Skip to comments.How Is Adamís sin Described Differently than Eveís?
Posted on 02/07/2014 3:12:01 AM PST by markomalley
In yesterdays blog post, I sought to explore the details Original Sin and to convey that there are subtleties and stages to the sin that have something to teach us. The sin was more than eating a piece of fruit, there were things that led up to it, both externally and internally, which the text reveals.
In yesterdays post I also mentioned that it was worth exploring how the sacred text speaks of the Sin of Adam, and differentiates it to some extent from the sin that Eve commits. In fact, Original Sin, biblically, is properly denoted as the sin of Adam. It is Adam Sin not Eves that we denote as Original Sin (cf Rom 5:12 inter al).
It is not that Eve did not sin, or that her actions have no interest for us. Yesterdays post focused a lot on the stages she goes through. But Rather, as the head of his household, and the human family it is Adam who bore the responsibility, and thereby incurs the sin that we call Original Sin or the Sin of Adam which comes down to all of us.
As you might be able to see, this blog post isnt going to be very politically correct, and it is just going to get worse from here. For, in striving to differentiate Eves sin from Adams I would like to take up a very controversial text from St. Paul. While the specific text comports poorly with modern notions, two cautions are in order for those of us who read the text:
First, we ought to remember that it is a sacred text, and even if St. Paul may draw some of his reflections on the cultural experience of the time, he gives theological reason for what he rights, not just the practices of the time.
Secondly however we also remember that one verse from St. Paul is not all of St. Paul, and certainly not all of Scripture. What Paul says rather absolutely in the verse that follows, he qualifies to some extent and other places as we shall see.
With this in mind, lets examine the controversial text and strive to see the distinctiveness of Adams sin from Eves. St. Paul writes:
A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner (1 Tim 2:11b-14)
Many, upon reading the text like this, so astonishingly out of step with modern thinking, are prone simply dismiss it as a disciplinary relic of some past dark age. It is debatable whether the edict that women should be silent, and have no teaching authority over a man are in fact mere disciplinary norms that we are not required to observe today. It is also debatable how absolute Pauls words are. For Paul speaks elsewhere the women as catechists (e.g. Phoebe Rom 16:1) spiritual leaders and benefactors (eg. Lydia) in the early church communities. Elsewhere too he makes provisions for when a woman is to speak in the assembly and that if she does she is to cover her head (1 Cor 11:5) etc. So what St. Paul says here he distinguishes elsewhere in a way that allows for some provision that women both speak and teach the faith as Catechists etc.
In the quote from first Timothy above, the context seems rather clearly to be that of the family and marriage, wherein Paul affirms the headship of the husband, as he does elsewhere in Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18, and also as does Peter (1 Peter 3:1-6)
There is another text where Paul speaks of women being silent in the Church. In 1 Corinthians 14. The context there seems to be liturgical, thus we read:
Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. (1 Cor 14:34-35)
Here again, there are legitimate debates about how strictly the silence is to be interpreted. Generally, Church practice has understood this to mean that women are not to give the official teaching in the liturgy that we refer to as the sermon or homily. And this stricture has been observed from antiquity down to the present day by reserving the homily to the bishop, priest or deacon. In more recent times there have been allowances for women to serve as lectors, cantors, singers etc. But the official teaching moment of the homilies still reserved to the male clergy and the Magisterium still consists of Bishops and the Pope.
Prescinding from legitimate debates about how absolutely or strictly to interpret St. Pauls restrictions, or whether or not some of these things are cultural artifacts that can be adjusted, what I really wish to focus on the theological reasoning regarding the difference between Adam and Eves sin of which St. Paul speaks. Again, he says
For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner (1 Tim 2:13-14)
So, St Paul begins by saying that Adam was formed first, then Eve. And thus here he teaches that the husband has headship, authority, as he says elsewhere, The husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the the Church (Eph 5:22).
But in terms of Original Sin, which concerns us more here, Paul says that Adam was not the one deceived, it was the Eve who was deceived. Thus St. Paul speaks of Eves sin as different than Adams. She was deceived and so sinned, But Adam was not not deceived. His sin lay elsewhere.
Of the fact of her deception, Eve or self as a witness, for she says, The serpent tricked me and so I ate it. (Gen 3:13) But of Adams sin, God says Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, You must not eat from it (Gen 3:17). Thus, Adams sin lay in his willingness to allow his wife to tempt him.
Now course, dear reader, you were warned that this was not going to be a politically correct blog post. These sorts of teachings grate on modern ears. But of course this does not make them untrue.
Perhaps a little additional reflection may help to avoid knee-jerk reactions to either gloat or become angry. Adam and Eves sins are described differently and can also be understood as a kind of weakness that each of them was particularly susceptible to: she to deception, he to being swayed by Eves feminine mystique and beauty.
St. Paul does not simply locate these two weaknesses in Adam and Eve as individuals, but also as male and female. Hence St. Paul seems to teach that a woman ought not have a solemn teaching authority in the Church because of a womans tendency to be deceived.
Why might this be, that a woman could be more easily deceived? Perhaps it is rooted paradoxically in a womans strength. Among the strenghts that women more generally manifest is to be more naturally spiritual, and also to be more naturally prone to be a source of unity and peace in the heart of the family. And while these are wonderful strengths, they can, in certain circumstances, also open the person to deception. For if one seeks to easily to make peace, they may compromise with error and sin. And though being open to spiritual things is of itself good, there can be spiritual concepts that are erroneous, and to these one ought not be open.
Not only is a woman possibly more prone to these, but should she cede to them, she can also have undue power over her husband and men who may well be drawn by her beauty to set aside their better judgment.
And this is, to my mind what St. Paul is getting at here in saying even was deceived and Adam was not, therefore a woman cannot have teaching authority in the Church. There was also a warning in ancient Israel that men should not take foreign wives since they might confuse a mans heart into the worship of their foreign gods. A mans heart can easily be swayed by a beautiful and influential woman.
And thus, addressing a double threat, St. Paul forbids women to have teaching authority in the Church and ties it back to the archetypal incident of Adam and Eve. Eve was deceived, and then was able to turn and seduce her husband to sin.
In modern times it may well be that St. Pauls caution is affirmed by the modern problem of Liberal Protestant denomination that have a large number of women leaders. It is these very denominations which have moved in this direction who also have departed significantly from the orthodox Christian faith, deny basic tenets of the Trinity, of moral teaching and biblical interpretation. It is not only women, but there is a high correlation between denominations that embraced women leaders and a departure from orthodox Christian belief.
Have I been politically incorrect enough for you? The combox is open. But recall that the chief focus I am interested here is on the different descriptions of the Sin of Adam and the Eves sin.
Msgr Pope ping (a continuation from yesterday’s reflection)
By what I have seen, this teaching applies a lot in regards to women who are married. What about those women who are single and are a part of their parishes. This also applies to them too?
Yet the sweet irony of it all is that, Paul in addressing the Galations also says, “neither there is Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female.”
Nice message but..when Catholic schools and books, approved by the Bishops, are teaching little children that Adam and Eve are a Myth on the same level as the Easter bunny, its a struggle.
This is an excellent reflection in my opinion.
First, Paul does highlight a distinction between the sins of Adam and Eve. Basically, Eve was deceived and Adam just flat out disobeyed. Eve could hide behind a sin of ignorance, and Adam could not. The reason for that might well have been her beauty. I’ve thought as well that it might have been his protective nature....if she’s going down then so am I. In other words, he sided with her despite the cost.
This would explain in some measure God’s subjecting her to him. One would think it would be the other way around: deceived versus rebellion. Even though Adam was culpable, he was culpable in the way a starving man is culpable for stealing bread to feed his family.
I also liked his point about female led churches being more likely to be moving toward apostasy.
This comports with the churches of Pergamum and Thyratira in Revelation’s “Letters to the Churches”.
I agree with him, pretty much.
However, reflection along these lines ... “feminine beauty and mystique” ... can easily lead to the Moslem position: that men are controlled by sexual lust to such an extent that women, simply because they exist, are responsible for all men’s actions.
It should perhaps be noted that the enmity between the woman and Satan (Genesis 3:15) gives the woman in our life a special defensive role. And indeed, as I look around myself I see women, rather than men, to be the guardians of the moral content of the family life.
....And often the women have to teach the men the right words, I have to often help my parish pastor out with that as well.
Agreed. It is thoughtful. But it’s extraneous, too. The sin for both unarguably is disobedience, a fault (never mind SIN) nearly extinct today even from the Catholic pulpit.
Regardless of Adam’s fellowship (with Eve) and Eve’s credulity (if that’s all it was, and I don’t believe that’s all it was), both failed to observe God’s lone stricture.
And that Roman Catholic explanation (disobedience) vies with most if not all protestant rationales. Probably for good reason: disobedience couldn’t be THE Original Sin, because their break with Catholicism, their failure to obey, would have mirrored the first, and arguably most significant, sin. So their contention is that the first sin had something to do with sex, with lust or weakness of the flesh, avarice, and, in some cases, even with marital procreation. Not obedience. Which is strange. Obedience does and must suffuse all “religion,” or it couldn’t be termed religion, from the Latin “to bind.”
Can you talk with your priest and/or bishop about these text books?
Bump that and thank you.
I believe it goes deeper than that--and this is why the Fall is so bad:
Adam knew Eve had just sinned. I bet the thoughts in his mind at the time is that Eve was going to die--either spiritually or physically. So he chose to be with eve rather than God.
Adam consciously forsook God and abandoned Him. That was his sin.
Out of which feminist "egalitarians" extrapolate positional gender equality. Not .
Can you talk with your priest and/or bishop about these text books?
When i was a weekly mass going Catholic and CCD teacher, i was enrolled in a teachers program (circa 1980), and in one of the classes it was asked of the instructor which Bible class (out of 3) one should choose. The answer: "If you think Adam and Eve were literal people then you need to choose the beginners course."
Either by restricting personal Bible reading or impugns its supreme authority by liberal revisionism, it still serves the purpose of giving Scripture a second class status under an autocratic authority.
That’s a good take on it, too.
The difficulty is that there’s limited information.
What we do know is that something about it subjugated Eve to Adam, and specifically had sin transmit from Adam.
A little adaptation, with no irreverence meant toward the Word of God, but how it can apply to today in the ideological sense.
The first "Occupy movement," and "Share the wealth" demand: "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:" (Isaiah 14:13)
And the socialist liberal was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made, And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?...God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil
He has no right to that reserve that power to Himself, to give it to those he decides, as well as to occupy His throne alone, and to reward only faith-overcomers to sit with Him. (cf. Rv. 3:21) He is treating you unjustly. He needs to share the wealth, and you need to occupy His position by rejecting His principles of righteousness, grace and recompense. Always
remind deceive yourself that you are a victim!
And the woman, being deceived, saw that the tree was good for food, to satisfy her lust for the best food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, so that all others would admire her for her external appearance, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, so she could be the proud intellectual elite others would reverence, then she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat. And then she gave it unto her husband with her; and he did eat, not wanting to split the vote, though he knew better. (Genesis 3:6)
Thus by one man leftist liberalism entered into the world, and death by its policies, and so death passed upon all classes of babes and men.
Close but needs improvement.
Very deep. Good post.
Already talked to the person running the program who did seem “concerned” but thats as far as it got. Will be meeting with the pastor to discuss further.
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