What's the harm in adding to God's command?

In Genesis 2:16 -17, we read God’s first command to Adam and it contained one simple prohibition.

…but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” Gen 2:17

Then in Genesis 3:1-7, we read the account of the first sin. In it, Eve recounts that command as part of her response to the serpent’s question.

"…But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’” Gen 3:3

Some years ago I saw in this exchange the first example of human religion. Now, when I say religion, I am referring to the set of rules created to maintain one’s state before God. In it, I also saw what I believe may be an explanation as to why Eve was deceived so easily (2 Cor 11:3, 1 Tim 2:14). That explanation being influenced by Isaiah 55:11

"…so My word that comes from My mouth
will not return to Me empty,
but it will accomplish what I please
and will prosper in what I send it to do.”

Simply taking God’s statement in Isaiah at face value I was struck by the reality that if Eve was really quoting God, then she would have been sustained by God’s word and successfully resisted the serpent’s cunning deception. My realization was confirmed by the way Jesus responded to his temptation in the wilderness (Matt 4:1-10). In each encounter with Satan, Jesus quoted God’s word back in response (Deut 8:3; 6:16; 6:13), until finally expelling the accuser from his presence (Matt 4:10-11). My conclusion was subsequently backed up by Paul’s exhortation in Colossians 2:20-23 saying that,

“Don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch”…they are commands and doctrines of men. Although these have a reputation of wisdom …they are not of any value in curbing self-indulgence.

Connecting Paul’s conclusion, that human rules and regulations have no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh, to Eve’s deception led me to see why and how Eve was so easily deceived. Eve’s first error was relying on human wisdom as if it was God’s word and command. It’s not rocket science and is even commanded in Deut 12:32.

Whenever I try to find commentary about Eve’s response, they mostly deal with what I might call the functional aspects of the sin. They talk about Eve desiring wisdom and her willingness to engage the serpent’s question, whether Adam was there the whole time, or even if Eve’s deception was a sin or not. Whereas I’m interested in the mechanism or process by which Eve allowed herself to be deceived.

I recognize that this next part can be speculation on my part, but I believe it was Adam that conveyed the “nor shall we touch” portion of her response. The reason I feel that way is because in Eve’s response she says, “God said.” If she was adding it herself then wouldn’t she be lying? Wouldn’t the misrepresentation of the truth be the issue? That doesn’t sit well with me. I read her response as one of sincerity, in that she believed what she was saying to be God’s command and relied on it to sustain her against the question and veiled accusation against God’s command. I believe that Adam, maybe in his Eden Orientation with Eve, when he got to the part about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, added the part about not touching it. As well-intentioned as it was, Adam amended God’s command. It’s my understanding that the Pharisees did it with the many rules they added as a buffer around God’s law to keep the people of Israel from sin.

Regardless of where the amendment came from, the point is that human wisdom can add nothing to God’s word and that is where the first domino of Eve’s defenses began to fall.

I’m curious though:

  • Is there any commentary out there that addresses this angle of the fall?
  • Is this a help to anyone else?
  • Am I off in any way?

I’ve shared this before on social media and with others, I’ve encountered along the way. While many respond favorably, I’ve been surprised by how others have flatly dismissed it and have accused me of adding to the scriptures myself. Yet, to me, it seems like a plain reading of the scriptures and recognizing this point has helped me and my friends discern what teachings are from God and what is from man.

So, I earnestly desire to hear from this community. Our homeschool is named (a school name is required in North Carolina) Berean Way Academy and our motto is “Receiving with Joy and Testing for Truth”. I hope the same for anything I contribute here.


Hi @chris,

Thank you for sharing your thought provoking interesting observations from Gen 3:3

That’s an interesting angle to be considered. Most sermons on this verse that I have heard previously are in the context of deception. Just yesterday, the sermon in a local church here happened to be on this verse. The pastor talked about how doubting the goodness of God, leads to deception which then causes disobedience to God’s commands and legalism.

From 2 Cor 11:3-19, Paul seems to be saying that the very first reason for Eve’s deception is that she put up with the cunning thoughts of the serpent of doubting the goodness of God. The serpent’s words conveyed that God was being restrictive of her freedom, which Eve entertained. 1 Tim 4:1 reveals the same pattern that some will depart from faith by accepting deceitful doctrines that go contrary to God’s commands.

Now coming to the question of whose words was Eve repeating when she exaggerated God’s commands? If Eve was the first one to be deceived, I suspect those exaggerated commands were Eve’s own words. In Gen 2:16, God says Adam may freely eat of any tree but Eve omits this word in Gen 3:2. She saw God as restrictive and so she may have added the words ‘of not even touching it’! Also in Gen 3:17, Adam is cursed for listening to Eve’s voice, which further supports the possibility that they were Eve’s words. In Gen 3:16, the curse on Eve reflects the consequence for her disobedience to the order of authority God had established (Gen 2:18). Its possible Eve misinterpreted Adam’s message from God but it could also be her non-reliance on God, and view of God, that caused her to come up with her own strategies to add to God’s command. Adam then followed her in the same sin. Does this interpretation seem likely to you? When I find time, I will have to check if there are commentaries that talk about legalism in this context. No matter who added to God’s commands, I am really convicted about our need to treasure the Word of God in our hearts so that we are able to wage war against sinful temptations (Ps 119:11).

If human religion is understood as actions people take according to human wisdom to live a moral life apart from the commands of God, then I can see how the addition to God’s commands were the first traces of that desire to go on the path of self reliance by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Th tree of the knowledge of good and evil caused Adam and Eve to know experientially what good and evil feel like. Pursuing knowledge can become sin if pursued on on our own without dependence on God. It doesn’t produce life but bondage to laws and ultimately death! I have seen this sin as a lack of intimacy with God in my own Christian walk when the craving for knowledge about God rather than a desire for dependence on Him becomes a driving force.

Fig leaves in Gen 3:7 may be another symbol of human religion since human works of righteousness done without dependence on God are referred to as filthy garments in the Bible ( Isa 64:6). The garments from God in Gen 3:21 is seen as a foreshadow of the sacrifice of Christ in several commentaries.

Mitchell Kim in a short study on Genesis on the gospel coalition website (TGC) says this about the garments -

The first animal is killed to clothe Adam and Eve’s Though nakedness did not cause them shame before the fall, sin immediately brought shame at their nakedness, so that they hide themselves. However, God covers their nakedness with the skin of an animal. This looks forward to the ministry of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, Zech. 3:1–5). In a similar manner, we are to “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light,” which is to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:12, 14, Eph. 4:22-25, Col.3:9-10).

So to sum up, the harm in adding to God’s commands is deception. Its a sign of a lack of trust in God. Mitchell Kim shared this quote from John Calvin regarding this -

And surely, once we hold God’s Word in contempt, we shake off all reverence for him! . . . . For Adam would never have dared oppose God’s authority unless he had disbelieved in God’s Word. Here, indeed, was the best bridle to control all passions: the thought that nothing is better than to practice righteousness by obeying God’s commandments; then, that the ultimate goal of the happy life is to be loved by him. Therefore Adam, carried away by the devil’s blasphemies, as far as he was able extinguished the whole glory of God. ( Institutes of the Christian Religion , 2.1.4)


Hi @Chris, I appreciate the thoughtful engagement with the text.

A few questions…

First, this sentence struck me:

I’m curious to hear more. What are the benefits - theologically or practically or otherwise - to having a better understanding of this point?

Second, I notice a few places where there may be a tension. I’m curious to learn more.

What principles help you navigate between a ‘plain reading’ of the Scriptures and the work of interpretation?

For instance, we are already reading an ‘interpreted’ work when we read the English Bible, because a committee of scholars has already made decisions about how to render the Hebrew in another language. And we are trying to move beyond the horizon of our culture and to see from within the context of an ancient culture that is in some ways unfamiliar to us.

Just some questions for now. I’m grateful for how you are drawing our attention to this part of the Scriptures.


That is a good point to raise @Carson. For me, I’m asking how was Eve so easily deceived? At this point in the narrative, they were so new in the garden. Then the natural follow up is to ask if there is anything we can learn from the exchange to better defend against deception?

In Gen 2:23 the command to not eat was given and then in Gen 3:11 the command was reiterated from God’s own mouth. When God is speaking, he never mentions touching. So, why then does Gen 3:3 add it if not for us to learn from it?

In Colossians 2:8 Paul connects human tradition with deception. Then in Col 2:20-23, Paul also deems human regulation as worthless in terms of resisting sin and even echos Eve’s regulation when he says,

Why do you submit to regulations: “Don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch”?

Applying that information to Eve’s exchange with the serpent it would appear that it was her reliance on the regulation that left her vulnerable to the deception and powerless to resist the sinful desires that followed the deception. Then, when I parallel how Jesus responded to the temptation he received in the wilderness, I see that he sustained the assault by quoting scripture without adding anything to the scripture quoted.

Seeing how Paul connected human tradition to deception (Col 2:8) and that human regulation has no value in restraining the indulgences of the flesh (Col 2:23) then it seems natural to conclude that adding “nor shall we touch” (Gen 3:3) to God’s command is what left Eve open to the deception. Especially when I see how Jesus modeled resistance to Satan’s attack.

In our own lives, if we can recognize when human wisdom, rules, or tradition is being mixed with God’s word AND relying on it as if it was God’s word then it can help us defend against the deception, both for ourselves and others.

I think about the multitude of deconstruction stories that have been coming out in recent years. A consistent theme I hear is that their view on Christianity was rooted more in the religion and less in the Bible. This mixing has left many open to the deception and lies of the Satan and it’s heartbreaking.

I can see why you see the tension and I should have been more specific in my speculation. Who originated the regulation is the only part I am speculating about. I am of the opinion that Adam is the one that added the regulation of not touching the fruit to God’s command when he conveyed it to Eve. I’m also of the opinion that was intended as a well-meaning buffer from violating the command. Whether it was Adam adding the rule ahead of time or Eve adding it in the moment is not entirely material to the larger point. However, I came to this interpretation based on the practice of Jewish Rabbis adding thousands of rules and regulations to God’s law. This is one source that I found explaining the concept.

The Mishnah

While following 613 commandments would be hard enough, over time Jewish leaders began to slowly add to these laws in the Mishnah…This additional teaching is an ongoing compilation of sermons and sayings by Jewish rabbis meant to interpret the original Mosaic Law. The original intent of these additions was to clarify the law, but it ended up adding many layers of complicated regulations… So for the Pharisees, they not only tried to follow the 613 commandments of the Mosaic Law, but the literally thousands of new commandments that were created to clarify the original 613 commandments.
The Rules of the Pharisees - pursueGOD.org

What I consider a plain reading of the text has to do with the fact that “nor shall we touch it” was added to God’s command and that Eve was deceived as the result. Now that I see it I can’t un-see it. Maybe it was an overstatement to call it a plain reading of the text because I only saw it around 10 years ago and I’ve continue to see it played out throughout the Bible since then.

I’ve learned that taking the word at face value is the best approach. While at the same time recognizing that different literary styles within the Bible require different interpretive techniques.

Regarding the main “mechanism” portion of this topic, I feel that reading the text at face value is what helps find the truth.

Then my personal belief that Adam is the originator of the regulation comes from a more “scenic” approach to the narrative. Where I interpret the story as if it were a scene with people and scenery and smells and everything that makes it a real event not just a story on a page. This part takes imagination and may not be as defensible as a systematic approach.

Did my response to your question about my principles of interpretation answer your questions/concerns you have?

I can’t tell you how life-giving it is for me to receive your questions. That is why I brought this question up. While I don’t think I can unsee how Eve mixing human wisdom with God’s word is what left her open to the deception I want to continue to test it and refine it. I feel like this is a safe place to ask questions and dig deeper. I love the value we’ve placed on doing theology together and I feel that includes the testing of what we believe in a loving, Christ-honoring community.


Hi @lakshmi,

I appreciate you and the time you took to share your thoughts.

I agree, usually this passage is addressed in a way similar to the sermon you mentioned, or it is addressed in terms of her sinful desires leading her away as James 1:14 describes. I guess my aim is to come at it another way so as to further arm ourselves against the deception. When discussing this with friends I’ve made the statement, “By adding human tradition to the Word of God effectively traded the Sword of the Spirit for a butter knife, and a plastic one at that.” If anything, it has caused me to regard the truth that God’s word never returns to Him without accomplishing its purpose with greater reliability (Isa 55:11).

It’s interesting that you described her addition as an exaggeration. If that were the case then it might indicate an underlying view that God was being restrictive in His command to not eat, but she did reference the freedom to eat of the other trees in Gen 3:2. I tend to give her more grace in this matter. I think they were so fresh in their innocence that they did not have time to develop such cynicism towards God. Though this is the subtlety of the deception that led her view God in that light.

I’m going to butcher a quote I read years ago as I studied Colossians 2:16-23, “Humanity has been drawing from the well of truth for many eons.” The context of that quote went on to discuss how humanity has interpreted the truth they observed and then constructed their own religion around it. It was from this study that I formed my working definition of human religion that, in a broad sense, refers to the human effort and traditions we do to satisfy the eternal longing that is written into our hearts (Eccl 3:11, Rom 1:20).

That is a good sum up and it does reflect a lack of trust in God. In reflecting on this topic, I’ve been wondering if the sin of eating, while clearly a rebellion against God’s word, was more a symptom than it was a cause of that rebellion. It is so easy to focus on the morality of the Christian life, but even in that we can still miss God. The thought that struck me yesterday was that Adam & Eve’s fall was more about their failure to rely on God fully and instead shifting their reliance to their own understanding. I was reminded of Jesus saying, “Unless you become like one of these little children you will not enter the Kingdom of God” (Matt 18:3). I don’t know if I really understood what Jesus was saying here, but when seen in the light of the sin of self-reliance it makes just a little more sense to me. Then how Proverbs 3:5-6 admonishes us to trust in the Lord only backs up this thought.


Hi @chris,

This has been such a great discussion. It is extremely important that we are grounded in the Word so we can recognize the counterfiet gospels when they do arise. I love how you put it -

By adding human tradition to the Word of God effectively traded the Sword of the Spirit for a butter knife, and a plastic one at that.

I also appreciate the broader definition of human religion you gave -

refers to the human effort and traditions we do to satisfy the eternal longing that is written into our hearts

A discussion for another time may be how human effort is different with the gospel of grace and without the gospel of grace.

I had a few thoughts that I wanted to follow-up on.

You said -

Then the natural follow up is to ask if there is anything we can learn from the exchange to better defend against deception?

I appreciate your desire to help your brothers and sisters in Christ stay away from deception. I grieve for the burden on the hearts of those who have been deceived. We are called to be wise as serpants while being gentle as doves. While adding to the commands of God can lead to deception, my experience has taught me we can also end up being decieved when we dont rightly judge the character of people we meet.

For ex. I have seen one common trait when it comes to personality driven cult like christian groups that deceive people in the name of Christ. They offer a strong sense of belonging and community to gain trust and a following. The confidence and charisma of the leader gets mistaken for knowledge as these leaders are very skilled at hiding their weaknesses and may know enough about the core doctrines of Christian faith to pass as Christians. 1 John has been extremely helpful in identifying false teachers. They can be exclusivist lacking love for other fellow believers, the emphasis of the sermons is not on the core doctrines but their particular revelation, its always gospel plus something else, they seek obedience by stirring the wrong kind of motives such as fear, jealousy, guilt, shame and need for approval.

You said -

A consistent theme I hear is that their view on Christianity was rooted more in the religion and less in the Bible. This mixing has left many open to the deception and lies of the Satan and it’s heartbreaking

When you think of human traditions, you seem to be referring to legalism where the external laws are given preference over the condition of the heart. People may feel christian because on the outside they are doing a great job meeting the expectations of their christian community but on the inside they may never have had a life changing encounter with the Jesus of the gospels.

However, I have also seen christian camps who are so concerned about following the Bible that anything done in the modern church which is not seen as a clear command or as an example in the new testament is perceived as adding to God’s command. They dont differentiate between principles and commands.

Could you please clarify a little more on your understanding of human traditions? Under what circumstances do you think human traditions are harmful to our faith? I tend to think when we depend on these to worship God as a means of righteousness rather than Christ.

You said -

I’ve been wondering if the sin of eating, while clearly a rebellion against God’s word, was more a symptom than it was a cause of that rebellion. It is so easy to focus on the morality of the Christian life, but even in that we can still miss God.

I would agree with you here. Your comments remind me of Mark 7 where Jesus explains what really defiles a person.

Finally, I wanted to add that the thought of omitting the word , “freely” by Eve when she repeated God’s commands was something the local pastor shared in his sermon. Warren Wiersbe, W H Griffith-Thomas on this verse present this same idea of Eve overstating restrictions. Here’s a helpful website with different commentaries on Gen 3 - Genesis 3 Commentary | Precept Austin. When I looked at the Strong’s concordance, I see the same word being used for ‘eat’ in both Gen 2:16 and Gen 3:2 but for some reason some translations like KJV, ESV use the word ‘freely’ or ‘surely’ in Gen 2:16 but omit it in Gen 3:2.

NET Note on God - The serpent does not use the expression “Yahweh God” [LORD God] because there is no covenant relationship involved between God and the serpent. He only speaks of “God.” In the process the serpent draws the woman into his manner of speech so that she too only speaks of “God.”

Thanks so much for your thoughts and question. Its great to be able to learn from different perspectives.


Hi @lakshmi,
Thank you for your questions and encouraging words. Discussing Eve’s addition and how it was the first domino to fall in her deception at this depth is relatively new for me, and so fun at the same time. I’m so grateful for this discussion and to finally dig deeper into this topic and to have others test it like this.

I can see how it would look like that. However, I’m really thinking in a much broader sense of any addition of human wisdom to God’s command. When I say, “addition of human wisdom,” I would include those that add and those that take away from God’s word to accomplish their particular form of religion (Deut12). Anyone that would add or take away from God’s word presumes to be wiser than God.

Since we’re looking at Eve’s addition to God’s command it would be easy to think that I’m talking only about the words & regulations we add to God’s word. There’s a surprising level of specificity to Hebrew 4:12 where it says that the word of God, “…judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” I found it fascinating that the judgment is not aimed at the words we say or the actions we do, but rather the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. I then apply it to Eve’s situation and see that her intention was to not rely on God and his word, and instead, her intention was to rely on the human wisdom she and Adam had come up with. Even just now I realize that Gen 3:6 highlights her desire for wisdom as part of her reasoning and likely factored into her belief that their human wisdom was sufficient to sustain her. :exploding_head:

This is certainly true. My aim, however, is to simply highlight and explore this one point of weakness in our ability to defend against deception. We don’t bring anything to the fight except the Word of God. Eve adding “nor shall we touch it” is not the point of failure. It is instead her reliance on her addition as a sustaining power in the midst of the serpent’s accusations. Knowing the Word of God and relying on the Word of God is the best defense against deception. The personality cults leverage Biblical ignorance to maintain their status and control.

I should be clear that I am using phrases like “human traditions”, “human wisdom”, and “regulations” pretty interchangeably here. However, I don’t necessarily think a tradition, by itself, is necessarily harmful to our faith, but when the authority of the tradition is elevated to or elevated above the Word of God, that is when it could become harmful.

It seems that other translations also leave the word freely out of Gen 3:2 even though the same word for “eat” is used for Gen 2:16. I don’t know why there would be a difference, but I wonder if it is from translators adding the word freely to God’s command in 2:16 because they are contrasting the goodness of God with Eve’s version. In which case the embellishment isn’t necessary, as well-intended as it may be.

Thank you for sharing the Precept Austin webpage. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. I was struck by this comment from W H Griffith-Thomas

Her fall was consequently due to dalliance with temptation. She did not repel, but yielded to it. Had she resisted at the very outset she would not have fallen; for it is a universal law that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us. Nothing is more remarkable in the whole history of man’s moral life than the powerlessness of the devil to overcome us apart from our own assent and consent. If we resist, he flees; if we yield, he wins. It is this simple fact that constitutes man’s ultimate responsibility for his actions. He never can say, ‘I was overpowered in spite of myself.’ All that he can say is, ‘I was overpowered because of myself.’

I bring this up because it gets to the heart of what I’m talking about. I see in Eve’s response a resistance, in that she pushed back against the serpent’s accusation of God. Her fault is that she pushed back in her own strength. James 4:7 lays out the model of resistance by calling us to first submit to God and then resist the devil. That is when the devil flees. It’s a subtle, yet substantive difference.

It seems that many a commentator tends to fault Eve for even engaging with the serpent. I tend to cut her a lot of slack in this regard. It seems to me that an accusation like this warrants a response. Jesus responded to Satan, so it seems that Eve is not wrong to respond to the accusation. The contrasting element between the two is that Jesus, being God, did not leverage any strength within his being except the word of God that he had hidden away in his heart and Eve did not.


Hi @chris,

Ok, I think that’s super helpful. Here’s how I see it.

The big question is: how can we guard against deception? What do the Scriptures teach us about that question?

As we pursue that line of study, there may be ways that the study of Genesis comes into play. After all, it is clearly a story that involves deception and disobedience. But by focusing on that key question, we can open ourselves up to say, “where does the Bible teach us about this? What do we learn from it? Which passages are clearer than others?” and so on…

For me, I feel that a lot is riding upon the interpretation of what Eve did or did not do.

At the same time, I think this is a great point:

I think we have two good principles here:

  1. Any time that we elevate human traditions to the level of God’s word is going to mislead us.
  2. Conversely, any time we devalue God’s words to the level of preferences or customs is going to mislead us.

However, this is much easier said than done! That’s for a few reasons. One is that we all inhabit a particular culture in which we are trying to express faithfulness to God. That is, our obedience is inevitably and always a kind of cultural expression. I am following Jesus as a white American in Atlanta. That has to look different than a Nigerian woman following Jesus in Ibadan. Of course, there will be so much in common between my sister and I as we are empowered by the same Spirit.

This is another complexity! What is “face value” for you, for me, for a Korean businessman, for a Bolivian grandmother? It might differ based on what we each take for granted as we approach the Scriptures?

Also, how did the author of Genesis intend for us to read Genesis 1-3? What was the “face value” interpretation assigned by the original community that received it from God?

I hope we can continue to build this culture together! I’m grateful you’re experiencing others this way. I am experiencing you in the same way. May we be tender with one another as we seek to grow in Christ.


Hi @Carson,
Thank you for your reply. This discussion has been really helpful for me in refining what I see in Eve’s response, and why it is important to understand the harm of adding to God’s word.

At a very high level, yes, this is the big question. Yet, something I don’t think I fully understood until now was why I felt the need to ask this question. I mentioned in an earlier reply how I had heard stories of people deconstructing their Christian faith and ultimately walking away from it. In addition to that, there is a great deal of pressure on the church to water down the Word of God and many churches have caved to that pressure. I do not think these two facts are unrelated. In light of that reality, I believe that if we can recognize that Eve’s addition to God’s word opened the door to her deception can be tremendously helpful to the body of Christ. This conversation has helped clarify that for me.

I’d also like to say that identifying this analysis as a test of sorts to help evaluate one’s walk in the truth of God’s Word can be a help to individual believers as well. As such, it would be only one of many tests a person can use. I can attest that it has been helpful for me and others that you be shared it with. Especially when as they’ve asked me about teachings they’ve heard and weren’t quite sure if it was truly grounded in God’s truth.

I think Romans 14 speaks a lot to this point. Even as a test, I don’t think it is meant to evaluate someone else’s personal and cultural expression of their faith. Romans 14:4 says it all,

Who are you to judge another’s household servant? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And he will stand, because the Lord is able to make him stand.

This is an important reality to keep in mind. There are many aspects of one’s personal expression of faith and obedience to God that are just that, personal. To illustrate that point, I think Eve could have been in a better position to resist the deception if she had accurately cited God’s command, without the addition, and then followed it up with, “Therefore I will not even touch it.” Instead, she said that it was God who commanded them not to touch it, which is not true.

I think Romans 14:23 also comes into play when the chapter concludes with,

For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Using this analysis to assess or test someone else’s expression of faith/obedience is not what I’m talking about. Instead, we can use this test to evaluate our individual expression of faith/obedience. Using it to ask ourselves, have I elevated the wisdom of man and of the world, with its culture and values, over the Word of God? Testing them so that we are not lead astray (2 Cor 13:5). Paul seemed to view culture as a means to an end in 1 Cor 9:19-23. In light of that, if we keep culture in its proper place, it almost becomes a neutral factor in this discussion.

I guess I just don’t see that level of complexity in the text. The face value aspect is that Eve added to God’s command. The cultural context of the author’s audience included Deut 12:32 and it’s prohibitions against adding or removing anything from God’s commands. Therefore, I would conclude that adding to God’s command is a universal point of failure and applies cross-culturally, whether it’s Korea, Bolivia, Atlanta, or my home of North Carolina. Just so we’re clear, I’m not calling anyone back to an OT law as a means to prove their faith. Instead, I’m drawing a universal principle that God’s Word is sufficient and we should see it as such. Eve added to God’s word and relied on her rendition in the face of the serpent’s accusation. The result of which is that she was deceived, disobeyed God, and we are all born in sin as a result.

This discussion has been very helpful. A thousand times, thank you.


Hello @chris ,

I haven’t had the time to reflect on your response well enough but I appreciate further clarification you provided on the concerns I had raised. It has been great for me to think about Genesis 3 and the many ways it plays out in our lives with every choice we make.

Thanks for expounding further on how we can add and take away from the word of God at the level of intention. I can see how our intentions can help distinguish between righteousness by faith and righteousness by law. Conversely, sometimes despite the right intentions of reliance on God, we christians appear to miss the mark.

Very true! Being exposed to different well reasoned perspectives has been helpful to me in not becoming dogmatic.

Thanks for explaining further here. I agree with you completely here in principle.

In practice however, its not easy to tell who has a high view of scripture and who doesnt. All denominations say they get their practices from the Word of God, yet they are not in agreement due to interpretive differences. Different denominations seem to give different answers to questions such as these -Should commands be drawn from prescriptive or descriptive passages or both? Is it a moral issue for all time or a cultural issue? Is the Bible wholly sufficient? To what extent does the old testament law apply?

I appreciate you bringing up Romans 14. My personal conviction too is to not worry about disputable matters that are unclear in the Bible. Nowadays, I try to take a stance in proportion to the level of clarity, context and emphasis of an issue in the Bible.

This certainly is at the core of deception. Thanks for the reminder to trust in God.

This has been a wonderful thoughtful discussion. Thanks again for starting this topic.


Hello, @chris @Carson @lakshmi

Very interesting and unique conversation that developed over “nor touch it”, it was a delight to read and reread all the points that were made and the thoroughness of the discussion along so many avenues.

I learned a lot from it all though it took place a while ago, it was new to me.

Some feel that God communicated His intents, instructions, initially to Adam, who then taught Eve this is what God said. Like us humans do, we add to subtract hurt/pain from those we love.

I think these are snippets of the many conversations that took place.

Either way it will be a great benefit to many when they read it as well.