Author Topic: The original sin?  (Read 1656 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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The original sin?
« on: July 27, 2022, 02:08:35 PM »
I suggested in another discussion that the first humans sinned by desiring the fruit of the forbidden tree (Gen 3:6). The Hebrew word for "to desire," (חָמַד) is the same word (although different form) translated "to covet" in the commands against it.


While this word can be used in a good sense, such as its use in Gen 2:9 for all the desirable trees in the garden; it is usually used in negative senses - to desire what one should not have. It is clear in the context that Eve should not eat of the forbidden tree in the garden.

As Jesus points out in Matthew 5, our inner desires, when focused on things we shouldn't do, are sins.

Thus, I posit that the first sin of the humans was their desire to eat what God had forbidden. That came before the act of eating the forbidden fruit.

Interestingly (at least to me,) the LXX changes the verb, "to desire," into an adjective, "beautiful." Where the the ESV has "the tree was to be desired to make one wise," the LXX (NETS) has "it was beautiful to contemplate" [ὡραῖόν ἐστιν τοῦ κατανοῆσαι]. Could she have been obsessed with the beauty of this one tree and fruit?

If this desire for what was forbidden was part of their nature/essence before the sinful act, what might that indicate about our understanding of pre-fall life? I remember a speaker pointing out that the while the first creation account often says, "It was good," the second account (from which Gen 3 also comes,) has God saying, "It is not good" (Gen 2:18).
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

George Rahn

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2022, 03:16:41 PM »
I suggested in another discussion that the first humans sinned by desiring the fruit of the forbidden tree (Gen 3:6). The Hebrew word for "to desire," (חָמַד) is the same word (although different form) translated "to covet" in the commands against it.


While this word can be used in a good sense, such as its use in Gen 2:9 for all the desirable trees in the garden; it is usually used in negative senses - to desire what one should not have. It is clear in the context that Eve should not eat of the forbidden tree in the garden.

As Jesus points out in Matthew 5, our inner desires, when focused on things we shouldn't do, are sins.

Thus, I posit that the first sin of the humans was their desire to eat what God had forbidden. That came before the act of eating the forbidden fruit.

Interestingly (at least to me,) the LXX changes the verb, "to desire," into an adjective, "beautiful." Where the the ESV has "the tree was to be desired to make one wise," the LXX (NETS) has "it was beautiful to contemplate" [ὡραῖόν ἐστιν τοῦ κατανοῆσαι]. Could she have been obsessed with the beauty of this one tree and fruit?

If this desire for what was forbidden was part of their nature/essence before the sinful act, what might that indicate about our understanding of pre-fall life? I remember a speaker pointing out that the while the first creation account often says, "It was good," the second account (from which Gen 3 also comes,) has God saying, "It is not good" (Gen 2:18).

Since the only two speaking actors at Genesis 3:1-6 are the serpent and the woman (Is God even there?  God would have to be present as Creator and Preserver just not acknowledged as present in the narrative itself), the woman desires what God had forbid earlier to Adam in Genesis 2.  Desiring is one thing and coveting is another, imo.

George Rahn

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2022, 03:23:54 PM »
To continue:  if God had acknowledged as here:  “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.”  why would it be wrong( a sin)for the woman to acknowledge what God had originally created good and pleasing to the eye?  She was simply doing what God had inherently “infused” at his discretion.  The sin arrives when Eve actually eats the fruit.  Imo

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2022, 03:28:20 PM »
I suggested in another discussion that the first humans sinned by desiring the fruit of the forbidden tree (Gen 3:6)...

Thus, I posit that the first sin of the humans was their desire to eat what God had forbidden. That came before the act of eating the forbidden fruit.

I've never heard any objection to such a distinction.  Until now, that is, if George Rahn disagrees.
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George Rahn

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2022, 03:33:36 PM »
Wow.  Driving this line of thought further convinces me that as one who lives as a sinner AFTER exile from the Garden of Eden, do I even have an accurate view to contemplate what is withdrawn from accurate reflection anyway?  My own deductions/interpretation of texts are fraught with error as is.  That is why the final arbiter is always Scripture.  We return to scripture as the final arbitration rather than one’s own or the biblical scholar’s or a teaching office’s word.  The final word is always God’s.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2022, 06:59:30 PM by George Rahn »

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2022, 03:48:24 PM »
From CPH's The Lutheran Study Bible:

Gen 3:6 footnote: "In her desire to gain wisdom, the woman lost sight of the fundamental truth about wisdom: to be truly wise is to believe and trust in god and to obey His teachings.... Temptation frequently consists of desiring something that God says is wrong."

"The very first sin recorded in the Bible was human beings wanting to be “god:” to be independent from God and each other. Such a desire is the ultimate definition of sin."

 https://www.lutheranchurchoftheresurrectioncocoabeach.org/ourbeliefs

Another commentator: "When Adam and Even desired what God desired, then the tree in the center of the garden was not even a blip on the radar of Eve or Adam. It never even bothered them, because their desire was mirroring what God desired and God desired them not to eat from that tree. It was only when they no longer desired what God desired that Adam and Even were able to eat of the fruit.

And thus, the first sin is not a choice of produce but a choice of desiring something other than what God desires."
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it’s not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Dan Fienen

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2022, 04:09:08 PM »
To continue:  if God had acknowledged as here:  “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.”  why would it be wrong( a sin)for the woman to acknowledge what God had originally created good and pleasing to the eye?  She was simply doing what God had inherently “infused” at his discretion.  The sin arrives when Eve actually eats the fruit.  Imo
The way that I have understood it has been that before the eating, and distinct from the desiring or being attracted to it for its beauty, Eve distrusted God's command. God said, "Don't eat this, it will be bad for you!" But Eve doubted God's wisdom, even His goodness. She decided that it would be good for her. That doubting of God is what created the rift and brought sin into the world.
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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2022, 04:45:03 PM »
That doubting of God is what created the rift and brought sin into the world.

Are you sure? Wasn't sin/evil in the world prior to that? (Note that Brian specified "the first sin of the humans.")
« Last Edit: July 27, 2022, 04:46:48 PM by Donald_Kirchner »
Don Kirchner

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Dan Fienen

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2022, 05:04:11 PM »
That doubting of God is what created the rift and brought sin into the world.

Are you sure? Wasn't sin/evil in the world prior to that? (Note that Brian specified "the first sin of the humans.")
See your point, I was unclear. I should have said "That doubting of God is what created the rift and brought sin into humanity."
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2022, 05:39:11 PM »
I suggested in another discussion that the first humans sinned by desiring the fruit of the forbidden tree (Gen 3:6). The Hebrew word for "to desire," (חָמַד) is the same word (although different form) translated "to covet" in the commands against it.


While this word can be used in a good sense, such as its use in Gen 2:9 for all the desirable trees in the garden; it is usually used in negative senses - to desire what one should not have. It is clear in the context that Eve should not eat of the forbidden tree in the garden.

As Jesus points out in Matthew 5, our inner desires, when focused on things we shouldn't do, are sins.

Thus, I posit that the first sin of the humans was their desire to eat what God had forbidden. That came before the act of eating the forbidden fruit.

Interestingly (at least to me,) the LXX changes the verb, "to desire," into an adjective, "beautiful." Where the the ESV has "the tree was to be desired to make one wise," the LXX (NETS) has "it was beautiful to contemplate" [ὡραῖόν ἐστιν τοῦ κατανοῆσαι]. Could she have been obsessed with the beauty of this one tree and fruit?

If this desire for what was forbidden was part of their nature/essence before the sinful act, what might that indicate about our understanding of pre-fall life? I remember a speaker pointing out that the while the first creation account often says, "It was good," the second account (from which Gen 3 also comes,) has God saying, "It is not good" (Gen 2:18).

Since the only two speaking actors at Genesis 3:1-6 are the serpent and the woman (Is God even there?  God would have to be present as Creator and Preserver just not acknowledged as present in the narrative itself), the woman desires what God had forbid earlier to Adam in Genesis 2.  Desiring is one thing and coveting is another, imo.


Desiring and coveting (as well as lust) are the same words in Hebrew and Greek. When the object of the desire is something good, it gets translated as "desire." When the object of the desire is something evil or forbidden, it gets translated with "covet" or "lust."
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2022, 05:47:21 PM »
To continue:  if God had acknowledged as here:  “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.”  why would it be wrong( a sin)for the woman to acknowledge what God had originally created good and pleasing to the eye?  She was simply doing what God had inherently “infused” at his discretion.  The sin arrives when Eve actually eats the fruit.  Imo


Granted the same word and niph. form is used in Gen 2:9 of every tree that "is pleasant" to the sight and good for food. It was not wrong to desire the fruit of all those other trees. In a similar way, it is not wrong to desire sex with one's spouse. However, when the same sexual thoughts are focused on other persons, it's called "lust" and is sinful. Thus, I suggest that when the same desirous thoughts are focused on the forbidden tree, they have become sinful.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2022, 05:51:31 PM »
From CPH's The Lutheran Study Bible:

Gen 3:6 footnote: "In her desire to gain wisdom, the woman lost sight of the fundamental truth about wisdom: to be truly wise is to believe and trust in god and to obey His teachings.... Temptation frequently consists of desiring something that God says is wrong."

"The very first sin recorded in the Bible was human beings wanting to be “god:” to be independent from God and each other. Such a desire is the ultimate definition of sin."

 https://www.lutheranchurchoftheresurrectioncocoabeach.org/ourbeliefs

Another commentator: "When Adam and Even desired what God desired, then the tree in the center of the garden was not even a blip on the radar of Eve or Adam. It never even bothered them, because their desire was mirroring what God desired and God desired them not to eat from that tree. It was only when they no longer desired what God desired that Adam and Even were able to eat of the fruit.

And thus, the first sin is not a choice of produce but a choice of desiring something other than what God desires."


I agree. This raises the question about the corrupted nature (desiring something other than what God desires) was present in the humans from the beginning of the creation, rather than just the result of the Fall.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

George Rahn

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2022, 06:54:45 PM »
The desire itself does not create the rebellion because God had said it was a delight to the eyes.  What Eve did by actually eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil…there is where sin entered in that it was a direct disobedience of God’s command to not eat.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2022, 07:02:13 PM »
To continue:  if God had acknowledged as here:  “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.”  why would it be wrong( a sin)for the woman to acknowledge what God had originally created good and pleasing to the eye?  She was simply doing what God had inherently “infused” at his discretion.  The sin arrives when Eve actually eats the fruit.  Imo
The way that I have understood it has been that before the eating, and distinct from the desiring or being attracted to it for its beauty, Eve distrusted God's command. God said, "Don't eat this, it will be bad for you!" But Eve doubted God's wisdom, even His goodness. She decided that it would be good for her. That doubting of God is what created the rift and brought sin into the world.

Another way of expressing this is to say that she trusted herself - her desires - more than God. The object of her desire is שָׂכַל - a word hard to classify. according to BDB. They suggest that it could be understood in Gen 3:6 as "desirable to look at," although all of the English translations I looked at used "wise" or "insight" or something closely related. The "wisdom" of שָׂכַל seems a bit different than the wisdom of the more common חָכַם.

שָׂכַל carries with it a sense of "common knowledge" that leads to "success" or "prosperity." It can (and is) translated that way in Dt 29:90; Jos 1:7, 8, etc. How different would our understanding be if Gen 3:6 were translated as "desire to be successful?"

I also find a bit of irony in this term which, as noted above, can generally mean "to be wise." In Eve's desire for wisdom (or success,) she does something really stuipid. 
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

George Rahn

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Re: The original sin?
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2022, 07:02:19 PM »
I suggested in another discussion that the first humans sinned by desiring the fruit of the forbidden tree (Gen 3:6). The Hebrew word for "to desire," (חָמַד) is the same word (although different form) translated "to covet" in the commands against it.


While this word can be used in a good sense, such as its use in Gen 2:9 for all the desirable trees in the garden; it is usually used in negative senses - to desire what one should not have. It is clear in the context that Eve should not eat of the forbidden tree in the garden.

As Jesus points out in Matthew 5, our inner desires, when focused on things we shouldn't do, are sins.

Thus, I posit that the first sin of the humans was their desire to eat what God had forbidden. That came before the act of eating the forbidden fruit.

Interestingly (at least to me,) the LXX changes the verb, "to desire," into an adjective, "beautiful." Where the the ESV has "the tree was to be desired to make one wise," the LXX (NETS) has "it was beautiful to contemplate" [ὡραῖόν ἐστιν τοῦ κατανοῆσαι]. Could she have been obsessed with the beauty of this one tree and fruit?

If this desire for what was forbidden was part of their nature/essence before the sinful act, what might that indicate about our understanding of pre-fall life? I remember a speaker pointing out that the while the first creation account often says, "It was good," the second account (from which Gen 3 also comes,) has God saying, "It is not good" (Gen 2:18).

Since the only two speaking actors at Genesis 3:1-6 are the serpent and the woman (Is God even there?  God would have to be present as Creator and Preserver just not acknowledged as present in the narrative itself), the woman desires what God had forbid earlier to Adam in Genesis 2.  Desiring is one thing and coveting is another, imo.


Desiring and coveting (as well as lust) are the same words in Hebrew and Greek. When the object of the desire is something good, it gets translated as "desire." When the object of the desire is something evil or forbidden, it gets translated with "covet" or "lust."

This is consistent with the argument, imo.