Recently I have had the opportunity to study with a group of guys who believe in a different theology than I do. Though we disagree in our theologies, the discussions have led each of us to think about things we maybe hadn’t thought about before. For me, one of those topics was Adam and Eve. Specifically, Adam and Eve while they were still in the garden.
Interestingly what I’ve discovered is that in truth we do not know very much about Adam and Eve’s lives. Genesis 5:5 tells us that Adam lived to be 930 years old! That’s a long life that we only have a small portion of information about. It caused me to think, how long were Adam and Eve in the garden? The answer, of course, is that we don’t know.
Personally, as I’ve read through Genesis, I’ve always just assumed a couple of days, weeks, maybe months, but they could have lived there for years. This caused me to consider what God had told them in Genesis 1:28 – “Be fruitful and multiply…”
The group of young men I am studying with reject that Adam and Eve had children in the garden. I had never thought about it, but I immediately asked “why?” Why wouldn’t they have children while in the garden? I had never considered whether they did or didn’t and so I began considering that thought: did they? That curiosity led me to Genesis 3:20 – “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” This comes before v.21-24 when man is displaced out of the garden. Genesis 4:1 picks up with the birth of Cain and then later Abel, but it does not say these were the first children of Adam and Eve. So, could Adam and Eve had had children in the garden? I believe they could have, and according to Genesis 3:20 did. Now, does this really matter? No, but it led me to this next thought.
If Adam and Eve did have children while they were in the garden, then those children faced the consequences of their parent’s sins. Ezekiel 18:20 makes it clear that we are not held accountable for our parents, or children’s, sins. However, one thing we must understand is sometimes sin has consequences that affect more than just ourselves. In Joshua 7 we see something similar with a man named Achan who disobeyed God. As a result, the children of Israel as a whole faced consequences.
Though it does not matter if Adam and Eve had children, this thought made me consider the consequences of sin in a new light. Our sins have consequences for us sure, but the next time we face temptation we should also consider – who else is going to be affected by this sin?