Did sin first enter the world when Eve disobeyed God or when Adam followed her in her disobedience ?
Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as BY ONE MAN SIN ENTERED INTO THE WORLD, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
At first, some people assume that here is a contradiction in the Bible, because it seems to conflict with Genesis 3:1-7, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, SHE TOOK OF THE FRUIT THEREOF, AND DID EAT, AND GAVE ALSO UNTO HER HUSBAND WITH HER; AND HE DID EAT. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”
There is no doubt who ate first — it was Eve. Then why does Romans 5:12 say that sin entered into the world by man?
The reason is responsibility. If you were placed in charge of watching a 14 year old child, and you sat right there and listened while a friend of his tried to talk him into taking his dad’s car out for a joy ride, but you said nothing. Then, you watched the child pick up his dad’s keys off the table and go out the door with them, but still you said nothing. Then, you heard the car start up and crash through the garage door, who would have really committed the first sin? YOU.
You would be held responsible, because you were supposed to be in charge, and you did not stop the friend from tempting the child. Then you sat right there and did not say anything when the child began to act on the temptation and actually picked up the keys. So you would have actually sinned first.
Adam was created first. I Timothy 2:12,13 says, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. FOR ADAM WAS FIRST FORMED, THEN EVE.” By order of creation, Adam was in charge, for he was the elder of the two. And it was to Adam that God gave the command about that certain tree. Genesis 2:16-18 says, “And THE LORD GOD COMMANDED THE MAN, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” God gave the command not to eat of that tree BEFORE He created Eve. It was thus Adam’s responsibility to intervene if someone tried to break that law of God.
Some have tried to tell a story about this incident, and have chided Adam for being off wandering around the Garden of Eden while his poor wife was being tempted. That is not true at all. Adam was right there. Notice what Genesis 3:6 says, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also UNTO HER HUSBAND WITH HER; and he did eat.” Adam was right there with her, and he did not stop what was happening.
I Timothy 2:13,14 says, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” Adam was right there with his wife as she was being tempted, and deceived. Adam was right there with her, but he did not believe the serpent. Adam went ahead and ate of the forbidden tree, but he ate knowing that it was wrong; whereas Eve ate thinking that it was best for them. They both sinned — Eve thinking that it would benefit them, and Adam knowing that it would not benefit them in the end.
So Romans 5:12 does NOT contradict Genesis 3:6. Adam did sin first, by being the elder person there, and allowing the temptation and sin to take place without trying to stop it.