How Could Adam and Eve Sin Before ‘Knowing Good and Evil’?

September 25, 2012 § 30 Comments

Genesis 3 says that Adam and Eve didn’t know good and evil before they sinned. How could they be held morally responsible for sin without the knowledge of good and evil?

The text in question is from Genesis 3:22, where, following Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden, “the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.’” (NIV)

The Hebrew term for “knowing” in this verse (also in verse 5) is not unique to this passage or chapter; it’s the same word “yada” used elsewhere, some 960 times in the Hebrew scriptures. “Yada” can mean to learn, to perceive, to discern, to distinguish, to know by experience, to recognize, to consider, to be acquainted with, and other fairly ordinary definitions of the word listed in Hebrew lexicons (Strong’s #3045). But, there is no particular sense of “knowing” indicated in Genesis 3.

So what meaning of “knowing” is intended? I think the definition “to know by experience” best fits this usage of “knowing”. Imagine what life would have been like for Adam and Eve. At the end of the description for each day of creation, God’s calls His creation “good” or “very good.” (Gen. 1:4,10,12,18,25,31) Adam and Eve knew the “good” that God had made for them, but they would probably not have had the mindset to identify it as good. God knew good and evil; Adam and Eve knew only good, because they had experienced only good. For Adam and Eve to say “all that God has made is good” might mean they would have to understand a distinction between good and evil. They had witnessed or practiced nothing with which to contrast good. Before their own sin, no evil had been known to them in the experiential sense.

Does this mean they didn’t know right from wrong before they sinned? I don’t think so. God tells Adam in Genesis 2:16-17: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” God’s command no doubt informed Adam that there was a specific standard and that a deviation from the standard was possible. He would have been innately aware of God’s moral law, being created in His image, but here he received a specific moral directive. He was also taught about the presence of something called “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Adam may have inferred the existence of “evil” as 1) something that was tantamount to deviation from God’s law or directive, and 2) something he was to avoid knowledge about. (Related: Good Ignorance: Handling the Knowledge of Evil)

From that deduction, Adam would have known of evil only as a vague concept, or a theory. Similarly, the consequence God warned Adam about—“you will certainly die”— for disobedience wouldn’t have been fully understood without experiencing death in any of God’s creatures. But he would have perhaps recognized it as a potential ending to what God had provided, a consequence Adam naturally would want to avoid.

I suppose before the fall Adam would have knowledge of evil as someone like myself has knowledge of the President. Do I know the President? Well, I know who he is, and I know about him, but I don’t know him personally. If I met the President, I would know him in a very different sense than simply having heard of him or read about him. When Eve and then Adam in turn disobeyed God’s command, they came to know sin first hand. They had experiential knowledge of both good and evil.

I think it’s fitting and nothing approaching revisionism to say that Adam and Eve knew good because it was all they truly knew, and that they knew only of the potential of evil at Creation, but came to know evil by experience when “their eyes were opened” (Gen. 3:7) following their acts of disobedience to God.

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§ 30 Responses to How Could Adam and Eve Sin Before ‘Knowing Good and Evil’?

  • Drew says:

    I have heard this view before and although I’m fond of it, I believe it has a potential issue that needs to be addressed.

    “When Eve and then Adam in turn disobeyed God’s command, they came to know sin first hand. They had experiential knowledge of both good and evil.”

    If experiential knowledge is the kind of knowledge Adam and Eve gained then we must conclude that God also had/s experiential knowledge of Good and Evil.

    “the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.”

    As God is the paradigm of “Good”, how can it be possible for God to have personal, experiential knowledge of Evil? I understand that God would experience evil; both as a witness of evil through man/angels and also as one who receives evil from man/angels. But prior to the fall of man or angels how could God have had the experiential knowledge of evil?


    • Drew, thanks for that question. It’s a tough one. I may have to change the way I defined “knowing good and evil” if God knows good and evil in the same way. Adam came to know by experience, specifically the experience of himself doing evil, and evil being privatio boni—the privation (lack, absence) of good. Adam did the opposite of good, which would have been obeying God.

      Maybe the distinction is how Adam came to be familiar with evil. God’s omniscience allows Him to know all truths, including what is good, which is rooted in His own nature. And being a God of reason, He knew from eternity past that the absence of good would be evil. I suppose God could know this necessary truth without having to experience it by either seeing it in others or doing it Himself—the latter being impossible. Adam, a non-omnnicient being, could only know evil by either seeing it in others or doing it himself—the latter being the unfortunate reality.

      I don’t know if that goes far enough or not, but that seems to work. In short, Adam became like God in that he knew evil, having come to know it by doing evil. God also knew evil, but by His perfect knowledge of all truth, including the necessary truth that evil is the absence of good. What do you think?

      • lifeandhealthadvisor says:

        I’m late to this discussion, but I find it very interesting.
        It occurs to me that there is one sense in which God could know about evil experimentally–from the “outside” so to speak. Remember, Lucifer fell at some unspecified time prior to this. So God would have experienced the effects of evil directed at Him. This is somewhat like reading in great detail about a mugging vs. being mugged yourself.

        • Yes, that is a good point. God is grieved and offended by sin so in that sense God has experiential knowledge of sin when Adam and Eve rebelled. Not by his participation in sin, but by Adam’s (and Lucifer’s prior to that, and every human being’s after Adam). I suppose if Eve’s sin were directed against Adam instead of disobeying God, Adam would have gained experiential knowledge that way too. Great thought!

  • james jordan says:

    Nowhere does the OLD TESTAMENT call what Adam and Eve did a sin. Sin requires moral responsibility and they had none until after they did this non-sin disobedience. Because this non-sin disobedience is how they received the knowledge of good and evil which would make them responsible in the future. The Pauline interpretation of the even is nothing but misinterpretation from an uninspired man writing thousands of years after the text was written. The text of Genesis itself demolishes the Pauline misinterpretation.

    • Thank you, James, for your comment. The concept of “non-sin disobedience” is a non sequitur. Both Adam and Eve knew what they were not to do and did the opposite (Gen. 2:17; 3:3,6). That is disobedience by definition, and disobedience is integral to the definition of sin. Disobedience to God that isn’t sin is an absurdity.

      As I explained in the post, it’s pretty clear that Adam rationally knew that to disobey God would be evil; he just had no experiential knowledge of what evil was, and no contrasting measure by which to categorize good, since all creation was then good.

      A child comes to know sin in much the same way, having an innate awareness of moral law, he knows good and evil by experience when he or she willingly disobeys his parents. Adam and Eve exhibited the hallmarks of a child aware of their guilt; they hid and tried to excuse it by passing blame (3:8-10,12,15).

      The shame in their newly awakened consciousness of their own nakedness speaks to a deeper shame of their own sinful state. Adam’s fear and hiding “because I was naked” (v.10) was a confused cover for a fear and conviction of sin. Fig leaves were an inadequate covering; a blood sacrifice provided by God resulted in the only suitable covering (v.7,21). The shadow of the cross of Christ was already on the horizon.

      The reality of Adam’s sin is nakedly plain and we haven’t ventured beyond the first 3 chapters of Genesis.

      • Justin says:

        If you believe that you get your morality from God, consider then if God says something is good, it is right. If God say something is evil, it is wrong (and vice versa). The concepts of right/wrong and good/evil are intrinsically tied together as it relates to God and morality. Consider also that the only reason Eve ate the fruit is because she was deceived by the serpent. How could she reasonably be expected to understand the concept of deception? If she was not capable of recognizing deception, by default she must believe everything that everyone says is true. If you believe someone who doesn’t have knowledge of good/evil is capable of recognizing a deceptive false statement without having knowledge of its existence, please explain.

        • Justin, thanks for commenting. More than an arbitrary declaration from God, good stems from His moral nature. In that sense, yes, what God says is good is good, and evil is evil (but it’s not simply divine fiat). And I agree that the nature of a deception is that we don’t recognize it as deception. I would not say however that “the only reason Eve ate the fruit is because she was deceived by the serpent.” Despite Satan’s deception, she knew she was doing the opposite of what God commanded. Genesis 3;2,3 says:

          “The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

          • one4reason says:

            I agree that Eve demonstrates she understands that eating the fruit is the opposite of what God commanded. However, God told her this prior to her interaction with the serpent. Since she has no concept of deception, by default she must accept everything that someone says as truth. So once the serpent told her that she will not die, that became the most recent truth. That creates a dilemma that violates A = A, e.g. a square cannot be a circle and a square at the same time (circle can only be a circle and a square can only be a square)… thus, she was not able to hold onto the truth that God told her prior to the serpent’s claim. Basically, she was incapable of believing two truths at the same time that directly contradict one another. Think of a boy toddler that doesn’t understand the concept of deception. If that boy’s parents tell them “Do not touch the hot stove or you will surely burn your hand.” Then later that day the parents are gone and leave their son with their uncle. Suppose for a moment that the boy tells his uncle “Mommy and daddy told me not to touch the stove because it will burn my hand.” Then suppose the uncle said “Don’t be silly, you won’t burn your hand if you touch the stove.”

            I’m sure you can imagine what happens next. Of course the boy will by default believe the uncle and touch the stove. By default a toddler (or anyone who has no concept of deception) will believe the most recent claim as truth. No one is able to hold onto two truth’s that directly contradict without giving one up (in the case of Eve and the boy, the oldest one will be given up in favor of the most recent truth by default). Of course, what the serpent said was not truth, but that doesn’t matter because it must be perceived as truth by Eve without understanding the concept of deception.


          • Adam and Eve were not cognitively primitive beings or toddlers. They were adults and would have possessed the same pattern of logical thinking (probably better) that we do, being made in the image of a God who employs logic Himself and reasoned with His creation. They would have known and communed with God in a way we can’t realize in this post-Fall world. This idea of discarding the first revelation of truth at the introduction of the more recent revelation of truth seems strange. Eve’s understanding of God as her Creator and a good and sovereign ruler should have informed her which command she ought to follow. The nature of temptation is that we have 2 contradictory choices to make. One is what we know by our God-given conscience and previous information to be the morally right choice. The other is one we should, based on our conscience and knowledge, recognize as the wrong choice, but it appeals to some other desire within us. I don’t see how Eve’s lack of experience with deception would have left her without personal responsibility to follow the word of God over that of a snake. She was still deceived by cunning words, but not apart from the knowledge that she should have obeyed both her Creator and her husband, who would have relayed God’s command to her (God issued it first to Adam before Eve was created).

      • Nathan says:

        Why? That’s the question everyone needs to be asking. Why would Adam and Eve have disobeyed God? If instead of Adam, it had been Tom, would we still be in the situation we are in? What if it had been Linda instead of Eve? Would she have been seduced? If so, then it is something in human nature, and not the “choices” of a single man. If the disobedience is attributable ble only to Adam and Eve, then we are where we are because of the actions of two criminals. For that is what they are if it comes down to a matter of choice and that a choice was possible. Either way, no moral, logical being would have reacted the way God did, it would simply have made new creatures whose natures are more in line with his wishes.

  • steve says:

    Doesn’t God know evil? Satan was discussing Job with him. Jesus spent most of his time with sinners so didn’t Jesus know evil? When the Holy Spirit regenerates someone they had an unregenerated heart which in biblical terms equates with evil.

    • Thanks for the comment, Steve. I think Gen. 3:22 makes it clear that God knows evil (from His omniscience rather than experience), so I’m sorry but I’m not clear what you might be meaning to ask.

  • regularfellow says:

    I have often struggled with this one. As far as whether Adam and Eve knew right from wrong… The Contemporary English Version of the Bible makes it very clear that they did not know right from wrong before eating the fruit. From – Genesis 3:22 says: “The Lord said, “These people now know the difference between right and wrong, just as we do.””

    • Hi regular fellow! I definitely understand the struggle with the paradox. But I don’t think the CEV translation demands a different interpretation than what I’ve suggested. When you understand that Adam and Eve began life in God’s “good” creation with no wrong, the dichotomy of good and evil would not have been apparent to them. All they knew was good. Intuitively, they would have known that disobeying God would result in the absence of good, even though they didn’t have the vocabulary (other the warning from God that “you will surely die”) and would not know how to articulate exactly what wrong, or evil, was. Without experiencing wrong, they would have no criteria for making a distinction. After they sinned, they knew from experience.

  • regularfellow says:

    That is precisely where I struggle with it. You suggested that all they knew was good. If all they knew was good, that indicates that everything they knew was good. Knowing that everything is good would prevent them from knowing that anything is evil (everything encompasses anything–leaving no room for knowing evil). Likewise, knowing that everything was right would prevent them from knowing that anything was wrong (everything encompasses anything–leaving no room for knowing wrong). So in Eve’s mind, what the serpent said to her could not be understood as wrong. As you said yourself, without experiencing wrong, Eve had no criteria for making a distinction. Thus, if they couldn’t distinguish what was wrong… how could eating the fruit be a sin?

    • I may not be explaining this very well, sorry. Think of 2 basic forms of “knowing”: A) Knowing a general concept, and B) Knowing from personal experience. Adam and Eve would have known the concept of evil (B), because they were intelligent beings who God commanded not to eat of the Tree, and they knew there was a consequence to disobedience called death—something else they would have understood as a concept but not experience.

      I think we can conclude they had enough knowledge to want to avoid the sin and the consequence, judging by Eve’s response to the serpent, when she outlined the command and consequences: “We may eat the fruit of the garden’s trees but not the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘Don’t eat from it, and don’t touch it, or you will die.’” (Gen. 3:2,3 CEB).

      I believe that the type of “knowing” in verse 5 and 22 was B, a more thorough understanding that came from experience. What they knew as a concept before, now had names: Good and evil. Good was the status quo, a recognized concept they took for granted, the state of life as they knew it for which there was no active opposition. Evil was known before as a limited understanding of a consequence, which they would have been inclined to avoid since, whatever death was, it meant an end to the life they no doubt enjoyed. As sin became a reality for them, they knew (B) BOTH good AND evil, together.

      I think this is similar to the way a child comes to know both good and evil as a dichotomy. We are born with a sin nature, so the potential for good and evil are present in our nature. As a child matures, he knows of both goodness and sin and consequences as concepts until he experiences the latter. Then he knows both on a completely different level.

      Hopefully that is a clearer picture of what I meant. 🙂

  • I have rock solid Faith in Christ. Just want to make that clear right off. I ask tough questions not to rebel, but to bring out the truth and understand.

    That said, I have wondered about this a lot. I have asked the question, “The whole human race became tainted because Eve and Adam ate a piece of fruit that they were not supposed to eat?”
    Thought of from that perspective, it sounds so dumb, and extreme. And without the knowledge of what death was or sin was or right or wrong was, how could this be so serious a crime? Just because God said, “Don’t do this thing.”? Every single human from that point on were now to be cursed because of THAT?

    Here’s a crazy idea: How about NO tree of the knowledge of good and evil? How about NO chance to blow it? How about NO need for thousands of years of tears, misery, death, pain, heartache, and despair. How about NO need for the actual SON OF GOD to have to be beaten half to death and then hung on a cross?

    Forgive me, but the responses here are all pretty much unwilling to broach the subject from a “What the heck?!” point of view. God lets me ask the these questions, but maybe He just ain’t going to give me the answer till I see Him face to face, and then, probably, I won’t care.

    • Mary, thanks for being honest about wrestling with hard questions like this one. I admit I’ve struggled with this one too!

      We are all familiar with the universal concept if inheriting things we don’t deserve, both good and bad. Thinking about anything from an estate inheritance to eye color to genetic disease. None of it is really what we’d consider “fair”, so when we think about something huge like our sin nature it’s little consolation, particularly because we know it’s because of something Adam and Eve did that we think we would never do. Kind of like watching a movie and yelling at the screen because you know a character who should know better is about to do something incredibly stupid.

      I’ve found the most satisfaction in the truth that, yes, I am born into sin that has been passed down from Adam, but there is a second part to that. I am just as guilty if not more of my own sin and deserving God’s wrath. We are sinners both because of our inherited sin nature (from Adam’s sin) AND because of what we do (from our own sin), “for all have sinned and fall short.”(Ro.3:23). Put another way, we sin because we’re sinners and we’re sinners because we sin. I don’t think Adam and Eve’s actions somehow created in their descendants our ability to choose sin. They had that choice and we do too.

      I also don’t think that if there were no forbidden tree in the garden that there would have been no opportunity to sin. Adam could have decided that, despite God’s provision of “every green thing to eat”, that he wanted to kill an animal and eat meat. At that time I think that would have been sin. Or Eve could have decided she preferred the company of a chimpanzee over Adam’s. Or they both could have “worshipped the creation over the Creator.” Surely the forbidden fruit wasn’t the only sin they could have committed, sooner or later.

      Does that help at all? It’s still a tough concept, especially when we see the effects of the Fall all around us.

  • Interesting ideas and a logical perspective. I get no sense, though, that there was any sin in the world or ability to sin till after that moment. I don’t get the sense from the scripture that people would even think of doing something like kill an animal, another human, or have a monkey for a mate.

    It all seems to have started that moment when Adam and Eve did something they were told not to do. That act opened the “Pandora’s Box.”

    I do not think that since that moment, any unredeemed human being could not sin if they chose not to. I’d like to say that once the Holy Spirit indwells a person, they never choose to do wrong again. I’m a living example of that not being so. Frankly, on my own, I don’t feel responsible enough to be trusted with freewill. I guess that’s where the continual “filling with the Spirit” comes into play.

    But I digress. I believe that the sin nature is in us from conception. John 3:18 says, “whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (NIV). However, let me state here for the record, that I do not believe in the culpability of infants and young children, nor do I think infant baptism is of any value. There’s a vast difference between “sin nature” and “acts of sin.” However, I know that the former inevitably leads to the latter.

    The last thing I wanted to do is clarify something: I started to feel bad about my initial comment here, so I wanted to address it — although I have these questions, it absolutely does not mean that I think It was not some “silly” thing that God did or overlooked that caused sin to come into the human race. I do not actually blame God.

    What I do know is that there are many hard questions that get asked by unbelieving people. This is one of them, and I have compassion on their point of view because it puzzles me, too. Why be afraid to ask weird or uncomfortable questions? How many people have turned away because Believers freaked out over a hard or obvious question? A lot, I’d wager. Honestly, my motivation (mostly – sometimes I just like to have a tantrum) is this: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Among other things, I take that to mean that I need to “clear out” my personal doubts by addressing them.

    Make sense to you?

    • Mary, that completely makes sense, addressing your last point first. Apologist Bobby Conway talks about this idea of doubting toward faith. Though I haven’t read his book, there is a healthy kind of doubt we can have that strengthens belief instead of leading us away from it. I think you’re doing exactly that, asking the right questions in the right places with the right attitude, seeking the truth. I won’t judge your faith or doubt your sincerity by you having tough questions. Your reasons are solid; we need to seek answers for the lost who will ask us, and we need to know for ourselves too.

      I think that Adam and Eve would have had the ability to sin in order to sin. I’m not sure what “sense” I get from the text of what Adam and Eve were capable of other than it seemed very unlikely in Genesis 2 that they would make a choice in chapter 3 to eat from the one forbidden tree of thousands or maybe millions they had available. But then they did. Would I have commuted that sin? I would like to think no, but I would have sinned somehow.

      It seems that in the garden, in a “very good” creation before sin entered the world, there were 2 advantages that we don’t have now. One is that they were without the natural inclination toward choosing evil over good that comes with our sin nature. The other would be a great shortage in temptations to sin. Satan had to enter into a good creation and speak through a good serpent. Today we live in a corrupt world surrounded with much greater temptations. We really need the Holy Spirit’s help! A&E had every possible blessing and an unbroken fellowship with their Creator. That makes it easier to see why A&E didn’t sin the day they were made (I know a sinless day doesn’t go by in my own life). But, it probably wasn’t very long before they fell (a day, a week…?). Their free will choice to maintain good was easier because they had no idea was evil was and none of it was fighting for their attention, until Satan used the serpent.

      I agree that we have our sin nature from conception, but I don’t think John 3:18 addresses that. Jesus says unbelievers are “already condemned” there because unbelievers have sinned, as all have, and have not accepted Christ’s forgiveness. Upon believing in Jesus we are no longer under condemnation of our sin. I agree young children are not under condemnation before they are old enough to understand what sin is. All people are judged “according to their deeds” (Rom. 2:6). So there is no contradiction between that and John 3:18, if that’s what you are concerned about there. The potential for all of us including Adam and Eve from the beginning to choose sin had to have been there if God made us with a free will to choose Him over alternatives.

      Is that helpful?

  • Do you believe that Adam and Eve had the Ten Commandments? Many of my SDA friends believe they had them and practiced them, such as the seventh day Sabbath.

  • Do you believe that Adam and Eve had the Ten Commandments prior to the fall or ever? I have some SDA friends who believe that they kept the Sabbath.

    • Hi Steven! There is nothing in scripture indicating Adam and Eve had or were given the Ten Commandments, so I would say no. The Ten Commandments were of course rooted in the moral law that God gave Adam and Eve (as well as every other person made in God’s image), but the specific written Ten Commandments weren’t revealed to anyone before Moses (Ex. 20).

      I do think God had planned for the 7th Day when He rested from creation to be an enduring principal that was clarified to Moses, but everyone is made to rest and I think we function best when we’ve had a chance to break from regular activities once a week (that principal has endured because societies value weekends, and many look at Sunday as a Sabbath from their normal work).

      I also don’t think Adam and Eve had a chance to observe the Sabbath. I can’t say for sure, but it doesn’t look like A&E even had a week before the fall and had to leave the Garden. I may be wrong there through. But any observance of the Sabbath for them after would have been probably intuitive in the form of resting once a week to recharge, rather than a formal or religious observance, I’m guessing.

      Interestingly, Jesus in John 5:17ff says in regards to the Sabbath that He and the Father are working to redeem the world, work that began at the Fall. So God didn’t have much of a “rest” either. But as far as Adam and the Sabbath and the rest of the Commandments given at Sinai, the first man would have been aware of the good principals behind the commandments. Without knowledge of evil, I imagine the written form of at least the negative (“You shall not”) Commandments would have been foreign to them anyway, since they were not familiar with what it meant to murder, steal, lie, covet, commit adultery, etc.

      Where do SDA get the idea that Adam and Eve kept the Sabbath?

      • Steven Wetterholm says:

        Thanks so much for responding. SDA’s believe that all the Ten Commandments are God’s moral law, and since sin is the transgression of the law, Adam and Eve had to have some kind of law, or else they couldn’t have sinned. I tell them that they broke God’s command to not eat from the tree, but then they say that they also stole and disobeyed their parent, like the commandments prohibit. It’s really hard for me to understand too.

        Would it be fair to say that since God did not want Adam and Eve to have the knowledge of good and evil, he wouldn’t want them to understand the Ten Commandments? What exactly is the knowledge of evil though? Is telling them about the commandments informing them about evil? Thanks.

        • Steven, sorry for the delay in responding! Adam and Eve did have some kind of law: the law of God written on their hearts, to which their consciences bore witness (Rom. 2:15). That’s the God-given sensibility we all have about objective right and wrong, even when we don’t have a frame of reference. Basically, we know good when we see it and we know evil when we see it. Before Genesis 3, Adam and Eve had not yet seen evil and therefore didn’t know it until they saw themselves doing it. Saying that they broke the 5th Commandment that obviously addresses “father and mother” in an earthy sense is not supported in any way by scripture.

          I think in a sense if God gave Adam the same Ten Commandments He gave Moses, Adam would have gained knowledge of evil, since they include murder, theft, and bearing false witness (from the several commandments expressed in the negative form ‘You shall not”). These were things Adam knew nothing about. Before Adam sinned–and I touch on this in my post–I think evil at most would have been a vague concept for Adam. He and Eve could only deduce that the absence of or opposition to good would necessarily be evil. Evil as an idea could have been logically deduced by Adam, but he likely had no mind to think about such things before temptation came. They had no specific or experiential knowledge of it so Ten specific new Commandments would have not served a purpose for them in Eden.

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  • otto k land says:

    Well, no one has posted in a while, I have more questions than answers and as usual I have a lot of “V8 moments”. Seeing the question is a big part of the answer.

    I believe Adam and Eve both were sinning before they ate the fruit. A sin against each other is not the same as sinning or breaking a direct commandment from “GOD”.
    Eve lied before eating the fruit? So far no one I have told this to seems to really care. It is BIG. She said that God said “to not even touch it”. God did not say that.
    Eve took command of the situation. When satan began talking to her she did not refer him to her husband, more like “I got this”.
    What was Eve trying or hoping to accomplish? She even had the option of tag teaming with her husband to confront satan. I believe Eve was not trying to just take over Adam’s duties and responsibilities, but she now saw a chance to be like “GOD” Himself. It was Adam’s job to protect his wife, why did he just set back and watch. He was there with her. Adam could have stopped this at any time, like right after Eve said “don’t even touch it”. He should have known it was not going to end well. Hmm, was he even paying attention?
    All sin is sin before GOD, but not all sin has the same consequences. If Eve had been trying to expand her responsibles, boundaries, duties and Adam even though he loved her got tired of all. He might have had enough. Satan watches for these moments. Satan usually does not do an up front attack unless he has an ace up his sleeve. Like knowing there was a good chance Adam would stay out of it. Satan did not confront Adam but Eve. There had to be marriage problems.
    I heard a few folks say that Adam should have “set aside Eve’s sin” but I have yet to hear a good sermon about “HOW”.

    • Interesting thoughts, Otto. I don’t think scripture states that Adam and Eve’s most famous sin was their first sin, so I think I’d be open to the idea that they had some sins between themselves. It seems unlikely though to me that a lot of time had elapsed before the temptation at the tree judging by the absence of children mentioned yet. I would guess that some time would need to pass before bitterness or complacency had crept into their marriage. I might be wrong though; just going by my own experience.

      I’m also not convinced that Eve’s addition of not touching the fruit to the command not to eat of it constituted a lie on her part. It’s possible that Adam added that in passing the command along to her to keep them both as far from the temptation as possible. Eve could have been simply mistaken in her understanding of the specifics of the command. Or Eve could have added that part to signal her commitment to staying away from the tree (you can’t eat something you don’t touch:)). Although in the end, they both found themselves close to the tree.

      Satan certainly is an opportunist though, as 1 Peter 5:8 warns: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

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You are currently reading How Could Adam and Eve Sin Before ‘Knowing Good and Evil’? at God&Neighbor.


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