This evening I heard a Christian minister proclaim on the radio that in the Garden of Eden, Satan’s attacked on Eve went “to her need for security, significance and strength.” Evidently it is part of the basis for his book and the phrase rolls off the tongue and who doesn’t have a need for security, significance and strength.
Do you resonate with the statement and agree with him?
In that statement in question the speaker claims that Eve was felt insecure, insignificant and threatened in some manner by the created order around her. When she yielded to the temptation Eve was seeking to satisfy those needs, those deficiencies in her nature that were designed into her by God.
The implication of the speaker’s theology is that the crux of Eve’s decision was much more than a moment of decision, to obey or disobey God. At that moment Satan is attacking those deficiencies, those flaws God designed into her, or could not remove from the design. In other words, Eve had designed into her some elements of a poor self-esteem. The speaker by saying that humanity and the created order was not perfect, but flawed. He thereby stands against how the church has understood Eve, Adam and the initial basis of disobedience.
This position has implication for how the Garden of Gethsemane is then to be understood and salvation of humanity.
It means that in Gethsemane what transpired there was more than Jesus, a perfect human being, wrestling with a decision to obey or not obey God the Father. The church has held for two millennia that just like Eve and Adam Jesus too was truly human and perfect. The church has maintained that Jesus as the perfect man was faced with the temptation and a decision to obey or disobey, but that unlike Adam and Eve who disobeyed, Jesus obeyed knowing full well what was ahead. The church argues that Jesus as the perfect obedient human going to the cross therefore saved humanity, from the consequences of the Fall. But if Adam and Eve were not perfect humans, the basis of salvation and message of hope is unraveled.
Therefore the speaker’s statement about Eve means:
- That both Eve and Adam were defective by design, and as they were defective, the created order was not perfect.
- That Adam and Eve fell because they were not perfect. They were bound to sin because they were not perfect.
- That Jesus was perfect, unlike Adam and Eve.
- That Jesus did not sin because unlike Eve and Adam he was perfect.
- That Jesus was not like Adam and Eve, he was “human plus” and that this extra element helped Jesus not to sin. An argument then could be made that Jesus could not have truly yielded and if that were true he was not truly tempted.
- That if a “human plus” Jesus saved humanity, then the church’s theological argument of the last two millennium that only a perfect obedient human, the man Jesus could truly redeemed humanity for like Adam and Eve, Jesus was perfect human in every way. Like them Jesus was truly tempted and could have disobeyed, but he did not sin for he obeyed God. The church has maintained since its founding that if Jesus was not like Adam and Eve, that if he was a human plus and if Jesus did not face the same temptation and could not have truly disobeyed then humanity was not saved.
Clergy, regardless of the denomination, must be cautious in crafting nice sounding statements for a book or a sermon so that poetic beauty doesn't undermine church dogma. This is particularly true regarding Adam and Eve, for how they are handled could readily result in impacting the work and nature of Jesus and even negating the basis of salvation through Jesus.