Further thoughts on the temptation of Eve (and a clarification)
1 Timothy 2:13-14 (ESV) 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
After the service on Sunday, I had someone bring the above verse to my attention. They wanted to challenge me that Eve was deceived, when I said she was not. I think I must have had a ‘deer in the headlights’ look. I couldn’t remember saying in the sermon that Eve was not deceived. I went back and listened to what I had said. And upon further review, it might have been inferred when I asked the question, ‘was Eve deceived by Satan?’ The point I made after the question was that Eve had the facts laid before her. She should have known better what choice to make. Yet she chose to believe the lie. She had deceived herself (under Satan’s influence) into thinking she could somehow obtain what she wanted on her own. This is the lie that everyone of us believes when we choose to sin. We think the sin, in some way, will bring us greater satisfaction than by abiding by God’s command. If I implied that Eve was not deceived, please accept my clarification. Eve was certainly deceived. She believed the lie she was told over the truth that she knew.
So what are we to make of 1 Timothy 2:13-14? Is this saying that Adam did not exchange truth for a lie? Was he not self-deceived like Eve? This is where we must be careful about the context of any given passage. Paul is addressing the issue of teaching and authority in the church. He states in 1 Timothy 2:12, ‘I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.’ Paul says that women should not assume the spiritual leadership of the church. And for the reasons why, he goes back to the first marriage- the one between Adam and Eve. His first reason is that Adam was created first. And as such, before Eve was created, Adam was given the task to oversee God’s creation and he was given the one command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:15-18). All of this was given before Eve entered into the story. Adam was to lead his family spiritually in obedience of God’s command. And most likely, Eve received her instruction from Adam when she replied to the serpent that they were not to eat of the tree, ‘nor even touch it’. Adam may have told her to avoid even touching the tree for their protection. So Adam, by the created order, was given authority over Eve. And then second, Eve not only disobeyed God, she disobeyed her husband. She made a spiritual choice that affected all of humanity. We have no idea where Adam was when the Serpent tempted Eve. Most storybook Bibles portray Eve as being alone. But either way, Adam was not present in a way to protect Eve, nor did Eve consult her husband before she made the decision on behalf of her family. This doesn’t mean Adam was not culpable for sin. He also ate of the fruit after Eve. David Platt and Danny Aiken say it well, ‘Adam sat back and did nothing, and God's design was distorted. In short, sin entered the world when man abdicated his God-given responsibility to lead. Man didn't step up with godly, gracious leadership.’ (see Christ-Centered Exposition -Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus). But because of Eve’s deception, she brought upon herself the curse of not be willing to accept her husbands rule graciously (Genesis 3:16). It would bring a resentment to his authority. So Paul is making the argument from marriage that men have been given spiritual authority in their homes by God due to the created order. They should step up to that responsibility. And that women are to accept that authority as an outcome of Eve’s failure at the temptation, even when they don’t want to do so.
In either case, whether it is in Genesis 3 or 1 Timothy 2, we need to look for the lie. In Genesis three, we must not believe the lie that there is a better outcome by disobeying God’s command. Eve’s sin brought forth death exactly as God said. And in 1 Timothy, our homes and churches are not to operate outside of God’s boundaries. Don’t believe the lie that we know best and usurp an authority or fail to lead when God has told us otherwise.