And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16-17.)
I’ve read that passage more times than I can count. For some reason, I didn’t realize until recently that God gave Adam these instructions before creating Eve.* But after she comes on the scene we read this:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5, emphasis added.)
Where did Eve get that part about not touching the fruit? From Adam? We don’t know. We do know that Adam did nothing to correct her misunderstanding, though.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Genesis 3:6, emphasis added.)
There’s Adam, just standing by while Eve has this conversation, plucks the fruit and bites down on it. He knew God’s command about the tree and did nothing, which leads to another question. Why didn’t he say, “Eve, that’s not how God put it. I don’t know where the serpent got his information, but I was there and he wasn’t when God told me about that tree.”
Yet instead of stepping up and helping out, Adam went the opposite direction and hid:
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (Genesis 3:8-12, emphases added.)
So you’re accusing Eve, is that it Adam? Surely you’re not saying it’s all God’s fault, are you? It looks like it’s one or the other or maybe both, but according to Adam none of this is his fault.
We know what happens next. Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden, the perfect home God created for them, as are we all. It all goes to Adam’s initial failure to step in when Eve needed him.
This post isn’t about men supposedly having a responsibility to lead women, though. It’s about how each of us is responsible to God with what he has given us, whether women who need to step in for men or vice versa, or children for adults or whoever for whoever. (See the parables of Matthew 25, for example.) In this case it was Adam knowing something Eve didn’t and failing to explain things to her correctly.
Yet none of us is completely trustworthy because we are all living in a fallen world.
Do not trust a neighbor;
put no confidence in a friend. (Micah 7:5.)
Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save. (Psalm 146:3.)
The one who is worthy of our trust is not a man nor a woman, but God. It’s always been this way:
In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them. (Psalm 22:4.)
As the title of this post says, you just can’t trust a man. Not 100%, not all the time. I’d say you can’t trust a woman either, since we’re all in this together.
But we can all trust God, 100% and all the time.
*This assumes that Adam was solely male before the creation of the female Eve. Another reading of Genesis 1 and 2 might be that humans were not yet divided sexually and that is why Eve was taken from Adam’s being, so that men and women became companions to each other. I tend to go with the traditional understanding and use it in this post because that is also how people who insist men are to exercise headship over women read it, which just goes to show that two people looking at the same passage can come to such differing conclusions about its import. (And that people who agree about women and men being mutually submissive and not in headship over each other can also differ on reading the passages on creation of Adam and Eve.)