Summary: Men must avoid the danger of remaining silent in order to bless their families.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.

“He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?”’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.”’ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” [1]

Tradition seems to have always taught, and I had always assumed, that Eve was alone when the serpent approached her. This scenario, embraced by many Bible teachers, assumes that after she was deceived and had eaten some of the fruit she then went in search of Adam to induce him to share in her sin by eating some of the fruit. Larry Crabb has pointed out in the opening pages of a book published a few years ago that Adam was right there with Eve during the conversation with the serpent. [2] I doubted his assertion, and so I went looking for the original language.

The Word of God is quite precise in stating the case that Adam was present. “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” [GENESIS 3:6]. What is not apparent in various English translations, but is obvious in the original account, is that the serpent employed the plural throughout his seduction indicating that Adam was both present and silently permitting this seduction to proceed.

Think of that! Adam was with Eve when she was tempted by the serpent! That blows away my categories. Paul asserts that the woman was deceived [1 TIMOTHY 2:14]; and we draw conclusions which may be unwarranted from that knowledge. We tend to blame Eve for getting us all into this present mess, even though we know that technically Adam was responsible. But what if Adam was standing right there the whole time that Eve was talking to the serpent? This knowledge sheds new light on just how responsible Adam was for what happened. It gives us insight into the responsibility men bear before God. This puts a whole new twist on ROMANS 5:12. What does this say to us about not doing anything when we are not sure exactly what we should do or say? It sure makes inactivity look more sinful to me.

If Adam was there, then why didn’t he say something? Why didn’t he tell the serpent to get lost? Why didn’t he correct Eve when she misquoted the command not to eat of the tree? Why didn’t he suggest they go somewhere else to talk about the situation? Why didn’t he stop Eve when she reached for the fruit? Why was Adam silent? Though I’m not going to answer that right now, I think the answer will become obvious as we work through several concepts.

MAN’S MODEL—MAN IS CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE. What is your image of a “real” man? Perhaps you think of a real man as someone who reflects the image of, say Chuck Norris. Hollywood has done much to form our image of what a man should be. By the criterion of the silver screen a man is tall, dark and invulnerable. Above all else a real man is silent, never saying much, but maintaining a brooding silence in the face of every challenge. The modern image appears to be moving to an opposite extreme presenting a soft, vulnerable, almost effeminate image much like Billy Crystal. Either image is distorted, even warped. Many people today are confused about what a man should be.

Christians haven’t fared any better, as the churches are increasingly feminised. Family Life Seminars, Promise Keepers and hundreds of self-help books haven’t yet resolved the issue of what a man should be. We have a multitude of experts telling men how to be “good” fathers, “good” husbands or “good” whatever’s… There is obviously a problem and we Christians are relentlessly searching for answers.

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