Q. I was teaching a Sunday school class for adults recently and two very difficult subjects came up. One person asked me if Satan did not tempt Adam and Eve in the garden, could they have eventually sinned on their own. The second was a statement that all sins are a result of Satan or his demons tempting us. My position was that we are sometimes tempted of our own desires, but this was not well received. Can you shed some light on this for me?
A. Since Adam and Eve sinned, we know they were created with the potential to sin, and had the ability to choose whether to obey God or not. So theoretically Adam and Eve could have eventually sinned regardless of how the events in the Garden turned out.
What Satan did with Adam and Eve is an example of what He does with us. He gets us to question God’s word and brings opportunities to sin to our attention is such a way that they play on our desires, even to the point of making the sin seem like a good thing.
When Satan said that Eve wouldn’t really die from eating the “forbidden fruit”, and helped her see that it was good for food, pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. Then she gave some to Adam, who was with her, and he ate it, too (Genesis 3:1-6).
Personally, I think Adam and Eve already had a desire to eat the forbidden fruit, because without the desire on their part, Satan’s temptations wouldn’t have worked. They would have remembered God’s commandment and refused. This is why they were punished along with the serpent. God does not judge the innocent with the guilty.
James 1:14 says, “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”