Was Eve mistaken?

Was Eve mistaken?

In our continuing discussions on the fall of man we have dealt with the issue of Adam as guardian of the garden and the charge against Eve that she added to God’s word.  In this post I will deal with the position that Eve did not sin by adding to God’s word but she was merely mistaken regarding what God said.

Let’s start with a question.  If Eve was mistaken, what caused her to be mistaken?  Let’s consider the options.

1.  Adam heard the command from God but he added to God’s word when he told the woman that God said “You (plural) shall not eat from it or touch it…”  Eve was mistaken because Adam lied to her.

Is this a viable option?

If it was Adam who added to God’s word, then it was Adam who sinned in this way in addition to eating the fruit.  If this is true, we can ask the very same questions as we did when we considered if the woman added to God’s word.  How can we charge Adam with this sin if there is no charge of adding to God’s words in the text?  Who is a witness against Adam?  Did God say anything about this sin to Adam?  No he didn’t but he should have reproved him if Adam was guilty.

Deuteronomy 12:32  “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

Deuteronomy 4:2  “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Proverbs 30:6  Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

Since there are no witnesses at all to convict Adam, without any evidence to indict Adam of adding to God’s words, and God himself said nothing about this “sin”, we must see Adam as innocent of this charge.

Let us look at the next option.

2.  Adam added his own command to his wife after God’s command.  Adam heard the command from God and gave the command to his wife exactly as it was given to him in Genesis 2.  However after giving her God’s command, he added his own command to his wife that she was not to touch the fruit and it was this command from Adam that the woman mistook as God’s command.

Is this a viable option?

If we are to believe God’s word exactly as it is written, this option is also not viable.  Why not?  It is because the inspired words are a double plural “you”.  The inspired text from the Hebrew says “not you (plural) shall eat from it and not you (plural) shall touch it…”  See the literal Hebrew words and grammar here.   If the inspired words are both the plural “you”, then they cannot be a mix of what God said (“you” plural) and what Adam would have said to his wife (singular “you”).  If Adam had added his own command it would either be you (singular) or we (plural).  It would not be the plural word “you”.  For those of us who believe that God’s word is inspired without error with inspired words and inspired grammar, this option does not appear at all to be a viable option.

Let’s look at the next options.

3.  The woman was mistaken because she was hard of hearing.

This option is nothing more than speculation since the woman was created as a completely whole person with all of her faculties in place.

4.  The woman was mistaken because she had a memory problem.

Again this option is speculative and since the woman’s brain did not have mental deterioration and she was created as a completely whole person with all of her faculties in place, we can reject this one as well.

5.  The woman was mistaken because she was childlike and couldn’t get a simple command correct.

This option would refute the fact that God created the woman as a “helper” for the man.  God himself is often called a “helper” in scripture and it is a word of strength describing a person who brings aid to one who is in need of the aid.  If she was the one who provided aid to meet Adam’s need, she couldn’t have been a drainer – one who by her very nature needed to be constantly supervised so she wouldn’t mess things up.

None of these options fits the biblical text.  What can we conclude?  We must conclude that to say that Eve was mistaken about what God said is a view that is without any solid biblical support.

Is there a much better option?  Why don’t we just believe the woman’s testimony?  Let’s think this one through a little more.

In Genesis 1:29 we know that God spoke to both Adam and Eve about what they had permission to eat.  The Hebrew has God speaking to “them” in verse 28 and God used the plural word “you” in verse 29.  See the Hebrew grammar here.  If God did not give Adam the charge or obligation to instruct Eve on what she had permission to eat, why would we think that God would withhold his own personal witness to Eve about what she was forbidden to eat?  We already know from Genesis 1:29 that the prohibition is incorporated into the permission to eat.  See more about this topic here.

We have no direct witness in scripture saying “And God said to Eve…” but we know for sure that the woman knew about the prohibition because she defended God when the serpent charged God with withholding his best from them. At that time the woman said they were forbidden to eat from one particular tree in the middle of the garden.  There were two trees in the middle of the garden but only one tree had fruit that was forbidden for them to touch.

If God cared enough about the woman to give her personal instructions about testing the fruit to know what she could and couldn’t eat, then why would we assume that it was Adam who told the woman about the prohibition?  Where do we have any words of instruction quoted in scripture that Adam gave to his wife?  We have not one word of instruction from Adam to his wife.  However we do have personal instruction from God to the woman.

Here we are once again at the bottom line.  It always boils down to what we are going to do with the woman’s testimony.  She said “God said…”  Who caused us to mistrust her testimony?  Is there anything in scripture that would tell us that she lied or that she was mistaken?  Or have we fallen prey to our world’s tradition that automatically distrusts a woman’s testimony and calls it into question?

For those of you who are yet unconvinced, let me ask you to explain to me how the woman came to be mistaken?  There must be a logical and scriptural option for the mistake of the woman or else we have nothing else but mere speculation and innuendo against the woman.

If we are going to be  God’s people of faith, we must walk in the direction of allowing women to testify about God.  God has already said that in the last days he will fill both male and female with his Spirit.

Joel 2:28  “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.
Joel 2:29  “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

If God has filled his female “sons” with his Holy Spirit just as he has filled his male “sons”, then let us also release women with our blessing to testify about what “God said…” and let us as the body of Christ believe their testimony.

15 thoughts on “Was Eve mistaken?

  1. Without the text offering an evidence that she was mistaken (or anything else) I have to question why would any think she were wrong? In other words, where does such an idea come from? It has to come from some where. There has to be a reason why one would doubt her testimony to begin with. And if the scriptures are not the source of the doubt and not the source which gives us any idea of such a thing, then what is the source? If the text itself does not give us this idea in any shape or form, then why is it even considered at all? What we can take from the text of scripture is only what it gives us but if we leave the text ‘with more’ then what it gives us, then what have we received and from where?

  2. Pinklight,

    In my opinion, the all-out failure to believe Eve’s testimony comes from a battle.

    Gen 3:15  And I will put enmity Between you and the woman…

    God said that he is the one who would initiate a fight between the serpent and the woman.  I believe the enemy has done everything he can to hold back women, subjugate them and stop them from prophesying and testifying for God.  The idea that we shouldn’t believe the testimony of a woman (even the very first woman before she sinned and ate the fruit) in my opinion, is a symptom of the battle against the woman.

  3. I’ve heard it claimed by comps, Bruce Ware for example that the woman was taught the command by the man. That is what Bruce Ware claims. While this unwarranted claim is made, it is also claimed by comps that she ‘got it wrong’, not the man in his teaching her, but she did, in her response to the serpent. So in conclusion not only does God not speak to the woman about his prohibition, but she also could not get it right even when taught (by man).

    But if the man did not teach the woman in the garden, then why is it claimed that women can not teach men but only men can teach women while what is not found in Genesis is that the man taught the woman in the first place? If it’s not a foundational teaching of Genesis, (and it’s not) that man is to teach woman then where does the teaching that only men should teach doctrine come from? Does it come from Adam’s silence? This is more reason why her testimony is important in contrast to the man’s silence. 

    If the woman can testify to what God HAS said in Genesis then she is not the woman that tradition has made her out to be.  

  4. ‘Gen 3:15  And I will put enmity Between you and the woman…
    God said that he is the one who would initiate a fight between the serpent and the woman. ‘

    I agree.

    13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
          The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
     14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, 

           “Cursed are you above all the livestock
           and all the wild animals!
           You will crawl on your belly
           and you will eat dust
           all the days of your life.
     15 And I will put enmity
           between you and the woman,
           and between your offspring  and hers;
           he will crush  your head,
           and you will strike his heel.”

    Because the serpent did what? What’s ‘this’? What did the serpent do? The serpent did not deceive Adam into eating, he ate willfully. But he deceived the woman and she ate. She went from having the truth to being deceived by the serpent, and being deceived is why she ate and for that God puts enmity between them.

  5. “Joel 2:28  “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.”

    And Peter, under the power of the Holy Spirit, repeats this at Pentecost. This, to me, is proof of woman being able to preach. Of course, I have been told this was JUST for that day…Pentecost. I believe it is for the church age.

  6. Lin,

    In the New Testament the Spirit was poured out upon the church and He was given to stay with them forever.  There is nothing in scripture that would say that the Spirit was taken away from women.  And if this was so, women would not have the spiritual gifts at all.  No, when the Holy Spirit came, He opened women’s mouths and sadly it is enemy who seeks to shut women’s mouths.

  7. Pinklight,
    There is so much said by hierarchists that we have just taken for granted.  They are not in the scriptures but they are accepted beause they have been taught over and over and over so that they are tradition without any kind of solid foundation in the bible.  It is time for us to test these traditions instead of accepting them and using these traditions to silence women.  There simply is not one thing in the creation account that shows Adam teaching his wife.  She is taught by God Himself.

  8. Pinklight,
    You are also right in that God cursed the serpent because he deceived the woman.  Yes, it was God who initiated the enmity between the serpent and the woman.  So it is the serpent who attacks the woman, but the woman also goes to battle against the serpent.  In the history of the world it is to be noted that females have been discriminated against.  In many areas female babies have been left to die.  Females have had their genitals mutilated and they have been forbidden to think for themselves as they have been forbidden education.  It has been an all out war.  Why would God initiate this war?  I think it is because he has a plan to use women in the spiritual battle in a very powerful way against the serpent.  When we hold women back from using their spiritual gifts, we hold back part of what God has gifted for the attack against the enemy.  May we never sideline our fighters when the battle is raging.

  9. Cheryl,

    I like the way you pose a series of questions just like a series of hypotheses, and then test them with scripture.

    Too much of what has gone on in the past, and has indeed been passed off as sound theology, is nothing more than extrapolation into thin air.

    Scripture testing scripture is what you’ve always taught here on your blog, and for that many of us are indebted.  If it ain’t in the text, don’t try to import it in, or build it on-site.

    On the other hand, what does one do when observed reality seems to contradict scripture?  For example, Luther once took Copernicus to task over the then heretical concept of heliocentrism (earth revolves around sun), saying:

    “So it goes now.  Whoever wants to be clever must agree with nothing that others esteem.  He must do something of his own.  This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down.  Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth [Jos. 10:12].”

    Pinklight #4 ~ I used the illustration above (Luther on Copernicus) to show that there exists a wide gulf between figurative Hebrew poetry used to drive home a deeper truth (God’s sovereign power) vs. a  literal mechanical truth (sun orbiting earth).
    In the case of God putting enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, I believe that God allowed the hatred to germinate and become a malignant fungus vs. an actual mechanical decree.  Why? because the very next verse (v16) when understood in context is also descriptive vs. prescriptive.

  10. Greg,
    Thanks for your comments!

    I always thought it was ironic that the one whom the deceiver deceived would be the very one through whom the Messiah would come.  So the deceiver will be destroyed by the seed of deceived.  God has a way to turn everything around and bring good out of bad.

    There really is so much more underneath the tradition that we have been taught.  We are corrected by the text itself.

  11. This does not really go here but it is about Eve and the teaching out there about her. A friend sent me this today. It is a quote from Mark Driscoll about Eve.(CBMW disagrees with Driscoll as he allows women to teach men in Bible studies)  Driscoll is the rising star in the Reformed movement and is a big church planter. His teaching on Eve is illogical. If we follow his logic then NO MAN should ever preach or teach because they are all evil traitors on purpose like Adam. Perhaps men were redeemed but not women? (It must be nice to live in a bubble where no one ever points your logical fallacies to your face!)

    The full article by Denny Burke and John Hamilton is here:
    “Mars Hill Church has published a little book that describes the church’s posi­tion on various issues related to church leadership. In this book, Driscoll insists that “Paul’s clear teaching” is that “only qualified men should be elders/pas­tors.”32 Driscoll comes to this position in part as a result of his understanding of 1 Tim 2:12-14. Driscoll writes,
    Without blushing, Paul is simply stating that when it comes to leading in the church, women are unfit because they are more gull­ible and easier to deceive than men. While many irate women have disagreed with his assessment through the years, it does appear from this that such women who fail to trust his instruction and follow his teaching are much like their mother Eve and are well-intended but ill-informed.33
    Driscoll’s droll interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12-14 is precisely what makes his ap­plication of the text so surprising. Mars Hill Church endorses gifted (but ap­parently “gullible” and “easily deceived”) women to lead and to teach men so long as such women are not ordained as pas­tor/elder.
    It is the opinion of the present writers that not only is Driscoll mistaken in his interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12, but also his application of it to the ministries of his church is a non-sequitur. Why would one allow a person from the “gullible” and “easier to deceive” sex to lead and to teach God’s people? How could such a person possibly be qualified to teach and to lead when they are so easily brought under the spell of error? We are not ready to concede Driscoll’s interpreta­tion of Paul on this point.36 Yet even if we were to grant his interpretation, we believe that his praxis is hardly a legiti­mate implication of his exegesis. ”

    The article ends with this:

     “The whole process led Wayne Grudem to comment, “Suppression of any al­ternative point of view is probably the most common way for an egalitarian viewpoint to be advanced in a church… Mars Hill [followed] that pattern ex­actly.”53 ”

    The entire article is interesting because one can see they are moving away from the term ‘complementarian’ which I think is good. It does not fit and it is not honest. I also noticed that the only scripture they reference for their view on woman teaching men is 1 Tim 2.


  12. Those nasty egals are advancing cuz they cheat! How can we get them to cheat less?

    Give me a break!  When someone writes this type of non-argument, it means they have no better arguments.  What do the non-egals do?  They suppress dissent.  So they see this as what egals do.

    I think it is important to see that what the woman says God said contains an ambiguous or partial truth.  There were 2 trees in the middle of the garden.  Which one is she referring to?  If she is quoting God, which one is God referring to?

    And the important question is: Would God declare a sin of commission in an ambiguous way?

  13. Here is just some thoughts I have for right now, that I am sharing.

    Don said:
    ‘I think it is important to see that what the woman says God said contains an ambiguous or partial truth.  There were 2 trees in the middle of the garden.  Which one is she referring to?  If she is quoting God, which one is God referring to?
    And the important question is: Would God declare a sin of commission in an ambiguous way?’
    The serpent did not ask about the 1 prohibited tree. So when the woman responded to the serpent saying ‘the tree in the middle of the garden’, how did the serpent know which one she was talking about, if there were 2 in the middle? Did the serpent think she was talking about the tree of life?

    Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of treeS grow out of the groundtreeS that were a) pleasing to the eye and b) good for food. c) In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    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 c) in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”
    “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
    When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was b) good for food and a) pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

    Wish I could read Hebrew! Is there something I cannot see because I cannot rely on translation?

    In 2:9, the order is a) pleasing to the eye then b) good for food and then c) in the middle, but in Gen 3, through the woman ‘the order’ is backwards. c) in the middle, then b) good for food and then a)pleasing to the eye.  BUT thing is, the fruit of the tokogae was NOT b) good for food (see 2:9) no matter how she eventualy saw it. We know this because God gave them both while together what was good for food in Gen 1, fruit with seed. God gave them that which was good.

    Which trees grew out of the ground? Ones that were a) pleasing to the eye and b) good for food. What was truley pleasing to the eye and good for food? Trees that grew out of the ground, not the fruit of the tokogae.

  14. I am reposting some text from above, as it seems it might have been missed.

    I think it is important to see that what the woman says God said contains an ambiguous or partial truth.  There were 2 trees in the middle of the garden.  Which one is she referring to?  If she is quoting God, which one is God referring to?
    And the important question is: Would God declare a sin of commission in an ambiguous way?

  15. Pinklight and Don,

    I apologize for being so slow in answering.  Your thoughts and your questions are worthy of a new post of their own and I will be doing another post on Eve’s comments.  There is so much to unpack in Genesis that one cannot do it justice in only one or two posts.  I will try to get to the next article as soon as I can.  My time until the end of August is extremely limited. My sisters will be visiting and the day they leave, I leave for Idaho to confront Matt Slick on a Matthew 18 mission regarding his offenses against me.  I am also working on the final pieces of my new DVD and stressed with a September deadline to have all the editing, artwork and stamping finished for its October unveiling in Pennsylvania.  On top of that my Mom has taken ill and she has been very concerned that she will not come out of the hospital alive and I am suffering myself with severe pain and no time at all to do anything but take Tylenol 3s and suffer through it.  I really appreciate all the patience people have for me and as my Son says, after September I should be human again and able to actually have time to converse.  If you remember me in your prayers, pray for me that God will help me through this very stressful time and that my own patience will survive all of the differing levels of tribulation in my life.

    You said:

    I think it is important to see that what the woman says God said contains an ambiguous or partial truth.  There were 2 trees in the middle of the garden.  Which one is she referring to?  If she is quoting God, which one is God referring to?
    And the important question is: Would God declare a sin of commission in an ambiguous way?

    I don’t think that the woman’s answer was ambiguous or a “partial truth” at all.  While there were two trees in the middle of the garden only one tree was forbidden for them to touch and only one tree was forbidden for them to eat the fruit.  Both Eve and the serpent understood her statement.  The serpent showed that he knew which tree she was talking about because he responded that eating the fruit would allow her to know good and evil.

    Gen 3:5  “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    Would God declare sin of commission in an ambiguous way?  No, not at all.  God is very serious in repeating his commands so that we know what is sin in order to make it clear to us to keep away from sin and evil.  Eve’s testimony shows us that God took her to the tree itself and gave her the command there.

    God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'”

    This would only be ambiguous if one was not in front of the tree itself.  Eve commented on the tree’s location but she did not quote God as commenting on the location.  This would not have been needed since it was clearly pointed out to her.  God’s words are no more ambiguous than the word “it” is.  What is “it”?  Eve clearly understands and the word of prohibition that Eve pulls out of her conversation with God is clear to her and clear to the serpent who talks about the very same tree.

    This was all clear to Eve, but is it clear to us?  It is only clear to us if we accept the testimony of the woman that God communicated with her directly.  God pointed out the tree that was forbidden.  He calls the tree “it”.  God forbids both the man and the woman from touching this tree and thus forbids them from testing its fruit and he forbids them from partaking of its fruit in essence showing that eating of the fruit without life in it (without seed bearing fruit) would cause death and this was not good for them.

    Was Eve confused?  I do not believe so.  If she was, then why would the serpent so clearly understand what she was quoting from God?  I think it is clear.  Eve understood God who spoke to her directly.  The serpent understood Eve who accurately gave out God’s words to her.  The serpent seduced Eve and she fell for the lie.

    More on this shortly in my next post.

    Thoughts?  Questions?  While I may be slow right now especially if your questions cause me to have to think and reflect, I welcome your thoughts!

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