God told Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:17 not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In Genesis 3:2,3 Eve tells the serpent that they can not eat or touch of the tree. She twisted God's words, or in this case, added to them.

Had Eve already sinned in her heart, causing her to misquote God's words and eating the fruit was just a manifestation of the sin? Or did the first sin of mankind occur a the point of eating the fruit, thus making misquoting Scripture out of ignorance not a sin?

Thoughts?

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Thanks Jim, for your comments. They are always helpful. I apologize if it seems I was equivocating the use of the word "Scripture." I understand what you are saying and quite honestly I agree with you. I am just trying to unpack it to the extent of the discussion I had with my friend.This is something that is always hard to do on a message board.

In my mind I was defining the use of the word "Scripture" to simply mean "God's Words." It was only my attempt to look at what the text actually does say. God said to not eat of the fruit; and when asked by the serpent, Eve said they were not to eat or touch the fruit. Therefore, Eve added to what God had said.

So let me ask this then; if we misinterpret Scripture today purely as an honest mistake, but we take that misinterpretation and in an honest way apply it to our lives and it leads to sin; what was the sin? The act or the misinterpretation that led to the act?

My thought concerning the passage of Genesis 3:2 is when Adam/Eve gave "thought" to the question the serpent asked her, the sin had been committed. Jesus taught on more than one occasion that to even think about something sinful was to do the very act itself. Does this mean I think it was the "adding to" of God's words that Adam/Eve did which was the sin. Not at all. I believe it was the violation of the one command God gave them. But I believe there is a very important principle here in that we must rightly divide God's Word, for even in a moment of "mistaken interpretation", look what it can lead too.

As we know from Christ's teaching concerning our thought life, this is where Satan attacks. He attacks the mind first. Once we have the thought, sin has been committed. And once that thought works its way to the heart, Luke 6:45 teaches us that it is just a matter of time before the physical act shows itself.

Overall, I think this is a good lesson and reminder of how important II Corinthians 10:5 is. I challenge people that if they are having "thoughts" about things they know to be wrong, but have yet to physically act them out, then they need to be praising God for His grace in their life. For look how quickly Satan can work. It took Adam and Eve just one short conversation to go from having a thought, to the heart, and then the physical action.

Thanks for everyone's great feedback concerning this topic.

I understand that we are here using the words spoken by God in chapter two as a metaphor or illustration of Scripture. Scripture is God's Words. And the warnings of God to Adam, before the creation of Eve, were also the Words of God.

Travis Smith said:

I apologize if it seems I was equivocating the use of the word "Scripture."

No need to apologize. We are just sharing and discussing here. And it is healthy.

I understand what you are saying and quite honestly I agree with you. I am just trying to unpack it to the extent of the discussion I had with my friend.

That is one of the great assets and resources that is ours in this C.C. site.

It was only my attempt to look at what the text actually does say. God said to not eat of the fruit; and when asked by the serpent, Eve said they were not to eat or touch the fruit. Therefore, Eve added to what God had said.

And I am saying that by saying "THERFORE, Eve added to what God had said," such an interpretation of the passage does that very thing. It is adding to the Scripture to declare: "Eve added to what God had said." The Bible does not say she added to what God had said. It simply is not in there. We have no authority from any other passage in the Bible to suggest that Eve did in fact "add to what God had said." It is adding to the Scripture to say that Eve added to what God had said. That is not a proper or valid conclusion from sound principles of hermeneutics.

Eve DID NOT add to what God had said - this statement also is not correct. I don't believe she did. But the Bible simply is silent on that point. Just because we have a particular quote of the words God SPOKE TO ADAM, this does not mean there was nothing else that God ever said to Adam, or to Eve as well.

Indeed there is no record of God's words that He spoke to Eve.

Actually there is no record that God told EVE not to eat of the Tree. God spoke to ADAM about this, but we assume that what He said to Adam was also true for Eve. All of the command and prohibition of 2:15-17 employs SINGULAR pronouns. There is no statement that "YE (the two of you) shall not eat of it."

Again, there is no way that we can insist that Eve misquoted the Words of God to her, since we have not been provided with a definitive record of God's words.

A proper and safe approach to Scripture is to NEVER EVER make categorical statements about what did or did not happen when the Bible has not so stated.

I could just as confidently say, SINCE THERE WAS NOT YET ANY SIN, therefore what Eve was saying was a true and accurate quote of what God said to her. But that would be incorrect since we do not have a record of what God said to her. There is no basis for making any claims about the accuracy or inaccuracy of her reference to the Words of God, since we are no where told that 2:15-17 consist of the sum total of all the words that God had ever spoken prior to the appearance of the Tempter.

When the Judge of all the Earth approached Adam and Eve after the eating of the Fruit what did He ask them?

Well, first of all I need to correct the wording of the little question I just asked. God did not ask THEM. Rather God spoke to Adam (singular pronoun and surrounding context show that He spoke to Adam, to the Man). This is what is observed in the text. God said:

Have you (singular) eaten from the tree of which I commanded you (singular) that you (singular) should not eat?”


It is also noteworthy that even God did not precisely repeat the words that He had spoken in chapter two.

However, both the man and the woman confessed the sin. What was that sin?

Then the man said, ". . . I ate.”

13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “. . . I ate.”

There is no uncertainty about what the sin was. It was eating of the tree.

Further, the judgement that came on the man and on the earth was due to that specifically identified sin (3:

Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life. . . "

The Bible is not silent or uncertain in identifying what was that monumental sin.

So let me ask this then; if we misinterpret Scripture today purely as an honest mistake, but we take that misinterpretation and in an honest way apply it to our lives and it leads to sin; what was the sin? The act or the misinterpretation that led to the act?

And what if we take and INCORRECT interpretation of Scripture and draw good and healthy conclusions from it, conclusions that lead us to walk in the Light?

Misinterpretation is NOT necessarily sin.

"And I am saying that by saying "THERFORE, Eve added to what God had said," such an interpretation of the passage does that very thing. It is adding to the Scripture to declare: "Eve added to what God had said." The Bible does not say she added to what God had said. It simply is not in there. We have no authority from any other passage in the Bible to suggest that Eve did in fact "add to what God had said." It is adding to the Scripture to say that Eve added to what God had said. That is not a proper or valid conclusion from sound principles of hermeneutics.

Eve DID NOT add to what God had said - this statement also is not correct. I don't believe she did. But the Bible simply is silent on that point. Just because we have a particular quote of the words God SPOKE TO ADAM, this does not mean there was nothing else that God ever said to Adam, or to Eve as well."

I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on this particular point. Satan specifically asked her what God said and her answer was different that what He said in chapter 2. In fact, in my opinion, adding to what He said was only one of the things that occurred. I suppose I would be accused of committing the fallacy of appealing to authority in this case, but I tend to side with Wiersbe's commentary on this passage.

"Eve's reply showed that she was following Satan's example and altering the very Word of God. Compare 3:2-3 and 2:16-17 and you'll see that she omitted the the word "freely," added the the phrase "nor shall you touch it" (NKJV), and failed to say that God "commanded" them to obey. Note too that Eve copied the devil further when she spoke of God (Elohim) and not "the Lord [Jehovah] God," the God of the covenant. Finally, she said "lest you die" - a possibility - instead of "You shall surely die" - an actuality. So she 'took from' God's Word, 'added to' God's Word, and 'changed' God's Word..." - Warren Wiersbe

We agree to disagree.

But do we agree that misinterpretation is not necessarily sin?

I don't view Weirsbe as sinning by his misinterpretation.

Oh how I hope that I am not viewed as sinning for my failure to see things according to these common assumptions.

By the way, the word "freely" does not occur in the original edict of God. And in the edict of chapter two we have before us a Second Person Singular Imperative, while in Eve's non-quoted reference to what God said she uses a First Person Plural Subjunctive - showing that she was not quoting, nor was she intending to quote some sacred utterance.

And by the way, there is no sense of a direct quote here in chapter three. And Satan was not asking Eve "what did God say," but he was asking "Did God say?"

Then too, when GOD HIMSELF referred to His edict (3:11 w. 2:15-17), even He did not precisely and exactly quote His own words. He omitted the word freely too. Oh well. He was referring to what He had said, and like Eve, not "quoting it."

I guess I am a bit more concerned about going beyond what was written, perhaps because of some of my previous associations with certain teachers who had a decided propensity for finding hidden things in the Scripture that were never there to be found in the first place.

What does the text actually say? That is the first step in sound hermeneutics is to OBSERVE. Observe, observe, observe. What does it actually say?

In any case, be sure there are no hard feelings. I am as certainly smiling with a twinkle in my eye right now, and full acceptance of the sincerity of all my brothers and sisters here. Peace to all!

Jim,

Certainly no hard feelings at all. Just sharpening going on here.

You asked, "But do we agree that misinterpretation is not necessarily sin?"

I would agree with that. However, there is certainly a very fine line with that. While the very act of misinterpreting may not be a sin, the results of misinterpreting could lead to sin...or even worse. Consider what is to become of a person that misinterprets the Gospel.

We would certainly agree on those comments.

Travis Smith said:

Jim had said: But do we agree that misinterpretation is not necessarily sin?

I would agree with that. However, there is certainly a very fine line with that. While the very act of misinterpreting may not be a sin, the results of misinterpreting could lead to sin...or even worse. Consider what is to become of a person that misinterprets the Gospel.
Further - even a correct interpretation MISAPPLIED can lead to sin.
But the fine line is there. And I would carefully reaffirm that Misinterpretation is not necessarily sin. But many cases of misinterpretation are always in and of themselves sin. When men lie in wait and use the Scripture wrongfully, and twist it to lead men astray, or when they USE the Gospel to make merchandise of it.
Satan claimed to be quoting Scripture in the temptation of Christ - under the formulaic phrase: It is written. And he was soliciting sin in the Savior - albeit unsuccessfully. There is a concrete case of "Misquoting the Words of God."
But we are always safe to learn not to go beyond what is written (1 Cor.4:6).

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