Chapter 4 – A Contributing Cause of the Fall

The fall of mankind was due, in part, to a failure by both Adam and Eve to abide in their marital roles. The test they failed in the garden was partly a test of headship and submission.


In Genesis 2:16-17, we see that God spoke only to Adam, not to Eve, not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. This is reiterated in Genesis 3:11. This is because Adam had the responsibility as Eve’s covering to share what God had spoken and lead by example.


We are not specifically told how Eve became aware of God’s command concerning the Tree of Knowledge. However, it’s unlikely that she heard it straight from God’s mouth like Adam did for three reasons. 


First, she was not held equally accountable with Adam. When God confronted Adam and Eve after eating the fruit, He initially spoke only to Adam even though Eve was the initiator. God did not even address Eve until Adam brought her into the discussion by blaming on her. If Eve had heard the same thing directly from God, would she not have been equally accountable, or even more accountable as the initiator? The apostle Paul also placed the responsibility for the fall on Adam, saying, “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15: 20-22)


Second, Satan targeted Eve rather than Adam for deception. This was strategic. He likely chose Eve because she was more vulnerable to deception, having not heard the command directly from God for herself, but only through her husband. Perhaps this is why scripture says that Eve was deceived (1 Timothy 2:14), but Adam was not, even though they were both present and both heard the same thing from Satan.


Finally, Eve did not accurately recount what God said. When Satan asked her about God’s command, she replied, “…God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” (Genesis 3:3) God never said anything about not touching it. Some teachers say Eve presumptuously added her own words to God’s command. This may be true. However, it just as well could have been a failure on Adam’s part to properly communicate God’s command to her.


Once Satan deceived Eve into believing God was withholding something good from them, she had a choice to make. Her husband, her spiritual leader and protector, was right there with her. She felt she knew what was best – eating the fruit and becoming wise. She sincerely felt the serpent was trustworthy. But she also knew she was under her husband’s covering. Therefore, it would be wise for her to consult with Adam and consider letting him take the lead in this important decision. Also, since they regularly walked with God, they both should have waited until the next time they saw Him to talk about the serpent’s allegations.


Unwilling to put the outcome at risk, Eve decided to take matters into her owns hands. If she put the decision in Adam’s hands, he might mess it up. Without discussion, she took the fruit, ate it, and then gave it to her husband. By her unwillingness to abide under the protective covering of her husband’s authority, she subjected herself and every wife since to a distorted, oppressive version of that same authority.


Adam did not do any better. He stood silently by and watched as his wife was lied to by the serpent and then obeyed him. There was no deception in Adam’s heart. He knew God’s words were trustworthy. He knew eating the fruit would lead to death. He also knew he had a responsibility to lead and protect Eve. Instead he stood passively by while she led them both into rebellion. What a tragedy!


Adam failed to exercise his God-given headship over a pure, sinless wife, whose natural bent was to unreservedly trust him. By his failure, Adam positioned himself and every husband since to lead wives who would be continually subject to fears, doubts, and resistance toward their leadership.  


Understanding how the breakdown of headship and submission contributed to the fall is important because Satan sometimes attacks marriages in the same way today. And God sometimes allows us to be tested in this same way.


Did any content from the last two chapters feel uncomfortable to you? Or even offensive? If so, I encourage you to keep reading. In future chapters, we’ll talk in more about authority, submission, and how to make decisions as a couple. You may be surprised by what we uncover.




Can women have authority? What kinds of roles are women called to in God’s kingdom? Why is Satan threatened by women? We’ll look at these questions in the next chapter.