The silence of Adam was it a sin?

The silence of Adam was it a sin?

In our continuing discussion about the fall of man, we have seen that there are no witnesses and no charge of sin against Eve for adding to God’s word.  Therefore we must conclude without any charge of sin, that the woman did not add to God’s word.  Can the same be said about Adam regarding his charge to guard the garden?  Is there also no witness to Adam’s “sin”? Let’s have a look at the scriptural account.

In Genesis 2:15 we find out why God put Adam in the garden in the first place.  Remember that man was made outside the garden and then brought into the newly planted Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it.  The Hebrew word “shamar” means to guard or to protect.  Obviously if a garden needs to be guarded and God set forth a watchman over the garden, there was a need for protection.  Let’s move on to God’s interaction with Adam to see what we can learn from God’s words.

Genesis 3:9  Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

In the Hebrew it clearly shows that the LORD God is calling out to the singular man not to both Adam and Eve.  Here we can see God calling out to the watchman.  What is God’s appointed watchman doing?  The watchman is hiding.  Will this watchman be called to account?

Genesis 3:17  Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.

God says two things to Adam.  He says “Because you have listened….”  “and have eaten”.  There are two things that Adam is being called to account for.  The first thing is that Adam listened to his wife’s voice.  When did Adam listen to his wife’s voice?  The only recorded mention of Eve’s speaking is when she was speaking to the serpent.

The watchman is required to guard from the enemy and to protect the innocent.  God also made Ezekiel a watchman to Israel.

Ezekiel 3:17  “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me.

A watchman is required to warn.  When one warns about sin, this provides protection to both the innocent and the sinner.  In my first article about the unfaithful watchman I showed how a watchman was to warn the wicked about their sin.  Yet there is another job of the watchman and that is to protect the innocent from falling into sin.

Ezekiel 3:20  “Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand.
Ezekiel 3:21  “However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself.”

The righteous person is to be warned so that they do not fall into sin.  However we find that Adam did not confront the serpent about his sin and he did not warn the woman about the trap that was being set before her.  He was silent.  Now think about this.  If a city is vulnerable to attack and they set a watchman to sound the warning so that they can defend themselves when the enemy arrives, what is a watchman to be charged with who is silent when he sees the enemy approach?  That watchman is to be charged with treason.

Treason is the betrayal of a trust or confidence, a breach of faith; treachery.  This is exactly what God said about Adam’s actions.  In Hosea 6:7 God says that Adam acted treacherously.

It is an act of treason to say nothing and let the plunderer in to plunder and take captive.  Adam listened to the voice of his wife as she was taken captive.  He committed treason as he did not give out God’s words and he did not warn of danger.

God said “Because you listened….”  There is no other sin that comes from listening alone other than treason.  Treason is the sin of saying nothing when you have been appointed as a watchman who is required to sound the warning.

Ezekiel 33:1  And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Ezekiel 33:2  “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman,
Ezekiel 33:3  and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people,
Ezekiel 33:4  then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.
Ezekiel 33:5  ‘He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life.
Ezekiel33:6  ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’
Ezekiel 33:7  “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me.

God, the righteous judge, has charged Adam with treason.  A watchman who is silent when the enemy comes in like a lion has committed treason and he has allowed the innocent to be taken captive.  God said “because you listened…”  The charge is clear that listening without action is an act of treason. Treason is one of the reasons why sin entered the world through Adam and why the earth was cursed on his behalf and not on behalf of the woman.

God judges all of his watchmen the same.  There is one standard because God is a God who is not a respecter of persons.  Was God required to judge Adam as a God-appointed watchman?  Absolutely!

The silence of Adam, was it a sin? Absolutely and God justly judged Adam’s silent treason.

12 thoughts on “The silence of Adam was it a sin?

  1. My take is it is always a judgment call about a sin of omission, where this is not the case with a sin of commission.  The man was to guard the garden and failed, I agree. 

  2. By judgment call, I mean a guard is meant to guard, but they might claim they are guarding (for example) by guarding the front door when someone sneaks in the back door.  Was the guard doing his job or not?  This is a judgment call, at least in some cases.

    But if someone is told to NOT do something and they do it, they is no debate about whether they obeyed the charge, they did not obey.  So those are more black and white decisions.

  3. Hi Don,
    As you have said in other areas, the Hebraic way is to have the logical assumption implied.  Yet still in scripture we have enough evidence to charge Adam. 

    1. We have God’s charge of sin in Adam listening to the voice of his wife.

    2. We have God’s charge of treason (treacherous) in Hosea 6:7

    3. We have Paul’s confirmation that Adam was not deceived in 1 Timothy 2:14

    4. We have the scripture telling us specifically that Adam was with Eve (Genesis 3:6)

    Putting it all together we have a very sad state of affairs.  We have a man charged with guarding the garden but who is silent when his wife is being taken captive by the enemy.  He was not deceived by the lies of the enemy but he knew and understood the truth the entire time that his wife was being taken captive by the lie.  Adam cannot say that he was guarding the back door when the enemy came in the front door.  Adam was right there at the front door.  He failed to guard the door and he failed to sound the warning.  If he had spoken up and warned Eve of the danger, I have no doubt that things would have been different.  Yet God is still sovereign and God made provision for this deception and the sin that came into the world through Adam’s failure as a watchman and Adam’s deliberate choice to eat the fruit. 

    I am constantly in amazement at how our Christian culture allows us to make excuses for Adam and yet we are willing to charge Eve with sin without any evidence that she added to God’s word.  We need to lay the blame solely at the feet of Adam because that is the only one that God charged with treason.  God’s wisdom in this matter is the key since God knew Adam’s heart and all of his actions.  God gave Adam no wiggle room out of the charge of sin.  Because of this, Adam’s sin stands without excuse.

  4. I agreed with your analysis about the sins of the man in the garden, it is mine also.  I was just pointing out that some aspects of sins of omission are debatable, where this is not the case with sins of commission.  The man was not guarding the front door when the serpent sneaked in the back door, they were all in the same place.  My door example was just to show there may not be a black and white ability to decide in all cases vis-a-vis sins of omission.

  5. Don,

    I wanted to make it perfectly clear for everyone else reading this post and the comments that Adam was without excuse.

    As far as judging the sins of omission, we cannot set ourselves up as judge and jury of others.  God is the ultimate judge.  We are to judge ourselves and test ourselves so that we can stand before God without shame.  My post was not mean to be an indictment of anyone else but Adam.  At the same time I set myself up as a judge of my own inadequacies.  Where is it that I should have spoken up when I was silent?  What happened to Adam is a strong warning for me to be faithful.  God doesn’t just look on my sins of commission but he sees what I know and understand but have failed to share with others.

  6. Yes, it is a good idea to see how one is like each of the characters in a Bible story.  When they fail, how do I fail like them?  In this case, when the man did not speak up, how do I not speak up when I should?

  7. I wonder if there is any other lesson for us today? While, “we cannot set ourselves up as judge and jury of others”, as Cheryl rightly observes, do those within the “commissioned” leadership of the Church today also stand in a place of accountability to cry out about the merchandising and abuse of the Gospel, as some are doing? Paul certainly did that in his letters to Timothy and Titus, even naming names. It seems that those with influence who are not deceived are too often silent because that very position of influence could be threatened.

    Cheryl has enough on her plate not to “go there”, but perhaps for some, not accusing Adam on this issue might justify more than their position regarding gender.

  8. Another observation then surfaces; that Adam’s initial and root sin was not “eating from the tree”, as is popularly thought?

  9. Ron, well it is noteworthy that God first of all said “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and …” that the first sin was listening and doing nothing.  So technically the first sin came from Adam and not Eve.  His failure to be a Watchman was the first sin and after letting in the enemy take his wife captive, he joined her captivity.

  10. Hi Cheryl,

    That was very clear and I agree with you.  I could read everything that you wrote that Adam did not do and see my own failure and treachery as “keeper of the home” and “help meet” to my husband (although, unlike Adam, I think I was deceived by all the teaching about women keeping quiet and my MISunderstanding of submission).

    The Greek word translated “homemaker” (NKJV) or “housekeeper” is oikouros. This is a compound word from oikos– house, household, family; and ouros– a guard, be “ware”, guardian, a watcher, a warden. So, the word ” oikouros” translated “keepers at home”  carries the meaning of watchman a similar meaning to the Hebrew shamar used of Adam’s “keeper” assignment. 

    I think “KEEPER of the home” has nothing to do with domestic servitude.  Making it about domestic servitude really robs women, children, husbands, and the body of Christ and is a form of deception and treachery from what source?  From the same source as the deception in the garden: none other than “the father of lies”.

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