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Commentary on "Guilt""



Day 2: Sunday, January 23, 2011 - Shame



“Guilt was the first adverse emotion felt by the human race… In addition to fear and shame, they felt sorrow, especially as they were made aware of the terrible consequences of having disobeyed God.” (Teacher’s Quarterly, Page 54)



Is there any admission in Sunday’s lesson that Adam and Eve felt guilt because they truly were guilty? Sort of, but the author would rather explain their emotions and behavior in terms of Freud’s concept of projection. How is it that a committed atheist’s point of view has any bearing at all in a Christian conversation regarding guilt?

To be fair, the author quotes Romans 8:1 and Psalm 103:12, but does so only in the context of guilt-driven behaviors. As an alternative to this lesson’s approach I suggest that you read all of Romans 8 in order to understand the contrast between God’s and Satan’s approaches to guilt.

Adam and Eve felt guilt because they died spiritually. Their choice to rely on their own understanding and ability, expressed in eating from the forbidden tree, was a choice to leave God. Satan and his minions immediately filled the void of direct communion with God with accusations and condemnation. Adam’s and Eve’s laying blame at God’s feet is the natural out flow of spiritual death.

In short, we sin because we are sinners. We are not sinners because we sin. Adam’s and Eve’s responses to God simply were expressions of their lostness.

What was really at play in the Garden was God’s first expression of grace to sinful humanity. He had every right to kill Adam and Eve on the spot. Instead, He announced a plan to restore them to relationship with Himself, a plan that had existed even before the foundation of the world.



  1. Appealing to Sigmund Freud for an explanation of Adam’s and Eve’s behaviors after eating from the forbidden tree is a direct repudiation of biblical teaching.
  2. What they did is the direct result of spiritual death, of being tainted with indwelling sin.
  3. The only alternative available to us today is the indwelling Holy Spirit. All the owning up to our failures and begging forgiveness from God and others is completely meaningless apart from salvation.




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