And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. (1 Tim 2:14)
When thinking about the doctrine of Original Sin, I have always felt that the fact that Eve seems to sin first kind of complicates the matter.
Further, Romans 5:12 states:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…
How did sin start through one man (which Romans 5 makes specific is Adam) when Eve played a part in it, if not even sinned first?
My pastor, Jim Harrison of Red Mills Baptist Church in Mahopac, NY has been doing a series from the DesiringGod.com curriculum concerning Biblical Masculinity and Femininity. I think through this study, I have gained a greater appreciation of biblical gender roles, but also insight into the first few chapters of Genesis.
In a very real way, before the Fall, Adam was made with the responsibility of leading and taking care of his wife Eve and she was made his “help-meet.” Before we go accusing people of being misogynist, let it be known that the Bible does say, “For indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake” (1 Cor 11:9).
Nonetheless, the idea is that Adam sinned not by simply eating the forbidden fruit, but rather he did not live up to his responsibility of leading his wife:
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 desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. (Gen 3:6)
So, Eve did sin in that she desired to “be wise” and “like God,” in a way throwing of the authority of not only her husband, but God Himself. However, Adam sinned before he ate of the fruit (though the fruit gave him knowledge of good and evil.)
You see, he like Eve desired to be like God and shirk His authority. He was just afraid that he would die, because that’s what God warned him. When Satan approached his wife and gave the idea to Eve to do the thing that Adam was probably thinking of doing already, he just stood and watched. After all, Gen 3:6 states that Eve simply just gave the fruit to her husband. He was close by and purposely did not stop Eve from sinning (even though he had told her an account of what God had told him not to do.)
It should be noting that desire or temptation is not sin, but yielding to that desire or temptation is. So, Adam did not sin yet.
I have to give thanks to Kirk Cameron’s movie Unstoppable for illustrating the point that “Adam used his wife as a guinea pig.” It appears that Adam, when he heard Satan voicing his deception that Eve wouldn’t die, that he wasn’t deceived like Eve was. She thought everything was fine, while he was not sure…he wanted to see what would happen first. If she died, and Satan was proved a liar, “better her than me” he thought.
The moment Adam thought this and decided to himself he was not going to protect his wife from Satan, he sinned. In this way, Eve saw Adam’s silence as tacit approval and then she decided to partake of the fruit and then she too sinned. Then they gave birth to children and passed sin to the world. In this way, sin spread to all mankind.
Therefore, Eve fell into transgression by deception while Adam fell into transgression by omission.