Adam, Eve, and the Knowledge of Sin

By Kersley Fitzgerald

When my kiddo was little and I was cooking, I would tell him not to touch the pretty, red, glowy burner. Although he understood the concept of temperature variations, he did not understand the pain of burning flesh and the potential permanent tissue and nerve damage incurred when toddler hand meets 300-degree metal. What he did know is that Mom told him not to touch. What was his motivation for not touching? That he wanted to please me? That he trusted me? That playing with trains sounded more interesting? I don't know. It didn't matter. If the end goal was to avoid pain, it functionally didn't matter why he kept himself from touching the burner.

He is now 14. He understands burns a little better. He has touched hot things, although with no permanent damage. He has seen movies where a character is burned and the flesh damaged. But he has still never touched a hot burner. He still does not have comprehensive knowledge of all the ramifications of flesh touching 300-degree metal. And he has no desire to find out personally.

Adam and Eve were in the same situation. I mean, except they had animals instead of trains. The main difference was that one of the trains came up to Eve and said, "You know, if you touch the burner, you'll have more knowledge about heat transfer like your mom." Mind you, I have a degree in mechanical engineering and I've watched more graphic shows than my kid, so I do have a better idea about what could happen when you touch a burner, although, like God with sin, I have never experienced it personally. I just have a greater understanding of the results and a greater desire to avoid those results.

Adam and Eve didn't have to have a comprehensive understanding of sin to avoid sin. They should have been content with their understanding of God as a loving, generous creator and friend. That's where we go astray, too. We sin because we think we're missing out, when God is all we need. We're too foolish to realize that playing with trains is a much better use of our time than touching pretty, red, glowy things.

There's a common argue that Adam and Eve were at a disadvantage because they didn't know enough about good and evil to avoid sin. Ironically, this argument clearly illuminates why Adam and Eve sinned because it's only ever made by people who know about good and evil and choose to sin anyway. Curiosity, distrust, deception, and rebelliousness informed their decision, not their lack of knowledge of sin. Do we really think that if they knew more about sin they would have obeyed? How well does that work for us? I mean, we know about sin, the ramifications of sin, and we still touch the burner.

The carrot in this mixed metaphor is that although they didn't know sin, they knew God. They walked with Him, talked about stuff — I mean, even if the animals did talk, God would have been the only intelligent conversationalist they had. And they had His undivided attention every day. In person. Right there.

And it still wasn't enough.

There were myriad reasons why Adam and Eve sinned, but ignorance of sin wasn't one of them. Their story serves as the oldest precautionary tale in history. In their lives and ours, there are a million reasons to sin, and One not to.

Image Credit: Justin Miller; "Daily Shoot 01.18.10: Simpmlicity"; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Truth  | God-Father  | Sin-Evil

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Published 4-4-16