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.