LESSON 9.

EVE'S CHOICE, AND ADAM'S.

65. In a helpful course of lectures on "The Spiritual Criticism of the Bible," Dr. A. T. Pierson said: "In the intellectual sphere man believes a thing because it is true; in the spiritual, a man knows a thing to be true because he believes it." If, having the Spirit with you to convict you of the truth, you believe what is said in our Lesson today, then accept the truth and live by it, and teach it to others, though it may completely overturn previous instruction which you have received, and preconceptions which you may have imbibed.

66. Let us repudiate, once for all, in our Lessons, any desire to discuss, "Which is the greater in the kingdom of heaven, man or woman?" as an unworthy question to raise. But, as women, we are interested, and should be, in woman's destiny. It was fixed in the Garden of Eden. What is it?

67. Please read Genesis 2:17, 18. Just previous to the separation of the sexes, when Adam had reached maturity, and was accountable for his conduct, God forbade him to eat of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Eve had not been "builded" yet, as shown by verse 18; the command was given in the second person singular. Precisely what this "tree" was, we are not told. It is allowable to think the expression "good and evil" is practically equivalent to "pain and pleasure," as it is in such passages as 2 Samuel 19:35, Job 2:10, Isaiah 7:15, 16, Jeremiah 42:6, etc. The result of Adam's disobedience of such a law would be, first, the discovering of a marked contrast between "pain" and "pleasure;" and, second, a strong temptation, as to the future, to seek pleasure, and to avoid even wholesome "pain." Perhaps God wished to fix Adam's attention on higher motives and principles of conduct than mere "pain and pleasure." This prohibition, if we so interpret it, had peculiar significance, as just preceding God's providing Adam with a wife. Above all things, the avoidance of the pains of responsibility in the relation of the sexes is to be discountenanced. It means the deterioration of the individual, and eventual deterioration of the race; and it must inevitably entail suffering and undue burden bearing, on the part of the mother-sex.

68. Eve was not "builded" until after this prohibition was uttered, and we are not informed whether she heard it afterwards from the Almighty, or merely heard of it through Adam. So far as the testimony goes, it is to the effect that she had only heard of it through Adam, when Satan beguiled her into disobeying the commandment; for in repeating the story she elaborates the language, making the statement of the law stronger at one point and weaker at another,—and these are the characteristics of a repeated story, not a first-hand account. Eventually they both ate of the tree, and God came in the cool of the evening to deal with them. He asked Adam: "Hast thou eaten of the tree?" and the reply was, "The woman that THOU gavest to be with me, SHE gave me of the tree, and I did eat." God then questioned the woman, and she replied: "The SERPENT beguiled me, and I did eat." Please note the words we have put in capital letters.

69. I think we are warranted in drawing a contrast between these two answers, for in them we find a clue to what follows. Both confess, "I did eat," and both tell truthfully the immediate influence that led to the eating. So far they are equal. But Adam is led on to say more. There was a remote cause for his downfall, through Eve,—Satan. But Adam does not, like Eve, mention Satan; and yet he does not remain silent as to a remote cause; he accuses God to His face of being Himself that remote cause,—in giving the woman to be with him. And the worst feature of the case consists in the fact that Satan was present, or near-by, at the interview, and could not have been overlooked, excepting wilfully, if a remote cause was to be mentioned at all. Satan must have rejoiced as much in Adam's attitude towards God in charging Him with folly, as in Adam's attitude towards himself, the tempter, in shielding him from blame. Is it not this scene, this conduct on the part of Adam, to which Job refers (3133) when he complains, "If, like Adam, I covered my transgressions by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom?" Dr. Lange says (see par. 36), "Adam must watch and protect" the garden from an "existing power of evil." Is not this the reason why Adam does not mention Satan, who has been let inside?

70. Destiny is an awful word. One's fate may become fixed for a lifetime by the choice of a moment, and that choice, unless Divine interference be invoked, may become the natural bent of one's progeny, through succeeding generations. This is the lesson of the Israelites and the Edomites of Scripture. Esau's life seemed more creditable than Jacob's up to a certain advanced point in Jacob's history. But when Esau stood at the parting of two ways, he chose physical refreshment at the cost of his birthright (Genesis 25:29-34). Much later, Jacob came to the parting of two ways, and at the risk of a murderous attack from his brother finding him alone and unprepared, he wrestled all night for the Divine blessing (Genesis 32:24-32), and secured it. God saw, even before the birth of these two, the sort of choices they would make, and made His "selection" according to this foreknowledge. God is now about to make a "selection," the same one as when, later in history, he chose Jacob as the progenitor of the coming Messiah,—this time on the basis of the choices of Adam and Eve.

71.  Adam made an evil choice. Adam advanced to the side of the serpent, in becoming a false accuser of God. But Eve, by her exposure of the character of Satan before his very face, created an enmity between herself and him. What followed was the natural outcome of Eve's better choice. God proposed to draw the woman yet farther away from Satan. He said to Satan, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman (3:15). In effect, he said: "She has chosen to make the breach; I will widen it."

Much is made of the glorious promise which follows, but let us pause and consider this one, in which the expositors, for the most part, find no more depth of meaning than that there will be always a natural animosity between men and the lower animal, the snake!

72.  We must not forget that at this time God put enmity between Satan and the woman. This will account largely for a whole train of evils prophesied in the following verse (3:16), which tradition says is the result of Eve's having introduced sin into the world by eating the forbidden fruit, and giving of it to her husband. Satan's enmity is the cause of woman's sufferings. More light on this point follows later in the Lessons.

73. "And between thy seed and her seed," God adds, in these words addressed to Satan, and concerning woman. Despite the popular cry regarding the "universal Fatherhood of God, and the universal brotherhood of man," which is in part true, we who accept the Scriptures as authority must not forget that Satan, as well as God, has his children--moral and spiritual delinquents—among men. "The good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one." John 6:70 reads, "Have I not chosen you twelve and one of you is a devil?" When the Jews declared, "We have one Father, even God," Jesus replied, "If God were your Father, ye would love Me. . . . Ye are of your father the devil" (John 8:41-43). Even the Apostle of love, John, will not admit that all men are children of God, but warns: "Little children, let no man deceive you; he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil. . . . In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil" (1 John 3:7-8, 10). God does not receive, or acknowledge as His, the unregenerated "bastard" children (Hebrew 12:8) of a fallen Church.

74. "It [woman's seed] shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel." The "shall," in both places, here should have been rendered "will," for the sake of clearness. They are future tenses, not imperatives. God does not command Satan to bruise the heel of the woman's seed; He only prophesies that these things will come to pass. The prophecy has special reference to the great enemy of Satan, Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary; but it also refers to all believers, for St. Paul says, "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly," in his letter to the Romans (16:20). We will continue this subject in our next Lesson.

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