In this continuing look at the creation and fall of man, today we come to the conversation between the woman and the serpent.
The first thing that we notice about the question that the serpent gives to the woman is that it is an attack on God as the source of supply for both Adam and his wife. The serpent asks:
“Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
What the serpent is saying to the woman is that God has not given them permission to eat at all. Is it just one tree that he says they are not to eat from? No. The serpent says that God hasn’t given them permission to eat from any tree. At this point the woman doesn’t quote from God, but she gives her conclusion. Remember in Genesis 1:29 God said:
Genesis 1:29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
Notice that in Genesis 1:29 God didn’t say to Adam and his wife that they could freely eat. He said they were given permission to eat from every single tree that passes the test. The test is that it must have fruit that yields seed. That is pretty understandable isn’t it? The woman understood it and she applied it. So when the serpent questioned her saying that God hadn’t given her permission to eat, she states that she does have permission to eat. She knows she has permission to eat because she has applied the test that God gave her and because she did what God asked of her, she ended up with the conclusion that she has permission to eat from the fruit of the trees in the garden.
At this point the woman now quotes God. She says:
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.'”
There are several options regarding why the woman said what she did, but I will only be discussing two diametrically opposed options that leave the woman either faultless or guilty of a crime against God.
The first option that I will look at very carefully is the very common argument from hierarchists that the woman added to God’s words. The claim is that the words “or touch it” was not recorded in scripture anywhere else saying “God said” therefore we must believe that the woman’s testimony is not true. She is presumed to have added words and illegally attributed them to God.
Now let’s think this one through. Does God make adding to his words a prohibition? Absolutely, yes he does. It is given as a prohibition three times from Deuteronomy and Proverbs and then specifically later on it is given about the words in the book of Revelation:
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.
In Proverbs we see that the result of breaking God’s prohibition is a reproof from God and God will prove the person is a liar. Thus those who add to God’s words are liars and will be disciplined by God himself.
This is an extremely serious sin and not one to be taken lightly. Is the woman guilty of adding to God’s words? One thing we know for sure. We cannot find someone guilty of sin without two or three witnesses:
Deuteronomy 19:15 “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.
We can see from God’s standard that the woman cannot be found guilty of any sin unless there is evidence of two or three witnesses. It is through two or three witnesses that we will find the matter confirmed or without these witnesses the matter is unconfirmed and the accused person goes free.
Is it a serious matter to charge someone to be guilty who is not proven guilty by the required witnesses?
Deuteronomy 19:16 “If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing,
Deuteronomy 19:17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days.
Deuteronomy 19:18 “The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely,
Deuteronomy 19:19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
Here we can see it is an evil thing to accuse someone of a sin without the matter being established with two or three witnesses. We cannot just accuse someone of sin without a solid foundation of evidence.
Since this is a serious matter, let’s take God’s method of judging the matter and apply it to the case against Eve.
Okay, let’s list two witnesses since that would be the minimum witnesses that are required for a finding of guilt against the woman.
Who is the first witness? Who charge the woman with adding to God’s word?
The first person to interact with the woman was the serpent. Did the serpent charge the woman with adding to God’s words? No he didn’t. Isn’t this odd? Satan himself speaking through the serpent didn’t even charge the woman. Let’s move on to the next witness.
Did Adam charge the woman with adding to God’s words? No he didn’t. When Adam faced God he did not say “The woman who you gave to be with me is more guilty than I am because she added to your words.” No Adam was silent about the woman’s guilt. No witness here either.
Well what about God Himself? Surely God himself would follow his standard and reprove her of adding to his words and thus prove her to be a liar, right? (Proverbs 30:6) Did God reprove Eve? Did God say that the woman was guilty of adding to his word? No one, not even God Himself charged the woman with adding to His own words. Do you know what this means? It means without a single witness against a person charging them with sin, we are forbidden by God’s word to attribute guilt to them.
The question is, what will you do? Will you take the position of accuser? Will you be a malicious witness falsely accusing the woman of sin when there are no witnesses charging her with sin? I think those of us who love God’s word and hold to the scripture’s authority would not want to be the one to cast the first stone. There are no witnesses that can be found in scripture that charge the woman with adding to God’s words.
My view is that if there are no witnesses to charge the woman with adding to God’s word (and there are no witnesses) then I accept her word that she told the truth. Indeed God did speak to both Adam and his wife and even though these words are not recorded elsewhere in scripture, we can accept the record of God’s words by the testimony of the woman.
Now where do you stand?