“ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES”
“Did God Establish “A Man’s World?” December 2009 Part 2.
To continue our study of the role of the woman in God’s grand design in creation we read: “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:18. For years I have sat in worship services and chuckle some, when I listened to ministers saying, “God made the woman to be a help mate for man.” Meaning, she was made to be a servant, nothing more than a home maker and the bearer of children. Ha! Yes! That’s a man’s world! But what did God actually say in this verse? To fully comprehend the exact message as it proceeded out from the heart of God, we MUST do a quick word study, because a single word misapplied or miss interpreted can throw a text, a passage or an entire lesson into turmoil. The Hebrew word for help is ay’-zer from the prime root aw-zar and it means to surround, to protect or to aid. The word “meet” carries several meanings such as deserving, comparable, suitable, or due reward.
Of all the definitions of the woman in creation, none defines her as a slave and a work horse. Here is what one author provides for our edification: “Woman is the feminine of man. While higher criticism and evolution discredit the Biblical record of woman’s formation from the rib of man, Genesis 2:21-24, the passage emphasizes the inseparable unity and fellowship of a woman’s life with that of the man. She is not only man’s helper (added source of strength) but also his complement, and is most essential to the completion of his being. Matthew Henry’s comment on the creation of Eve is most expressive. “If man is the head, she (woman) is the crown, a crown to her husband, the crown of the visible creation. The man was dust refined, but the woman was double-refined, one removed further from the earth. The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.”
The author continues: Eve was Adam’s second self and differed from him in sex only, but not in nature. Both man and woman were endowed for equality and for mutual interdependence. Often woman excels man in the capacity to endure ill-treatment, sorrow, pain and separation. Throughout history, man, through pride, ignorance or moral perversion has treated woman as being greatly inferior, and has enslaved and degraded her accordingly. Thank you Sir! I couldn’t have said it better myself! As man’s earthly thrones crumble and his kingdom gives way to God’s divine order, we are required to return and embrace the order that God himself established at the very beginning. It is prudent for us to acknowledge the fact that the female in the creation story is known by three names; Woman (more a title than a name) Eve, and Adam. Bear in mind that it was Adam who called her woman, because he said, she was taken out of man, and after they transgressed he called her Eve, meaning the mother of all living. But a preacher from Kansas speaking for me in Norfolk, Virginia in the 1970s rendered her version by calling the word Eve, “the mother of all living dead.” After all, Jesus said to living people, “Let the dead bury their dead, and Paul said that we who were dead in trespasses and sins have been quickened or made alive. (Ephesians 2;1.) But as far as God is concerned, in the beginning he named both parties “Adam” (Genesis 5;2.) which, in its broadest term means “man-ess” and both were given equal mandate to rule over creation equally. Let me share with you something that happened to me some years ago.
Back in the mid 70s I was ministering in Boston, Massachusetts, and in the service was a sister whose church was in Southern California. She got on the phone to her pastor who promptly invited me to come out West and conduct a series of meetings for him. Talk about excitement! I am going to California! What a treat! One night after service, I was having a nightcap with the pastor and his wife. I am new to California, and new to this family. But while conversing lightly, the wife began to say something, and in a huff like a big bully the pastor retorted; “Woman, you don’t speak when I am speaking!” I was bowled over!
You would think that with a stranger in the home, the pastor would calm down and make a good impression. One Sunday after church, we decided to go out for dinner. I am in the backseat of the car; the pastor has the engine running with the car in gear. His wife got one foot in and the pastor shouted “GET IN WOMAN!” Before she could get in he drove off so she caught a ride with one of her sons and joined us at the restaurant. The next day she said to me privately: “Elder, I am not a violent person; but if I had a gun yesterday I would have blown his head off.” I go with her to the super market and I sit in the front seat listening to her talk about what she is going through with tears running down her face. As a traveling evangelist I usually stay at the pastor’s home, and I always became some one for the wives to open up to and some of their stories were heart numbing and painful.
Let me say emphatically that God at first did not intend for it to be this way. Like Jesus said; “In the beginning it was not so.” Look at the great symbolism implied here! Adam looked at the woman, saw himself, now complete and declared: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.” Genesis 2:23. Does this statement ring a bell with you? Upon the cross, they pierced the side of Jesus (God opened the side of Adam) and out flowed water and blood. We are to be born again by water and by blood and Paul offered the clincher by writing: “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Ephesians 5;30. In the dawn of our history Adam was given a view of the Church.
Allow me to reflect in retrospect on the issue of Eve’s role in man or mankind on the world stage. Here is what one writer contributed: “This verse (Gen.2:18) has often been quoted to remind women of their status as man’s sidekick, like a magician’s assistant or a Batman and Robin partnership. Actually the Hebrew word “ezer” (helper) used in Genesis does not necessarily carry the connotation of secondary importance or inferiority as the English word “helper”. In fact, the same word “ezer” is used to describe God as the helper of Israel. In the Bible, kings come to “help” other kings, and nations come to “help” other nations. A helper is not necessarily less powerful or less capable than the person she/he is helping.
The serpent’s choice to approach Eve, not Adam, with the suggestion of eating from the forbidden tree has been attributed by some commentators to the fact that women are mentally weaker and more gullible. If this is the case, Adam does not demonstrate great intellect or will either when he goes along with Eve’s decision unquestioningly. Here are a few opinions on the subject. Some take the more neutral stance of stating that while Adam had heard God’s injunction directly, the woman had not heard it firsthand. The forbidden nature of the tree did not resonate as strongly with her. Thus the serpent saw her as the more logical choice. Yet another interpretation is that the serpent recognized Eve as the one in charge—if Eve takes the lead, Adam will follow.
The saga of Adam and Eve can be carried forward to New Testament times and it all seems to fit perfectly. Who or what was Adam and Eve? Who or what was Abraham, or Agar, or Sarah? As we go forward with this series, we will endeavor to bring to light all that seemingly is still shrouded in mystery. We talk about Adam and Eve on this basis: “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.” Romans 5;14. What are we saying here? Paul is saying that Adam was only a figure of him that was to come, and that person is Jesus Christ. So the Garden, the woman, the serpent, the so-called Fall; all of these events were only pointers and sign posts pointing to a more realistic day of total fulfillment that unfolded in New Testament times. As we examine the bigger picture, we see that Adam did not start the ideal family that God intended to have on the earth. Paul explains that Adam was made a living soul (of the earth—earthy) but Christ the last Adam was made a quickening spirit (from heaven—heavenly). Notice that Christ was not made the second or third or fourth Adam. He was and is the last Adam! When we come into Christ through his saving power and through the renewing of his Spirit we are through with all the Adams, and are guaranteed that as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 1 Corinthians 15;46-49. Genesis 3;1 says: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” Many believe that the serpent was not a native or resident of the Garden but was an intruder, and Adam’s job was to dress and keep the Garden. It is obvious that he was absent from his post and left his wife to encounter the serpent.
One factor of great importance comes into play and I want you to pay close attention. What would have happened even if God had put both the man and the woman side by side and instructed them not to eat of that certain tree? And do you think God knew what was going to happen anyway? First of all, if you tell your son not to go up to the attic, and you emphasize it in no uncertain terms: “Johnny, don’t ever let me catch you going up to that attic room! If I ever catch you doing that, I am going to whip your bottom so hard, you won’t be able to sit on it for 5 days!” You hear me son? Yes Dad! I won’t go up there! But something has just been triggered in his mind. He starts to wonder; “What’s up there in that attic room?” By George, I am going to find out if it’s the last thing I do! It is clear to see that curiosity has taken over Johnny’s mind and come hell or high water (as the saying goes) when opportunity presents itself, Johnny is going to check out that attic room. Questions! Why did God create such a tree in the first place? Why did he call man’s attention directly to it? Why did he tell the man (the woman was not created yet) never to eat of the fruit thereof creating an obvious source of continued temptation? Was it because he knew full well that it was only a matter of time, and man would succumb to his own curious mind? Here is something more for us to consider! If God was not sure that man would eat of the tree and create a need for redemption, why was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world? (This means before the foundations of the world were broken up.) Here is a little humor so feel free to smile! After the Fall and Adam is caught red handed, he could have said to God, “You set me up! Didn’t you? Do you want to say “yes” or do you want me to say yes on your behalf?
“It was a perfect set up.” Today we call it a FBI Sting Operation! The serpent laid out his case on a grand scale, appealing to all of man’s vulnerabilities. You will not die, you will be wise, and you will be as gods. What points did the serpent cover? “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Genesis 3:6. To what part of man did the serpent’s message appeal? Alas! To the five senses! John sums it up this way: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2;16. Look again at what the woman saw in the tree and its fruit: It was good for food, lust of the flesh. It was pleasant to the eyes, lust of the eyes. It was able to make one wise, the pride of life.
Let us get real on this subject and throw out the old idea that Adam and Eve ate an apple, or that they fell by having physical relationships. They were already told to be fruitful and multiply from the beginning so that theory falls flat on its face. I have heard preacher after preacher say how much the serpent lied and the devil never spoke one bit of truth since he came into being. Question! Was it all lies that the serpent told to Eve? He said they would become wise, knowing good and evil. Was that true? He said they would become like God. Was that true? In fact, was it all true what the serpent said? (except “Thou shalt not surely die”) Let the Lord himself pass judgment on the final outcome of their disobedient act. “And the Lord God said, Behold the man is become as one of us (didn’t the serpent say that they would become as gods?) to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever. etc.” Genesis 3:22. God said, “sure enough the man (both parties) are become like us—like God, knowing good and evil. How could man exercise his will and power of choice if there was only good? A door now opened to him; good—life-and evil—death; Adam you now have the power to choose and you now have options!
Are you ready to chew on something meaty on the bone? I suppose that all religions and most of mankind believe in The Fall. Bible dictionaries, bible commentaries, encyclopedias, and all over the Internet it is easy to find masterful works on The Fall. Are you ready for my take on the subject? I was raised in a Baptist home and got saved in Church of God, had early exposure to Latter Rain, and have preached in Full Gospel, Deliverance, Body Ministry, and just about everywhere, there is an understanding that man fell in the Garden. I have come to believe a long time ago that man did not fall in the Garden at all. Like I said before, God planted the tree in question, deliberately called the man’s attention to it, telling him not to do that which God already knew that he would do. But in what some call the Fall, the man actually took one step up in the right direction because after eating of the tree, God himself said, “He has become as one of us.” This is not the only place where I get my opinion and beliefs from.
Paul was quite explicit and concise in his narrative of what happened back then. You remember that I joked how Adam could have said to God, “You set me up?” Listen to this! “For the creature (creation in general) was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him (the Creator) who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Romans 8;20-21. So nothing that transpired in the Garden was by accident, and nothing surprised God as he walked into the Garden in the cool of the day. Upon closer observation we notice that although it was the woman that yielded to the serpent’s temptation, when God came to visit in the cool of the day, he called to the male Adam, not the female Adam. From our vantage point, we have no idea how seriously Adam took God’s warning about not eating from the tree in question. Moreover, when God told Adam that in the day he eats thereof he shall surely die, Adam had no clue of what death meant. No body had ever died before so the word “death” had no serious consequences to him. It has been said over and over again by preachers over the world that the moment Adam ate of the fruit offered to him by Eve he died spiritually, and later died physically within the day of a thousand years duration. First of all, my question is this; “If Adam had actually died spiritually like we are being told, how was he able to hear the voice of the Lord God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day? On the flip side of the coin, how many of us who claim to be highly spiritual and greatly anointed clearly hear the voice of God in an undeniable utterance? Here is another point to consider in our study! We cannot determine how emphatic and persuasive Adam was in conveying to Eve the gross dangers in disobedience to God’s command. Did he mention it lightly in passing? Since no body ever died before, how could he impress upon her what death would be like? Don’t forget that words that are familiar to us were unknown to them. I am sure the language they spoke was not English, not Greek, and not Hebrew.
Although it was the woman who sinned, it seems to me that God made a drastic statement by calling on the man first of all. It is as if God was saying in terse language that he held Adam at fault. His reason for hiding in the first place was that he was naked, so God put him on the spot. “Who told thee that wast naked? Has thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? Here is what Adam could have said: “My wife made a mistake by talking with the serpent at length and ended up eating of the tree. Now that she was in trouble I could not let her be punished alone, so I ate also of the fruit that she offered me so that we both can be punished together.” I don’t know if he could have asked God for mercy because it could be that the word meant nothing to him. Notice that in his reply, Adam did not even address his wife as such: “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Adam’s attitude could run along this line—and I am not suggesting that it did—only that it could. “So you see Lord, I am not to blame. After all, it was your idea to give me this woman in the first place, and now, look what she has done to me!” God said, Okay! Let me see how the woman is going to account for herself! Let me see what her take on the issue is going to be! Will she blame me also? “And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” Nice job lady! I commend you for your honesty! You were no match for such a skilful enemy that could out wit you any time of the day; but you are honest in admitting your mistake.
God pronounced judgment upon the serpent first of all, then he turned to Eve. “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And to Adam he said, Because thou hast harkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of your life.” Genesis 3:16-17. In order to bring clarity to our study, we could embark upon a strong and deliberate path to place fault where fault belongs. One group would swiftly blame the serpent. Another group would vehemently disagree and put the fault squarely at the feet of our Dear Mother Eve. And just about that time, another group would hit the stage and under blazing spotlights call Adam in question. They would determine that Adam was not guarding the Garden as his duty obliged him to do. They would suggest that in telling Eve what God had said about not eating of that particular tree, he was simple and unimpressive. He failed to convey the seriousness of God’s command, so Eve possibly took the whole matter lightly and as we say, “with a pinch of salt.” In terms of history being fulfilled, can we agree that there is no one to blame for what transpired in the Garden of Eden?
What if I told you that I do not blame the serpent? He did his job! I do not blame Eve for she could not outwit the serpent. And I do not blame Adam! Come on Brother Kennedy! If nobody is to blame, how come Adam was driven out of the Garden and barred from re-entering it? If no one is to blame, how come God passed judgment on the serpent, upon Eve, and finally upon Adam? At first glance, you would be correct in your assumptions; but over the years by God’s own training, I have learned to look past the written word and tap into the real message that hides itself in total obscurity from the casual reader. We must look beyond the created and see the Creator! Let us hit the replay button and revisit Romans 8:20-21.
We are told in those two verses that the whole creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who subjected the same in hope. J.B. Phillips translation puts it this way: “The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in God’s purpose it has been so limited, yet it has been given hope.” The N. E. B. (New English Bible) renders the lesson this way: “For the created universe waits with eager expectation for God’s sons to be revealed. It was made the victim of frustration, not by its own choice, but because of him who made it so.” Here is the big picture! Man fell, or was lowered, and the whole of creation followed. Thorns and thistles arrived on the earth, and even the earth was made to withhold her yields. Floods came when they were not needed, and droughts came when rains should be pouring from the skies.
It became as if the earth was thrown off its axis, and began to wobble like a drunken man. Who is behind this? Before we answer this question let us ask a few more. Did God know that man would falter as he did? I guess we must answer in the affirmative! Yes! Next is a follow up question! If he knew, why did he not stop it from happening? According to Paul in his letter to the Romans, not only did God know, but it was God who deliberately lowered creation into a state of total futility. First of all, when Adam became a living soul, it was his first step down to a lower level, because he was not always a living soul. But brother dear, look what has happened to mankind in general because of these two people. You mean to tell me that God was behind all of this? The bible said that the lowering of creation was not by creation’s own will or its own choice. To understand Adam and Eve and what they brought forth, we have to look away to the Master Himself. Moses writing in Psalm 90 verse 3 said: “Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.” Down at the potter’s house, Jeremiah learned a sobering lesson that he was to convey to Israel. “Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” Jeremiah 18:3-6.
Ha! Yes! Under Adam and Eve, the vessel was marred in the potter’s hand, but for a long time now, he’s been making another vessel from the broken pieces of clay, a vessel that pleases him, that will be a glorious church without spot or wrinkle, and he shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied. Isaiah 53:11 Paul argued this point with those who would question the how, what, and why of what God makes. I like Paul’s argument in this lesson! He points out that God, out of a lump of clay makes vessels fitted for destruction, to show forth his wrath. But out of the same lump of clay, he makes vessels fitted for honor to show forth his mercy. And to those who object or pose over bearing questions the apostle replies: “Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” Romans 9;19-21. Do you know why I show love and respect to every person I see and meet irrespective of their appearance and even their character? Because I never learned how to make another human being and I have never heard of or met anyone who has learned to do so. Every one I see around me is God’s handy work, and he is Lord over his own creation, no matter how that creation behaves. Speaking of man’s behavior, we cannot shun the import of what we are being taught in a number of scriptures, which, when taken seriously, we must conclude that man is not that cavalier and bombastic as he makes himself out to be. To take away man’s control over his actions would seem to also take away any form of accountability. If I can’t help what I do, why should I be held responsible for my actions? Am I just a puppet on a string? Or do I have choices to make on my own?
Let us see written in black and white how this touchy subject unfolds, so that Brother Kennedy will not be held responsible for misrepresenting these truths. “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” Proverbs 16:1, 4, 9. “Man’s goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?” Proverb 20:24. Listen to the confession of an ancient major prophet! “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.” Jeremiah 10:23,24. Indeed, man’s steps are ordered by the Lord, so how can a man understand his own way. God worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, and sometimes I wish I did not know that that to be true, especially when it hits home right where we live. Eph.1;11.
While we examine the punishment meted out to Eve, let us not forget that it was then that God himself preached the first sermon of man’s redemption through the Christ who was to come as the seed of the woman. “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3;14-15. So much has been said about man’s free will down through the years that it is not worth repeating, except to say that I am not gong-ho or totally sold on the subject. There are multitudes of things we will, that never happen. When Jesus said, I will be thou healed, his will happened there and then. A prophet “willed” to go and curse Israel but was stopped by his ass. Saul of Tarsus willed to kill more Christians but was stopped in his tracks on the Damascus Road. If it is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps which we just quoted above, where does his free will come in? I believe in the freedom of choice rather than free will. If creation was lowered into vanity and corruption not of its own will, but by the will of him who lowered it in hope, where does our free will come in?
What Adam and Eve exercised in the garden was not so much free will, but freedom of choice and why so? The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was in the garden, planted by God himself and placed in plain sight of the man and his wife. They were already endowed by the Creator with “freedom of choice.” They would have to discover that within themselves, they possessed the “freedom of choice” but they would also have to learn that every choice they made carried consequences, and by transgressing the first commandment they got from God, they began to learn the hard way how to utilize their “freedom of choice.” Just about every one of us made choices when we were younger that were not the best and most noble we could make. In some cases, our choice of friends was ill advised and we paid a price. Some of us made love choices that brought us years of heartache, and lives that could hardly be put together again. At 74 years old, I look back on some of the choices I made as a young man and chuckle at myself and wonder, “what were you thinking of?” Frankly, I don’t know how I made it this far, except for God’s love, grace, and protection.
But through all of this, God is never surprised neither does he upbraid us for he knows very well that we are constantly learning how to utilize our freedom of choice. Life presents to us the choice between life and death, good and evil. Moses told Israel that he has set before them life and death and quickly encouraged them to choose life. The freedom of choice in our world today has been shot through the roof and taken completely out of context. It has evolved into full blown rebellion, for the daily mantra among certain folks is “nobody is going to tell me what to do.” This rebellion has sought to cover itself in the guise of “free speech” contained in the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. This way, slander, defamation of character, threats of bodily injury, can all be put under the umbrella of “free speech” and there are judges all over this country who seemingly, will side with the rebellious in a jiffy. “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all of Egypt.” Genesis 41;44. So it is that in God’s earth nothing moves or exists outside of the Creator, for IN HIM we live and move and have our being, and by him all things consist. So you see, man isn’t as big and BAD as he thinks he is. Adam and Eve had to learn how to use their freedom of choice, and every learning process is perfected through a series of hits and misses. Eve was the first woman to be called a wife.
Fashioned out of man, she became man’s counterpart and companion. God saw that although Adam was in a state of innocence, it was not good for him to be alone. He needed someone to love and bear his children since God had already commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth. Eve did not spend nine months in a mother’s womb, partaking of her parents’ family traits, blood type and flesh type. She appeared as a complete, perfect woman. She was never a child, or a daughter or a handmaiden. Here is one author’s view on Eve’s beauty although he admits that the bible does not offer these details, so view it from your own perspective. “Century after century women have appeared renowned for their beauty of face, and form but Eve excelled them all. Created by a perfect God, Eve reflected the divine perfection. Hers was no artificial beauty. Face, features and form were the loveliest women have ever had. While the bible has no description of Eve’s physical appearance, Adam’s first reaction as he saw the lovely figure before him was to give voice to earth’s first poem—This, then, at last is bone of my bones, and flesh of my own flesh: This shall be called Wo-man for from man was she taken.”
Being the first woman ever to walk this earth, Eve had no inherited sin, because sin was not yet brought into the world. Coming from the creative hand of God, Eve had an advantage no other woman has ever had—she was sinless with the divine image unimpaired. Created sinless, she yet became the world’s first sinner, and introduced sin to her offspring, so it is said that we were born in sin, and shapen in iniquity. One of the chief lessons for all of mankind to learn coming out of the transgression of the world’s first two people is that our chief enemy is not without ourselves but within. Eve allowed her mind and thoughts to go after the only three areas in which we can be tempted—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Remember that as many as are led by the Spirit are the sons of God. So where does death enter into the equation? “For to be carnally minded is death; (it has nothing to do with eating an apple) but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8;6,14. The vivid line of demarcation drawn between life and death is clearly outlined in scripture as way marks and sign posts for us to observe along life’s highway. “For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit mortify (meaning to affect with gangrene or to subdue by abstinence or rigorous severities) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Romans 8;13.
Whether or not we believe that an actual serpent tempted Eve is not important. The lesson that is of most value to all of us is learning how temptation works and to what end. James puts it this way: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” James 1:13-14. Paul referred to this incident in his letter to his son in the gospel, Timothy. “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 1 Timothy 2;13-14. History clearly affirms the fact that it was Eve who first partook of the fruit, thus becoming the first to enter into transgression, and this is what Paul is saying in the scripture text quoted above. But as if with the same breath, Paul assured us that it was by one “man” came sin into the world and death by sin. Therefore death is passed upon all men. Romans 5;12. There are two ways to look at this! One is that the transgression was credited to both parties as a single unit as they both were called Adam in the day they were created, or Adam was singled out as the main transgressor because God delivered his command personally to the man, long before the woman was taken out from his side. It could be that in this case God held Adam more responsible than Eve. But beyond that I feel more empathy toward Eve than Adam and perhaps you will have to forgive me.
But God called upon the man first to account for his absence from their usual meeting place. This was like a parent knowing full well what a child has done, but ask in a way to have the child give an honest account of what happened. You were naked? Really! How did you know that? Did you eat of that forbidden fruit? Well, God, you see it is not really the way I wanted it, but the woman! Another vital lesson that reminds me of King David was this. David did some ugly things to himself that affected his household and Israel in general, but when he was found out, he quickly admitted his fault and cried to God for mercy. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness; according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgression. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51;1,2,10-11.
Royce O. Kennedy