Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Did Adam hear the serpent?

So was Adam present when the serpent deceived Eve?

I have heard teaching recently that says he was. The serpent decided to talk with Eve about the fruit rather than her husband, and her husband, standing nearby, did nothing to intervene. Abdicating his role as spiritual leader, he allowed his wife to be deceived into sin, and he went right along with it.

But some of the ladies in our church, via a Bible study by John MacArthur, have challenged that. "That doesn't make any sense," they argue. "Why wouldn't Adam say anything? Why wouldn't the serpent speak to Adam as well as Eve?"

The controversy seems to swirl around Gen 3:6. In the ESV,

"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."
(emphasis added)

Was Adam with her when the serpent spoke? Or did Eve decide to eat after the serpent had left? By the time she took the fruit, Adam had joined her, or she had joined Adam.

At this point, I tend to lean toward the Adam-was-with-her-when-she-talked-with-the-serpent theory. Why else specify that Adam was with her? We would assume Adam was with her when she handed him the fruit; that wouldn't need to be specified.

What do you think?

I plan to investigate my Genesis shelf, maybe tomorrow, and report back to you what my commentators say.


Jeff Elliott said...

It's all about the placement of the phrase "who was with her". If you place it before the apple, then it seems he was there with the serpent. If you place it after the apple, then it seems that he was there when she gave him the apple. (Which, as you mentioned, we would infer) So why mention it, if we would infer that he was there to receive the apple? Interesting idea, I'll do some more study. Not sure that I would teach that without a clear interpretation.

Jeff Elliott said...

The more interesting question for me has been, "What if Adam did't eat the apple but Eve did?" What would life be like today?

Jeff Elliott said...

Matthew Henry says "No":
It is probable that he was not with her when she was tempted (surely, if he had, he would have interposed to prevent the sin), but came to her when she had eaten, and was prevailed upon by her to eat likewise; for it is easier to learn that which is bad than to teach that which is good.
Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, c1991). Ge 3:6.

Kent S said...

"Surely, if he had, he would have interposed to prevent sin."

I'm not so sure about that. The longer I live, the more I see people (including myself) doing the opposite of what "surely" I thought they would do.

Thanks for the input, Jeff.