And said the man, “the woman which you gave with me – she gave it to me from the Tree, and I ate.”
Note that Adam specifically used the word immad, which always means “with”. He did not say ‘the woman you gave TO me’, but “the woman you gave WITH me”, including himself with the woman as having been given by God to that place – near the Tree of Knowledge.
If we reverse engineer what Adam said, we read similarities to what scoffers say – that God set Adam and Eve up for failure:
“I ate, but only after the woman gave to me from THE Tree, which YOU put near us after YOU created us and put us together in the first place.”
Basically, Adam absolved all responsibility by deferring to God! We can’t interpret Adam’s tone, but depending on how we read his words, he was either justifying his actions or blaming God, but is there really any difference? They both place the onus for the transgression on God. After all, God designed everything, right? He created the snake with its craftiness, He put the Tree of Knowledge right there in front of them, ad infinitum – it’s as if God wanted Adam to fail, right?
God’s people – or at least, those we’d expect to be God’s people – still use this same justification today for the most ungodly acts imaginable. Usually, the proximity of the temptation (the Tree) is linked to the Creator in some way, even if they are subtle. Here are two real-world examples:
1. The Intern: A certain Christian leader is separated from his wife while leading a charismatic renewal. He becomes close with an intern (the Tree) on his staff and began what he called an “emotional affair”. The revivalist did not call it simply an “affair” or what it is, “adultery” – instead he deferred to his emotions. Though it’s subtle, He was inwardly blaming God for temptations he experienced within his natural flesh-and-blood prison, evoking emotions we all feel (which by the way was a result of what Adam did at the Tree). Basically, he said, “I’m only a fallen human, right?” To this day, that man and his now-second-wife admit they sinned, but “do not regret marrying (each other)”, which is to say that they don’t regret sinning.
2. The Prostitute: A certain televangelist spots a prostitute (a Tree) on the side of the road, and solicits her for sex. When confronted, the televangelist defiantly told elders of his denomination, “The Lord told me it’s none of your business.” It’s apparent that the televangelist thought that God wanted him to satisfy his sexual urges, making it an arrangement between “the Lord” and himself. In other words, he doesn’t regret sinning because ‘It’s the Lord’s business.’
In the first example the revivalist leader was subtly blaming God for his lack of self-control, while in the second example, the ‘prophet’ justifying his lack of self-control by bringing the Lord “in on it”. This follows in the manner of Adam, because whether blame or justification is deferred to God, the bottom line is:
It’s all God’s fault.
Let’s be clear, I think that the motivations for eating from any of these “trees” – lust, loneliness, power, jealousy, spite – are natural. So too is the manner of which these men reacted, out of places of panic, pride, or even shame. However, surrendering to nature, or having any reaction other than a fearful repentance is contrary to the meaning of life. We are to be a kingdom of overcomers, a tried but blameless people, who find forgiveness in Almighty God.
It would have been better for these men to react like David, after he fell at his own Tree (Bath-Sheva) and said, “I have sinned against YHVH.” (2 Sam. 12:13)
Adam’s reply (well you put the woman and that Tree here in the first place) is eerily similar to what scoffers say, as in: ‘God gave you those desires, so why should He be mad if you sin?’ Adam’s reply is also a near paraphrase of what deceived people say, which is similar to ‘well God must’ve put her in my path for a reason, she understands me, unlike my wife’.
Scoffers mock God for putting the Tree right next to Adam, accusing God of tempting mankind into sin. But I suggest that ‘the Tree in the midst’ is a lesson to us, as Adam and Eve’s posterity. There is no Tree of Knowledge anymore, but there’s an intern in our office, a prostitute in our path, and a Bath-Sheva off our balcony. There are drug dealers next door, and pornography with a click of the mouse. Indeed, every temptation is in our midst!
We are designed to overcome, but that only comes with obedience to God’s commandments. I know of One only – Messiah Yeshua – who was tempted in every way that we were, and yet overcame every sin (cf. Hebrews 4:15). That’s why He’s the Anointed One, and consequently why He kept His anointing forever.
If we fail, it’s best to repent immediately like David, and not make it worse. Otherwise we blame God, or justify it to God, the penalty of which is the same as Adam’s – death! Therefore, let us react to the temptations all around us, not as Adam by blaming God, but as Messiah Yeshua, who would have no part of it. God has put us here to overcome, just as Messiah overcame, and sat down at the right hand of God.