In my last post I showed how in Genesis 1:29 God spoke to both the man and the woman directly and told them both what they were given permission to eat. This effectively destroys the argument that Adam was the one delegated to give direction to the woman regarding what she could and couldn’t eat. God did not delegate this important instruction but took the initiative to make sure that the woman also knew from his own mouth what was permitted. In the permission given in Genesis 1:29, God said that they could eat from two different categories of food. The first category was an addition to what God had previously told Adam. God added permission to eat the plants of the field that yielded seed. The second category of food was the qualification which added the information that they could eat from every tree that had fruit yielding seed. This was additional information given to both the man and the woman but not given by God to Adam alone when God first created Adam. God had not stated at that time any information about the seed bearing fruit neither did he say anything about permission to eat from seed bearing plants. Thus more information about permissible food was given at a subsequent time and God saw no problem in repeating himself or adding additional information. The permission given by God in chapter one in essence made the woman a fruit inspector. She was to inspect the fruit to see if it qualified as good food permissible to eat.
Now let’s explore this further and look at what transpired in Genesis chapter 3.
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
Here the serpent questions God’s permission for their provision. What the serpent was saying is “What are you doing? Hasn’t God told you that you do not have permission to eat from the fruit of any of the trees in the garden?” Remember that God spoke directly to the woman in Genesis 1:29 and gave her permission to eat from every tree that has seed bearing fruit. The serpent is not directly questioning the prohibition of one tree, but questioning the permission to eat at all. He is questioning the goodness of God as their provider and source. The woman’s answer reflects the permission that she has been given:
Genesis 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;
How does she know that she is allowed to eat from the fruit of the trees of the garden? She knows that she is allowed to eat because God has given her permission to be a fruit inspector. She is to inspect the fruit, see that it is seed bearing and then understand that this fruit has been given to her by God’s permission to eat. From the woman’s answer we can understand that she has been busy as a fruit inspector because she knows that she has permission to eat from the fruit of the trees of the garden.
The next piece of information is once again an addition to the basic information that God gave Adam. The woman continues:
Genesis 3:3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden…
In chapter 2 after God had created Adam and placed him in the garden, God caused the growth of the fruit trees:
Genesis 2:9 Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Here we have identified two trees in the midst of the garden that are outside of the normal fruit trees. They were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam was told that there was only one tree that had fruit that was not given by permission. God did not say the location of the tree but that would not have been needed since Adam was there when God created and named the trees including the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. While these trees were created after Adam was placed in the garden, the woman was not there to see the creation of the trees. She was the one who needed to know where this special tree was located.
The woman identifies that the location of the tree was given to her by the words of God. It is her testimony that “God has said”. The woman now identifies to the serpent the only exception to her position as a fruit inspector.
Genesis 3:3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'”
The woman said that “God has said” that they (plural) may not touch the fruit from this special tree. If they are not allowed to touch this fruit, then it is to be noted that they must now accept by faith that this fruit does not have seeds. They were allowed to inspect all of the fruit for seeds on every tree except for this one. All of the other trees had life in their seeds, but the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil did not have the life seed in it. We know this by putting together the two pieces of information that God has given at different times from Genesis 1:29 and Genesis 2:16, 17. God now is giving them a test of faith. They must accept that there is no life in that fruit without having to inspect it for themselves. They are not allowed to touch this fruit and so they are not allowed to inspect the fruit for seeds.
In this account we have the opportunity to learn several important things about God. We can learn that God gives his permission and lack of permission in several different ways and at different times. We can see that God added permission regarding what to eat when Adam and his wife were both together in his presence. God gave them additional food to eat when he added permission to eat from seed bearing plants. We can also see that God gave additional information to them about testing for seed bearing fruit as God added information previously not given to Adam alone. God chose not to give this important information to Adam alone but waited until both Adam and his wife were together.
In addition to the new information added in Genesis 1:29, the woman also reveals that God gave them both more information about the prohibition. In Genesis 3:3 she reveals that God gave the location of the forbidden fruit and God also gave a restriction that disallowed them from touching the forbidden fruit thus forbidding them to test the forbidden fruit to see if it had seeds. They must now believe in God’s testimony that this one fruit did not have life because it was the only one without seed bearing fruit. They were to accept what God said by faith.
What we can see from this added information from Genesis chapter 1 and Genesis 3 is that God is capable of adding information regarding his permission to eat and he is not restricted from the words given originally to Adam alone. The information that is added in Genesis 1:29 to both the man and the woman is not a contradiction of the information given to Adam in chapter 2. God gave the basics to Adam and added to it later. That is God’s prerogative and it is one way that God repeats the important information for their benefit (Phil 3:1 Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit confirms that repetition is a safeguard for us).
There are some who try to make the woman’s words in Genesis 3:3 to be a fabrication by the woman to add to what God himself had said. They take this position because they have been taught that the man alone has been given the words of God and he was given authority over his wife to instruct her in God’s words. Because they focus on God’s words to Adam alone and they assume that this is all of God’s revelation to the man and the woman, they make Eve out to be an unfaithful witness. To those who believe this way, I would like to ask these questions:
1. Where does it say that God gave Adam authority to be the priest represent God to the woman?
2. Why do we test the woman’s testimony only by what God told Adam in chapter 2? Shouldn’t we consider that Genesis 1:29 shows that God is capable of adding to the word that he gave to Adam?
3. What reason did the woman have to lie about what God said?
4. Why did God not mention the woman’s addition to his words when he confronted her? Is it not a principle of God’s that he will reprove those who add to his words? Was the woman found to be a liar by God? No. God did not charge her with this sin.
The woman directly quoted God. Is there any reason not to accept the testimony of a woman who was sinless at the time, who was not accused of the sin of adding to God’s words by God himself, and had no reason to sin?
Proverbs 30:6 Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.
Was the woman found to be a liar by God or did his silence about this “sin” show that she was innocent of the charge of adding to God’s words and thus she was a true witness of words that God himself spoke to them after her creation?
5. If God trusted both the woman and the man to be fruit inspectors and spoke to them both about his permission for them to eat, then why have we accepted the tradition that God speaks to the woman through the man? Have we not added to the scripture and invalidated its truth by our own traditions?
Matthew 15:6 … And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
We must not test the woman’s words by only one witness that God gave to Adam alone. God has shown us through scripture that he has multiple testimonies and all these testimonies are true and do not contradict each other. God is capable of adding to his permission and adding to his restriction and this is clearly what he did with Adam and his wife.
Now let’s consider another claim of hierarchists that Eve was not lying but that she was mistaken about what God said. Is this possible and is there any evidence of this from the context? First of all we have already considered that Eve heard directly from God about what was permissible for food and what was not permissible. We also know that God gave the woman to be a helper to Adam. A helper in scripture is one who brings resources to the one who has a need. If God had made the woman to be a childlike one who could not get a simple command straight, how is it that she could be a helper to Adam? The truth of the scripture is that the woman was never charged with being mistaken, wrong or lying. No one made a charge that she did not get God’s command right including God himself. Without a charge from Adam (that she misrepresented him) or God (that she misrepresented God), we are forced to conclude that there is no evidence at all to believe that she was either lying or mistaken about a very simple command that a child could understand.
Another question that some ask is why Eve is given a command that is different that the one we have recorded in scripture by God’s command to Adam? Eve is not given a different command than was given to the man. The woman clearly said that God said “…you shall not eat from it or touch it” and this is the plural form in Hebrew showing that it was spoken to both of them. There is no different rule for man than for woman. The rule is the same. It is an addition from what was stated to Adam in chapter 2 but in God’s sovereignty he can add to his own commands without contradiction. We cannot assume that God spoke only one time about his permission and his non-permission when the text says otherwise.
In another post we will be talking about the consequence of sin, Satan’s strategy and how hierarchists have distorted the events of the fall.