Malfeasance In The Garden Of Eden

Consider for a moment a tragic hypothetical situation: A one-year old toddler is left alone with a loaded gun while his father runs an errand. On the way out the door, the father instructs the boy to not touch the gun, then lets in an older child from the neighborhood who, the father knows, has a history of playing with firearms. When the toddler, encouraged by the older boy, shoots and seriously injures himself, who would you consider the most guilty: The injured child, the older boy or the father?

Any reasonable person would lay the entirety of the blame on the father. Despite his warning, he knew his toddler was incapable of completely comprehending the magnitude of the danger presented by the firearm. By leaving a curious child alone with a loaded weapon, he created an enormous opportunity for tragedy. Worse, he GUARANTEED it, by letting in an older child who he KNEW would encourage his toddler to play with the gun. Such are the actions of someone who fully INTENDS a tragic outcome.

Now consider the Biblical myth of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden -- a very similar tale of a father (God) who left his innocent children (Adam and Eve) alone with a dangerous temptation (the tree of knowledge), then purposefully allowed a corrupting influence (the serpent) to lead them to disaster. As in our hypothetical example, any objective, rational observer would consider this "father" to be, at the very least, criminally reckless, for he created the circumstances that would make the outcome inevitable.

Yet Christian tradition informs us that, among the characters in this story, only God is blameless, while Adam and Eve are punished for their disobedience (and the serpent for his collusion). Applying this Christian apologetic paradigm to our hypothetical example illustrates its monumental absurdity. In such a context, it is the father who is the victim, not the innocent and ignorant child he maliciously endangered and manipulated. The one-year old toddler is solely responsible for shooting himself, because he exercised "free will," and the father has no choice but to inflict punishment -- because he "loves" him.

However, genuine free will requires not only an unencumbered ability to select among two or more choices, but also an understanding of the consequences of each. Prior to their "offense," Adam and Eve were as innocent and ignorant as the toddler of our story. They had not yet eaten the forbidden fruit, and thus had NO knowledge of good and evil. Their ignorance was so complete they didn't even realize they were naked (at best, they didn't perceive any need to feel shame or embarrassment because of their nakedness). Lacking such comprehension, their ONLY guidance was the warning given by God.

Yet this warning was countermanded by the only other apparent authority figure in the garden -- the only other entity who, along with God, clearly had an understanding greater than their own: the serpent. The first authority figure (God) told them not to eat from the forbidden tree, for ON THAT DAY, they would die (He lied, for Adam lived another 930 years). The second (the serpent) told them that eating from the tree would "open their eyes," and that they wouldn't die (all true). With God conveniently absent, they were left to trust the serpent.

In all honesty, if one takes the Genesis narrative seriously, the ONLY characters in this tragedy who are genuinely blameless are Adam and Eve, for only they clearly lacked a true understanding of the consequences of their actions. It's less clear whether or not the serpent understood those consequences. All we're told of him is that he was "more subtle than any beast of the field." Whether "subtle" is to be interpreted as "cunning," "meticulous" or "illusory" is open to debate (in the book of Revelation, Satan is called "that old serpent," but he is never clearly identified as the same serpent in the garden).

With respect to God, the narrative is much clearer, and more damning. Accepting the premise of his omnipotence and omniscience, we can only conclude that he alone is responsible for the circumstances leading to the "fall" of Adam and Eve. He had the power to create them already possessing the knowledge of good and evil (and thus able to TRULY exercise free will), yet he chose not to. He could have created their home (the garden of Eden) WITHOUT the tree of knowledge, yet he chose to tempt them. He could have prevented the serpent from leading them "astray," yet he not only let him in the garden, he granted him the power of speech. He could have returned to refute the serpent and re-assert his authority, yet he chose to remain conspicuously absent. He could have inflicted a lesser punishment (or none at all, given his own culpability), yet he chose to condemn all humanity to pain and toil.

Every choice God made in this story, every action he took, seems designed toward the predetermined result of a sin that dooms all mankind and demands redemption. This is not the behavior of a loving and forgiving creator, but of a sadistic and malevolent tyrant.


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Comments 35 comments

ananceleste profile image

ananceleste 4 years ago from California

It’s funny, I got yelled at this morning because I made the same comment.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 4 years ago from SE MA

Of course it looks like a human tyrant - that's what they knew, so that's what they based their stories on.

It's sad that so many go on accepting nonsense, isn't it?


SpanStar profile image

SpanStar 4 years ago

They have eyes but cannot see, they have ears but cannot hear. This ficional portrayal of Adam and Eve in the Garden is far from accurate even as a hypothesis. First of all people erroneously assume that Adam was ignorant, not so Adam's job beside gardening was to name all the creatures in the garden one cannot do that if they're ignorant. God specifically spelled out what He expected from Adam and it was no insurmountable complexed undertaking-Adam and Eve had only one thing not to do-(One Thing NOT To Do!) The garden of Eden was Adam and Eve's domain which is to say they could not be harmed and they were in control of their domain. Who ever came into the garden they had the freedom and the will to either reject or accept what was being told to them. Unlike a child in your scenario who does not fully understand the circumstances or consequences of its actions Adam and Eve were told if they ate from the tree of knowledge they would "surely die." Fully understanding what the outcome will be committing this defiance their actions says we do not trust you God but we trust this lying serpent.

Are we as parent the villains when we tell our teenage children do not go out in the community and commit crimes? When we see our children's face on the five o'clock news holding up a convenience store are the parents to blame for this defiance?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Spanstar, your assertion that the ability to name animals makes one able to comprehend consequences is pretty weak sauce. A toddler can name animals, too. Would you leave him alone with a loaded gun?

Comparing Adam and Eve to a teenager is absurd. A teenager -- unless he suffers from some severe mental disorder -- knows the difference between good and evil. According to the Genesis story, Adam and Eve DID NOT!

Also, as I already demonstrated, the serpent told Adam and Eve the TRUTH. It was God who LIED to them, and you're making excuses for him.


SpanStar profile image

SpanStar 4 years ago

No can't go along with the idea that a toddler who has to be taught what this is and that is has the compacity to provide names thats still used centuries laters that argument is unfounded.

If you don't like the term good and evil then let's use Right and Wrong- they knew the difference between right and wrong- "don't do the one thing I told you not to do" and they did it any way.

I don't know what bible you're reading but the sepernt told Eve she wouldn't die which was a lie, he told Eve they'd be like God-(if I remember right) that was a lie.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

No, SpanStar, Adam and Eve didn't know the difference between good and evil, for they hadn't yet eaten from the tree -- you know, the one that bestows knowledge of good and evil...

As for the Bible I've read, I'll recount the relevant King James portions for you:

- GOD INSTRUCTING ADAM:

Genesis 2:17: "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."

- THE SERPENT SPEAKING TO EVE:

Genesis 3:4: "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

- THE RESULTS:

Genesis 3:6: "...she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened..."

Genesis 5:5: "And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years"

God told Adam that ON THE DAY they ate from the tree, they would "surely die." They didn't. The serpent told them they wouldn't die, and that their eyes would be opened. They didn't die, and their eyes were opened.

So, SpanStar, with the relevant Biblical passages right here in front of you, please explain to me again how the serpent was lying and God was telling the truth.


SpanStar profile image

SpanStar 4 years ago

God told then they would surely die he didn't say the would did right now. Where as they could couldn't be face death now if they eat from that tree the most certainly would face death.

In your statements you keep treating Adam and even as if they were ignorant when if they were ignorant they would have been given free will and free will means you have the right and the freedom to choose and if you have the freedom to choose then you Know The Understand what choices means.

God who brought Adam and Eve into the Garden, provided for them even conversed with Adam from time to time and the sperent who did nothing for Adam or Eve is the one they chose to listen to....Then if they wanted to take a chance and roll those dice knowing what could happen well that's why we're all in this situation right now.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

SpanStar, every so often, I come across comments by someone that make me immediately think to myself, "they didn't even read what I said." Such was the case when I read your first comment here, and your most recent contribution has me thinking that again.

You've repeatedly made assertions that directly contradict the actual narrative of the Genesis story, and you've just done it again. You claim that "God told them they would surely die he didn't say they would die right now."

This, despite my quoting for you verbatim Genesis 2:17, where God clearly tells Adam:

"...thou shalt not eat of it: FOR IN THE DAY THAT THOU EATEST THEREOF THOU SHALT SURELY DIE."

As a former believer, I understand your dilemma. No doubt most of your life, you've been told only good things about God and the Bible, and you believe them. You WANT to, perhaps even NEED to believe them. When confronted with what the Bible ACTUALLY says, you're forced to either try to reconcile the glaring contradictions, or just ignore them altogether.

This isn't just about God lying. My objective here, and in other hubs I've written (and will write) is to expose such contradictions and inconsistencies, and to put you and others in the uncomfortable position of critically examining what it is you believe, and why you believe it.

You (and others) may ignore the evidence and arguments I present now (as you've done thus far). But my hope is that they will plant a seed in your head -- and in your conscience -- that will grow until you can no longer reflexively rationalize your belief to yourselves and to others.

Believe me, it's not worth the struggle.


SpanStar profile image

SpanStar 4 years ago

Oh I read your article and the article presents a number of speculations which is simply conjecture and fabrications by the writer.

It seems to me you are confused with your own writing for as you stated God said you will "surely die." Once again God did not say you would die right now apparently you are confused on this point. You attempt to claim that the serpent didn't lie when I've pointed out the serpent did lie.

Your attempt to make God the fall guy is a process that has been going on since before the arrival of Jesus. People like you have been trying to discredit the Bible since its creation you are not presenting anything new.

You say you are a former believer but based on your statements I wonder if you ever believed at all? Since you tried to blame God for the actions of Adam and Eve. Rejecting the idea that Adam and Eve did not have to go along with the serpent-But They Chose To and you're talking like they didn't have a choice.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

SpanStar, you're obviously going to continue ignoring what's right there in front of you, at least for now. As I said, having been there, I understand where you're coming from.

Hopefully, this interaction with you will help me further unravel the compartmentalizing mindset of where you are now, and where I once was: How someone can read something multiple times, remove the disturbing parts, set them aside in a mental lockbox and completely ignore them as if they never existed.

Most believers do that. You've done it a number of times here. I did it. It's necessary in order to maintain the illusion.

I only wish someone had come along, back in the day, and given me a nudge to open my eyes, like I'm trying to do now for you (and those who follow). Of course, it's most likely I'll never know whether my efforts have any positive results with anyone, but I'm going to keep trying.


SpanStar profile image

SpanStar 4 years ago

Well I wish you luck because what I've read fron you hasn't brought out and need for any change on my part. We are all free to believe as we wish which includes believing in nothing.

As a singer once said "Nothing from Nothing Leaves Nothing."


Kaps 4 years ago

What is the sin that Adam & Eve committed? Of eating the fruit or of not confessing it when God asked them? There lies the answer....

You think of God as a tyrant but let me ask you, if you child does something wrong & repents & asks you for forgiveness, will you still spank him?

God would have settled that then & there but Adam & Eve had started lies because they had obeyed the liar rather than the father...Even if they were ignorant, after eating the fruit werent their eyes opened? Then they could have surely said to God, We are sorry? Did they?....

Its easy to judge God based on a one sided aspect but you need to have th mind of Christ to understand forgiveness & sacrifice & the character of God

God bless


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Kaps, do you still spank your child when you deliberately present him with a temptation that you believe will do him harm, leave him completely alone with that temptation, then abandon him to someone you KNOW will convince him to succumb to that temptation? Or do you blame yourself?

There is no indication in Genesis that Adam and Eve tried to deny eating from the tree. When God asked them, they told him. And you surely know as well as I that they were punished for disobeying his command, not for anything else.

To suggest that one must have the "mind of Christ" to understand forgiveness, sacrifice and the character of God is a monumental copout and a disappointing rationalization. But I suppose it's the only way to explain away the tyranical and immoral behavior consistently and continuously displayed by God in the Bible.

Can you do it forever?


feenix profile image

feenix 4 years ago

Hello, Paladin,

This is a terrific and very thoughtful hub. And I voted it waaaay up, because it is a brilliant piece of writing.

Moving on, even though I am a stone-cold, unwavering Christian, I have no doubt that the story of "Adam and Eve" is nothing more than an analogy.

It is a lesson about how screwed up things things can get when people get high on dope.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, feenix! Your comments are greatly appreciated!


Kitaine profile image

Kitaine 4 years ago from Pennsboro, West Virginia

Paladin, I do like your style of writing. It is brilliant as feenix said. Although, I disagree with the portrayal of Adam and Eve as innocent children - it seems you are missing the point. The point is God said, "I am God - you are my subjects and I know what is best for you." The serpent and Adam and Eve challenged this when they ate the fruit. They decided they can decide for themselves what is right and wrong, good and evil. They decided - as a rebellious teenager often does to go against what mom and dad say. I like the instance of the teen that goes and robs the local grocery store. Is the mom and dad responsible for this action? No - the mom and dad told the teen right from wrong. (As God did) The mom and dad even surely told the teen that if he did this he would go to jail. (As God did) It was the teen's friend (the snake) that said "no you won't go to jail." And alas, now the teen is in jail.

As to your quotations as to "God lying", you are using Old English, and to quote that literally, then you must understand the tenses and predicates etc. In many other versions of modern English - God does not say you will immediately die. He simply says, "you will die." The serpent lied - he said they wouldn't. Then Adam and Eve did die - so who was lying?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Kitaine, I wrote a reply to your earlier, but on reflection decided to change my approach, so I deleted it.

I am actually somewhat frustrated by what appears to be a stubborn insistence by some to perceive Adam and Eve as having adult comprehension -- or at the very least, the comprehension of teenagers. But this is contradicted by the story as told in the Bible.

The Genesis story tells us only two details regarding Adam and Eve's level of understanding up to the point that they ate from the forbidden tree:

The first is self-evident: They hadn't yet eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thus they HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL!

The second is that they were ignorant of the fact they were naked, or at the very least, were ignorant of the need to feel any shame regarding the fact.

These don't suggest an adult -- or even a teenage -- level of comprehension. This is the comprehension of a child, easily influenced by authority figures.

Aside from these two circumstances, all Genesis tells us is that Adam and Eve were instructed by God not to eat from the tree. The serpent then told them the opposite. With God absent -- and given their lack of understanding -- how were they to know whom to believe?

While I thank you for your compliment, I must also take issue with your comments regarding the Old English language of the King James Bible, which was the standard for hundreds of years. Since that version clearly presents an example of God lying, it seems you're suggesting we can simply ignore it and choose a newer, more sanitized version that doesn't. However, if this is to be our approach, what does this say about the truth of the story to begin with?


Kitaine profile image

Kitaine 4 years ago from Pennsboro, West Virginia

I thought long and hard over your reply and perhaps if I were to clarify some things for you regarding the biblical account of Adam and Eve, this will help.

First, your statement about Adam and Eve's level of understanding of good and evil is somewhat biased by current morality. Who says that being naked implies that one doesn't have understanding - if being naked were the norm - as in many nudist colonies - there was no reason for them to feel shame with this. This does not conotate a immature level of reasoning or comprehension. Just the fact that at the time, there was no reason to feel shame, or that being naked was wrong. The garden of Eden was said to be paradise, so the temperature would not have necessarily the wearing of clothing, and all the animals were naked as well. This means simply that at that time, they had no reason for clothes. This does not mean immaturity.

Second, The tree gave them knowledge of good and evil - but the bible does not explain the full extent as to what that knowledge is. But one does not need knowledge of good and evil to know right from wrong when someone (i.e. God their creator) told them what they could and could not do from the beginning of their creation. Their specific failure in listening to the commands of God - was their sin. In essence it challenged, God's right to say what is good and bad for his creations. They said, that mankind could decide what is good and bad for themselves.

Lastly, I never said anything about a newer more sanitized version of the bible. What I explicitly explained was it is hard to understand the tense that you are using to express the thought that God lied. The KJV was not the first bible, if you truly want to know what the original text of the bible stated regarding that verse, then look up an interlinear translation and cross reference what the original text said, in Hebrew and how that Hebrew translates into English. I am in no way stating to ignore it, just that you should choose a correct point of reference to base your allegations.

Here is a link to a generic interlinear translation:

http://www.studylight.org/isb/bible.cgi?query=Gen+...

and when you click on the word that was translated day you find out that the original hebrew word was and meant:

Original Word Word Origin

ewy from an unused root meaning to be hot

Transliterated Word Phonetic Spelling

Yowm yome

Parts of Speech TWOT

Noun Masculine 852

Definition

day, time, year

day (as opposed to night)

day (24 hour period)

as defined by evening and morning in Genesis 1

as a division of time 1b

a working day, a day's journey

days, lifetime (pl.)

time, period (general)

year

temporal references

today

yesterday

tomorrow

So understanding this, it could have meant anything from a day or time to a lifetime, or just to a period of time.

Our approach to the bible in general should be to seek understanding, and to do that sometimes when we are confused by words, or tenses, it helps to go to the original text and find a clearer meaning of the original message.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 4 years ago from Michigan, USA Author

Kitaine, you've clearly given your comments here a great deal of consideration, and I appreciate that. I must admit your newest arguments regarding Adam and Eve's state of mind are somewhat persuasive -- but only if one accepts your premise that Adam and Eve understood right and wrong.

However, their is nothing in Genesis to justify such an assumption. To the contrary, the only clues available suggest the opposite. In fact, additional research has shown me that I was actually too generous in my earlier assessment of their knowledge. According to Genesis, Adam and Eve literally did not know they were naked! From Genesis 3:

"...she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked... And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."

This isn't a description of a person who had merely acquired a sudden sense of modesty, but rather someone whose sense of physical awareness had taken such a quantum leap that it actually made him AFRAID! Given the level of prior ignorance this implies, I think it's quite a stretch to conclude that such a person had any reasonable grasp of right and wrong.

On another note, I apologize for misunderstanding your remarks regarding the Old English of the King James version (and, yes, I am aware that the KJV was not the first). If I now understand you correctly, you're stating that the text of that book was mistranslated from earlier versions. I could go on about what implications such mistranslations pose for the hundreds of millions of Christians throughout history who've based their faith and beliefs on this book, but for the moment it's a moot point, for it seems you've had a misunderstanding as well.

Examining the website to which you've linked (containing the information you've copied here), I can find nothing in the definitions provided describing the word "day" in Genesis as meaning anything other than a conventional "day" -- that is, the time period from morning to night. I suspect that what you've missed is the "pl." following the "day, lifetime" item in the list. Of course, this refers to the PLURAL use of day, in which "days" can, indeed, refer to a "lifetime." It's an easy mistake to make.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 23 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

I never understood the Adam and eve story as a Christian, and I still don't understand it as an atheist. According to the story itself, Adam and eve did not possess moral agency prior to their interaction with the serpent (which is never called the devil until much, much later. ) without moral agency, you are incapable of making a moral decision, and cannot possibly understand the implication of making that decision or the consequences thereof. The serpent didn't lie -it told the truth - and incidentally, how does a creature without vocal chords speak anyway? I found this interesting when I stumbled upon it: http://www.whatjewsbelieve.org/explanation5.html


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 23 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Indeed, the whole notion is preposterous, and it's just one of the many notable quandaries in the Bible. The more one reads the Bible with an objective eye, the more ridiculous it becomes!

Thanks for visiting and commenting, JM!


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 23 months ago from SE MA

That Jewish explanation that JMcFarland provided is ever bit as twisted as the Christian :)


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 23 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

At the very least, it doesn't make any more sense.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

Actually your analogy is grossly malformed since Adam and Eve weren't babies. They were intelligent individuals who both reasoned and fully apprehended the consequences of their actions. After all, when questioned by Satan, Eve replied, "“We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. But God has said about the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden: ‘You must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it; otherwise you will die.’”" (Genesis 3:2) You're not seriously suggesting a baby possesses a similar mastery of illation, are you?

A more apropos exemplification of what occurred with Adam and Eve is what happened to Christ Jesus shortly after being baptized. Like Adam and Eve, he too was an astute individual with the ability to draw accurate conclusions who was exposed to "a corrupting influence". The difference is, he was loyal to Jehovah God while Adam and Eve weren't.

Now why do you suppose that was?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 21 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, you've claimed that -- according to the story -- Adam and Eve were "intelligent individuals who both reasoned and fully apprehended the consequences of their actions."

What is your support for this contention?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

Clearly both Adam and Eve both understood the penalty they would suffer if they defied their Creator and so much as touched the forbidden fruit of the verboten trees, i.e., death. Again, when questioned by Satan about this fruit, Eve replied, "“We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. But God has said about the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden: ‘You must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it; otherwise you will die.’”" (Genesis 3:2)

And before you claim neither understood what death was, if that really were the case then Satan's blandishment would have been absolutely meaningless to them. Remember, he promised they would not die if they ate of the proscribed fruit. (Genesis 3:4) Not dying would have held no appeal to them if they really had no prehension of death to begin with.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 21 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, simply reasserting something doesn't make it true. Twice, you've claimed that Adam and Eve "both reasoned and fully apprehended the consequences of their actions." And twice, you've quoted their reiteration of God's threat of death to the serpent (NOT necessarily Satan).

But Adam and Eve's simple repeating of the threat doesn't mean that they fully understood it, or that they fully comprehended the consequences of their actions. Indeed, this is reflected in the logical implications of your very last comments, which undermine your overall argument (which you obviously don't yet recognize).

You insist that Adam and Eve fully understood the concept of death (and I'm not contesting that). But if they did, why would they STILL choose to eat from the forbidden tree? An overwhelming compulsion to sin (even at the risk of death)?

Absolutely NOT. Characterizing their choice as 'defiance' or 'sin' in ANY measure requires that they understood the difference between good and evil -- which they clearly did NOT, as they hadn't yet eaten from the tree bestowing that knowledge!

The ONLY conceivable reason they ate from the tree is that the direct consequences were no longer clear to them -- thanks to the contradictions between what God told them earlier and what the serpent was telling them NOW (with God conveniently absent).

Once God allowed the serpent to persuade them, Adam and Eve no longer comprehended the consequences as God had portrayed them. There is nothing in the story to suggest that they had ANY way of knowing whom to believe, making them susceptible to whomever speaks to them last.

Indeed, with God absent and the only other "authority" figure (someone who appeared to know much more than them) telling them the opposite of what God had told them earlier, they had every reason to accept the explanation of the serpent -- ESPECIALLLY since God made no subsequent effort to confront the serpent or correct him before Adam and Eve ate from the tree.

In any case, in the end it turned out that God had lied to them anyway, as they did NOT die on the day they ate from the tree. And the serpent had told them the truth, as their eyes WERE "opened" to good and evil.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

"And twice, you've quoted their reiteration of God's threat of death to the serpent"

i. Reread my posts; I've done no such thing. God never threatened the serpent with death ...

"why would they STILL choose to eat from the forbidden tree?"

ii. Easy. Beacause someone else was communicating to them that their Creator was a liar.

"The ONLY conceivable reason they ate from the tree is that the direct consequences were no longer clear to them"

iii. Nonsense. See ii.

"they had every reason to accept the explanation of the serpent"

iv. More nonsense. Christ also received twisted explanations from the Serpent as to why he should do the things he was being tempted to do but Christ didn't let himself be fooled. Why do you suppose that was?

"God made no subsequent effort to confront the serpent or correct him before Adam and Eve ate from the tree."

v. Why would He? He gave them life, an enchanting home as well as a meaningful purpose in life. Why would he suspect they would not be grateful and would choose instead to conspire against Him?

"In any case, in the end it turned out that God had lied to them anyway, as they did NOT die on the day they ate from the tree"

vi. Since they were created to as timeless beings, Adam and Eve experienced time the same way their Creator did, not the way you and I -finite beings- do.

More importantly, Adam and Eve did die! Like a cancer slowly ravaging its helpless victim, their decision to defy their Creator gradually decimated their glowing health and exceptional vitality until they finally perished for all time. As they died, though, they were able to engender children and these were permitted to have children of their own. Had Jehovah God not extended this loving mercy none of us would have ever been born.

"the serpent had told them the truth, as their eyes WERE "opened" to good and evil."

vii. Except that they already understood the difference between good and evil BEFORE they partook of the fruit of the verboten tree. You yourself readily admit that Adam and Eve fully understood the concept of death. When I highlighted this you replied, "I'm not contesting that." Are you now trying to claim they found death more desirous than the prospect of living for all eternity? If not, it's readily apparent, then, that they perceived death as a bad thing, a calamity to be avoided at all costs. Why else did Satan make it a point to ASSURE them that they would NOT die if they defied God and ate of the proscribed fruit?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 21 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, your first comment was a misreading of my statement, but that's my fault, as it was poorly worded. What I meant to say was Adam and Eve were repeating God's threat, and they were repeating it to the serpent. My bad.

As for your second point, I see you agree with me. Somebody else was, indeed, "communicating to them that their Creator was a liar." That's my point! How could they know whom to believe, without God there to correct them?

Why do you find my assertion that "Adam and Eve had every reason to accept the explanation of the serpent" as "nonsense?" Are you suggesting that Adam and Eve's understanding and comprehension were equal to Jesus'? If not, why offer the comparison?

You assert that Adam and Eve chose to "conspire against" God. But to characterize their decision to eat from the tree as a "conspiracy" implies that they were engaging in some sort of subterfuge. Again, there's nothing in the story to indicate that they had sufficient knowledge and understanding to behave in such a manner.

As for God's dishonesty about dying on the day one eats from the tree, I see you've trotted out the old "God's days are not like ours" canard. But your rationalization is undermined by the chapters of Genesis that directly precede the Garden of Eden story -- where "days" are each CLEARLY meant to be ONE twenty-four-hour cycle from morning to morning (or night to night).

There is NOTHING in the Genesis story that suggests that "day" to Adam and Eve meant anything other than what "day" means to us. Further, once they've eaten from the tree and God lays out their punishment, he includes this little nugget:

"...cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life..."

Now, tell me -- does God mean "days" as in "God" days or as in "human" days here? Or does the definition switch back and forth according to your own convenience?

Next, you immediately abandon the "days" argument to suggest that, well, Adam and Eve "began" dying....

That's a really desperate stretch, Joseph, and I suspect you even realize that yourself.

Incidentally, how do you know that Adam and Eve were created as "timeless beings?" Or have you forgotten that the OTHER forbidden tree in the Garden was the "tree of life," which bestows immortality? Was that one put there, with no purpose other than to tempt them?

Your last paragraph makes absolutely no logical sense (which, I suppose, is appropriate, since much of the Genesis story ALSO makes little or no logical sense). You claim that Adam and Eve

"...already understood the difference between good and evil BEFORE they partook of the fruit of the verboten tree..."

What sense would it make to place a tree bestowing the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden if Adam and Eve already HAD such knowledge? And how do you explain the dramatic difference in Adam and Eve's understanding and comprehension AFTER they ate from the tree?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

"How could they know whom to believe, without God there to correct them?"

I. No doubt about it, they had an important choice to make. Who should they believe, their loving Creator who gave them life, an idyllic home, satisfying work and a meaningful purpose in life ... or some freakish ... talking ... snake ...?

Yeah, a real headscratcher there ...

"Are you suggesting that Adam and Eve's understanding and comprehension were equal to Jesus'?"

II. Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Give the man a prize!

"there's nothing in the story to indicate that they had sufficient knowledge and understanding to behave in such a manner."

III. Think about it. If someone were to offer YOU yummy venom ... would you be stupid enough to eat it?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

""days" are each CLEARLY meant to be ONE twenty-four-hour cycle from morning to morning (or night to night)."

IV. The Hebrew word translated “day” can mean various lengths of time, not just a 24-hour period. For example, when summarizing God’s creative work, Moses refers to all six creative days as one day. (Genesis 2:4) In addition, on the first creative day, “God began calling the light Day, but the darkness he called Night.” (Genesis 1:5) Here, only a portion of a 24-hour period is defined by the term “day.” Certainly, there is no basis in scripture for arbitrarily stating that each creative day was 24 hours long.

A careful consideration of the Genesis account reveals that events starting during one “day” continued into one or more of the following days. For example, before the first creative “day” started, light from the already existing sun was somehow prevented from reaching the earth’s surface, possibly by thick clouds. (Job 38:9) During the first “day,” this barrier began to clear, allowing diffused light to penetrate the atmosphere.

On the second “day,” the atmosphere evidently continued to clear, creating a space between the thick clouds above and the ocean below. On the fourth “day,” the atmosphere had gradually cleared to such an extent that the sun and the moon were made to appear “in the expanse of the heavens.” (Genesis 1:14-16) In other words, from the perspective of a person on earth, the sun and moon began to be discernible. These events happened gradually.

The Genesis account also relates that as the atmosphere continued to clear, flying creatures—including insects and membrane-winged creatures—started to appear on the fifth “day.” However, the Bible indicates that during the sixth “day,” God was still in the process of “forming from the ground every wild beast of the field and every flying creature of the heavens.”—Genesis 2:19.

Clearly, the Bible’s language allows for major events during each “day,” or creative period, to have occurred gradually rather than instantly, some of them even lasting into the following creative “days.”

In fact, at Hebrews 4:1-10 the apostle Paul indicated that God’s rest day was still continuing in his generation, and that was more than 4,000 years after that seventh-day rest period began. This makes it evident that each creative day, or work period, was at least thousands of years in length. As A Religious Encyclopaedia (Vol. I, p. 613) observes: “The days of creation were creative days, stages in the process, but not days of twenty-four hours each.”—Edited by P. Schaff, 1894." - http://bit.ly/156Vanl

"how do you know that Adam and Eve were created as "timeless beings?""

V. Think about it. Based on what's detailed in Genesis, what do you suppose would have happened to them had they not eaten of the fruit of the proscribed trees?

"What sense would it make to place a tree bestowing the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden if Adam and Eve already HAD such knowledge?"

VI. None whatsoever which can only mean that the tree did not bestow knowledge of good and evil but represented something else entirely. A footnote on Genesis 2:17 in The Jerusalem Bible (1966) explains:

“This knowledge is a privilege which God reserves to himself and which man, by sinning, is to lay hands on, 3:5, 22. Hence it does not mean omniscience, which fallen man does not possess; nor is it moral discrimination, for unfallen man already had it and God could not refuse it to a rational being. It is the power of deciding for himself what is good and what is evil and of acting accordingly, a claim to complete moral independence by which man refuses to recognise his status as a created being. The first sin was an attack on God’s sovereignty, a sin of pride.”

"And how do you explain the dramatic difference in Adam and Eve's understanding and comprehension AFTER they ate from the tree?"

VII. Are you referring to the blame game they tried to play or the shame they felt? Even a child feels shame when caught doing something they weren't supposed to be doing ...


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 21 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

Joseph, you're being absolutely ridiculous (or, perhaps disingenuous) when you claim that Adam and Eve's understanding comprehension was equal to that of Jesus. You apparently haven't read the entire Garden of Eden story (when, in the aftermath, their awareness was dramatically transformed).

And you're completely ignoring the nature of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It wasn't called the "tree of temptation" or the "tree that just looks pretty." It was a tree that bestows knowledge -- knowledge that ANY reasonable person would rightly presume Adam and Eve DID NOT YET POSSESS (contrary to what your Jerusalem Bible falsely insists).

Every argument you've made thus far presumes that Adam and Eve possessed FAR FOR knowledge and understanding than the Bible gives them credit for. And you have absolutely NOTHING upon which to base them other than your own assumptions (necessarily based upon your own theological presuppositions).

Of course, I realize WHY you're making such rationalizations, for without them, my perfectly legitimate criticisms of the story would make it sound as ridiculous and absurd as it actually is.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

Just answer me this, if someone were to offer YOU yummy venom ... would you be stupid enough to eat it?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 21 months ago from Michigan, USA Author

As for the definition of the word "day," you're being completely disingenuous when you note two separate conventional meanings of the word, and try to conflate the two as if they're being used in the same context.

One meaning of "day" is a measurement of the passage of time, to denote a 24-hour period. It's the only definition that applies in the context of our discussion, and you surely know this. The other definition is merely a distinction between daylight and nighttime. Genesis uses the word in BOTH contexts, and makes it clear which is which.

The ONLY somewhat legitimate challenge I can see is your quote from Genesis 2:4, where it makes reference to the "day" that God "made the earth and the heavens."

To be fair, this is, indeed, another conventional meaning of the word "day," (as in "back in the day"). But it is the ONLY other use of the word, and is the only apparent instance of its use in this particular context in the Genesis story.

So, are you expecting us to believe that, because Genesis makes ONE reference to "day" in a more poetic, past-tense vernacular (referring to the creation), we should accept THIS as the meaning in God's threat, and ignore the DOZEN other specific references to "day" as a 24-hour measure of time?

Nice try, Joseph, but no cigar!


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 21 months ago

Just answer me this, if a complete stranger were to offer YOU yummy venom ... would you be stupid enough to eat it?

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