How Did Adam and Eve Break the Ten Commandments? by Matthew Howden

Matthew Howden


When Adam and Eve ate the fruit from a tree that God had forbidden them from eating in the Garden, what laws were they breaking? Did you know their sin actually broke all of the Ten Commandments?

Let’s start at the beginning of the story to better understand what transpired. It all begins in Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

In Paradise

In Genesis, the world’s creation is covered in the first chapter, and more information about how God created man and woman is provided in the second chapter.

We see first that, the Lord God “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:7-9).“If Adam and Eve continued to obey God’s one commandment, they would have enjoyed unbroken fellowship with God in Eden.”

The Bible continues by mentioning the presence of rivers in Eden. The man was then placed in the garden, “to dress it and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15).

The only restriction God placed on man was that he could eat from any tree in the garden,“but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17).

We also learn that “being alone” was bad for man. The Lord said, “I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18).

And right after that God brings “every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air” unto Adam (Gen. 2:19).

Adam was then tasked with naming “every beast, and fowl” that the Lord had brought to him (Gen. 2:19).“Before the Israelites were given the Ten Commandments they were broken in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve.”

However, “for Adam there was not found an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:20).

So, the Lord made Adam to fall asleep and removed one of his ribs, and God formed woman from the rib (Gen. 2:21-22).

Adam and Eve were both in the garden of Eden. And their relationship with God was unbroken. In fact, so close were they to God that in the cool of the day, (Gen. 3:8) God would come down to see them in the Garden.

If Adam and Eve continued to obey God’s one commandment, they would have enjoyed unbroken fellowship with God in Eden.

The Fall

The serpent and Eve are featured in Genesis chapter three, and the chapter marks the beginning of the end of man’s unbroken relationship with God and introduces the advent of sin upon the universe.

Long before the Israelites were given the Ten Commandments they were broken in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve after they consumed the forbidden fruit.

I would also argue that even though Adam and Eve were ignorant of the Ten Commandments, they broke every single one of them, not just one or two in particular.

In fact, according to James, “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (Jas. 2:10).

How Adam and Eve Broke the Ten Commandments

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Ex. 20:3)
    When Adam and Eve listened to the serpent’s words, they decided to worship a different god.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Ex. 20:4-6)
    Their own hunger and selfish desire served as a god. Adam and Eve worshiped themselves. They were given instructions on how to worship God, which included both what they were to do and what they were not to do. They, however, disobeyed the rules of acceptable worship.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Ex. 20:7)
    When they disregarded his word, they used the name of God in vain.
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Ex. 20:8-11)
    They abandoned the rest and the place that God had prepared for them.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. (Ex. 20:12)
    They did not honour their creator, their Father. Their days in the Garden, which God had given them, were therefore cut short.
  6. Thou shalt not kill. (Ex. 20:13)
    Both Adam and Eve became wicked murderers, like the devil, when they sinned against God. By eating the fruit, they ultimately killed themselves.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. (Ex. 20:14)
    Adam did not show love for Eve when he observed his wife talking with the serpent. He should have shielded her, but he did not.
  8. Thou shalt not steal. (Ex. 20:15)
    Adam consented to his wife stealing. She took something that wasn’t hers. He participated in the theft.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. (Ex. 20:16)
    By failing to speak the truth about God and defend God’s goodness when it was contested, Adam and Eve resembled the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). Moreover, when Adam permitted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, he allowed a lie to be spread.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. (Ex. 20:17)
    Adam and Eve were not satisfied with their own garden. They weren’t content with the things God had given them. They desired what God had forbidden them to have.


In this lesson we looked at reasons why Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God broke the Ten Commandments, even before God gave them to the Israelites.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God willfully, not accidentally. Because of their disbelief and lack of faith in God’s word, they disobeyed every commandment of God, not just one.

We hardly ever—if at all—break a single commandment out of our own sin. In almost all of our sins, multiple commandments are broken simultaneously.

Sadly, Adam and Eve missed out on the relationship and life that God had planned for them and because of their sin, so do we.“We hardly ever—if at all—break a single commandment out of our own sin. In almost all of our sins, multiple commandments are broken simultaneously.”

From the fall in Eden on, mankind has required Someone who can uphold the Ten Commandments. That Someone was Jesus Christ and because of his perfect, sinless life, we can have our broken relationship with God mended and fully restored.

In my next lesson, we’re going to study how Jesus kept the Ten Commandments and what that means for us.

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Image Credit

The Fall of Man, from Illustrations of the Bible (1831) by John Martin, English, 1789-1854. The Art Institute of Chicago. Sara R. Shorey Endowment. 1991.216.4.

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