Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Story of Adam and Eve - Part Three

How do we define what Adam Did?  In this next part of my parable of Adam and Eve I want to focus on what Adam did to contribute to Eve's transgression.  And again like last month you need to know the parable to make sense of this post.

The clue to understanding what he did can be found by searching the scriptures for every verse where these three words occur: transgression, sin, and iniquity.  When you do this you will discover the following three facts.

First all transgressions, sins and iniquities are behaviours.  In other words what you are thinking or what you are feeling may lead to any of these three behaviours but thinking and feeling are not a transgression nor a sin nor an iniquity.  A lot of people think because all behaviour for the most part is caused by what they think and feel then this means that all thinking and all feeling causes behaviour.  This is clearly wrong.  There are lots of times when thinking and feeling don't cause any behaviour or else how would things like planning take place?

The second thing is that these three behaviours all involve someone breaking a commandment from God.

The third and key fact is that the difference between these three behaviours has to do with the numbers of people involved.  For example the first of the Ten Commandments are all transgressions.  You can prove this is true by asking this question.  Who else, beside the person committing the transgression, is effected by the behaviour of the person who is breaking the commandment?  While there may be other people mentioned in the first five commandments, it is only the person who is breaking the commandment who suffers the consequences of their behaviour.

Sin differs in that there is at least one other person involved.  We can compare the first and last five commandments to see this difference.  In the first we are commanded to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.  If we break this commandment the only person affected by our behaviour is ourselves.  When we break any of the last five commandments, for example the commandment not to kill, we are obviously affecting at least one other person.

The last of the trio of behaviour we are to refrain from doing is committing iniquity.  Iniquity is like sin in that it involves two or more people only in this case the person is trying to influence someone else to break a commandment.  This is the worse of the three behaviours and suggests that a sin is therefore worse than a transgression.  This graduated view of the commandments can be quite enlightening but it is a subject for another post.

Now with this understanding let us revisit the parable of Adam and Eve.  If we assume that when Adam added the extra caution to the commandment given him from God he was motivated by his love for Eve.  When he did this what commandment was he breaking?  If we go thru the five commandments from the Ten Commandments that are sins we might be able to answer this question.

The first is not to kill and it should be obvious that this isn't what Adam did.

The second is to not commit adultery and this also doesn't apply.

The third is not to steal and again there was no stealing.

The last sin is to not covet and this clearly isn't true in this case.

This leaves the fourth commandment which is not to bear false witness and this seems to fit the behaviour.  What Adam did was that he told Eve a lie and while he might have had good intentions this still doesn’t mitigate his responsibility.  We could continue this analysis of the parable by applying the definitions of transgression, sin and iniquity to the actions of all the three participates.

For example Satan was clearly breaking a commandment because he was trying to influence Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit.  His behaviour was an iniquity which is why he received the severest punishment.  Adam lied to Eve while what Eve did in eating of the fruit was only a transgression.

What looking at this aspect of the parable does is that it provides an good example of the difference between transgression, sin and iniquity, and this understanding would seem to be a good thing if we are to avoid transgression, sin or iniquity in our own live.

As always, comments are welcome.