Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE ADAM AND EVE SYNDROME”

The title of this evening’s message is “The Adam And Eve Syndrome.” As I was preparing this sermon, I reminisced about the first time I recalled hearing the word syndrome. It was in connection with the 1979 movie The China Syndrome. The title is a shorthand for a nuclear meltdown in which reactor components melt through their containment structures (and then ‘melt through the Earth until reaching China,’ though this is not intended to be taken literally). Sadly, the phrase has reappeared in connection with the terrible nuclear reactor tragedies that are unfolding in Japan because of the earthquake and tsunamis. To summarize the problem with the Japanese reactors, to engineer them so they would stand up to earthquakes they built the reactor vessels below ground. However, that made the reactors vulnerable to problems because of them being overwhelmed by water from the tsunamis created by the earthquake. The tragedy is terrible, and we need to pray for the people of Japan and for the advance of the gospel in the wake of those tragedies.

The second time I remember the word syndrome being brought to my attention was during my first pastorate, around the time I read the 1982 book written by Enrique Rueda, The Homosexual Network. The book is an analysis of homosexuality in the United States, their ideology, their politics, their goals, their funding, their connection with American liberalism, and their relationships with religious groups in the country. At that time, I became aware that AIDS, the acronym for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, was originally known as GRIDS, gay related immune deficiency syndrome. However, the term was unpopular among the politically active and influential members of the homosexual community, even though public health scientists noticed clusters of Kaposi’s sarcoma and Pneumocystis pneumonia among gay males in Southern California and New York City. Therefore, AIDS was adopted to replace GRIDS.

I frequently refer to the dictionary. I do so because words are important, and to effectively communicate both the speaker and the hearer of words, both the writer and the reader of words, need to agree concerning the meanings of words in the context they are used. The dictionary is a good place to start with respect to what words mean. The China Syndrome, GRIDS, gay related immune deficiency syndrome, and AIDS, the acronym for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Why is this sermon titled “The Adam And Eve Syndrome”? It is because the medical definition of the word syndrome refers to a group of symptoms that together are characteristic of a specific disorder, disease, or the like. More broadly, syndrome refers to a predictable, characteristic pattern of behavior.[1] Notice that a syndrome does not necessarily explain the cause of the pattern that is observed, but only refers to the pattern itself.

Consider the predictable, characteristic pattern of behavior first exemplified by Adam and Eve:

 First, THOSE AFTER WHOM THIS SYNDROME IS NAMED, ADAM AND EVE

We first learn of Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter two, when God created them on the sixth day. The Adam and Eve syndrome, however, can be seen in Genesis 3.8-10. Please turn there and read along with me:

8      And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

9      And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

10     And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Notice, in verse 8, that Adam and Eve, after they had disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit, “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” Again, in verse 10, Adam answered God by saying “I hid myself.” The reason for hiding himself? Adam said, “I was afraid.”

Adam’s fear is not here an example of the wise and instructed fear of the LORD that is commended in the Bible, that is a fear that is clean, that is the beginning of wisdom, and that is the beginning of knowledge.[2] The fear of God that forms the basis for wisdom and knowledge is wisdom that hungers after God, which seeks God, and pursues after Him. Adam and Eve’s fear in the Garden of Eden, as their behavior illustrates, drives them away from any encounter with God, and seeks to avoid any contact with Him. Why would Adam and Eve behave in this fashion? Has not God done them nothing but good? Did He not bring them into being and provide for their happiness in every conceivable way? Did He not give meaning to their lives and guide them in the way they ought to have gone by warning them about the fruit they should not eat? Has God done anything to alter their feelings or attitude toward Him? No. He is and has always been holy. He is and has always been good. He is and has always expressed toward His creatures only love. What changed were Adam and Eve. They had been innocent, but were now sinful. They had been obedient, but were now disobedient. They had been good, but they were now bad. And Adam and Eve’s fear of God and their efforts to hide from Him were caused entirely by their own actions, prompted entirely by their own motives. In other words, God had as yet done nothing to evoke their fear, yet they feared Him and because of fear avoided Him to the point of hiding from Him.

Next, THE UNDERLYING CAUSE OF THE SYNDROME

We know from elsewhere in the Bible what happened to Adam and Eve when they sinned against God. The catastrophe is referred as the Fall, and was a spiritual collapse from innocency to death, from nearness to the holy God to estrangement far from Him, from a friendly intimacy with Him to such hostility that on man’s part, he is described as God’s enemy and on God’s part, He is described as angry.[3] What actually happened in the Garden of Eden, and which effects are felt by every member of the human race since then, is that Satan made use of the serpent to tempt Eve to side with Satan against God. She so chose. Then, when Adam followed Eve’s lead in disobeying God, he too sided with Satan against God. The result, of course, is that the entire human race is now dead in trespasses and sins, lives their lives according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, Ephesians 2.1-2.

However, the Adam and Eve Syndrome is not entirely a matter of externals, patterns of behavior that can be seen by anyone with the eyes to see. It is also a matter of man’s inner condition, his mind and heart and spirit. The Fall, which made sinners of everyone, affects every part of every man to some extent, altering our perception of reality, influencing our values, and perverting and distorting our heart’s inclinations. Completely cut off from God, man can no longer help himself spiritually in any way, or commend himself in any way to God. As Adam ran away from and hid himself from the only one who could do him any good, so every man’s inclination unaffected by God is to avoid, to deny, and to hide from any real contemplation of God or the things of God.

Notice how this syndrome is predicted by God to affect the sinner’s consideration of Jesus Christ, God’s only provision for sinful man’s salvation, in Isaiah 53. This entire chapter, written seven centuries before His birth, predicts Christ’s sacrifice and sinful man’s reactions to Jesus Christ: Look at Isaiah 53.2, the last phrase: “. . . when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” Though He is the Pearl of great price, the Lily of the valley and the Bright and Morning Star, those afflicted with the Adam and Eve Syndrome have no desire of Him. Verse 3: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Regardless of what sinners say, their attitude toward Jesus Christ is, by God’s estimation those exhibiting the Adam and Eve Syndrome despise Him so much that they hide their faces from Him. Verse 6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Though God has laid on Jesus all of our iniquities, those afflicted with the Adam and Eve Syndrome have turned every one to his own way, missing church for work, missing evangelism for a girl friend, stealing God’s tithe for your own interests. Instead of doing God’s will, as Adam hid in the bushes, people these days hide in their work, hide at the gym, hide in a sports bar, or hide in the auditorium by means of distractions and inattention. Verse 10: “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” Jesus was the offering for our sins. Some will obey the gospel and be saved, but so many afflicted with the Adam and Eve Syndrome will continue to hide, continue to avoid, continue to bury their heads in the sand, and are doomed.

Finally, THE OBSERVABLE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SYNDROME

Every human being is a unique individual, and no two people are exactly alike. However, there are certain underlying factors that influence every one of us. Therefore, while sinners do not always rush to the bushes in their spiritual nakedness to hide in fear from God, sinners do tend to act out the Adam and Eve Syndrome in their own way.

One fellow will sit for years in a church auditorium, seemingly taking in the Word of God and applying it to his life, all the while convincing himself that the things the preachers say and the truths the Bible puts forth somehow do not apply to him. Though there is no such thing as a non-witnessing Christian, he persuades himself that his reasons for not witnessing to anyone are excused for one reason or another, and that though no one he knows is convinced he is a Christian, it is enough in his mind that he is a Christian.

Another prime Adam and Eve Syndrome suspect is the preacher’s boy. Why do you think Bobbie Gentry’s song Son Of A Preacher Man resonated so strongly back in the 1970s? It is because an entire generation of Americans had been exposed to hypocritical preacher’s boys, who would sneak behind their father’s backs and commit their sins with foolish girls, making use of the people skills they had picked up from their fathers to get trampy girls on their backs.

Of course, most with the Adam and Eve Syndrome avoid church altogether, or avoid the preacher altogether if they occasionally attend church. The bushes they hide in is the crowd of people they always keep between them and the pastor. Their marriages can be crumbling, their despondency can be palpable, but they will not seek God or counsel from God’s man. Younger men will hide in the company of other young men who are hiding in the company of young men, or will pair up with a Delilah who lures them away from the things of God. Girls, of course, will pursue a bad boy to exhibit their Adam and Eve Syndrome pattern of escapism.

We had a boy not too long ago who volunteered to me that he was lost and needed to be saved, though he had grown up in a Baptist church. That was the last time I ever saw him. He is now hiding from God in an independent Baptist church where he knows he will never be carefully and cautiously examined to see if he is in the faith. The same story can be told of a man now married with children, or a mom. Some hide from God by insisting that there is no God. Others hide from God by pointing fingers of accusation at the hypocritical Christians they have seen in life. Still others hide from God by distracting themselves so that they never ever think of spiritual things. Then there are those who hide in plain sight by attending church, and by engaging in all kinds of church ministries. The one common feature of every sinner, of everyone who is afflicted with the Adam and Eve Syndrome is the fear of seeking God, the wariness of coming to grips with spiritual reality, and a cunning and imaginative exploitation of whatever cover is available to hide from view. Of course, God sees all, so no one can really hide from the view of the only One who matters. Amen?

 In light of this Adam and Eve Syndrome, what are we to do? Before I answer that question, let us take a cue from God. Do you suppose Adam and Eve wanted to stay hidden from God? Of course, they did. Do you reckon they wanted to be discovered as they hid? No, they did not want to be discovered. Has man’s nature changed from then until now? No, it has not. Unaffected man does not seek after God. Uninfluenced man has no desire to deal with God or be dealt with about the things of God. Nevertheless, the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded us to preach the gospel to every creature, has He not?[4] Therefore, if someone you know does not want you to talk to him about his relationship with Christ, yet the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded you to deal with that person about his spiritual condition, what do you think you should do?

My friends, it is the very nature of man to avoid whom he should embrace, to flee from whom he should seek, and to avoid thinking about the One upon whom his mind should be constantly fixed. Why do they do that? They are afraid. Why are they afraid? They are afraid because they are lost. It is the reluctance of the individual to address the spiritual matters that are so important to his well-being that identifies him as someone you should seek to bring to Christ. Therefore, whenever you see the Adam and Eve Syndrome in someone’s life, recognize it as a marker that identifies someone God wants you to go after, that identifies someone God would have you to pray for and try to bring to church. After all, that is precisely what He did in the case of Adam and Eve. Amen?



[1] Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1996), page 1928.

[2] Psalm 19.9; 111.10; Proverbs 1.7

[3] Romans 5.10; Psalm 7.11

[4] Mark 16.15



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org