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Was Eve's death a consequence of the sin of Adam and not a direct result of her own sin?

In Romans 5:12, death is blamed as originating exclusively from Adam, and it is Adam from whom death has spread to everyone else ...Everyone else, which would literally include Eve.

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned

The idea that human death originates exclusively from the sin of Adam may actually come from the original narrative.

In Gen 3, God declares, "because you have" done XYZ before naming the consequences of Adam and the serpent's actions, but not for Eve. To her, consequences are simply meted out without identifying her actions as the cause of it.

Also, only Adam is told he will return to the dust (die). Eve is not told she would return to dust, but it seems she is indirectly affected by consequences directly blamed by God on Adam.

Genesis 3:14-19 14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
"Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."
16 To the woman he said,
"I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."
17 And to Adam he said,
"Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

It's as if, unlike Adam and the serpent, Eve is not fully responsible for her punishment though certainly, she played a part in it.

Lastly, we only see that God directly commanded Adam not to eat of the tree, and only Adam is told by God that he would die if he did (Eve not being around when he said this).

Genesis 2:17 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

While Eve has somehow heard something about this command, it is a distortion of the original:

Genesis 3:3 but God said, ​'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'"

It's as if God sees death as ultimately Adam's responsibility to avoid and only directly commands him with avoiding it.

So, does Romans 5:12 and Genesis 2&3 narratively teach that Eve's death was ultimately contingent upon Adam's transgression and his punishment from God for that transgression and not as a direct consequence of Eve's sin?

The implications of this conceptually could cast greater light upon Adam's role in God's original creation and illuminate his parallels with Christ as the New Adam of the new creation.

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  • Eve is basically the main culprit, she acts as Satan to Adam. You think shes not responsible but shes the main culprit here (leftists argue that ancient patriarchy made the story to push down females; I recently heard that Pandora who opened the box of troubles was the first woman too, so maybe it's an ancient common story that woman caused troubles, look it up). Though Adam is responsible because he was the head. Eve is part of Adam or was made as his assistant. Only Adam is made in God's image. Adam means the father of all mankind. Why would Eve be excluded from sin?
    – Michael16
    Aug 10, 2022 at 16:10
  • As there are no death-carrying tubes connecting Adam and Eve, it would be good if you precisely defined what you mean by "came from". Did death come from God, as he put Adam in the garden? Did death come from eating the fruit? Did it come from the serpent? It's just such a vague question that it's impossible to give a clear answer.
    – Robert
    Aug 10, 2022 at 17:16
  • @Michael16, My question isn't about whether should "Eve be excluded from sin." It's about whether, according to Rom 5:12 and Gen 3 and even Gen 2, Eve's death was a punishment from God directly for her sin or whether her death was ultimately a result of the punishment of Adam's sin that resulted in death for even innocent humans such as babies and cursed the entire world. My suspicion is that it is the latter based on who Paul and God both uniquely identify as the person responsible for human death entering God's creation.
    – Austin
    Aug 11, 2022 at 5:02
  • @Robert, I don't think my question was any more vague than the language of Romans 5:12. Death would have been a consequence for transgression as determined by God. The question is did God deem the death of Eve to be a direct consequence for her own sin or is it a consequence of the judgment upon Adam for his sin described in Gen 3:17-19 - the judgment that not only brought death to Adam and Eve but also to all humans (with 2 exceptions), even innocent babies.
    – Austin
    Aug 11, 2022 at 5:09
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    @Robert, thanks for your response. Romans 5:12, and so on, seem very exclusive to me. It seems there is a way in which Adam uniquely typifies Christ and there is a way in which Christ uniquely manifest as the new Adam. There are all kinds of ways that any one of us can be compared to Adam or any number of intermediate causes for the arrival of human death in God's creation, but the way death came through Adam is unique to Adam and is important in understanding the unique role Christ fulfills in the life we may receive.
    – Austin
    Aug 11, 2022 at 6:23

4 Answers 4

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First, let's look at two other NT passages that might help with this.

  • I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. --2 Cor. 13.2

  • Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. --1 Tim. 2.14

This "Adam was not deceived" bit presents a real conundrum if one accepts that 1 Tim. was written by Paul, for it seems to contradict the idea in Romans 5 that Adam, not Eve, was the original transgressor. Critical scholars can dismiss 1 Tim. as not truly Pauline. Otherwise, we are left with the alternative that Paul was inconsistent in his thinking about Eve's role or that Adam was not deceived and yet sinned anyway. This makes his transgression many times worse than Eve's, yet both received the ultimate punishment.

But, however we resolve the above issue, we are still left with the question in the O.P. -- "did death only come to Eve through Adam's sin and not directly through her own sin?" The context of the statement indicates that Paul is concerned here not so much with developing a doctrine about mankind's fall as he is with teaching about Christ as the new Adam. The conclusion comes in verses 18-19:

As one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Paul uses the parallel between Adam and Christ again in 1 Corinthians 15:22 "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." Also 1 Corinthians 15:45, 'Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit'

The bottom line here is that Paul was not thinking about Eve's role when he wrote Rom. 5:12. When he wrote 2 Corinthians, he made it clear that Eve was indeed responsible for her sin, and that something similar might develop in the Corinthian congregation. But does this mean death entered the world through Eve as well as Adam; that she would have died even if Adam did not sin? What if Adam had "just said no"? Perhaps Paul agreed with some of the later rabbis, who believed that Adam could have been given a new wife if he had resisted. See Pirḳe R. Eleazer 13.

Woe is me! [said Eve] I shall now die, and the Holy One, blessed be He, will make another woman and give her to Adam, but behold I will cause him to eat with me; if we shall die, we shall both die, and if we shall live, we shall both live. (Source)

In any case, Adam did sin; and whatever Paul might have to say about Eve's role, we can safely assume that both Adam and Eve are responsible for the consequences.

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  • Hello Dan and welcome to Bible Hermeneutics. I highly recommend you take the tour and visit the Help Center so you can get a fuller understanding of how the site works and have a better experience asking/answering questions.
    – agarza
    Aug 10, 2022 at 18:34
  • Thanks agarza. I did take the tour. Will visit the help center. Would appreciate specific feedback regarding how my answer does not apparently measure up. Aug 10, 2022 at 21:37
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    Adam being the head, bears the burden of responsibility. Had Adam not joined Eve, it would have looked very different. Aug 11, 2022 at 3:34
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When God told Adam in Genesis 2:16-17 (NIV)

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

17 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.”

Did God mean "you will certainly die" a punishment? Did God say to Adam and Eve you will certainly die because of your sin? No, God just said you will certainly die when you ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Paul said "sin" existed but couldn't charge against anyone without law. He wrote in Romans 12-14 NIV;

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.

14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

So if we judged today something in the past using a concept that didn't exist by that time, it is a mistake. Adam and Eve had no concept of "sin". Death was the consequence that both of them ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, as God had forth told. It was Eve who ate first, and she gave it to Adam. In fact, it was not who was the principal offender and who was the second that the Lord was judging, because there was only one consequence being told, "you will certainly die".

In fact, Paul quoted Adam story did not intended to blame him brought death to the world, nor wanted to clarify who was the principle offender. It would be more appropriated to compare Adam to Jesus, rather than Eve to Jesus, as Jewish tradition is masculine. He used Adam's fault to bring forth his conclusion, his main message, that Jesus has renewed everything and bring us life. He wrote in Romans 5:18-21 NIV

18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If we believed that Adam and Eve were uneducated, then we should give them more accommodating. Have we noticed that the Lord was speaking to them very gently? Wasn't that the Lord already knew, upon giving them the freewill to choose, that was the consequence? So since the creation, the Lord have already prepared our "salvation", the theme of "salvation" began from Adam and Eve until the very end.

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The wages of sin is death.

Eve was paid her wages. As was Adam.

Enoch preached righteousness for probably 300 years before God took him. If you make a chart of how long those early people lived, you’ll see that Enoch preached to them all while they lived and even Adam would have heard Enoch. Noah was born without ever hearing Enoch.

So when Noah believed, his faith was by Grace, and Hebrews says that Noah’s faith condemned the whole unbelieving world of that generation.

Adam was given the command from God before Eve was created. What she knew she learned from Adam. Clearly Adam didn’t make sure Eve was clear. She reasoned herself into believing was she heard, what she saw, was the truth. Jesus rebuked the disciples for reasoning among themselves.

Lean not to your own understanding. Believe God. Or your wardrobe of fig leaves which is unbelief, will grow.

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I think the answer is in the Roman pagan religion, in which the male head of family was responsible for mediating with the household gods on behalf of the entire family in order to gain the favor of the gods. The women and sons could not perform the rites, only the senior male member, known as Pater familias. I think this is why Paul writes on this particular theme in a letter to Rome--it is an implicit analogy the Roman church can understand since they would have all been familiar with the Roman religious practices. Like the Pater familias, Adam was responsible for mankind, including Eve.

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