On Repentance by Elhanan ben-Avraham
Dec 27, 2019
‘And the man answered, “The woman whom You gave me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”’
Considering all the long and sad lineage of misery, illness, savagery and death that the generations of humanity have suffered, allegedly due to the sin of Eve (and Adam) who few had even heard of, why is it that a loving God did not provide the opportunity of repentance to Adam and Eve in order to prevent all that unasked-for misery for the millions and millions that followed- which He certainly foresaw?
The only way I can possibly resolve this (theological) conundrum is to understand the rhetorical question “Ayeka” (“where are you?”- which of course God already knows) as a call to repentance- tshuva (the answer to ayeka). It could be assumed then that they lost that opportunity by not confessing and taking responsibility for their sin and asking forgiveness, instead justifying it by placing blame on each other, the snake, and even God. Therefore as a result the woman would experience the great increase in sadness (etzavon= sadness) in bearing her children, seeing the inevitable outworking of sin as described by Jacob, “Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death” as her firstborn would murder her second born.
That is perhaps the greatest sadness a parent could bear. And they did not physically die “on that day” they ate of the forbidden fruit, but suffered a fate worse than death as they both would be exiled and separated from the edenic life of grace, and cast into a world of thorns and thistles. Thus the harsh judgment that would somehow, unfortunately, pass down through the history of humanity through a murderous flood of near extinction, and then to more suffering unto this very day.
The waters polluted at their source have thus tumbled down the stream of time to be drunk by all, unbeknownst. How very tragic, but for that one divine provision of repentance and return, where we can do that which our first progenitors apparently did not- in the crucified and resurrected Messiah.