The Silence of Adam in the Garden of Choice

The Silence of Adam in the Garden of Choice

by Kevin Burke, LSW

[The following is an excerpt from the book Tears of the Fisherman.]

You have probably heard the creation story from Genesis about Adam and Eve, the snake and the apple. Our enlightened society tends to dismiss the account as a whimsical myth.

The Genesis creation drama, if we take the time to unpack the deeper meaning in the story, reveals fundamental truths about the human person, the relationship of man and woman to God, and the timeless mystery of sin and evil.

As you will see, it is very much a contemporary story.

Medieval art work depicts the familiar construct of this story where Eve is tricked by the clever snake hanging from a branch in a tree as she eats the shiny apple of forbidden fruit.   But a superficial understanding of the text can serve to trivialize the encounter and minimize the frightening nature of Adam and Eve’s deceiver.

Scripture Scholar Scott Hahn suggests that the word used in Genesis to depict the tempter (nahash in Hebrew) can be better translated as serpent or dragon (rather than snake):

So [Eve] is being confronted and brutally intimidated by a dragon that is intent upon producing disobedience…[1]

Hahn then poses the question that psychologist Larry Crabb also asked in his book The Silence of Adam: [2]

The question, then, as you read through this narrative is…where the heck is Adam in all this? By the end of the narrative you discover that he’s right by the woman because she just turns and gives him the fruit to eat…[3]

We often focus on the deception of the woman in this account and fail to look more closely on what Adam’s silence tells us about this couple. She was not facing just a clever snake. Eve was confronted with a cunning and diabolical force that was taking advantage of her vulnerability, without the support and protection of her partner who was passive and silent in the face of the serpent’s attack.

The Garden of Choice

Meet a modern day Eve and Adam, Syrah London and her partner Mark. Syrah shares about the appointment to schedule her abortion:

 I remember calling Mark after the appointment, and telling him I was going through with the procedure.

His sigh of relief broke my heart. I desperately wanted him to tell me not to do it.

But that never came…I spoke with Mark the night before the appointment, and he told me he was leaving town. Already feeling agony and defeat, his words killed any spirit I had left him, telling me to be strong. That was it.

I got out of bed, sat on the bathroom floor and wept. I wept for this baby, I wept for what I was about to do and I wept because my world was crashing.  I knew that after that day, my life would never be the same. [4]

The decision to abort is often a type of reenactment of the fall of our first parents in the Garden. As we learn of the vulnerability of women facing unplanned conception we can see the power of the male response to the developing pregnancy.

The Anguish of Adam

Some women and men who have been through abortion healing programs feel called to publicly share their experience of pain and recovery through an organization called the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. [5]

Listen to the voices of these men of Silent No More as they share about their role in their partner or wife’s abortion:

I realized how small of a man I was cause if I had gone with her her that day, I probably would have realized what had happened, I would have seen how upset how broken she was, and taken her by the hand and said let’s get out of this place.  -Steve

I didn’t defend the life of my own daughter based on misinformation, selfishness, fear, and shame. I let her die to an abortionist knife and I died the same day.  – Scott

I wonder what my son or daughter would look like today if I would have stood up and be a man and fight for the life of my child.  – Miguel

The anguish of Steve, Scott and Miguel touches on a core aspect of their male identity as defenders and protectors of their offspring:

I didn’t defend the life of my daughter

– I didn’t stand up and be a man

– I was weak and passive as a man while she went to have the abortion.

Their voices echo the suffering of Adam.   Imagine Adam’s anguish when he came to understand the extent of the damage unleashed by his passivity in the Garden as Eve faced the serpent’s temptation.  Men who come to honestly assess their role in abortion decisions understand Adam’s pain.

There is hope and healing for men suffering after abortion loss. Read more about the impact of abortion on men and the rewarding path to recovery in Tears of the Fisherman.

Looking Back

I wrote and perform the following song, and created this video from my experience as a counselor in Rachel’s Vineyard.   It reveals what some men may experience when part of abortion decisions and accompany the child’s mother to abortion centers – and the aftermath years after the procedure.   [Music produced by Henry Gennaria.]


[1] Hahn, Scott. Mary Holy Mother. Catholic Pages.

[2] Crabb, Lawrence J., Don Hudson, and Al Andrews. The Silence of Adam: Becoming Men of Courage in a World of Chaos. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1995.

[3] Ibid

[4]London, Syrah.  The Timeline of What It’s Like to Go through an Abortion.  Elite Daily.  October 12 2015.


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