Was Adam with Eve at the time the serpent (Satan in the form of a snake)1 deceived her about eating the forbidden fruit? Another page about Satan on this site off-handedly says "We don't know where Adam was at the time of Satan's temptation." Another believer, Claretta, challenged me on what had seemed obvious to me—that Adam was AWOL at the time Satan approached her. However, Claretta pointed out that Genesis 3:6 says, "...she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it" (emphasis added). If one only reads that part of the story, it would seem like an open and shut case that Adam was with her the whole time. However...
The serpent's deception
Let's first look at the passage in context, so we can see what it really says:
1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" 2The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" 4"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Genesis 3:1-6)
The first clue can be found in verse one. It says that the serpent was "more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made." Would it be considered "crafty" if the serpent had approached both Adam and Eve at the same time? I think not. It would make more more sense trying to entice them one at a time. From the sequence of verses presented, it seems as if the action is continuous from the serpent's deception until Eve eats the fruit. However, verse six begins with "when," implying that the preceding conversation might have happened some time before Eve actually went to the tree in the middle of the garden. The next thing we notice about the passage is that Adam is not mentioned until he is presented with the fruit to eat. If he was really with Eve and the serpent, why didn't he say anything? You would have thought he would have at least supported his wife when she mentioned about God saying not to eat of the fruit.2 The absence of any input from Adam seems suspicious.
Adam and Eve are caught
The Bible sometimes leaves out details in order to be brief. However, we can fill in some of those details by reading what happened next. Of course, Adam and Eve were caught and God questioned them about what had happened. First God asked Adam:
...Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." (Genesis 3:11-12)
Adam's response was to blame Eve for giving him the fruit (and ultimately, God, who gave Eve to him). If Adam had been with Eve at the time the serpent was deceiving them, you would think he would have blamed the serpent. However, when God asked Eve, she did blame the serpent:
Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (Genesis 3:13)
So, Eve blamed the serpent and Adam blamed Eve, making it sound like they were not together when the serpent was tempting Eve. There is an even bigger clue that follows:
To Adam He [God] said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. (Genesis 3:17)
God seems to have been in on a conversation that we never heard in the original passage. In the conversation with the serpent, Eve simply embellished what God had told Adam about not eating from the tree in the middle of the garden. She never said that the serpent was right, at that time. So, it seems that after Eve left the serpent, she had a conversation with Adam, convincing him that the forbidden fruit was actually good. Adam was not condemned for being deceived by the serpent, but for believing his wife instead of what God had told him. So, this verse clearly implies that Adam and Eve had a conversation between Genesis 3:5 and Genesis 3:6 in which she convinced Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. Adam wouldn't have needed convincing if he had been with Eve during Satan's conversation.
Paul says Eve was deceived
Besides Genesis, there are other clues that tell us that Adam was not with Eve during the serpent's deception. Paul said Eve was deceived by the serpent:
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)
Paul is even more specific in 1 Timothy:
And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. (1 Timothy 2:14)
If Adam had been with Eve during the serpent's deception, Paul could not have said that Adam was not deceived. So, we must conclude that Adam was not with Eve during the serpent's deception.
Although not directly stated in the Bible, there are numerous clues that tell us what happened when Adam and Eve rebelled against God and ate the forbidden fruit. The crafty serpent (Satan in the form of a snake) waited for Eve to be alone before approaching her to convince her to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit. Some time later, Eve took Adam to the tree in the middle of the garden and convinced him that the fruit was good to eat. When Adam and Eve were caught in their sin by God, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. The New Testament confirms that only Eve was deceived by the serpent, demonstrating that Adam was not with her when the serpent approached her.
- Adam and Eve
- Why Wouldn't God Want Adam and Eve to Have Knowledge of Good and Evil?
- Original Sin - Are We Condemned by the Sin of Adam and Eve?
- Was Evil and Suffering a Result of Adam's Sin?
- Was Adam Created as an Immortal Being?
- Out of Africa or Out of Eden: Does Science Contradict the Bible?
- Who Is Satan?: What Does the Bible Say About the Devil?
- Have Christians Already Overcome Satan?—The Importance of the Word of God in the Life of the Believer
- What Will Hell be Like?
- Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth... And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:3-9)
- And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17)
Last updated February 28, 2013