may theorize Adam is responsible for the fall because of his “federal headship.” Because he was responsible to keep the command about eating from the tree, not Eve. Because he had spiritual authority over Eve. Where is the proof of this? Adam was held responsible for sin because of…

the spiritual value of the sin he committed. Adam was not special.  Adam’s sin was special. (

Romans 5:14 says that Adam’s sin is not like all sin. His sin was in breaking God’s command or covenant. But it is like some. Israel also dealt treacherously with God. They both were unfaithful and ungrateful for God’s favor. (Hosea 6:7)

Eve’s sin was unintentional.

Eve’s sin was a result of being fooled. Like the Apostle Paul, she believed she was working for good, for the glory of God. She sinned out of ignorance, and I believe she was shown mercy.

Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 1 Timothy 1:13

Is Eve guilty? Yes, of being easily deceived and ignorant. Her guilt is not like Adam’s. She didn’t intend to break with God. But, Adam chose life apart from God. God showed Eve grace because she was in ignorance, but He could not show mercy to Adam, until repentance. Adam, like Israel, deliberately rebelled and broke God’s covenant.

16 thoughts on “The nature of Eve’s sin is different from Adam’s.

  1. Personally, I agree that the headship of man over woman is a result of the Curse. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard differently. I believe this is in full accordance with Scripture. Also, I’ve always heard head used as leader. But I would disagree with most in my definition of that leadership. I believe Eve WAS responsible for her sin. She willfully disobeyed God. She was deceived, in a way, but she still went against an explicit command of God.


  2. I would like to suggest a different sequence of events, but that may have to wait for a follow-on comment. First, some general observations.

    In much I have read on this site so far amongst a variety of posts, there seems to be a view that hierarchy and headship were the result of sin; gender-based order, it is further assumed, had previously been unnecessary because blissful unity between husband and wife meant no headship was really required and if present at all, was little more than ceremonial. The “curse” for the woman is thus viewed as a new state of affairs, not present pre-fall, and primarily this: subordination to the husband’s rule. Magnified pain in childbirth is in there too, but a mere slap on the wrist and “oh, by the way” compared to the pronouncement of being under the man’s rule.

    This perspective is very fundamental to almost everything that follows in a Christian woman’s or man’s life, for they will view male headship as either A) a curse in which both parties should be longing for emancipation in Christ and experiencing it (for there is neither male nor female in Christ) or B) a part of creation that predates the fall, is divinely ordered, and is not a curse at all but rather the natural state of affairs wherein God had a hierarchy from the outset, on earth, and in the heavenly ranks as well.

    I will expand on this in a future comment to follow with some thoughts on Eve’s culpability (and whether truly “unintentional” as the author states, Adam’s culpability, and who had the greater sin as well as the ways in which we are tempted differently depending on direct knowledge of God’s command versus imparted knowledge of God’s command delivered through an authority figure. And finally, how this ties in to 1 Tim 2.


      1. I’m glad you are enjoying my posts, mrteebs. You are welcome! I’m at VBS all week, so if my response is slow, its because I’m a zombie when I get home from 650 kids!


  3. Christy, this:

    “If ‘in Adam’ means literally all his seed, then all ‘in Christ’ must mean the same thing. We are not literally Christ’s seed”

    does not hold water. The first Creation was natural; the new Creation is spiritual. “So from now on we regard no one from a wordly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Cor. 5:16-18. We were “in Adam” as natural human descendents; we are “in Christ” as adopted sons of God. Gal. 4:4-5. According to that verse, Christ was born “of a woman” as part of the old Creation, in order to redeem us, in whom the Spirit now calls out “Abba, Father!”

    Romans 5:14 says Adam is “a pattern of the one to come.” It doesn’t say “Adam is representative of us all in the same way Christ is.” A “pattern” is something that foreshadows a later event– it is not the exact same thing as the later event. Verse 15 says, “The gift [in Christ] is NOT like the trespass [in Adam].” The new thing that Christ has brought is DIFERENT from the old thing that Adam did. But to assert that they are the same thing– both federal headships– is to say the gift IS like the trespass.

    I never said Eve was not culpable for her sin. Paul says in 1 Tim 2 that she “was deceived, and so has come to be in the transgression.” As far as I can see, this means that she was in the transgression along with Adam, because of her actions. Her mental state was different, however– for “Adam was not deceived.” I think it is this that kbonikowsky is talking about. The different mental states mean they participate in the transgression in different ways.


  4. I have another question: If Adam was 130 years old when he had Seth, and let’s say Cain and Abel were around 50 or so when Cain killed Abel. Assuming Seth was born AFTER Cain and Abel were gone, that still leaves at least 50 years or so of living with Eve without children. Don’t you think there were children born to Adam and Eve BEFORE the fall, especially since God commanded them to multiply immediately? Wouldn’t that make her judgement in 3:16 more “felt” since she had experienced childbirth WITHOUT pain? And wouldn’t that also be an explanation for Romans 5:14 – the children of Adam and Eve before the Fall also sinned in their own manner, yet Adam is the figure representing all of mankind? (It would also be an explanation of Gen. 6:1-4)

    I have a hard time believing that Eve was deceived immediately and that the Fall occurred immediately after they were created. I believe the sinless state of Adam and Eve was stronger than that and that they fully KNEW the blessings of a sweet relationship with God and each other for MANY years before they sinned, making their sin all the more tragic and wicked.

    I know this is a little off-subject, but am throwing out the strong possibility…


    1. 🙂 The sons of God again? Sure, they could have had kids before. But its not written, so I’m hesitant to use it as proof of the federal headship view. The seminal view (we were all in Adam as his seed) makes more sense to me with what the text DOES say.


  5. I agree that Adam is held responsible, but it was because he was the representative for Eve (and the rest of the human race), just as Christ, as our head, the 2nd Adam, stood as our representative before God. I was trying to understand where you were going with this – and why it mattered – but I guess you have to explain away the federal headship concept if you’re going to say that headship wasn’t in the created order.


    1. I’ll do a wrap-up post when I’m done that will explain where I’m going and why.

      After I said, “where is the proof of federal headship?” in my last post, I began to doubt that there might be proof! lol. So I pulled out that Basic Theology book by Ryrie (I know, I know…its Ryrie) we got in college (I bet you still have one on your shelf too!) and read up on the inheritance and imputation of sin (Chap 36-37). There are two views held. 1. The representative view: federal headship. This view places Adam as a representative of all the people. No one but Adam actually sinned. Adam’s sin, since he was covenant head, was imputed to his offspring. 2. The seminal view: Ryrie calls this the Augustinian or realistic view. This views Adam as containing all the seed of his offspring, so that when he sinned, so did everyone “inside” of him. He uses Hebrews 7:9-10 as example. That may help you understand the point of this post a little better?

      Obviously, I’m going with the seminal view, here. 🙂


    2. Those who hold to the “federal headship” doctrine are the ones with the burden of proof to show that it is scriptural. I don’t see it in the text, myself– it appears to be a secondary doctrine that is read into the text. Nowhere does God say, “Adam, I’m holding you responsible for Eve because you’re the representative of all mankind.” Nor does it say that Christ, in representing all mankind, does it because He’s a new “federal head,” but rather, because He is the divine Incarnation of God in human flesh.


      1. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. Rom 5:17-18

        For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. I Cor. 15:22

        If “in Adam” means literally all his seed, then all “in Christ” must mean the same thing. We are not literally Christ’s seed.

        Also, you absolutely can’t say that Eve wasn’t culpable for her sin. If she wasn’t, she wouldn’t have died. And, she wouldn’t have felt the effects of the curse.


  6. I wonder, what is the point of “type(ing)” sin? Omission, commission, intentional, un-intentional. I mean sin is sin, is sin, is sin. Right?

    My thoughts are: Up to this point there has been no lying, cheating, stealing, or deception of any kind, that we read of. As far as what Adam and Eve have experienced relationally so far… There has been relationship between; God and Adam, God, Adam and Eve, Adam and Eve. Now we get to Eve and this serpent character and perhaps Adam spectating, (or not). They have a message from God, not to eat of one particular tree, “else you’ll die”. And a contradictory message from this serpent saying “surely you won’t die”.

    Until this very moment, they have never had to wrestle with the question or idea of “what is truth?”. It has been all truth, all the time. Neither of Adam, nor Eve have experience to glean from or reflect on with regards to truth or lie. They were created as adults. They never played with the Tupperware Shape O Toy Ball, to discover you can’t fit a square block through a round hole. Let alone had to deal with conflicting stories. I would guess, as far as they were concerned, they had two truths to choose from.

    What does this tell me about myself? It tells me that if I do not hold fast to Gods words, alone. Giving the “other truth” even the time of day. I don’t really trust God in the first place and I’d rather serve myself than Him. The issue of Eve’s culpability, or who’s sin was what type of sin, is a mute point. The story exposes the utter depravity of man (and woman), and ultimately points us to Jesus Christ. Our desperate situation, to be saved from ourselves.

    In my opinion.


  7. [God showed Eve grace because she was in ignorance, but He could not show mercy to Adam, until repentance.]

    Are you saying that Eve did not experience God’s direct “judgment” because of her sin? That somehow her “sorrow” (3:16) was indirectly received because of Adam’s sin?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s