Adam and Eve Rethought

Have you ever thought about the story of Adam and Eve? I mean really thought about it. Of course we all know the story, but what does it say about the character of the Christian god? The bible says that god created Adam and Eve and put them in a garden. In the garden they could eat whatever they wanted except from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God said if they eat from that tree they would surly die. So, of course, they did and that is how sin entered the world.
But wait. How did Adam and Eve know it was wrong to disobey god? Without the “Knowledge of Good and Evil” would they not have been like babies in this realm? How would they understand the evil of disobeying god and the good of obeying him without the “Knowledge of Good and Evil”? Could not god be seen as a neglectful parent for leaving them alone in the garden with that kind of danger around?
In today’s world it would be like a father leaving a two year old in a room with a bomb. Not just a bomb, but a bomb with a big, red, flashing button on it. Do you think the two year old will push the flashing red button or not? I would wager that even if the father said “Don’t push that red button or you will die” the two year old would still push it as soon as the father left the room. Who is at fault here the kid or the father? Adam and Eve or god?
You know my vote. What do you think?

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37 responses to “Adam and Eve Rethought

  1. Zebulonthered,

    You bring up a good point and one that I must answer with this didactic presentation, which ends with the usual dual conclusions.

    Good & Evil are the result of morals. Wikipedia states: A moral is a message conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or past event.

    So to establish morals we need to accept that there actually are evils in the world that every sane person would abhor. Humanity in general would decry the horrors perpetrated by Josef Mengele under the Nazi regime. One such experiment Mengele injected chemicals into the eyes of infants in an attempt to change their eye color. This experimentation caused severe pain and often permanent blindness. The Third Reich apparently sanctioned such cruelty. It would seem that what one culture considered acceptable would be considered evil in most other cultures.

    Let me repeat; …there actually are evils in the world that every (at least most) sane person would abhor. That brings us to the following.
    · Yes, there is evil in this world.
    · If there is evil, there must be good.
    · If there is good and evil, there must always be a moral law set forth to judge between good and evil.
    · If there is a moral law, then there must be a moral law giver.
    · For the theist, this would the laws of God. (Ex: Christian = Bible. Muslim = Koran).
    · For the atheist right and wrong are dictated by popular consensus. Or handed down by their peers.

    Conclusion #1 Atheists can be moral people & live moral lives; those morals being subject to change as cultures transform. Hence: Mankind would have no morals in the beginning.

    Conclusion #2 A Theist traditional bases their morals on historical doctrines and decrees as interpreted by man from ancient text. Hence: First man would have no morals until God told him so.

    Glen

  2. @Glen
    I am not sure we are on the same page here. I am talking about the Christian god being the doer of evil in the Adam and Eve bibles story, not Adam and Eve. I am trying to show the logical error in the tale. Can god blame us for his “mistake”?

  3. I don’t see how God could be considered the doer of evil. Unless God creating the the inevitable condition of our mortality is evil. I guess God could have created Adam without any hands to eat the fruit, though we would have eventually evolved a more useful foot, I’m sure.

    The story of the fall seems more like a statement about our history than a plan gone wrong. Adam HAD to eventually eat the fruit… eventually. God’s placement of the tree within reach of our development ensured it. Though, just as inevitable comes the death associated with it from the inability to reconcile ourselves with our new understanding. It’s a lot easier to judge poorly than DO correctly.

    Christ is supposed to be our reconciliation, if we can all ever figure out what that really means. The knowledge of good and evil is a bumpy road, but one we have to travel as Man. It’s a gift from God, which is why it was in our garden. That doesn’t sound TOO evil.

    Very interesting Z.

  4. @bradley
    Well, if you keep in mind that Christians believe 99% of humanity will burn in fell forever… Yes. The wholes system was broken from the start and who has to suffer for it? Man. Why? Because god says so. How does that make sense?

  5. @bradley
    That is to say, if you keep in mind that Christians believe 99% of humanity will burn in fell forever… Yes it does seem evil.

  6. theagnosticswife

    God is supposed to be all knowing, therefor he knew that Adam and Eve would partake of the fruit. Therefor he basically set them up and then blamed them for it. They did listen to a talking snake after all:)

  7. The talking snake! Hmmm… And I should believe this story?

    Zeb, Again you have given me much to ponder. I suppose, God having told Adam and Eve, that should the eat the fruit, that htey would die, I am to presume he also explainded death, yet hwo could these first people have even understood something they had no knowledge of? Yet there seems to be nothing to indicate God did explain anything, just instructed. I would agree with this theory, unless there is proof that Adam and Eve were well informed and had total understanding before being left in the garden alone with their will.

  8. So a father is at fault for the disobedience of his children?

    A parent is at fault for placing a child in a potentially dangerous situation and expecting that child to behave? We do that whenever we climb into a car, or go to the playground. When I drive my son somewhere, I expect him to stay buckled in his car seat, although I know he has the ability to climb out and potentially get hurt, possibly seriously. Does that prevent me from driving him around with me? NO!

    And what role does the serpent play in all of this? It was the serpent, not God, who convinced, decieved, lied to, and mislead Adam and Eve. If it weren’t for the Deciever, they would not have eaten of the fruit.

    jj

  9. @zebulonthered

    YES he can blame us. But no it was no mistake.

    Zeb, in my comment above, the conclusion was subtle and open ended for debate proposes. I tried to give you something both Christians and Atheist could accept and avoid the old cop-out, “that’s just the way God wanted it!”.

    Read the two conclusions again. You will see both conclusions try to use secular approach. For the believer or the non-believer it would seem Adam & Eve had no way to know before hand, and thus seeming as though God tricked them. For the non-believer it ends there since Atheist don’t believe in God, then the whole story of Adam & Eve and creation is mute.

    But for those that accept creation, the following summary is for them. We must assume Adam & Eve were created fully & completely. (mind, body & soul). Not as fledgling children. This is one of those things, which came first, the chicken or the egg? In this case the chicken. Eggs and children came later when God decided to duplicate His creations.

    There has to be good & evil for free thought to prevail. Temptation also is a big part of freethinking. If we had no desire or temptation to do otherwise then we would be like programmed robots.

    God had to introduce the concept of free will (chose between good & evil) into mankind’s thinking. Staging the test was God’s way of doing it. God knows all, He knew ahead of time what Adam & Eve would do.

    Sorry to be so wordy but as you know I try to play to two opposing audiences. (Christians & Atheist).

    Glen
    “Lov’n the Lord & Liv’n the Life…”

  10. @Glen

    Much respect here, but I disagree with the bit about the programmed robots and temptation.

    What is it that separates us from other animals? We can quote scripture and deduce some logic like God wanted us to have free will. I don’t think God HAD to introduce temptation to teach us free will.

    Dogs have free will. We don’t have any text about dogs eating the fruit… maybe they did. Dogs live in packs, like us. They nip each other on the nose to teach proper behavior, like us. They get into the garbage and make a mess when no one is looking, like us. There isn’t a whole lot of difference, that I can see.

    We just have a greater capacity for understanding cause and effect, such as God. We are far more equipped to comprehend purpose, such as God’s will. We can think abstractly, like with Faith. We could have remained ignorant to the “knowledge” like the rest of the animal kingdom (I guess, who knows… cows could be deep creatures). We would have totally relied on God to make the rain, and God to make the grass grow. But, we would never KNOW God.

    The kicker though, with the knowledge comes great responsibility. Using asbestos before we realized it caused cancer is human. Continuing to expose a population in order to save money, after discovering the danger, is evil.

  11. Bradley;
    your quote/”Dogs have free will. We don’t have any text about dogs eating the fruit… maybe they did.”/end quote.

    Free will is being hungry and seeing food, but choosing not to eat. Dogs see food and will eat if nothing stops them without a second thought.

    Let use freedom of choice;(the ability to make an educated assessment of a situation and then act on it) verse freedom of will;(simply the ability to act without thought or remorse).

    Maybe God did not have to use temptation to teach free will, but it was necessary to teach the consequences of good & evil. If all was good how would Adam & Eve be able to relate to evil?

    Glen

  12. @The Wingnut
    I don’t think your car comparison fits the story. A better one might be you leaving (because god left them alone) you son in the car, while it is running, to go into a store to get some milk. When you are about to leave you say, “leave you seatbelt on and stay in your seat”. But when you or in the store he takes off his seatbelt and climbs into the driver set.He wants to pretend to drive so he is plays with the steering wheel and shifter. (I guess if you what a snake in here we can have one) Then a bad man walks up to the car and tells your son through the window how to put the car in gear. The young boy of course does this and drives into the nearby river.
    Who is at fault here, jj? Your young son, the bad man or you? I would say that both the bad man and you are to blame. But no. It turns out you set the whole thing up including the placement of the bad man on the scene.

  13. @Glen
    “We must assume Adam & Eve were created fully & completely.”
    Except for the knowledge of good and evil. I and not saying they are children, just childlike in the realm of good and evil.
    “There has to be good & evil for free thought to prevail.” Exactly! They had no understanding of the consequences of their actions… Just like little children. How can god kill them for not knowing about something he made then not knowing?

  14. Good one Zeb. Your reply back to @The Wingnut I think was simple. Even I could follow that one.

    Glen

    @zebulonthered

  15. “How can god kill them for not knowing about something he made then not knowing?”

    That gives way to the whole Christ. Because God loved the world he sent Christ to reconcile us back to life. Kicking us out of the garden for something we couldn’t help wouldn’t be very fair… and God is supposed to be fair, right?

    That’s looking more like it wasn’t a very evil thing to do…. unless you’re Jesus… :O

  16. @bradley
    With no proof of the whole thing except an old book… How fair is that? Are you remembering the 99% of mankind burning in hell forever? For it to be fair god would have to show himself equally to everyone throughout history. Not just a few here and there expecting everyone else to just blindly believe unsubstantiated stories.

  17. Our grandchildren could also see it as unfair that they don’t have fresh clean drinking water. 99% of them will be forced to drink gray water. We should really try to tell the world to stop polluting the water. It’s the ONLY thing we can do about it. Not really, but for illustration purposes.

  18. So I re-read the account in Genesis chapter 3 again.

    What is interesting to me is that the serpent is talking. A talking serpent! (okay, I am done with that lameness, but will concede it as a poetic gesture to move the story along.)

    I re-read it again and again. What’s missing? I had to go back to Chapter 2:17 :

    “…but from the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

    In the next verse we learn that Adam was lonely. All forms of living creatures are made (all of them) and then Adam is given the duty of naming them all. This must have taken some time. I mean, he had to name them and remember their names. (Did he create name badges or created some filing system he could access in case he couldn’t remember if that was an elk or a tiger?) Eventually he is put to sleep, a rib is removed, and BAM! a woman is made.

    Adam could have, after the creation of woman, just said something like…

    “Look. I am still trying to catalog these names. I wrote them in the sand over there and drew some pictures of them so I can remember them better. I will be back because I think I may have named two different animals the same thing. Oh, see that tree. Don’t eat from it or you’ll die or something like that. I think that is what he said.”

    Flash Forward to the talking serpent (which I assume was created by god and named by Adam) who talks to Eve who, we can only assume heard about the “rule” in Chapter 2:17 second-hand from Adam, but only after he spent time naming all the animals. There is no description of that conversation between Adam and Eve. We don’t know if god kept reminding them or not. It seems that the rule was given once and only directly to Adam.

    Talking serpent…Eve eats it and then shares it… DAMNED.

    I thought the rule was you will die that day? I guess not. (Clemency?)

    THEN god decides to post some guards and some fancy flaming sword things around the tree. Kinda late.

    Did I read that correctly?

    (I am reading/quoting the NASB)

  19. I like it. Adam is still naming animals… that’s a pretty big job. Better us do it than leaving it up to a rabbit, or something… everything would just be called Danger. 😛

  20. Very cute Bradley, but the point is this story of Adam and Eve is not, in any way, a valid explanation of your gods wrath against mankind’s ‘sin” nature. The point is that the whole thing ,if true, would be his fault. The point is 99% of the human race is believed ,by Christians, to be burning in hell forever because god set them up to fall.

    I would like to hear how you can justify this atrocity of belief.

  21. I don’t agree with your assessment, so why must I justify it?

    My understanding tells me that unless God gave us the Tree Gift, we’d still be eating the lice out of each other’s fur. Praise God for being able to choose to be the 99%, or the 1%… but that’s just kind of YOUR assessment of what I believe.

  22. Bradley, seriously, how do you not see the FLAW? How do you not see the set-up to fail?

  23. @bradley
    Ok. If you can’t justify it then don’t. 🙂 But how do you know that your understanding is correct?

  24. mr_a:
    I don’t see it as a “sinister” plan to set us up for failure. The reality of the failure is just the reality of Man. By saying that I don’t mean we are a failed creation. We are just failures at trying to be what we are not… God.

    If you want to go back to story mode, there was no “sin”. There was just obeying God for life, or disobeying God for death. We could either breath air and live, or not breath air and die. It was not just a rebellion against God, it was a rebellion against Life. We didn’t die because we sinned. We died because we chose to.

    Once we gained the knowledge of God, we began holding each other to that standard, something God didn’t even do. But, we are failures held against that standard… not in God’s eyes, but in Man’s eyes, because some of us still think we are capable of, and therefore should act like God. So, God gave us the Christ and the resurrection to make all right in the world. The gift of the Tree is that we now know who IS God and who isn’t… Nothing has changed. The reality still remains that we obey God for life, or disobey God for death. The sad fact that accompanies this, though, is that we still choose death (figuratively- in every way from our relationships to our society, literally- in our non-healthy lifestyles), and we still try to be god’s over our fellow Man. Whether that’s 99% or not… beats me, man. I know I choose death constantly, but I’m working on it.

    zeb:
    I don’t know my understanding is correct. I’ve put all my faith in it, though. Hopefully others will see living fruit from the vine of my soul or will help me prune my dead growth.

  25. Okay, Bradley. Let me ask you if it it is outside of reason to assume that Man (using Zeb’s Mirror) was only assigning his shortcomings, faults, powerlessness, to a higher authority because he lacked the knowledge and understanding of how things in Nature function? It seems Man assigned hopes, feelings, love, hate, justice, mercy, etc… to a supernatural agent out of ignorance. Do you disagree? Would you cede that the first explanation is not generally the best explanation and that we’ve come a long way in understanding how storms works, how the earth is made up of plates that shift, and that droughts happen not because of “god” but because of climate fluctuations? Do you believe that hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters are punishment for homosexuality (a popular choice) or sin in general? If this is the case… you are dismissing scientific advancement. If this is the case I assume you don’t take aspirin or antibiotics. I mean if that is the case…

  26. Perhaps we do assign our shortcomings, but that would mean we were merely using our inverse to determine unknown attributes of a deity. That seems like an illogical means of deduction. The proper way, it seems to me, would be to examine the footprints and determine which are unchanging… no easy feat (pun, 😀 ). The crazy thing to me is how the Jews saw God as loving at all. Christians can because we have the hindsight of Christ, but Jews seem to still be living with a God of appeasement. That’s a toughy…

    As for scientific discovery, and similar thought… I believe God wants us to use every ounce of intelligence he blesses us with, with the understanding that our assessment of the “state of things” is subject to perpetual change. The only thing unchanging is God. If we build all new knowledge of THAT Rock, then we can live and learn with wisdom. It’s when we start invoking our “god-dom”, assuming that our current understanding will somehow cheat God’s Law that we go astray.

    Take all of the Catholic sexual abuse drama that has been unfolding. Perhaps the Pope’s law of total abstinence and other bizarro-world ideas don’t really trump God’s law of man and woman getting together for some pleasure.

    Or… perhaps with all the pain and misery kids undergo, our current belief that widespread divorce is a viable option for unhappy, unwise unions doesn’t really negate God’s law that marriage is sacred.

    Or… maybe our godly engineering that enables us to build empires below sea level, on a coast, doesn’t really make us immune to God’s hurricanes.

    I don’t believe earthquakes and volcanoes are punishment for homosexuality. I DO believe that the Man that takes his eyes off of God’s law of homosexuality will be same Man that shrugs God’s law of volcanoes.

  27. Napoleon: “You have written this huge book on the system of the world without once mentioning the author of the universe.”

    Laplace: “Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis.”

    — Pierre Simon Laplace

  28. @bradley
    “If you want to go back to story mode, there was no “sin”. There was just obeying God for life, or disobeying God for death. We could either breath air and live, or not breath air and die. It was not just a rebellion against God, it was a rebellion against Life. We didn’t die because we sinned. We died because we chose to.”

    Bradley, how is there rebellion without understanding? How is there choice without knowledge? The story says Adam and Eve acted before they had the knowledge, and therefore the understanding, of how the system really worked. Would you say an infant was in rebellion if she cried after her mother said, “Don’t cry baby”? No, because you understand that it takes understanding to rebel.

  29. Well, I understand why you’re getting hung up on that. We do call it rebellion now, because we DO have the knowledge. I can see how it’s possible to have a bleeding heart for their ignorance, or rather resentment toward an unfair God. But, they wanted the knowledge. They wanted to know what rebellion meant.

    It was as if there was a button with a sign that read: Push Button to See What It Does. They wanted to know the difference between right and wrong, so God showed them the first thing that’s wrong. If there had been no negative response to them disobeying, disobeying would be then be good.

    There’s plenty of choice without the knowledge… there just aren’t wise choices without the knowledge. The Bible is our Gift, so we can make WISE choices.

  30. @bradley
    “If there had been no negative response to them disobeying, disobeying would be then be good.”
    I could understand a negative response but come on. Can you think of a way to make god’s response more of an overkill?
    They “mess up” once and BANG they’re dead. I have mess up in quotes because it could be seen as a set up more than a mess up…
    I don’t know Bradley, I think that there is wisdom not found in you book. Wisdom that surpasses the bible.

  31. I know, I know… If I were God, I would do it MUCH better… 😉

    Maybe we can look more closely at something you aren’t skeptical about to see if it makes sense. It’s a little hard because I can’t think of any true innocence when it comes to examination of our world. I guess the closest would a baby like you said, or Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land”… but, God did not create caged babies in a safety pin, like Glen already reminded us… and the book… I’m even a little skeptical about Martians. 😀

    So we just have to invent a scenario. Let’s say we don’t know physics. Not only do we not know physics, but we for some reason have been oblivious to all of the natural happenings all around us. We never dropped our keys. We never stumbled over a root. We never tossed a ball around. Now, we walk to the Grand Canyon and stop just short of the edge to read a sign: Don’t walk over edge or you will die. It’s just a magic sign, no God in this scenario. About halfway down we can see a physics book stuck on a root. We really want to know physics, so we go ahead and jump, plummeting to our death. On the way down we grab the book and begin reading all about the thing that’s killing us. All we can think is, “Well, SOB… the sign was right.”

    Horrible story, I know, but it was fun to write, please bear with me a little longer. 😀 Now, on the back cover of the book is a note attached to a cord. The note says pull cord to live. Now we have no way of knowing what a parachute is or anything, so we either need to have faith that pulling the cord will save us, based on the previous sign being true, or we hit the ground in despair. But, hopefully we get the benefit of seeing someone else floating down with a magic physics book parachute. That takes less faith, but good enough. It can still be tough, though, because we still have to weed out all the other people that are trying just about anything to stop falling… like flapping the book like wings, or spinning them around their head like a helicopter.

    The moral of the story… don’t disobey God. j/k… 😉 The moral is the fall has to kill us or there is no law of gravity OR physics. Whether or not we know about gravity, it still exists. But, fortunately we were able to get our hands on the physics book on our way down. Now we know all about what happens when we jump into the Grand Canyon.

    If you’re still reading, I apologize. 😀 In bible story mode, we could debate why an all powerful God couldn’t have just given us the knowledge without us having to eat the fruit. But, I think the knowledge was actually in the act of eating the fruit, rather than in its juicy goodness.
    ——-
    I agree with you… I think there’s a lot of wisdom we haven’t discovered in the Bible yet. I believe 100% in testing everything to discover if its the Word of God, whether its in the bible or outside.

  32. Brad, nice story. Although I would argue that instead of jumping off I think you would try and figure out a way to “climb” down to pick up the book. Wouldn’t you? The sign says :Don’t walk over edge or you will die:. Your imaginary character didn’t walk over the edge. The character JUMPED over the edge.

    It takes an awful lot of “suspension” to think you got as far as the grand canyon, learned how to read and yet weren’t smart enough to figure out things fall (without the ability to call it gravity). Again, we do know that things work. We may not have know the “how” behind it or “what” to call those rules 14,000 years ago… but they existed. As “Adam” in your story would have know that “things fall” he would have known this through experience, right? He would have seen this action modeled. If he chooses to defy his own experience… he would have died. If he had died, the society he lived in wouldn’t last very long. Not only because he is no longer around to make more “dummies” like himself, the other dummies in his tribe would have taken that leap too.

    I hope that makes sense to someone.

  33. @bradley
    I am not sure I grok you fully…
    “But, I think the knowledge was actually in the act of eating the fruit, rather than in its juicy goodness.”
    This is a different way of looking at it. I don’t think it works that way… I will need to think about this…
    In the end I am not sure it matters though. It still comes down to the death sentence for babies. If we acted that way to our own children we would be monsters.

  34. Any creature given a high degree of intelligence, and freedom of thought possesses within itself the ability to question God. I believe God wants us to ask questions, but that’s different from doubting his right to decide moral absolutes. The angel that became Satan was the first to think that God should not be the absolute. The Tree of Knowledge is something that must exist if freedom and freewill are to exist.

    We really don’t Know everything that God had taught Adam and Eve, or how much time had lapsed since their creation, but they weren’t babies. Satan deceived them in the same way he had deceived himself. Now there are billions of people second-guessing God, as if we really were gods, able to tell true from false, and right from wrong in all situations.

    If you are interested, I have 9 posts at my blog in “Categories,” under “Tree of Knowledge.” I think “the Tree of Knowledge,” and “the Warning,” are the most applicable to this conversation. I think Bradley’s story is a great example, for we certainly can’t know everything, and therefore many such scenarios are inevitable, if we won’t believe God. Thanks for allowing me to comment.

  35. “The Tree of Knowledge is something that must exist if freedom and freewill are to exist.”
    If this were true, why make it a sin to eat from it?

    “We really don’t Know everything that God had taught Adam and Eve, or how much time had lapsed since their creation, but they weren’t babies.”
    I am not saying they were babies, just innocent. They didn’t understand good and evil. How could they without the knowledge of good and evil? Why is this so hard to grasp?

  36. John begins his gospel in the Bible by calling Jesus the “Word.” In John 18:37, When Jesus was standing before Pilate, he said he came into this world to bear witness to the truth. Pilate’s reply to him, “What is truth,” is honest, but very telling. Without Jesus, we could never find the truth. The fighting over what’s right and what’s wrong would continue on, until man finally destroyed everything. There must be an absolute, or Paradise, or Heaven, could never exist. Mankind fell by not believing God. That is the sin in eating of the forbidden fruit, and it led to the trial and crucifixion of God when he visited this world as a man. The forbidden fruit separates man from God, because man begins making moral decision that contradict God. Trusting in Jesus is the only cure.

    I believe we would actually have learned far more if we had simply trusted God to teach us, instead of taking the experimental route. As it is, God can’t teach us very much. We don’t trust him, and we abuse the knowledge that we gain. Eating the forbidden fruit is “taking” it rather than waiting for God to give it. It isn’t that they couldn’t understand good and evil by what God told them, but that they chose to decide it for themselves.

  37. Thank you for taking the time to reply… But you are not going to get it. You can not or will not. So never mind.
    Let us just do it this way, you believe what ever it is that you believe and I will do the same. I am sure you feel the same way about me, but I really can’t understand why you can not see it… Have a good day. 🙂

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