In today’s passage, the confrontation between the Lord and our first parents continues, with Adam and Eve admitting their transgression. Yet even though they are given the chance to confess their guilt humbly, we will see that in describing their sin, both the man and his wife seem more concerned with blameshifting than with casting themselves on God’s mercy.
Having heard from Adam that he was hiding because he was afraid, the Lord probes further, asking the man if he had eaten from the forbidden tree (v. 11). His question does not throw doubt on His omniscience; rather, God’s inquiry reveals His mercy. Adam was given the chance to admit his sin when his Creator asked him where he was hiding (v. 10). But Adam did not avail himself of this opportunity, and so God prods him further, desiring to hear him confess his guilt.
However, even when given a second opportunity to repent, the man does not admit his full culpability but instead shifts the blame to his wife. True, he admits eating the forbidden fruit, but before doing so he lays responsibility upon the woman, and even God Himself, for the situation. In saying “the woman whom you gave to be with me” (v. 12), Adam, as Calvin writes, “malignantly transfers to God the charge which he ought to have brought against himself.”
When it becomes apparent Adam is not going to admit his full complicity, the Lord asks Eve a similar question. Like her husband, she describes events accurately, but she does not tell the whole story. Eve also transfers the blame to someone else — the serpent who deceived her (v. 13; 1 Tim. 2:14). Nevertheless, she freely chose to do what was forbidden and was therefore responsible for her actions.
God does not acknowledge their excuses, and His silence is deafening. He has given them several chances to confess their full guilt, and they have declined. In His mercy, the Lord continues to pursue us so that we might turn to Him in full appreciation of the weight of our guilt. Yet He will not do so forever (Gen. 6:3). Let us therefore be quick to confess our sin, lest the Lord hide His face from us.
It is in fallen human nature to shift the blame for sin to someone else. However, as John Calvin writes, “incitements and instigations from other quarters may impel us, yet the unbelief which seduces us from obedience to God is within us.” When we sin the fault is wholly our own. Though we know God will never remove His mercy from His elect, the elect never take this truth for granted (Rom. 6:1–2). If you have blamed someone else for a sin, repent today.