This question is regarding a part of an answer in a question on Hermeneutics.SE,

Adam and Eve violated all 10 commandments in the garden.

The 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-7)

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make or worship idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
  5. Honour your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbour's house, your neighbour's wife, your neighbour's servant, ox or donkey; or anything else that belongs to your neigbour.

How can it be seen that all 10 Commandments were broken within the Garden of Eden?

  • 2
    Looks like this might possibly be on-topic, but it would help if a particular identifiable Christian (group) view holds this rather than just "some guy". The caveat (even if the preceding could be done) is that it may be seen as a bit too broad. Maybe you should just ask if you could see a copy of that guy's paper? Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 10:06
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    All they had to do to sin was disobey God. They did that successfully. I am not sure this question even makes sense since there wasn't yet a faith community in place for God to teach. Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 12:08
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    along the same lines as KorvinStarmast I'd like to know how they broke something that didn't exist yet, also how they 'broke' the 10 commandments....like adultery when there only 2 people on earth?
    – depperm
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 12:12
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    Chris, the post hoc nature of this question (or in secular terms ex post facto) seems to make it self contradictory. (However, that's just one view at it). Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 12:15

3 Answers 3


It is a commonly held belief among Christians that transgression of any of the 10 commandments leads to death. Therefore since transgression of any of them is the same as transgressing all of them. In other words murder has no worse penalty than lying about your neighbor. Those are both accepted as mortal sins.

Paul stated:

Romans 5:12, 13, and 24  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:  For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.


Romans 6:16  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Jesus stated:   

John 8:34  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 

James states:

James 2:10 and 11 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

F.B.Meyers Commentary states:

"While the Jews taught that "he who transgresses all the precepts of the law has broken the yoke, dissolved the covenant, and exposed the law to contempt; and so has he done who has only broken one precept;" they also taught, "that he who observed any principal command was equal to him who kept the whole law," and gave for an example the forsaking of idolatry. To correct this false doctrine was the object James had in view."

Matthew 5:18 through 20 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Adam and Eve did not actually commit murder as such, but what they did was to bring into the World the knowledge of right and wrong. All of the things prohibited in the 10 Commandments are willful choosing of wrong over right. It is that choice which God finds abhorrent. It is that choice which led to the expulsion of Lucifer and the rebellious Angels. Since Adam and Eve did not commit all sins enumerate in the 10 Commandments in actuality, They still brought the penalty for them into the World.

God does not regard sin as having various penalties, and therefore; it can be said that Adam and Eve are guilty of all sin, though they did not commit each separately.

Hope this makes sense to you and helps.

  • Your last paragraph is a good one, but the core point about them bringing death into the world (Reference, book of Romans) is far simpler: disobedience to God. Willful disobedience. I think that goes hand in hand with your point on right and wrong. Enjoyed the answer. Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 12:12

You're probably wanting something a little more than this (I personally find it a little unsatisfying as an answer), but I think the point at least needs to be made that as James writes:

...whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. - James 2:10 NIV

This indicates that it is so, to address how (if it were possible) would seem to require a synthetic distillation of a broad range of scriptural teaching according to a consistent doctrinal and hermeneutic framework. As such a framework is unspecified, it would seem going beyond this limited answer at the moment would be a matter of opinion.

  • But isn't that a post hoc ruling/scripture, given Adam and Eve's raw disobedience as the basis for the fall? Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 12:44
  • @KorvinStarmast I can see your point of view. Another way to look at though, is that they did break the whole law at the time - they had only one command to keep and they broke it. From a gospel perspective, we know that "the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart etc" (1 Tim 1:5) - this references the whole of the law as "the" commandment as well thus blurring the lines between the prelapsarian commandment, the Mosaic law and the New Testament law of love. In a doctrinal framework that admits such a synthesis as legitimate, a post hoc critique is not so relevant. Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 14:42
  • Ah, good point. A pure heart is obedient, sort of like the obedience of Christ as the bridge to our salvation to overcome the disobedience of Adam ... Systemic Theology ... Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 15:07

If you really insist on the point of view:

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.

Easy -- Eve allowed the serpent's advice to supersede the commands of God as she understood them. And Adam allowed Eve's invitation to supersede the commands of God.

Anytime you prioritize something above God, you are making that a god above God.

(But I've skipped a few important steps in there.)

  1. You shall not make or worship idols.

Not so easy, because we don't know that either Adam or Eve made anything with their hands, but we can always fall back on the abstract and point to the above.

  1. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

As we all know, this is not just a commandment to avoid swearing. This is a commandment to take our covenants with God seriously.

Adam agreed to obey God's commands, so letting Eve convince him otherwise turned his covenant into a vain covenant.

(Did I mention that I'm playing fast and loose with logic?)

  1. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

This one is also not so easy, because we don't know what days of which weeks were actually spent in the Garden, but we can assume that Adam and Even would find themselves in the position of needing to work on the Sabbath because of their necessary departure from the Garden, so they at least set themselves up to disobey this one.

(Did I mention ...)

  1. Honour your father and your mother.

They dishonored that being who made them.

  1. You shall not murder.

They made each other subject to death.

  1. You shall not commit adultery.

They didn't have permission yet.

(My conscience is hurting a little at this point.)

  1. You shall not steal.

The apple (or pomegranate or whatever) was not theirs to take!

  1. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

Eve told only part of the truth to Adam, and Adam only admitted part of the truth to God.

  1. You shall not covet your neighbour's house, your neighbour's wife, your neighbour's servant, ox or donkey; or anything else that belongs to your neighbour.

Adam coveted Eve.


(And full of the worst sort of logical errors.)

The absolute first mistake in any attempt to say this sort of thing is to ignore Genesis 2: 25:

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

They were married by God Himself, and they were naive.

If that isn't good enough, remember verse 17:

But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, ...

They did not know good from evil. They were innocent, like babes in the woods.

So, when the serpent beguiled them, they did not have the adult basis of judgment which would bring the full consciousness of guilt on them. That came after they ate the fruit.

It is true that they hid themselves from God while in the Garden, and, in a sense, that was dishonest, but it would have been less honest to have pretended nothing had happened. It would have also been less honest to have gone all "Ohhh! We have sinned!" on God, to try to work on His sympathies.

We, in our suspicious nature, tend to assume that Adam was blaming Eve when he said, "She gave it to me", and that he was blaming God when he said, "You married me to her." But he was stating the truth. And he finished it out and said, "I did eat." Ignoring the sequence of events would be false.

We can argue one way or another, but they did not actually bear false witness against themselves, against each other, or against anyone else. And they accepted their punishment.

Going back through the list, we have no basis to assign sin against any of the commandments given to Israel through Moses except the commandment to obey God. And, because they could not know good and evil without breaking that commandment, we really can't say they sinned, only that they disobeyed.

I assume the real question behind the question here is

How can we obey all the commandments that God gives us when our first parents set such a bad example?

Either way, the question is a moot question, based on wrong assumptions, and will not tend to help us believe that Jesus will redeem us from our sins.

  • because they could not know good and evil without breaking that commandment, we really can't say they sinned, only that they disobeyed The choice to disobey was made; it is fair to characterize it as willful, given the command given as shown in Genesis. If we take the denial of "you shall surely die" by the serpent as a continuum of the understanding Adam and Eve already had of the consequence of that act of disobedience, the protestation of innocence you offer (??) seems to fall flat. Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 13:01

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