Adam Loved His Wife Too Much

A man is supposed to love his wife — to forsake all others and to cling to her — so it may seem odd to say Adam loved his wife too much, but that’s the truth. Mind you, I’d heard this before: Eve was deceived, but Adam willfully disobeyed.

A little study shows this statement to be true. Scripture tells us Eve was deceived: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3 — emphases here and in the following verse are mine). And it tells us Adam was not: “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:14).

Adam, then, walked into sin with his eyes open. He knew the penalty for eating of the tree — death. He knew Eve was guilty and would have to die. So he ate too.

Why did he? The most logical explanation is that he loved her so much he couldn’t imagine life without her. I suppose he could also have thought that she now knew what he did not, and he couldn’t bear losing her that way either.

But here’s the thing. As I was spending time in prayer today, it hit me again that if I were somehow the only sinful person in the world, Christ would still have died. For me. He, the Good Shepherd who goes after the one lost lamb, would come seeking to save me.

That’s precisely the situation Eve was in — the one and only sinner in the world. But Adam, instead of believing that God could display his mercy along with his justice, apparently chose God’s gift instead of God. He had heard and understood and believed God’s clear command. Consequently, on one hand was God, but on the other was his wife, destined to die.

What Adam did, might actually seem noble and endearing. He loved his wife so much he was willing to die with her. But actually it was faithless. He could not see a way God could fix this mess. He therefore saw God as limited in His power or not loving enough to care or good enough to act. He chose Eve because he did not trust God.

In contrast, Abraham years later also heard God’s clear command — sacrifice your son. But previously he’d also heard God’s promise — through Isaac your descendants will become a great nation. On one hand God, on the other, God’s gift, so like the dilemma Adam faced.

Abraham believed God, and came through.

The interesting thing, though, is this: I don’t think Abraham loved his son less than Adam loved his wife. After all, this was the son of his old age. He’d waited eighty years for this boy (assuming he didn’t start wanting a son until he was an adult). And for fifty years, he and Sarah were “the infertile couple.”

Everything was at stake here. Everything. He had believed God, followed Him to the ends of the earth. He had no Bible to turn to for assurance, just a remembered encounter, a promise he trusted.

And it all hinged on this lad, this beloved son, this teenager who was to inherit his wealth and grow a nation. If Abraham took the knife to him, and he died, all he believed would crumble to ash. He’d lose his son, but he’d lose his God, too, for surely he couldn’t continue to worship a faithless deity.

Did Abraham wrestle with such issues? Did Adam? Scripture doesn’t tell us, but we know how the two men acted. Abraham chose God. He believed both the promise and the command. He committed to his son by committing to God.

Adam did the opposite. He chose his wife. He doubted God’s unspoken promise — His provision of Eve to meet Adam’s need — which led him to disdain the command.

If only he had loved God a bit more than he loved his wife!

Published in: on November 2, 2011 at 5:26 pm  Comments (8)  
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8 Comments

  1. It’s hard to say what Adam’s motivation was since the Scripture doesn’t tell us. I had an LDS friend tell me her church taught that God had placed Adam in a losing position. They told her Adam was commanded to stay with his wife, and yet he lost everything for doing so. Terrible teaching huh? I agree with you, Rebecca. When we are faced with temptation, or loss, it’s best to remember God is a higher prize than worldly gain and a greater ally than any friend. 🙂

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  2. That is an interesting take I hadn’t considered before: Adam should have reasoned like Abraham, “I guess God could bring her back from the dead.” May we choose God, and keep with open hands the gifts He gives us.

    ~Luke

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  3. It’s fascinated me that the Bible calls it “Adam’s transgression,” not “Adam and Eve’s transgression.” I wonder, did Eve truly sin at all, then? When she ate the fruit, her eyes weren’t opened to knowing good and evil. Only when Adam ate did both their eyes open to good and evil. If Adam had refused, would she have been fine?

    His decision to eat does seem to be connected to his feelings toward her, I think.

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  4. We spent a lot of time on this in Milton class. The conscenious was that they both sinned; Eve through pride, Adam through submissiveness to Eve.

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  5. Sarah, I’d never heard that LDS position. I suppose they have in mind the statement in Gen. 2, I think it is, about Adam clinging to his wife and the two becoming one flesh. I don’t see how his obeying God and not eating would have violated the admonition to cling to Eve. If anything — had she, in fact, died and Adam remained alive — she would have been the one not clinging.

    The thing is, God does give what appears to be contradictory instructions, or ones, at least, that we don’t understand. That’s why Abraham is such a great example because he believed God in the face of such. He didn’t step back and say, Wait a minute, God, just a few years ago, You said … so which is it??? He also didn’t excuse or alibi — I must have misunderstood … , or He probably really meant … He just believed and obeyed. I love that!

    Becky

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  6. May we choose God, and keep with open hands the gifts He gives us.

    Amen, Luke. Well said. God is to be loved, worshiped and held onto tightly. What He gives must take second place; it simply must or it becomes our idol.

    Becky

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  7. Jason, I’ve wondered about Adam sort of getting all the blame, too. I think now it hinges on this issue of willfulness. Eve was deceived, Adam chose to disobey.

    If Adam had refused, would she have been fine?

    I don’t think so. God’s command and warning said, for the day you eat of it you will certainly die. And clearly she ate of it. In her case, I guess the adage ignorance is no excuse would come into play.

    Clearly Eve didn’t come off any better than Adam. In fact the “He [her husband] will rule over you” aspect of man/woman relationships is a direct consequence of her sin (See Gen. 3:16).

    I can’t prove it, but I tend to think that Christ would have sacrificed Himself for Eve if she alone sinned. It seems consistent with His nature and the extent of His love. Adam didn’t want to wait to see if God could redeem the situation, so he plunged in right after Eve.

    Certainly I (and others who suggested this idea before me) am speculating about his motive, but again, it’s evident from the text and other Scripture that he acted knowingly. The most logical reason would seem to be this emotional connection he felt with Eve.

    Becky

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  8. Galadriel, interesting thoughts. In Milton class, eh? I never took Milton. Chaucer, yes, but not Milton. (I think I got a good bargain! Chaucer is one of the most entertaining classic writers! But then you got all this good theological insight, so maybe you got the best of it.)

    I don’t know if I would agree about the pride issue. Maybe.

    The thing is, she was deceived, meaning that she didn’t think she was doing anything wrong. Her problem was that she believed Satan instead of believing God. But as I read the text, it seems to me God told Adam (Gen. 2:16-17), not the couple, Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:21-24) not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So she would have gotten her info from Adam.

    Along comes Satan who says, Surely you won’t die. And that sounds like good news because, Look how beautiful that fruit is, how good it must taste, and glory be, it will even make me wise — Adam must have got it wrong. How could such good things lead to such a bad end. This gorgeous serpent must be telling the truth.

    Even if God reiterated the command directly to Eve — which easily might be the case, because Scripture doesn’t tell us every little detail of every story it records, and Eve answered Satan, “God has said …” so she was convinced up to that point the command was God’s — her deception is no different. She would be speculating on what God meant, perhaps — What does He mean, we’ll die? Perhaps we’ll die to our old way of thinking. He certainly can’t mean we’ll actually die. Satan’s right about that, surely.

    One way or the other, she bought Satan’s lie, which meant she broke God’s command.

    All that to say, I think the pride angle, certainly something we can relate to today, with our sin natures, wouldn’t equate with Eve being deceived. It would make her willful as Adam, I think.

    But maybe. 😉

    Becky

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