What was the pre-Fall vocal relationship, if any, between both Eve and Adam and Eve and God?

(Daniel Pech) #1

The Bible does not spell out that Eve ever spoke a single word until it was that in her reply to the serpent (Genesis 3:2). Was she therefore silent until then?

Further, the Bible does not spell out that anyone ever said anything to Eve until Adam spoke in regard to her in Genesis 2:23.

Nevertheless, I believe that the Bible spells out only some of the things it teaches. (I offer my preferred explanation for this in the latter-most portion of this post). This seems plainly to be the case for the time in which the New Testament letters did not exist. A most important example of this is the fact that, nowhere in the Old Testament Scriptures is it explicitly taught that which Hebrews 11:17-19 teaches on Abraham’s thoughts in Genesis 22.

But, for particular parts of the book of Genesis, many seem to take for granted that at least certain interesting passages therein are to be interpreted by what the accounts in which these passages are found simply spell out. Thus, if the account does not spell out that a particular something WAS the case, then that account teaches that that something was NOT the case.

This taking for granted that this interpretative logic is correct for these passages is a logic that I shall call the Hermeneutics of Explicit Record, or HER for short.

Now, according to some, such as David Pawson (Youtube video titled ’ David Pawson “Unlocking the Bible” - Genesis Pt2’, @ video time 05:19-05:21)…https://youtu.be/If-471N-nYs?t=317), Genesis 2-3 implicitly teaches that Eve had not had the privilege of being warned by God Himself about the Forbidden Tree. This is because there is nowhere in these records, nor in all of the Bible, that plainly says that God had told her. And the only part of these accounts that says that God told any human of that Tree is a part that seems to say that God told it to the man (Genesis 2:17) prior to when the woman even existed (v. 22-23). Plus, the man in a family is supposed be the head of the family, such that the woman in a marriage is not the head of her family, but the man is: that he is to be the leader responsible for the good of all family members including himself, so that all those other members are to look to him as their natural leader under God. They can have opinions and such, but everything he passes on to them from God is to be their duty to believe and know, and to be his duty to tell them.

But the account does not spell out even that Eve had heard of this warning from Adam. So a hermeneutics of Explicit Record is logically impossible here, because the record itself (Genesis 3) normally is seen to plainly imply that Eve knew of God’s warning. For, even in the manner in which the serpent asks Eve of that warning, we normally see that that manner implies that Eve had prior knowledge of that warning, either from God or from Adam.

And, most importantly, notice that Eve claims that God has warned that they are not even to touch the tree and its fruit. This would naturally seem to show the she knew of the first principle of sin, which is the outward expression of desire for a wrong thing. If this is not what this shows, then it seems we must say either that Eve somehow, and for some reason or impulse, added or misquoted the warning, or that Adam, in having been the one to tell her of the warning, had himself added-misquoted God to her. Either of these possibilities would imply that the sin of doubt regarding God’s plain warning had already been committed, by either Adam or Eve, even prior to the point at which the record seems to imply that the serpent first tempted any human being.

Should we then assume that the serpent had earlier tempted Adam, and that Adam had, even prior to when it seems from the narrative that the serpent first ever tempted Eve, thereby begun to doubt? If we allow this, then it would seem that Adam had used Eve here as his own test subject, to see if eating from the tree would cause a human to die. But if that were the case, then why does the further narrative plainly spell out not only that Adam’s attempted excuse for having eaten of the tree was because of the woman that God had given him, but that Adam’s presumably main or only sin was that of listening-to-his-wife-on-the-matter-and-thereby-eating-of-the-tree (Genesis 3:17)?

Therefore, notice, again, of Eve’s reply to the serpent, in that Eve said that God had said that ‘we’ should not even touch the tree or its fruit. Prior to that point in the narrative, there is no suggestion that either of that ‘we’ had ever considered even touching it. Therefore, the most normal reading of Genesis 2-3 up to, and including, her reply is that there had been an actual conversation respectively between God and Adam and God and Eve, and thus of which Genesis 2 presupposes, and even at which it seems to hint: (1) According to the plain reading, God actually brought Eve to Adam (Genesis 2:22b); (2) according to a plain reading there must be a completely congruent implication in the fact that the record twice spells out that God placed a human individual into the garden (v. 8 & 15).

Of course, given the pausing of the narrative that constitutes the parenthetical of vs. 10-14, this second instance of that spelling-out (v. 15) can be supposed simply to serve as reminder, to the reader or hearer of the account, of that Divine placing. But this supposition discounts the plain reading of v. 22b, according to which, by normal implication, a woman is a proper human individual and gender, not a mere derivative of a man. Specifically, the normal implication, here, is that belonging to the fact that a woman’s proper channel to God is not first that of any mere creature (such as is her husband), but that of God Himself. She is as much in her right to pray directly to God, and even to receive wisdom and discernment directly from His Spirit, as is a man in his own right to so pray and receive. In short, she is no puppet that only looks like a genuine human being; She is a genuine instantiation of God’s practical and intellectual image regarding all Creation.

And, even Pawson, plainly enough, widely admits that there is much that the Bible teaches that it does not spell out.

So I think that the main reasons for why the Bible does not spell out every last thing that it teaches is because (1) the human authors, and original audiences, found much to be normally and self-evidently implied in the respective records; (2) these are only records to a point, not blow-by-blow accounts of every detail involved, the latter would having been prohibitive to a good record, and unnecessary to boot; and (3) any obvious shortfalls in our own understanding would normally imply the various completely normal ways of humans, such as study and discussion. Thus, even when the author of a text is present to a receptive group, that author often may want to help encourage each individual in the group to think, express, and discuss on the issue at hand.

In fact, I’ve heard that there is a Jewish tradition according to which the Spiritual head of an agrarian household would, at family mealtime, give the very youngest member opportunity to be the first member to express himself or herself on anything, such as by the head asking that member what he or she thinks on the topic at hand. Thus, even if the youngest is an infant who barely understands what vocalizing, as such, is good for, that infant is joined into the fact that vocalization is at once normal and encouraged.

Thus, at mealtime in such a family, for any little child that is able and wanting to communicate anything to the whole family, the child is afforded the opportunity. Agrarian families had few, if any, opportunites for whole-family address except at mealtimes. And there are few things more important to the health of a family than whole-family conversation.

So, the little child is afforded to speak his or her mind on whatever issue has come up in such gatherings, including issues on which some or all others there may think or ‘know’ that the child lacks any competence whatsoever.

One-on-one mentoring is, of course, important, and so is small-group discussion and meeting. These each are by the Human General Right of Association and Assembly. But there also must be, as often as is justifiably able, regular meetings of the whole of the people, and in which the youngest are NOT to be treated as if their only duty and right is to be receptive vessels. For, God is not a top-down, much less micromanaging, dictator; even though, due to a fallen world, there certainly are rare occasions in which He must act less or more of such a dictator. The most obvious such occasion (and perhaps the only such occasion up to the present) is that under Moses, in which the Children of Israel were paganized compromisers that, therefore, could not be that upon which the Nation of God could properly be established.

I believe that there also is nothing normal to a human (least of all to an unfallen human) to have an even temporary sole direct companionship in God in which no conversation is allowed to take place between that human and God.

Therefore, by SOME KIND OF NORMAL implication in Genesis 2, there seems to have been an at least initial direct companionship that both Adam and Eve respectively had with God (vv. 7-8; 15 & 22).

(SeanO) #2

@DanielPech A common hermeneutical principal that may prove helpful is ‘do not go beyond what is written’. For example, in the story of Adam and Eve it is clear that somehow they added ‘and do not touch it’ to God’s prohibition. But while it is interesting and thought provoking to speculate about how that addition may have come about, we must ultimately acknowledge ignorance on that point and accept that what is written is sufficient for sound teaching.

It is clear that God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden and so certainly I expect they all talked together as they walked. It would be very strange for Adam and Eve not to have spoken with one another or with God. So I think it is safe to say they all spoke with one another.

(Daniel Pech) #3

I’m unclear what it is you do, and do not, mean there.

Many have reasoned from what is spelled out in Scripture to things with which even you would disagree. In other words, what actually can rightly be taught, or claimed-reasoned-to, from what is written therein? How is any teaching possible from that which merely is spelled out, except that which merely is spelled out?? You, for example, seem to me to presuppose that the ‘and not touch it’ part was incorrectly added to the supposedly ONLY words that God spoke regarding that tree. Did God not want anyone under Moses to understand the Law’s actual purpose, since God did not spell that out to them? Was He Himself a legalist by even giving the Law? Did He want for Abraham NOT to reason the very thing that, ONLY in NT times, was spelled out in Scripture?

I see simply a ton of things that MUST be implied to us in Scripture that Scripture nevertheless does not spell out. In fact, I cannot see how there is any true benefit in Scripture unless there is MUCH MORE there than is spelled out. Only one such benefit is that which RZIM Connect seems to be all about: trying, together, to better understand Scripture.

So I’m not sure where you are coming from on any of this. Should I have simply made like to simply assent to your words, and let my concerns be unheard? I mean, your own words there do not contain even one bit of explicit expression that anyone has a right to be so less informed of Scripture that they need to ask as to what any of what you said means to anything I said, or to what the Scriptures say.

How is any of this even supposed to work in the first place if we must be faithful simply to what Scripture ‘does’ say, such that anything else is pure speculation until or unless God comes down and spells out something more?

(SeanO) #4

@DanielPech I understand your concern. I think we have to differentiate between:

  1. What Scripture clearly says (message to original audience)
  2. The implications of what it says for our lives (application)
  3. Speculation about what was unsaid

Of course there are principles we learn in Scripture - such as love your neighbor - that we have to apply in situations not specifically spelled out in the Bible.

But I think there is a difference between extra-Biblical applications of Scripture - which I would call wisdom, and speculation about what ‘might’ have happened in a Biblical story that is not written down.

I agree that there is some interpretation involved in saying that Adam or Eve modified God’s command. Interpretation is inevitable, but I think we must be very wary of ‘eisegesis’, which is reading into the text our own perspective and try to do ‘exegesis’, reading out of the text what it clearly says, as much as possible. The more we read in, the more the danger of eisegesis.

(Daniel Pech) #5

So, in your latest reply, you are just saying that there are broad principles, and that there are the problems in applying these to specific instances? Who can disagree?

The problem for me is what would be sufficient for sound learning (and thus for sound teaching) in specific cases. So much of Scripture is made of specific cases, is it not? This is my concern for the idea that Adam and, or, Eve added to what God said. In your view, does that mean they added to what God meant?

The problem, as I see it, is that there seems nothing in all of Scripture that plainly enough says that they added, to what He meant, something that He did not mean even implicitly.

So, unless I somehow encounter, in What Scripture Says (WSS), that they added to His meaning, I see no sound way to deduce that they added even so much as to His essential verbatim (“I love cake” = “I enjoy eating cake”). And, you seem to admit that it is abnormal to expect that there was no pre-Fall conversation between either and both of them and God.

But, in terms of the principles that you point out, what is it to claim that it is abnormal to expect that they had no pre-Fall conversation(s) with God? As far as I know, there is no instance in Scripture of a WSS case of the essence of ‘They DID have pre-Fall conversation with God.’

So I hope you see my problem here. On what basis can we even intuit that they-added-to-God’s-meaning-something-that-He-did-not-mean,-and-so-He-would-have-disagreed-with-the-meaning-in-itself-that-they-added’? “Hi, I made some cake today” does not mean “Hi, I made some chocolate cake today.”

But what of “Do not eat that cake” versus “do not touch that cake”? What are we talking about with something nominally edible and delicious? Don’t eat the fruit of that one tree! It’s BAD CAKE! Don’t eat it!

So are you saying that Adam and Eve were mistaking, or even deliberately twisting, God’s meaning? And, either way, Did the WSS of God’s words about the tree imply that they were otherwise free in regard to the tree? That they would have been right to respond to the command by cutting the tree down and burning both it and all its fruit to ashes? That they would have been right to examine and compare the fruit chemically to try to see what would make it bad to eat? Why would they even touch it in the first place?

I’m not sure that they would or wouldn’t. But my point is that I myself have no sense that they naturally would. If God said to me that something is bad, and if I already am provided with all the actual and potential good that I ever could want, then I do not see what I would want with that one thing. LOL

This is how I then make sense of the whole Tempter scenario in Genesis 3:1-7. In terms of the tree, it’s about a fruit that is NOT perfectly fit for humans to eat. And so, when they do eat of it, not only does it constitute the beginning of their biological Fall, they realize that they have have sinned against God for doubting Him on that. This latter part only compounds their sense of the first part, which then goes round to further compound the second part, making a Really Bad Experience for them. They are intensely aware of their only-just-then-begun-to-be Fallen biologies, and there logically cannot have been any but such a sudden loss of the biologically unfallen state. It was _massive_loss both in quantity and quality, like no one born fallen has ever experienced, no matter how severe that such post-fall losses can be. They were horrified at their own bodies, and this partly because they were not only fully-functional adults when this happened, but the very and perceptive perfection of that full function.

By analogy, they were like a teen girl whose father had warned her not to go near mud while wearing her new prom dress, but she surreptitiously went, in the dark of night, to meet an unapproved date along a mud-lined road only to fall into a huge set of patches of the worst smelling dog poop the moment that that date’s car came into view over the near hill. She had been standing waiting in total darkness, and, in pacing, had tripped and fallen, rolling down over and past the patch of yuck that she had not sensed until she had stood up and smelled on all around. In the moonlight she saw it all over her dress in spiral lines of stench, and so had hid not only from her date, but from her father as he later came seeking her along that same road.

The Scripture does not plainly say that Adam and Eve experienced this type of calamity. But, if we are to take what it prior does say about the world in a normal, literal, plain reading, then, as far as I can see, there is only one way that a Biblically informed Believer can miss this: by fixating on merely the less-or-more abstract, ‘spiritual’ stuff on which the Bible teaches.

(SeanO) #6

@DanielPech I think generally people infer that Adam or Eve added to God’s command because it is both a logical and common tactic to avoid sin. Think about people who used to say that it is a sin to watch a movie or to dance. Neither of those things are inherently sinful, so why did people make up rules about not watching movies or dancing? Because dancing can be bad and movies can be bad, so they put up an extra barrier - a fence to try to make sure they don’t even go near anything bad.

I call it ‘fence building’. Adam and Eve could have built a fence around the tree so that even if they wanted to eat of it they would have to climb the fence - that would be a way to try to prevent themselves sinning.

While they did not build an actual fence - adding ‘do not touch it’ is a type of fence. If you don’t touch it, how can you eat it?

The Pharisees did a lot of fence building - they added lots of extra rules to try to make an outward show of morality. But Jesus was clear that these fences can never keep us from sinning because sin comes from the heart. Jesus pointed out that the traditions of the Pharisees - their fences - even sometimes caused them to disobey God.

Matthew 15:1-6 - Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.

All of this to say that I think it is perfectly rational that Adam and Eve may have built a little fence to try to avoid sinning. However, I am not certain that is what happened - I simply find it the most plausible answer.

(Daniel Pech) #7

Fencing in the problem. Hmmm… Very interesting explanation. In its own terms a very likely explanation.

Now I may have to do a lot of thinking on this one. Not sure yet, as I haven’t quite begun as of this sentence. Trying to, but my brain is untrained on the matter, and so wants to sleep on it. But I’m awake, and trying to get into it. Here’s the deal for me:

In its own terms, very likely the correct answer. But Adam and Eve were not yet Fallen. So why would such a false fencing-in solution even occur to them? How could they even feel a need for a anti-sinning fence (hereafter ASF).

So let us ramp it up to a great extreme. Say God had warned them of a qualitatively wide host of things to avoid, each thing with a different adverse consequence. So, while the forbidden tree could result in their death, we could begin toward a final great host of these things by adding, say, “Do not look directly into the Sun all day, or you shall go blind.”

My aim in that effort is to multiply the KINDS of ASF’s they have to come up with. But maybe there really can be only one kind of ASF, no matter what kind of thing they are warned to avoid. But at least we can hypothetically multiply the number of things upon which they likewise supposedly would feel a need to place an ASF.

What does that get us? Would they really feel a need for an ASF upon looking at the Sun.? LOL What would that particular ASF look like, no pun intended.

Do you see what I see here?

Of course, God’s avoidance warnings could all be things that are distinctly isolated from Adam and Eve’s God-given normal living and doing. And that’s what the forbidden tree is: an isolated thing the AVOIDANCE of that… Does. Not. Interfere with their lives. In fact, that tree is in only one place on the whole wide planet. Of course, it is in the center of the garden, so that means they DO encounter it every time they get some of the other central tree’s fruit (the Tree of Life). But now we must ask: how often do they need to eat of the Tree of Life in order to not end up dead?

To me, that last question seems to be where the whole thing about ASF’s revolves. But be that as it may, we are still asking about why they, as UNFALLEN, would feel a need for any ASF ‘around’ the forbidden tree? And to me, here’s the worse problem with the ASF explanation in the first place: We could suppose that the serpent serves merely to represent an already-existing tension in Adam, and in Eve, regarding the forbidden tree: It’s fruit looks good to eat, but they are warned not to eat of it because…they shall die if they do. Yet the account informs us, it seems, that they NEED NOT DIE if only they have free access to the Tree of Life.

My brain is just too tired to really get what all this is for me in my YEC precommitments. But even at the moment I’m rather skeptical of the ASF explanation for the Eve’s claim that God had said that ‘we must not even touch it.’ It’s a congruent explanation to our fallen lives. But is it the correct one according to the YEC point of view? So that’s where I am right now.

(SeanO) #8

@DanielPech Well, I think there are two things to ponder:

  1. Even if they were not yet fallen, perhaps they did still have the ability to try to guard themselves from disobeying a direct command? I am not sure if you would have to be fallen in order to take such action.

  2. Why would God Himself add such a fence?

Christ bless you friend - look forward to hearing your thoughts.

(Daniel Pech) #9

I’m unsure we are on the same page here. Two points:

One, I’m assuming that an anti-sinning fence (ASF) is an unjustified thing: A burden where none was even to be; Just like that of the Pharisees’ making the Sabbath into a burden of having to avoid breaching various ASF’s that they had put around the Sabbath command itself of ‘don’t violate the Sabbath.’ Thus, by metaphor, if the command is to NOT DELIBERATELY, KNOWINGLY open the bird’s cage, they’ve put the entire cage into another cage, so that now, instead of seeing how to avoid even unwittingly opening the first cage, we have to pay attention to the larger cage so as to not open it.

Only, in the case of the Sabbath, the whole central point is to CEASE from toil, not to fixate on avoiding all these fences on the details of what it may or may not be to have unwittingly violated the Sabbath.

Two, are we to take for granted that not touching the Bad Tree is an ASF? You seem to assume it is, and I’m saying it is a case of the ‘sin of the heart’. One can commit theft, murder, etc. without actually doing the deed against the intended victim. One has not actually stolen from him, or actually killed him, but one nevertheless has done so ‘in one’s heart’. This is clearly NOT an ASF upon actual theft or actual murder. That’s what I’m saying that ‘do not even touch the Bad tree’ may well be about.

Again, the question: how often do they, in their unFallen state need to eat of the Tree of Life in order to not end up dead? This is not the correct first question, for it not only assumes what it does not establish, it goes WAY beyond what the text says: THAT they would die if they did NOT eat of the Tree of Life.

If they can die ONLY by taking of the Bad tree, then it could seem that the Good tree has no function even for keeping them coming back to the center of the garden. Why, then, if ‘do not even touch the Bad tree’ is an ASF, would they need to even go to the center of the garden? They could just avoid the center, and thereby never have to be anywhere near the Bad tree. Or, at least, if they DO need occasionally to take of the Good tree, they could do so only rarely.

So we have a complex set of things going on here, and only one suggestion as to the way toward a resolution: (1) they need take of the Good tree only in order to be ‘fully recharged’, as it were, in their unFallen powers. (2) the FALLEN condition precludes those powers, but is a condition that would PROGRESS WITHOUT HOPE OF REVERSAL to the initial state of Fallenness except they take of the Good tree for long enough to return to that initial state of biological Fallenness.

So, for the Unfallen condition, the Good tree is like regular hydration and nutrition. You wont just end up dead if you miss a meal or an hour’s worth of water.

But, for the Fallen condition, the Good tree is the only way you can keep returning to the initial level of health of the Fallen condition. If you broke your leg and then, while still having the broken leg, you got cancer, all you would need to be returned to your full Fallen maximum health is to repeated-and-often eat of the Good tree until your leg was healed, and your cancer was gone, and you felt great. Notice that this was essentially the logic of Jesus’s healing miracles. Those miracles did not make the person deathless, they simply returned the person to some former state of Fallen ‘wholeness’.

This would seem to be the perfect explanation not only for the fact that the Good tree is even necessary to the unFallen state, but why God put the Bad tree right there near the Good tree:

(I) to at least occasionally remind those in the unFallen state that Sin, as such, is possible, and therefore to be on the guard against it in any form.

(II) This made Satan even more arrogant than he already was. Here was this pathetic creature that God had nevertheless made in God’s image. Satan saw this as a foolish move on God’s part, since Satan knew that these creatures could now more easily be persuaded to join himself in rebellion. Why, he reasoned, would such a creature NOT agree that this potential to die was an expression of arrogance on God’s part? God had created these creatures, and had created their potential to die. So why would they not see this as God’s true arrogance? The only thing necessary was simply to tell them that this is God’s doing.

God, of course, foresaw this Satanic strategy. So God preemptively baited Satan, by making a kind of test upon humans that would allow them to commit a sin that was not the Unforgivable kind that Satan had committed to begin with. In this way, though they sin, they could be redeemed.

That, as best I can see so far, is why God not only made a Bad tree, and placed it near the Good tree, but outright informed humanity that they must not eat of that Bad tree lest they die.

Satan then went for the bait, by tempting Eve to doubt God in this matter. That, presumably, is because Satan had not realized that God had a plan even in that event.

And that’s why I think Adam and Eve did not, in principle, add to what God had said-and-meant. For, God’s whole ideal point was to ALLOW the FULL equation, even as He Himself would have faced if He were Merely a human. He had Duly provided for their proper “heads-up” on avoiding sin in whatever form, since He had never wanted any of His creatures to commit the Unforgivable kind of sin.

This all explains what the Pharisees even were about in their ASF’s: as already fallen in general, they were prone to add-subtract-reduce God’s commands to by-the-letter legalism. If an UNFALLEN Eve were doing the same, then what perceived need could she have had to make an ASF upon the Bad tree? Even the Pharisees abided the letter of the Law only IN ORDER TO BE ALLOWED to commit MORE sin, not less. For, in reducing the letter TO the letter, there were then so many more sins of which, supposedly, God had no concern. This was a paganization of God: reducing God to some half-wit Creator who also had private petty preferences.

And this why the Pharisees kept overlooking the most obvious thing in all the Scripture: the way in which the Savior, according to Genesis 3:15, would have His own Blessed heal bruised. That prophetic description is the whole key to what we were to look for in order to be able to recognize the Savior when He finally came.

Adam and Eve had, as yet, no natural inclinations to any of the many sins that Fallen humans, and in a Fallen and Cursed world, have. So it is very obvious, in all this, that Adam and Eve were NOT legalists, nor did they perceive God to be so either. There was no ASF for them, since an ASF (an anti-sinning ‘hedge’ around the actual thing to avoid doing) is a kind of legalism in itself.

In short, the only creature that ever can be unconvenienced by any of the moral parts of the Law is a FALLEN human.

And the Pharisees, being the teachers of all of that law, would have felt this inconvenience the most. All they had to do, then, change this was to change the Law into a system of legalism and private petty preferences on the part of God. They did not do this all at once, but were quite happy to let it creep in.

Such ‘creeping in’ is what I am convinced that Eve was referring to in bothering to expound on what God meant by His Law regarding the Bad tree. ‘Do not even touch it’.

If it had been a Fallen Pharisee version of a woman in place of Eve, but with a deathless state as Eve had had, then this Pharisee Woman would not have expounded on God’s words, but instead would have allowed that God had meant ONLY that which His words EXPLICITLY defined. Satan, of course, would then have been happy with that, since it would have allowed this already-prone-to-sin Pharisee Woman to cuddle up to the Bad tree until she had begun to reason that, ‘Well, if I do not “INTEND” to doubt God, then it should be OK if I eat some of this fruit.’ A very simple example of this way of thinking is the sexual culture of the 1950’s, as perhaps overwrought in the fictional Happy Days TV series. In that culture, it less and more was believed that ‘It’s not fornication unless the girl gets pregnant, so the only thing we must avoid is actual penetration.’ Notice how such a logic can actually ADD a bunch of ASF’s to sex! LOL It turns the blessing of sex completely backwards, just like the Pharisees did of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of Rest, not a day of Avoiding violating the Sabbath.

And then this Pharisee version of a man or woman, like Eve, would have become prone also to die, thus compelling God to practically prelude him or her access to the Good tree. Notice, very carefully, that, in the Fallen life, there is:

((1)) the need for a kind of wisdom that inconveniences the God-given good impulses, whether for food, sex, possessions, comfort, security, social connection, good repute, perfect health regardless by what means sought, and on and on; and
((2)) that the Fallen drive for all these things tends, in some ways, to be intensified. The need for wisdom in these things was not the case for the unFallen state of the world, and of the unFallen state of Adam and Eve. That state of perfection was one of automatically perfect harmony. The only way, then, for Sin to enter was if either (a) Satan could persuade a human, directly, to rebel against God, or (b) Satan could persuade a human to doubt God’s words regarding something. God, of course, made a way for (b) to be realized, so that (a) would not be the manner of human Fall.

The question for (b), then, is whether Eve’s doubt, and Adam’s with her, had been first or mainly that of reducing God in their minds, or, instead, simply that of overrating themselves, and then focusing on the fruit and its seeming perfect edibility. Or, maybe it was both these at once: reducing God and overrating themselves. In any case, it seems they could have deferred to do either by awaiting God’s own response to the serpent, and then adopting the stance of the court of Holy Angels, who watch what unfolds in the contest between God and Satan.

The Sin of the Pharisees was both

(X) arrogance over their fellows, and
(Y) conceiving of God to a half-wit that has the power to give them a state of eternal Blessing.

This is why their own main teaching was that one’s worldly blessing was a sure sign that one was righteous in God’s eyes. Job’s friends clearly wanted to think that way, but God clearly wanted for Job to pray for them, not to just keep defending himself against their driving doubts of his innocence. God wants intercessors, not those who just go around either pointing fingers or obsessing over their own righteousness. For, how is any community of Fallen humans to even begin to be genuinely righteous without intercessing for one another? It is impossible.

(SeanO) #10

@DanielPech Personally I do find it reasonable to infer that not touching the tree was an ASF, though I have no qualms if you choose to disagree. It is not a central issue of the faith.

(Daniel Pech) #11

Granted, the issue here is not over a doctrine of the Faith. Far from it. And I agree with you that the ASF position on ‘do not even touch’ the tree-and-or-fruit is a reasonable position.

But is not the other position (the one I hold) also reasonable? It may be, or at least seem to be, the more complex position. But so is the position that (1) the fruit itself was not perfectly fit to eat, and therefore (2) upon eating it, their unFallen biology was no more, so that they began the long progressive course of decay to a final death.

Per (2), it seems to me that it would be entirely self-evident that Adam and Eve would have understood God’s warning about that fruit to be an entirely simple one: the fruit itself was the problem. Don’t eat it.

This even can be seen in metaphorical application to the ‘fruit’ of the unrighteous, of which a Believer is not to partake. Out of the heart comes evil doings, and that actual tree with its actual fruit can quite reasonably be supposed to be the same.

This does not have to mean that that actual tree and its fruit is bad ecologically. It’s just bad for humans to eat, essentially like any ‘poisonous’ plant today, of which some other animals can eat, and on which some animals even depend as their main source of food. (Plant/Animal/Mineral, in which humans are Animal).

So, I personally find that the anti-sinning fence (ASF) explanation actually is the more complicated explanation, and also does not so well match a plain reading of God’s warning regarding that tree.

If nothing else, the ASF explanation would seem to be the only instance in which God commanded something in regard to some natural object for which that object was either (a) not, in itself, providentially bad for humans, or (b) in itself providentially necessary for humans. Don’t eat motor oil for a lark. Do include leafy green vegetables in your diet.

You already seem to admit that the fruit was bad for them, but then you say that it was no so much eating the fruit as it was their disobedience to God’s command and warning. So, you seem to say that it can well have been perfectly fit to eat, and that God had simply gave the warning for perfectly good-to-eat fruit. As if the command was just for some kind of dictatorial insecurity within God Himself.

Since when does God make up fictions just so He can tell us to avoid them? Are we His pets that He orders around for His amusement? What kind of God is that? A pagan god, I would say.

Consider if you never had any exposure to Hebrews 11:17-19, such as by, say, having been born prior to the New Testament Scriptures. What would you then have made of Genesis 22?

There are two mutually adverse ways to go in trying to make sense of Genesis 22. I suggest that one of those ways is consistent with the ASF explanation, and the other is that which maximizes the Bible in favor a God whose righteousness is recognizably righteous. He is not—I repeat, not—essentially like a dice-throw operated Vending Machine of Every Imaginable Command. ‘Ooop, looks like the Machine commands another random senseless thing today. Got to comply, though, since the Machine is God.’

(SeanO) #12

@DanielPech The command would not have stemmed from any form of insecurity on God’s part, but rather as a means of testing Adam and Eve to teach them obedience and weigh their hearts. We find that God commonly tested people in the Bible as a means of both weighing their hearts and providing them an opportunity to grow in the midst of trial / temptation.

Hebrews 11:17-19 - By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

2 Chronicles 32:31 - But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.

What is essential?
(Daniel Pech) #13

I agree: God’s command to avoid eating of the Bad tree did not stem from any form of insecurity on God’s part. That’s part of my point.

But I think you miss the deeper part of that same part. For, when you go on to mention about Abraham’s being tested concerning sacrificing Isaac, you do so as if that test, and the warning about the Bad tree, are each of the same basic motive on God’s part: that God wanted to test someone in each case.

But there are a number of things in Abraham’s case that I find critically different. First, unlike the case about the Bad tree, I find no sure indication in the Bible that God Himself had, in His own Good Will, purposed to put Abraham to such a test.

Yes, God allows testing. But, in order for God to have put that test to Abe, that test need not have been God’s own will. More to the point, there simply is no standard in the Bible according to which God would be inclined, of Himself, to put that test to anyone. In itself, it is an unrighteous thing to ask, much less command, of anyone. But Abe was no modern cultural Christian who simply lived thousands of years before Christ, and hundreds of years before Moses.

Notice what God faces concerning His praise of Job. The Devil came to challenge God on the wisdom of praising a fallen human being to anyone else (to the court of angels). The Devil lost the kind of ‘wager’ to which he had put God over Job, but not as if God had asked the Devil to put it to Him. God is the Creator, so He knows every possible field of contest, and every possible manner of attack. And, since the Devil is the Devil, God foreknew this challenge.

But God’s main, if not sole, purpose in praising Job was not in order to incite the Devil in this. On the contrary, God’s main purpose of praising Job to the court was simply that. It is God’s nature to praise His saints to the court, and He will not forgo doing so just because He knows what the Devil will do with it: turn it back on God as a way of putting God in a bind.

This bind in no way means God is subjected to the Devil’s will. It simply means that God never dishonors Himself in having created those He designed in His image, whether human or angel. In other words, they are not as playthings to God’s Sovereignty, as if God’s Sovereignty is the only thing that God is: “I am God! You are just a pathetic creature! You do as I say, not the other way around! Now stop trying to put me in a bind, because I shall do as I please!”

That is not God. That is a human insecure rendering of God for their own insecure purposes, such as a vengeful sentiment against their fellow humans who actively oppose their trust in the Bible. We can get this mixed up, as even the Pharisees did. They thus reduced the Law to what it merely spells out, and thus were happy to be in position of authority as teachers of a rendering of the Law that did not address any of the sins that the Pharisees were inclined to commit.

So the Bible does not teach us to interpret the Bible, or God’s actions, according to a sentiment of a vengeance that is motivated by insecurity and pride—especially by a selfish, or otherwise dubious, pride in the Bible. In asking Abe to sacrifice Isaac, God was not exercising some supposed Divine prerogative to order around His creatures in any which possible way in which we can imagine anyone being ordered around BY anyone else. Proverbs teaches that we are not to try to one-up a fool (‘answer not a fool within any of his own foolishness, lest you rightly be seen a fool yourself.’)

When the Devil lost regarding Job, the Devil simply put God in a bind regarding the other horn of the dilemma: Abraham’s trust that God (1) both would and could raise the dead, and (2) would give him, Abe, a NORMAL inheritance through Isaac. Abe, in a time of looming skepticism on his part, already tried the non-normal interpretation of God’s promise. But God knew what the Devil would put to Himself regarding Abe’s-final-full-confidence-in-this-God-of-Shem-and-Noah.

The book of Genesis is human historical record, and ONLY THEREIN records some of God’s own words and dictated meanings. So notice what it really is from which Abe reasoned. It was not a source spelled out for him, like a Complete Dunce’s Guide to How to Make the Right Sense of God’s Words. Abe reasoned principally beyond the mere words—something which the Pharisees were happily disinclined to do. Abe reasoned NATURALLY in that Abe was an instance of the image of God.

So the Bible is not like a computer program from which us-as-computers are to comply simply with what it either (a) simply directs, or (b) what, for a less or more atomistic ‘loyalty’ to it, it seems to direct. There is no natural, normal suggestion in it that God is us-ward like a computer programmer whose programs we are to ‘obey’. Otherwise, Hebrews 11:17-19 need not exist. Instead, we would find there the very kind of reasoning that you have been using all along: that Abe simply obeyed the supposed binding command to sacrifice Isaac, full stop. But Abe was no robot-cum-Believer. Abe was the friend of God. Otherwise, how could the test have been worth what that Hebrews passage implies that it is worth?

So, you can think to be defending your logic of ‘obedience’ according to all that the Bible does spell out. For example, in that thinking you can include what that Hebrews passage spells out. But what I am saying is that I think there is no foundation in the Bible for that logic.

(SeanO) #14

@DanielPech While we have a difference of opinion regarding what it means for God to test the heart of man, I have enjoyed the conversation :slight_smile: May Christ bless you on the journey.

(Daniel Pech) #15

Thank you, Sean. You are so kind.

May God Bless you, and may He Bless RZIMConnect.

What is essential?