Photo credit: Preston Bezant
How long were Adam and Eve in the garden before she took that fatal bite? Was the serpent whispering in her ear a long time?
Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day of creation, and God rested on the seventh day, so the earliest day for the "fatal bite" is day eight. Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born, after the death of Abel, whom we can infer lived to adulthood. So the latest date is about 100 years after creation.
The key question here, which applies to all of us, is how long might temptation knock?
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
~ James 4:7 (NKJV)
Scripture records the temptation of Jesus by the devil. (Luke 4:1-13) After 40 days of temptation (which isn't described), the devil presented three specific temptations. When Jesus responded with absolute rejection to a temptation (using Scripture), that temptation ceased.
Consider that an invitation to sin isn't a true temptation unless it appeals to something already desired (whether the desire is a good or bad one). Temptation offers to fulfill desire in a manner contrary to God's will. Here are three different scenarios of what might be expected.
• Temptation's invitation to fulfill desire in a sinful way is given no consideration and categorically rejected. The door is immediately slammed on this temptation. It has no reason to linger.
• Temptation receives some amount of consideration before it hears "no thanks" and has a door shut on it. Temptation has found its mark and is likely to knock again. One shouldn't expect temptation to stay away before it is rejected on sight without consideration.
• Temptation gets a "yes," either immediately or after repeat visits. Once the door is flung open to temptation's invitation, sin establishes its foothold. The door can't be shut on temptation before sin is driven out. If repeated sin establishes a stronghold in a person's life (sin moves in with all its baggage), it may take a long time to want to drive out sin. Even if sin is kicked out, temptation remembers where its sin was sampled and enjoyed. Expect temptation to come knocking as long as its invitations receive consideration before refusal. A person will need to slam the door hard and slam it immediately on temptation for a long time to come before temptation will believe it's not welcome.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.
~ Genesis 3:6 (NKJV)
The Bible doesn't say how many days the serpent came knocking and received consideration of its invitation. It's usually depicted as all one incident. Temptation may have come knocking over a long period of time, or been welcomed on the first visit.
But this much is certain: one can never open the door to sin and assume to understand all the consequences to follow.
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© 2011 Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.