Was the Forbidden Fruit…Sex?

Was the Forbidden Fruit….Sex?

Many consider the story of Adam and Eve to be a symbolic story—a means to allegorically explain our sinful condition.  To those who think this way, a common—almost intuitive—interpretation has been to claim that the forbidden fruit stands for sex.I don’t accept the allegorical approach.  For me, the story is too rich, layered and filled with substance—it is easier to take it as it stands.

It also seems clear that sex and the pleasure that comes with it—along with children—were additional gifts (see last week’s post) that Adam and Eve were meant to receive and did eventually receive (Genesis 4:1).  Clearly, Adam and Eve—when tempted by the serpent—were works in progress.  They were derailed by sin, as are we.

Nevertheless,”forbidden fruit” is a juicy way to describe—not sex—but lust.

Nevertheless,”forbidden fruit” is a juicy way to describe—not sex—but lust.  The parallels are striking:

  1. Lust is Forbidden to Us.  Like the forbidden fruit, there are no loopholes.  There is no right time for it.  There is no rationale that will make it acceptable.  Lust occurs when we misuse sexual desire and thoughts—harnessing these to commit adultery in the heart.  Once we understand precisely what lust is confusion slips away.  Any time that we sin—that we lust in our hearts— it stands out clearly.  It is as clearly wrong as when Adam and Eve took a bite from the forbidden fruit.
  2. Even a Small Bite is Deadly.  God told Eve not to eat the fruit (Genesis 2:17).  Eve went even further and told the serpent that God had told her that she was not even supposed to touch it (Genesis 3:3).  Some Rabbis taught that this was Eve’s first sin—adding to what God spoke.  Popular Christian thinking about lust goes the other way—subtracting from what Jesus taught—making allowance for lustful thoughts as long as observable behavior is exemplary.  Teaching like that pretty much nullifies what Jesus said.  In fact, His instruction points directly at the hidden sin of lust in the heart (Matthew 5:28).  Allowing ourselves what we consider a small amount of harmless lust opens the door to progressively more sin and drives a wedge between us and God.  If you allow any lust in your life you bring death into your life.
  3. Turning away from Temptation is the Best Defense.  The most effective way to deal with lust is to turn away from it immediately.   Eve got into trouble because she lingered around that which was forbidden and tried to “think it through.”  Lust—indeed most sin—does not access your life via your mind and reasoning processes.  It goes straight for the heart.   Your response to any temptation to lust must also begin in your heart—closing the secret door that no one else but you and God can see.

Like Adam and Eve, you are at a crossroad.  Will you turn to sin or will you overcome lust in your life?


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