Our Readers Ask
If Adam Was Perfect, How Was It Possible for Him to Sin?
It was possible for Adam to sin because God created him with free will. That gift is not at all in conflict with the fact that Adam was perfect. In truth, only God is perfect in the absolute sense. (Deuteronomy 32:3, 4; Psalm 18:30; Mark 10:18) Perfection in anyone or anything else is limited. For example, a knife might be perfect for cutting meat, but would you use it for eating soup? A thing is perfect only in relation to its purpose.
For what purpose, then, did God create Adam? It was God’s objective to produce through Adam a race of intelligent people with free will. Those who wanted to cultivate their love for God and his ways would show this by choosing to obey his laws. Obedience was therefore not programmed into man’s thinking faculties but would spring voluntarily from the heart. (Deuteronomy 10:12, 13; 30:19, 20) Thus, if Adam had lacked the ability to choose disobedience, he would have been incomplete—imperfect. As to how Adam chose to use his free will, the Bible record shows that he followed his wife in disobedience to God’s law concerning “the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.”—Genesis 2:17; 3:1-6.
Well, then, did God create Adam with a moral weakness, so that he lacked the ability to make sound decisions or to withstand temptation? Prior to Adam’s disobedience, Jehovah God had examined all of his earthly creation, including the first human pair, and had determined that it was “very good.” (Genesis 1:31) Thus, when Adam sinned, his Creator did not need to correct some design flaw but rightly placed the blame squarely on Adam. (Genesis 3:17-19) Adam had failed to let love for God and right principle motivate him to be obedient to God above all.
Consider, too, that Jesus when on earth was a perfect man like Adam. Yet, Jesus, unlike other descendants of Adam, was conceived as a result of holy spirit and thus inherited no vulnerability to temptation. (Luke 1:30, 31; 2:21; 3:23, 38) Jesus of his own volition remained loyal to his Father despite the strongest pressures. Adam, in exercising his own free will, was personally responsible for his failure to obey Jehovah’s command.
Why, though, did Adam choose to disobey God? Did he believe that he would improve his situation in some way? No, for the apostle Paul wrote that “Adam was not deceived.” (1 Timothy 2:14) However, Adam decided to accede to the wishes of his wife, who had already chosen to eat from the forbidden tree. His desire to please her was greater than his desire to obey his Creator. Surely, upon being presented with the forbidden fruit, Adam should have paused to reflect on the effect that disobedience would have on his relationship with God. Without a deep, unbreakable love of God, Adam was vulnerable to pressure, including that from his wife.
Adam sinned before fathering children, so all his descendants have been born imperfect. Yet, like Adam, we have the gift of free will. May we choose to meditate appreciatively on Jehovah’s goodness and build a strong love for God, who is worthy of our obedience and worship.—Psalm 63:6; Matthew 22:36, 37.