Rebellion and Repentance

Excerpt from Chapter 5 of Beyond Shallow Faith, copyright 2018, 2019

Adam blew it for all of us.[i] So says Paul, the first century Christian missionary and author of thirteen letters in the New Testament.[ii] Through Adam, sin and death entered the world and spread to each one of us.[iii] Even though we did not personally commit the “offense of Adam” (Romans 5:14),[iv] his transgression brought God’s condemnation on all of us. We are all transgressors like him.[v] Of course, Eve also did her part, as Paul points out in 1 Timothy 2:14.[vi]

Did these terrible consequences flow from merely eating fruit?[vii] Since the forbidden fruit was “the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9 and 2:17), was God trying to keep Adam and Eve ignorant? Or was this really about Adam and Eve having sex,[viii] as some followers of Sun Myung Moon[ix] told me when I was in college? No, no, and no.

The problem went far deeper than these superficial explanations. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they were rebelling against God. And as a result of their rebellion, God expelled them from the Garden of Eden.

But perhaps it could have been different. . . .

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[i]. I am not concerned with whether the story of Adam and Eve is literal truth, allegory, parable, or something else. The characters are true to life and the lessons the story teaches are worthwhile regardless of how it is interpreted.

[ii]. Paul wrote the following thirteen letters: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon

[iii]. See, for example, Romans 5:12, 5:15, and 5:17, and 1 Corinthians 15:22.

[iv]. Romans 5:14 says, in relevant part: “Nevertheless death reigned . . . even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam.”

[v]. See Romans 5:18-19.

[vi]. 1 Timothy 2:14: “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

[vii]. Although the fruit eaten by Adam and Eve has traditionally been viewed as an apple, Genesis merely refers to it as “fruit.” See, for example, Genesis 3:2-3 and 3:6.

[viii]. While this is perhaps an interesting idea, I find no support for it in Genesis—especially since the author of Genesis explicitly talks about Adam and Eve having sex, and Eve becoming pregnant, in chapter four. See Genesis 4:1 and 4:25.

[ix]. Moon (1920-2012) founded the Unification Church in South Korea. He died on September 3, 2012.