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THEOLOGY > Sin > Man's Disobedience > Refused Responsibility 


Where are you?
Gen. 3:9

Responsibility for one’s actions is the teaching of Scripture and is also an intuitive sense that every person possesses as is evidenced by the laws in varied cultures that hold individuals responsible for their conduct. People cannot act with impunity, doing whatever they please; there are consequences for actions.

Responsibility for behavior is something every individual must accept, responsibility before and to others, but, most profoundly, responsibility toward God. It is with God that man has to do. Man cannot live independently of God.

Evidence of man’s responsibility is found early in the pages of Scripture, found when God confronted Adam and Even after their sin: “And they heard the sound of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day . . . Yahweh God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” (Gen. 3:8-9). The mere presence of God communicated to the couple that they must give account of their deed. Man does not possess absolute freedom, immune from the necessity of giving account for his actions.

Both of them refused responsibility, at least responsibility toward the one true God, even as the vast majority of the race does today.

Adam blamed Eve – “the woman You gave me”

Eve blamed the Serpent – “the serpent deceived me”

 Adam blamed Eve

To Adam God asked a pointed question: “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Gen. 3:11). The first two words from the mouth of Adam were: “The woman” (Gen. 3:12); the larger statement is: “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (Gen. 3:12)—so Adam blamed Eve for his sin.

But the problem is greater: in blaming the woman, Adam was finding fault with God; note that Adam said: “the woman whom You gave to be with me.” It was the woman’s fault, but it was God who gave the woman to Adam, so really it was God’s fault.

Here is the supreme example of responsibility forsaken, forsaken at the expense of God. Not only does Adam refuse to accept responsibility for his disobedience, but he seeks to incriminate God for his own act of disobeying God. Adam is not to be faulted, rather God is to be blamed. According to Adam the real problem in the sordid mess is not himself but His Creator.

From the Scriptures we know that Eve was the direct creation by God, created from a rib taken from Adam. So from this perspective, Adam is faulting God for His creative work. Adam is presumptuously assuming that he knows better than God who obviously made a mistake in creating Eve and giving her to Adam. Adam’s sin is the fault of Eve, but it is really the fault of God who made Eve.

Adam is impugning God’s knowledge in creating Eve and also His freedom to create her. This is really an attack upon God’s Sovereignty (see: God is Sovereign). It is man usurping the prerogatives of God. Here is the creature accusing the Creator, a mere mortal judging the Almighty. Man is elevated while God is demoted—it is the triumph of humanism; it is the demise of Theism.

Adam follows his assault on God with the feeble statement: “she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (Gen. 3:12). In other words, he ate the fruit because Eve gave it to him, as though she had control over his actions. The implication is that he would not have disobeyed God if she had not created the occasion by giving the fruit of the tree to him. Again, Adam points the finger away from himself and to someone else. In his feeble answer there is a rejection of personal responsibility.

Eve blamed the Serpent

Following Adam’s self-serving response and his vicious attack upon God, God ignores him and turns His attention to Eve. God does not continue his conversation with Adam. While God does not defend Himself, He does not attack Adam. He simply ignores him and transfers His questioning to Eve.

The lesson is that the Truth does not always need to be verbally defended; the Truth can be spoken and left to stand on its own. Some rejections do not deserve a response; every utterance of error does not require a confrontation. Pearls are not to be cast before swine.

After questioning Adam, God confronted Eve: “Then Yahweh God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’” (Gen. 3:13); immediately the woman responded with these words: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Gen. 3:13). When God turned to Eve, she excused herself with the words: “The serpent deceived me” (Gen. 3:13). Like Adam, she refused responsibility and blamed the serpent

Two points are in Eve’s response: she blames someone else, namely the serpent, who is really being used by Satan; and she blames her conduct on the action of Satan. His deception, according to Eve, explains her sin and excuses her of responsibility.

As with Adam, God does not enter into dialogue with Eve. Perhaps the conclusion should be drawn that at times it is best to leave an individual with their own sinful reasoning and trust that silence and time will suggest to them the error of their musing.

Point: Your sin is your responsibility.

Do not imitate Adam and Eve and refuse to accept responsibility for your sin; your sin is your sin and the liability for your sin belongs to you. Don’t blame someone else—the blame is yours.  Do not seek a scapegoat for personal transgressions.

Responsibility should not be shifted, in fact, responsibility cannot be shifted. Adam blamed his wife, and his wife blamed the serpent. But their attempts at denial and diversion were not successful—God pronounced a curse upon each of them (Gen. 3:16-19). Their example should not be emulated, for each person must bear his own sin.

Your sin is not the result of your lack of education, lack of financial resources, lack of social standing, or the fact of negative circumstances that you have experienced in life; your sin is your responsibility. Do not look around you; look within yourself. There you will find the one responsible for every evil thought and act.

Who do you blame for your sin?
Who is culpable for your evil?

Return to: Man's Disobedience; Next Article: Curses

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