Summary: This passage makes it clear that man does not need to be totally depraved to be totally out of God's will, and that he who stands must beware less he fall.
A close study of the account of the fall of man has done more to open my
eyes to the danger of tradition than any other study I have done. Those who
profess to take it literally have done much in making it mythological by using
it to teach lessons that have no basis in the text itself. Those who pride
themselves on a high view of inspiration and a literal interpretation distort the
Bible as much by their additions as modernists do with their subtractions.
There can be no justification for either, for they establish ideas that are passed
down and become traditions.
The result is that there are many people who are like the girl who was
asked why she believed in God and she said, "I guess it runs in the family."
People believe all kinds of things just because it runs in the family. As
evangelical Christians, we know that no one can be saved by inheritance. We
ought also to recognize that we cannot know truth by inheritance. Just as we
cannot take our salvation for granted because we have a Christian inheritance,
so we cannot take for granted that we understand what the Bible is saying at
any point just because of our Christian heritage.
Martin Luther questioned tradition and it led to the reformation, but he
must also be questioned. We cannot believe things just because we have
believed them. Our past only is, but it does not justify anything, but the fact
is, we all fall into the danger of traditionalism. I don't how many times I have
referred to the classic truth among Christians that Adam was a
double-crossing scoundrel who tried to pass the buck unto his wife and blame
her for the mess they were in. Then Eve followed this show of depravity by
passing the buck to the serpent. Each was unwilling to admit any blame for
It is my conviction that a plain literal interpretation of the text will not
support this view, but it will show that to hold this view is to take issue with
God. I feel safer in standing with God and rejecting the popular view, but you
will have to judge for yourself as we examine the text. We are opening up the
oldest case on record, which is God verses Adam and Eve. God has
confronted Adam with a question: "Did you eat of the tree that I commanded
you not to eat of?" In verse 12 we have Adam's answer. He said, "The
woman whom you gave to be with me gave me of the tree and I did eat." The
traditional interpretation lays into Adam for this response from two angles.
First he had the audacity to throw the blame for his sin right back into the face
of God by saying it was the woman you have given me who was the cause of it.
Here is Adam blaming God and thereby becoming a perfect picture of an
utterly degraded and ungrateful child turning on his loving parent.
The second charge from the traditional view is that after he accused God
he turned on the woman he loved and put the rest of the blame on her. He was
demonstrating the total loss of his once noble manhood. The only problem of
this two-fold attack on Adam is that the evidence to support it is conspicuous
by its absence. Let me suggest what I see of the proper interpretation which
does not make Adam a hero, but it does have the virtue of taking the text into
account. There is no doubt as to Adam's guilt, but there is every reason to
believe that he is not guilty as charged by the traditional interpretation.
Look at the statement again and you will see that Adam responded by
giving a concise and accurate statement of the facts. God took it as just that.
It was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Adam was guilty
and he pleaded guilty as charged, and then gave the cause for why he did it.
He has been criticized harshly for doing so, but the record clearly backs him
up that it was the woman whom God had given him who gave him the fruit. It
is inconceivable to me that Adam is adding great sin to his record in this
statement. If the traditional view is right and Adam was throwing the blame
off on everyone else, why does God not even respond to this blasphemy with
the slightest rebuke? God takes it as a true response, and I choose to take it as
God did, and not try to make Adam guilty of horrible sins by reading in what
is not there.
When I read Luther's comment here that Adam added to disobedience