Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. Genesis 3:1-3
We frequently hear how Eve added to God’s command in verse 3. God commanded back in Genesis 2:17 that they should not eat of the tree, but said nothing about touching it. Eve added the part about touching it. She is regularly castigated for adding that part to God’s command. We are often told that Eve shouldn’t have even been near the tree, because if she isn’t near the tree, she wouldn’t be tempted to sin and eat the fruit from it. That sounds good at first, but isn’t that adding to God’s command? Did God command Adam & Eve to stay away from the tree? Since God only commanded not to eat the fruit and you say Eve should have stayed away from the tree, aren’t you just as guilty as Eve of adding to God’s command? Obviously, Eve would have had to touch the fruit to eat it, so not touching it sounds like a good idea – just as not coming near the tree. But both add to God’s command.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Genesis 3:6
Some have said that it was because Eve was near the tree that she saw that it was good for food and pleasant to the eyes. If she wasn’t near the tree, she would not have seen it was good for food and pleasant to the eyes – as if those two things were part of her problem. However, look back to Genesis 2:9:
And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9
Notice it says every tree was pleasant to the sight and good for food. If seeing a tree was good for food and pleasant to the sight was part of Eve’s problem, it would have been a problem whenever she saw any tree in the garden. Eve’s only problem was eating the forbidden fruit. It was not going near the tree. It was not looking at the tree. It was not touching the tree. God did not forbid any of those things.
I have heard an illustration and admonition for parents that is dangerous. It goes something like this.
Suppose sin is a cliff. Some parents build a fence right on the edge of the cliff and when their kids jump the fence, they fall right over the cliff into sin. It would be wiser to move the fences back from the edge of the cliff so when the kids jump the fence, the parents still have a chance to keep the kids from falling off the cliff into sin.
Now, that all sounds well and good. But that is adding to God’s word just as Eve did in Genesis 3. If something is sin, it is because God declared it is sin. Therefore, it is God who put the fence up at the edge of the cliff. God said everything up to that point is not sin and therefore acceptable. If you move the fence away from the cliff, you are saying you know better than God and you are denying your children something that God said was acceptable. In essence, you are saying it is sin when God did not. You are just as guilty as Eve of adding to God’s word.
Adding to God’s word does not keep people from sinning. We all are going to sin. Moving fences away from the cliff really accomplishes nothing except for maybe produce Pharisees (I’m so holy that I don’t even go near the tree that God said I shouldn’t eat its fruit).
Are you adding to God’s word? Are his commands not enough for you?