It is true that, chronologically, Eve sinned before Adam. She was tempted, picked the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and ate. After that, she gave the fruit to her husband, and he ate (Genesis 3:1–6). Yet the Bible places the blame on Adam as the one responsible for the fall of mankind.
In Romans 5, Adam is held culpable, with no mention of Eve:
“Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people” (verse 12).
“Death reigned from the time of Adam . . . even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam” (verse 14).
“Many died by the trespass of the one man” (verse 15).
“By the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man” (verse 17).
“Through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners” (verse 19).
This “one man” Paul refers to is Adam, as Romans 5:14 makes clear. Scripture presents that it was Adam, not Eve, who sinned against God and brought alienation from God and death to all mankind. Adam tried to blame Eve, indirectly (Genesis 3:12), but Adam is the one credited with sin’s entrance into the world.
There are several reasons why Adam is to blame for the fall of humanity. Adam was created first, and his wife was created to be a “suitable helper” (Genesis 2:18, BSB). God held Adam responsible for his family, as seen in the fact that God sought out Adam specifically (Genesis 3:9). Also, in His conversation with Adam and Eve, God questioned Adam first (Genesis 2:11), even though Eve sinned before Adam. Adam, as the leader of the family, was held responsible for what happened in his family.
Also, the original command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was given to Adam, before Eve was created (Genesis 2:17). Eve knew of the restriction (Genesis 3:2–3)—Adam had obviously informed her—but it was Adam who heard it straight from God’s mouth.
In 1 Timothy 2:14, Paul makes a subtle distinction between the sin of Adam from the sin of Eve: “Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” Eve fell into sin because of a deception; however, Adam was not deceived, which means he chose to sin. When Adam took the fruit from his wife, he knew full well what he was doing. He was not misinformed or misled; he simply decided to rebel against God’s command. He chose to listen to his wife instead of to God (Genesis 2:17).
The New Testament teaches that, as the first man, Adam represented all mankind. He was the head of the human race, and “everyone dies because we all belong to Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:22, NLT). The suffering and death that resulted from Adam’s sin emphasizes our need for a Savior—whom Scripture refers to as the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45). That title for Christ, and the multiple comparisons of Adam to Christ, would make no sense if original sin had come through Eve.
Although Eve was the first to sin, the solution to sin came through “her Seed” (Genesis 3:15, NKJV). The Seed, Jesus Christ, was born of a virgin named Mary (Matthew 1:18–25). He paid the price for sin and will redeem those who receive the salvation He offers (John 3:16). So, just as sin and death came through one man, Adam, it is also through one man, Jesus Christ, that grace and righteousness are given as free gifts to believing sinners. Through Adam we received a curse, but through Jesus we receive a blessing.