A week ago we had the right reverend James B. Jordan in the pulpit of Providence Community Church. It is normal for us to have a time of discussion about the sermon after the worship service and Reverend Jordan led that discussion as well. We were having audio problems that day and neither the sermon or his discussion are available at this time. I would like to get some discussion on one thing Rev. Jordan said though so here it is…
His sermon was on the use of symbolism in the bible and how we, as western Christians, have difficulty thinking in those categories. It was quite interesting and gave me much to think about. The discussion that followed challenged my thinking about one particular event in the Genesis creation/fall account.
What was the first sin in the garden? I know that Adam represented all of mankind with his sin but in what way did Eve sin before Adam? In particular was Eve sinning when she said, ” “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
Here was Rev. Jordan’s take on the issue: Eve learned the commandment from Adam. She was his helper and worked with Adam to flesh out obedience to the command of God. The phrase “nor shall you touch it” was simply applied theology (my term not Rev. Jordan’s). She issued a good commentary on the law and it was not an adding to the Word of God.
I had never heard that interpretation before though I have since found that Calvin held to something not much different:
“When she says, God has forbidden them to eat or to touch, some suppose the second word to be added for the purpose of charging God with too great severity, because he prohibited them even from the touch. But I rather understand that she hitherto remained in obedience, and expressed her pious disposition by anxiously observing the precept of God; only, in proclaiming the punishment, she begins to give ways by inserting the adverb “perhaps,” when God has certainly pronounced, “Ye shall die the death.””
And Matthew Henry as well:
“It was an instance of her resolution that she adhered to the command, and faithfully repeated it, as of unquestionable certainty: “God hath said, I am confident he hath said it, You shall not eat of the fruit of this tree;” and that which she adds, Neither shall you touch it, seems to have been with a good intention, not (as some think) tacitly to reflect upon the command as too strict (Touch not, taste not and handle not), but to make a fence about it: “We must not eat, therefore we will not touch. It is forbidden in the highest degree, and the authority of the prohibition is sacred to us.””
I am just curious about two things: 1) Am I the only one who was taught that Eve sinned in “adding to the Word of God?” 2) Is there a reformed teacher that holds that Eve sinned in this area?
This is not a like discovering election for the first time or anything; but I am wondering what else I don’t know…