Question: Why were Eve’s eyes opened after Adam ate?

Why weren’t Eve’s eyes opened when she ate? Why were her eyes opened when Adam ate? If God was showing mercy to Eve because of her ignorance and heart motivation, then why did Adam’s outright sin trigger her understanding of their actions? Was Eve’s sin not great enough? But then, why would Adam’s great sin effect her own understanding?

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.  Genesis 3:6-7

If there is a clue in the Genesis account to contribute to the notion of Adam’s federal headship. This is it. But, its funny I haven’t heard it taught on. I haven’t read anything about it on either side? Maybe I’ve missed something?

Here are some possible answers:

  • Sin affects everything. God details the consequences of their sin. Because of Adam’s sin, the entire creation was skewed. Eve was part of that creation consequence.
  • Adam was responsible for Eve. She fell because he did.
  • Its not significant. The time between Adam’s eating and Eve’s eating was close together, hence the consequence was because of both of their eating.

What do you think? Why were Eve’s eyes opened after Adam ate?

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9 thoughts on “Question: Why were Eve’s eyes opened after Adam ate?

  1. I believe the text shows no time lapse. Eve saw, she took, she ate, she ALSO gave to him (and he was with her through this whole thing) and he ate. And then their eyes were opened. I think the “also” there indicates that the second thing (Eve giving to Adam) happened at the same time the first thing happened (Eve seeing, taking and eating herself).

    Reading a time gap in there has all kinds of negative implications. First, that the serpent was Eve’s tempter, but Eve became Adam’s tempter herself. Second, that Adam had some kind of specialness to where Eve’s eyes weren’t open till after Adam ate. Third, that Eve was more culpable than Adam, because Adam didn’t hear what the serpent said and thus had no real idea of what he was doing.

    All these kinds of implications come from Jerome’s mistranslation into the Latin Vulgate which indicated that Adam was NOT present when Eve was tempted or when Eve ate. It was Jerome’s wishful thinking that the woman be held most responsible for the Fall, with the man as her unwitting victim. Reading a time lapse into it, even if one keeps the words “who was with her,” which Jerome left out, still runs the risk of falling into Jerome’s error and the negative view of women which we suffered under for a thousand years.

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    1. As my husband says, having Adam right there while the serpent deceives Eve just heaps all kinds of crap on Adam. How could he just stand by, knowing the serpent was shull of fit, and not enlighten her? He has such a hard time with that. It seems as if Romans makes it clear Adam was at fault. Did Jerome just ignore that?

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      1. I don’t know Jerome’s take on Romans 5. I’m not a Greek or Latin scholar myself. I’d have to do some more research on that.

        Genesis goes pretty clearly into Eve’s motives, but very little into Adam’s. The only thing Adam says (other than blaming God for giving him the woman) is that “the woman gave to me, and I ate.” But I think that has to have been his motivation– that he put Eve before God.

        Remember that both Adam and Eve were in a state of innocence. This is not the same as Christ’s sinlessness, though– it was a state of never having sinned, not of having successfully resisted every temptation. In their innocence, I really think neither of them quite knew what to make of the serpent, or what they should do about him. Eve believed what the serpent was telling her, and Adam didn’t, according to what Paul seems to be saying in 1 Timothy– but that doesn’t mean Adam had any experience to go on as far as what to do with a tempter. God had put him in the Garden to take care of it– but that doesn’t mean Adam knew how to tell the serpent to shut up and drive him out. No one had ever had a conflict before. Adam had never seen anyone be assertive or aggressive. He knew what a serpent was, because he had named the animals– experience Eve lacked, which may have played a part in her deception (and may have something to do with why Paul mentions this incident in connection with “let a woman learn”). He knew, or should have known, that this serpent was acting strange. But he was still innocent and in many ways, clueless. He seems to have just not been thinking!

        But the Scriptures aren’t really clear about why Adam did what he did. Still, it appears God did hold him more accountable than Eve, and NOT because of “federal headship.”

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  2. One more possible answer: Details in Jewish mythology can’t be parsed like that unless they’re emphasized in the story itself. Especially if we’re not reading the original text.

    More importantly, why do you assume she ate first rather than concurrently (or even after Adam)? There’s no indication of the timeline in that translation, unless the order in which events are listed is enough to determine chronology without any other information.

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  3. Some of the early Church Fathers (Irenaeus, Origen) regarded Adam and Eve as literally children growing up in their Parent’s Garden. Being children, the fruit of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen 2:17) was naturally inaccessible to them; yet, God planted this tree in the middle of the Garden because he definitely wanted them to eat of it when he discerned that they were ready. As often happens, however, children rush ahead and seize adult ways prematurely. According to Origen, Eve’s initiative merely represents the well-known case that girls mature earlier than boys. The serpent in this narrative is not what will later be identified as Satan in disguise (Wis 2:24; Rev 20:2) but the wisdom figure of ancient cultures. The serpent, accordingly, reveals quite rightly to Eve that by touching the fruit, she will not die—on the contrary, “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened [so as to discern good and evil], and you will be like God” (Gen 3:5). They ate and “the eyes of both were opened” (Gen 3:7)—just as the serpent revealed. The fact that they notice, for the first time, that they are naked only demonstrates that they are indeed seeing with adult eyes (and have lost the innocence of childhood). Then, once God discovers what has happened, he does not curse them. How could he? Rather, God says, “See, the man [lit., “earthling”] has become like one of us, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:22). Thus, God excludes them from the Garden where they might also eat of the tree of life and live forever. In so doing, God, acting like a good father, gets Adam ready for the curses of farming, and Eve is prepared for the curses of childbearing. In brief, Adam and Eve enter into the adult world wherein their Parent will no longer do everything from them. This reading of Genesis (which prevails today within the Eastern Orthodox Churches and within many Jewish circles as well) captures much more of the deep nuances of the ancient narrative than do those later readings that imagine Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan and committed a grievous sin worthy of death. Anselm regarded the crime as one of unpardonable treason since the children of God had taken the side of God’s enemy against him. In Anselm’s day, the punishment for treason was death, not only for the guilty participants in the crime, but for their children as well. It thus seemed natural that the death penalty imposed (‘spiritual death”) fell not only upon our first parents but upon all their future children as well.

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  4. Well, I may have yet another opinion on the subject. I do read it as is. Even in the Orth. Jewish Bible the verse read the same… woman ate first and give to the man. This by no means heaps guilt on the woman or anything else for that matter. This is not a blame game. The question is why did she not experience death immediately. In the Hebrew, God is saying that by partaking of this tree ‘you will die the deaths’ – plural. It refers to the physical death and spiritual death they would experience.

    It took 930 years for the cells in Adams body to eventually deteriorate and death to overcome him. Yet immediately upon eating – cellular death entered his body, as well as Eve’s. The immediate death they both experienced as Adam ate was spiritual. They both immediately felt fear and terror for the first time as the spirit of God departed the union they both had. Did God leave his children without His presence in the garden after creation? Certainly not. Never was it God’s intention to have His children without a close personal relationship.

    Psalm 8:5 states that man was crowned with glory. In Exodus 33, Moses asks to see God’s glory and in the very next verse God states that He will cause His Goodness to pass before Moses. Upon descending from this exposure to God’s Goodness, Moses cells are impacted and his face shines brightly. His natural strength is not abated at his death of 120 years and his eye sight is great. Jesus is also glorified at the transfiguration and his cells and appearance shines like the sun. Bottomline – exposure to God’s goodness has a tangible effect on our bodies.

    Adam and Eve in the Garden were thusly exposed to God’s Goodness in a powerful way. We imagine them walking about naked, but from this side of the event, in our natural thinking we see this in the natural. Indeed they were crowned with God’s glory – which was a very visible and powerful thing.

    The separation of God’s glory from them would have been IMMEDIATE and NOTICEABLE!
    Adam would have seen it and sensed it upon Eve’s face immediately. Ask your husband to grab an apple off the kitchen table, ask him to bite it and taste it, seeing that it is good. Watch the expression on his face, his smile as he licks the drops from his lips and hands you the fruit. Now take it from his hand and bring it to your mouth. No matter how you slice it — this takes time. If any spiritual death had taken place with Eve, the terror of spiritual separation from God would have been evident to Adam immediately. Nothing happened. The next verse not states that Adam ate. When Adam sinned death came upon them both. 1 Corinthians 7:14 shows the covering that the believer has over a covenant partner. A clear and deep understanding of covenant is needed when reading scripture as so much of it has covenant principles woven through the fabric of the messages.

    Satan states that he holds the keys and that these were given to him. This he states at the temptation of Christ. We acknowledge that it was Adam that gave these to Satan. It was Adam’s actions that lead to death. Romans does not say that through Adam and EVE’s sin death entered the world. But through Adam’s. Adam held an authority that was given him by God and it was his responsibility to cover his family. In this he failed. Husbands today are facing the same issues as father figures are far and few between.

    In the curse to Eve, God states that in her child bearing, pain will be multiplied. On what bases does she understand an increase? There has to be a baseline for there to be an understanding that this is a curse and a negative thing to be concerned about.

    Keep in mind that the entire bible is the story of the redemption of mankind and not a complete detailed history of every person that ever lived. Was it possible that Adam and Eve were in the garden for a long time in relationship with God before the fall? Adam named all the animals, (30 million species today) one passing before him every minute would take 50 years of 24 hour days! Safe to say he was there for a while. The tree being in the midst of the garden was not so that they WOULD partake of it. Eventually or ever. It was in the middle to be seen on a regular basis as a reminder of the fact that you have a choice. You choose God and relationship. You choose obedience. In the tending of the garden they would have to walk through the middle area of the garden often.

    As we see that when Adam ate they BOTH had their eyes opened – we see that Eve suffered separation from God as Adam ate – not when she ate. The story of Genesis picks up with Cain and Abel as children after the fall as they are linked to the line of righteous decedents and unrighteous. The story of redemption has begun. The line of Christ is being established. See Matthew chapter 1. Study the genealogies and you can see in ten generations Noah comes along and God is ready to wipe the earth clean. There are few who still follow God. Enoch is said to “walk with God”, Noah too “walks with God” — who were their influence to have such a relationship with God that “walking with God” is mentioned so precisely. If you study bible history and the influence of fathers (http://prezi.com/-qmedpwtyifq/a-biblical-history-of-the-world/) you can see that Adam was alive and influencing his children to “walk with God” as he walked with God in relationship in the garden. The naming of Adam’s first grandson, recorded, is a picture of the pain felt by Adam, this formerly eternal man, — He names his grandson Enosh — literally meaning — “Death doomed – Mortal”.

    I think it is clear that Adam and Eve suffered the reverse of what you felt when you were born again. They felt the terror of spiritual death and ultimately physical death followed. Adam’s sin was the cause for this. His one weakness was the love he held for his wife. Love is a powerful force. The most powerful. God has loved us and redeemed us from this curse.

    Hope that is at least interesting to you.
    Mark Hutzler – Olive Tree Publishing

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