Question of the Week: Could Eve Conceive?

  [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

 [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

On 6/10/2018, The Mentionables received this question from Paul McAndrew:

Was Eve able to conceive before the Fall?

These are the answers from the team:

This answer is from Network Member Timothy Fox. For the answer from Robert Vroom, Nick Peters and Marc Lambert scroll below.

Why wouldn’t she be able to? She was a fully functioning female and Adam was a fully functioning male. The Fall simply made childbearing (and birth) more difficult.

Robert Vroom.jpg

This is the answer from Network Member Robert Vroom. For the answer from Nick Peters, and Marc Lambert scroll below.

The Fall occurred in Genesis 3. Instructions given to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1: 27-28 say "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them,“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Since the "Be fruitful and multiply command came before the Fall, Eve was able to conceive before the Fall.

This is the answer from Team Member Nick Peters. for the answer from marc lambert, scroll below

While Christians will agree that the Fall changed humanity in some way, I don't think there's any basis for saying that there was a major physiological change. Adam and Eve were certainly able to have sex before the Fall and there's no reason to think that part of the punishment would be the ability to give birth. If anything, giving birth was already a possibility since Eve is told her pain would be increased in childbirth. (To increase there must be something there.) We can speculate about what it would have meant for Adam and Eve to have a child before the Fall who did not fall, but that would just be speculation. I see no reason to think that Eve and Adam underwent a major change in their reproductive systems as a result of the Fall.

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This is the answer from network member marc lambert

Yes, I believe so.

This is actually a big reason why I do not think Adam and Eve remained in the Garden of Eden for very long. You have two people who are literally "made for each other", are described as "naked and unashamed", in a world where the stain of sin has not yet corrupted the beauty and joys of sex, AND who are given the directive to "multiply and fill the earth". Had they remained in the Garden too long this question would have quite naturally answered itself.

Here is why I think this is the case:

  1. We are not told otherwise. There is nowhere in the Bible that explicitly says "Eve could not conceive before the Fall."
  2. There is not second-stage of Creation after The Fall. Everything else in nature and in creation was already in place and operating as God designed. The Fall corrupted what was already present and operating. There is no indication that baby-making was any different. Which bring us to ...
  3. Adam and Eve seemed to already be aware of what it was and how it worked. Maybe Adam had watched some live-action Discovery Channel specials and knew what was up. When He saw Eve, the name he gave her literally means "mother of all living". So there was already an expectation that she would be having children.
  4. God doesn't give shady commands. Prior to the Fall, God commanded th to "be fruitful and multiply". If Eve were unable to conceive, this would be an odd thing. God would be commanding them to do something that was literally impossible.
  5. It was all good. When Scripture tells us that God declares everything to be "very good", the idea there is that everything is harmonious. His creation is working as it should with everything functioning properly and humming along like a well oiled machine, fresh out of the factory with that new-Earth smell." If Eve's baby-making abilities were hampered, then this would not be a true statement on God's part. 

 

One might ask if maybe God supernaturally intervened. Obviously He COULD do it. If He can make a baby, certainly He can stop a baby from being made. However, I don't think that we should engage in too much speculation about what God may have done when the Bible does not give us any other reasons to think so. It's never advisable to speculate about what God did or did not do, but in this case it is also unnecessary. No need to overthink things.

So, to address the underlying question behind the one asked, "Why is it that they had no children before the Fall?" (especially given the command to procreate and the lack of shame (not to mention clothing): The simplest explanation is that the time between "Be fruitful and multiply" and "Hey Adam, you've got to taste this new fruit I found" was rather short. No need to complicate matters with pre-Fall/post-Fall conditions we are not told about or speculating about things we are given no indication of. (I wonder if ending sentences with a preposition is a result of the Fall?)