Several readers noted that there is a creation myth for the complementarian weasel word reject passivity. This creation myth is rooted in a twisted version of the real creation story in Genesis. In this new twist on Genesis, Adam’s sin was failing to prevent Eve from being tempted into eating the forbidden fruit. As Reject Passivity at Authentic Manhood explains:
Genesis 3 changes everything. It’s in that infamous chapter that Satan tempts Adam and Eve to do the one and only thing God had asked them not to do—to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had given man “only one no in a world full of yes.”¹ But Satan tries to convince Adam and Eve to believe the lie that this one “no” must mean that God doesn’t have their best in mind and is holding out on them. Here’s how this climactic moment plays out:
“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 to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” (Gen 3:6).
Here’s the question for us as men: Where was Adam in this critical moment? Where was Adam when his wife was being tempted by Satan? You might want to believe that he wasn’t around when it happened, that maybe he was out hunting for food or building something. Unfortunately, the Bible makes it clear that he was right there “with her.” Silent. He passively stood there while his wife was under attack by Satan. In a moment when he could have spoken up and stepped into the situation and acted courageously to protect his wife, he just stood there with his manhood pants down.
Men have been living in Adam’s shadow ever since.
There are several fatal flaws with this argument, starting with the fact that God tells us in Gen 3:17 what Adam’s sin was:
17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
Adam’s sin was listening to (obeying) his wife instead of obeying God. We don’t need to guess what Adam’s sin was unless we are in a mood to argue with God.
But for the sake of argument, lets assume God didn’t tell us in Gen 3:17 what Adam’s sin was. The argument is that Adam was right there when Eve was tempted/deceived by the Serpent. But that didn’t happen in Gen 3:6 as Authentic Manhood claims. It happened in Gen 3:1-5 (ESV):
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The first question is where was Eve when this conversation took place? Was she in the center of the garden looking at the tree of knowledge of good and evil? We don’t know for sure, but I would say probably not. Nothing in Eve’s description of the tree suggests that she and the Serpent are looking at it:
3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
Eve describes the tree in a way that suggests it is located out of view, in a different part of the garden. Granted she is quoting God, so that might explain the phrasing. But at the very least there is nothing in Gen 3:1-5 to indicate that Eve and the Serpent are in close proximity to the tree when Eve is being tempted. Yet we know Eve was near the tree in Gen 3:6 when she took the fruit and ate it, and then gave some to Adam. Genesis doesn’t tell us that eve was tempted (3:1-5) while she was with Adam (3:6), so we don’t know that Adam was with Eve when the Serpent tempted her.
The other question is how much time elapsed between Gen 3:1-5 and Gen 3:6? In Gen 3:1-5 the Serpent got Eve’s hamster spinning by telling her that if she disobeyed God she could become like God. We can see the hamster wheel still turning in the beginning of Gen 3:6:
6 So 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 to be desired to make one wise…
How much time elapsed while Eve’s hamster ran on the wheel? Was it a few seconds? An hour? We don’t know. We just know that time was involved for her to decide to eat the fruit, which is reinforced by the word when.
The very argument complementarians offer to disregard what God himself tells us is Adam’s sin is that Adam was right there when the Serpent tempted Eve. But Genesis tells us no such thing. All it tells us is that Adam was with Eve when she picked the fruit and ate it.
There is yet a third problem with this modern feminist friendly interpretation of Gen 3, and that is the fact that it takes original sin from disobeying a specific command from God, to something we must assume Adam should just have known to do. If we reject what God tells us in Gen 3:17 and assume facts not in evidence (that Adam was with Eve in Gen 3:1-5) we still end up in a theological quagmire. If we expand original sin from a simple act of disobedience to God, we have to then determine when Eve first desired to disobey God in order to become like God, as that would be the sin Adam would need to protect her from. We must also determine when Adam, without having knowledge of good and evil, knew Eve was going to be tempted in this way. We must assume that Adam could anticipate how Eve could be tempted before Eve could experience this temptation.