What Is The Original Sin?
A Witty, Divinely, Devilish take on The Original Sin!
© 2005 VVeasey Publishing
First let’s look at the text that describes the sin:
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die." (Genesis 2)
This is God’s command in Genesis 2:16 but in Genesis 3: 1-9 we find
1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?" 2 and the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but God said, ‘you shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’" 4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 And he said, "I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." 11 He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12 The man said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I ate."
(Next go to verse 22.)
22 Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live for ever"--------23therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground form which he was taken. (All Quotes King James Version)
Now My Commentary
This is the story of the so-called “Original Sin” of the first man and woman, who by their sinning caused all who descend from them (us) to be born in sin. What was their deadly sin? ---- Disobedience of the ultimate authority figure’s (God) command!
This story represents the age-old conflict between the individual’s desire to develop into his or her own authority and religious or social authority’s desire to keep the individual dependent and subservient to its will.
It appears that God is mad because the man disobeyed his command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And because the woman influenced by the talking serpent (if you believe in talking serpents), influenced the man to disobey him also. (Verse 11-13)
The man symbolizes the animal man, made from the dust of the ground, and represents the instinctive, animal intelligence in humans. The woman, made from the man’s rib, is a higher development of intelligence than the animal man and represents the more self-motivated, human intelligence in humans.
The animal man is content to go along with the dictates of authority or nature, but the woman (human intelligence) is more curious and wants to investigate things for herself. Every person contains both these male and female factors: Male sperm and female ovum. So this first man and woman are in everyone.
God symbolizes those in authority who want to keep the individual dependent and under control. The serpent represents an even more advanced state of intelligent self-awareness, that’s equal to that of the authority figures, but since the individual is still not aware of this part of its self, that intelligence is projected as something outside of its self (the serpent).
They Didn't Die
God tells the man (he's not called Adam at this point in the story) not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil cause on that day he will surely die. (Genesis 2, verse 17) Well that didn’t happen. The man and the woman ate the fruit on that day and didn’t die. (Genesis 3, verse 6-7)
God Is All Knowing
God is all knowing, but doesn't know where the man is and asks where he is after he and his wife hid themselves after eating from the fruit of the forbidden tree. “But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3, verse 8-9)
God obviously wasn’t aware of what had taken place in his absence so he asks the man, "Who told you that you were naked?" (Verse 11) He asks the woman, "What is this you have done?" (Verse 13)
Sounds like he already knew what had occurred, doesn’t it?
The Talking Serpent
But is the real reason God's angry because they disobeyed him or could there be another reason he’s angry they ate the fruit of the tree? We’ll answer that question in due time.
You’ve heard that Satan in the form of a serpent caused Adam and Eve to sin. (Although so far in this story they’re still called the man and the woman.)
Nowhere in this story does it say that this talking serpent was Satan. The text just states that, "Now the serpent was more subtle than any wild creature that the Lord God had made." (Genesis 3, verse 1.)
Some meanings of subtle are: Fine or delicate in meaning or intent; difficult to perceive or understand; delicate faint or mysterious, characterized by or requiring mental acuteness, penetration or discernment; cunning, wily or crafty; also insidious in operation (Random House College Dictionary).
In other words the serpent symbolizes a high degree of intelligence.
The serpent was regarded as a symbol of wisdom and healing in various cultures for thousands of years before the bible was written. Even Jesus recognized the serpent as a symbol of wisdom, he says, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves". (Matthew 10, verse 16)
Ironically, in the book of Numbers, God is even depicted as utilizing the serpent as a vehicle of healing.“And the LORD said unto Moses, "Make thee a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live". And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Numbers 21, verse 8-9) (The Revised Standard Version)
I guess God had a change of heart about the serpent.
Even in the gospel of John the serpent is represented as a model of Jesus' ability to grant believers eternal life.: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John, 3 verse 14-15)
If the serpent is evil how do we account for these discrepancies or positive associations with the serpent?
Even in the Garden of Eden story the serpent is the personification of mental acuteness, penetration or discernment, "Now the serpent was more subtle than any creature that the Lord God had made." (Genesis 3, verse 1)
The Father Of Lies
Since it’s been said that Satan, the serpent, is a liar and the father of lies, let’s see what the serpent said that that was a lie and how he misled the man and the woman."The serpent said to the woman, "You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3, verse 4-5)
In verse 22-24 we read, "Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Lest he put forth his hand and take also of he tree of life and eat and live forever----therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken."
Did they die after they ate from the tree? No they didn’t.
The Lord God even had to kick them out of the Garden before they ate from the tree of life and live forever! The Lord God confirmed that what the serpent told the woman was true (Verse 22).
If the serpent didn’t lie can he be Satan the father of lies?
The Real Reason God's Angry
Could the reason the Lord God be so alarmed is because the man (and the woman) had become like one of them, and would be equal to them if they ate from the tree of life and he didn't want that to happen? (Second part of verse 22)
I think the answer to this question and the one we said we would answer in due time, is yes!
Even later in the Tower of Babel story the Lord God, now referred to as the Lord seems worried about mankind becoming too powerful and out of his control. “And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city". (Genesis 11, verse 5-8)
The Lord purposely created division and misunderstanding between people when they were united with one language and one purpose, so they wouldn't become too powerful or out of his control.
Who Is The Us God Is Referring To?
And by the way who is the us he’s referring to here?, “let us go down there and confound their language” (Genesis 11, verse 7) and here “Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us”. (Genesis 2, verse 22). Well let's see if we can clear up this mystery.
Lord is translated from the Hebrew word, Yahweh. God is translated from the Hebrew word Elohim. Elohim is the plural of the word El (God) and means Gods. The phrase "the Lord God should read” Yahweh-Elohim" or "the Lord of the Gods" not “The Lord God” (Strong’s Lexicon).
So the “us" is his companion Gods. This explains who the us in the text is and makes it's use make more sense.
Even in the Ten Commandments God (El) acknowledges that there are other gods besides him.
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me”. (Exodus 20, verse 2)
He doesn't say there aren't any other Gods. He just says have no other gods before him. He wants to be the only God for Israel, as a man wants to be the only husband for his wife!
The translators of these texts were either so hypnotized by their belief that there was only one God in the Old Testament that they didn't notice this contradiction, or they just choose to ignore it.
God is said to have given man free will and made him a free moral agent, but when the man and the woman exercise their free will what does he do? He punishes them! If God punishes us for using our wills in defiance of his will, are our wills really free?
If we’re coerced into obeying God’s will out of fear of being punished by God, is that free will or is that coercion? Free will that has to operate within the boundaries set by God’s will is a limited free will at best.
What Happened To The Talking Serpent?
It’s interesting that the talking serpent doesn’t appear as an active character in the story after Adam and Eve get banished from the garden. It’s as if it were only put in the story to make a point.
The only other mention of the serpent is when God places a curse on it."The Lord God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel" (Genesis 3, verse 14-15).
This means the authority figures will make it more difficult for the more self-motivated individual (symbolized by the woman) to advance to a degree of awareness and independence equal to their own (symbolized by the serpent). The serpent certainly seemed to know what God's motives were, for not wanting the man and woman to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil didn’t It! (Again that’s if you believe in talking serpents!)
But as I pointed out earlier if God cursed the serpent why is he using it as a source of healing in Numbers 21:8-9?
Please don’t tell me that he’s God and he can do that! Use your intelligence. Examine the texts in question. Try to answer the question. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”(John 8, verse 32)
Psychologically, the man, the woman, and the serpent all represent different aspects of the individual’s developing self-awareness. They’re all parts of the same individual though they’re portrayed as being different characters.
The trees represent different kinds of awareness and knowledge.
Eating the fruit represents assimilating or waking up to the knowledge of morality (knowledge of good and evil). If you believe there was an actual tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You probably believe that a “branch of knowledge” is an actual branch on a tree as well.
After eating the fruit they’re eyes were opened they knew they were naked and made aprons (Genesis 3, verse 7). Meaning they became morally self-aware.
They sewed fig leaves together and hid themselves (Genesis 3, verse10).They were aware that they had done something wrong, felt guilty and tried to hide it. But before they ate the fruit they were morally ignorant and innocent like young children. God was morally aware like adults. After eating the fruit they become morally aware like God (Adults).
Who Wrote This Story
I think that priests wrote this story to show what bad things would happen to independent thinking individuals who attempt to make decisions outside of their authority.They used the idea of an ultimate authority figure, God, (a male deity, the males controlled all position of authority in the Hebrew tribes) who would cause all kinds of bad things to befall those who act on their own initiative or disobey his will (their will).
They said that God gave the priests, prophets, and the patriarchs authority over the people and being the mouthpiece of God the people were to obey them the same way they were to obey God.
From my point of view the “Original Sin” is the very thing that makes us human: the ability to make free choices, act on our own initiative, attain maturity and status equal to that of our parents or other authority figures, even when that conflicts with the dictates of society, culture or religion.
In the Garden of Eden story the writer depicts these qualities as undesirable and the personification of evil!
We all go through the Garden of Eden experience when we’re born. As infants and toddlers we have no sense of right or wrong or good and evil (like Adam and Eve didn’t). Along the way we learn that some things we do are bad and others good, (like Adam and Eve eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).The original bad thing is disobeying our parents or those who assume responsibility for us (like Adam and Eve disobeyed God).
Disobeying the Lord God was the “Original Sin”, that Adam and Eve committed, but before gaining the knowledge of good and evil they didn’t know it was wrong to disobey God, only that God didn’t want them to eat from the tree (just as we didn’t know it was wrong to disobey our parents until they taught us it was wrong).
When they became aware that disobeying the Lord God was wrong they tried to hide what they did (as we tried to hide what we did when we were caught disobeying our parents). When they were confronted with their disobedience they blamed someone else (we all did this and some of us still do.).
The Lord God kicked them out of the garden (out of his favor or good graces) and supposedly humans have been trying to get back in the garden ever since (back into his good graces) just as we tried to get back in our parents good graces after disobeying them or making them angry.
The so called “Fall of Man” symbolizes the “fall” of the developing infantile, human mind, out of a state of moral innocence and ignorance into a state of moral awareness and self responsibility. Unless we go through this experience we can never become independent, morally, self responsible adults, responsible for our choices and the results of those choices.
Barring that, someone else will always be responsible or the blame for our choices and the results of our choices.
This is how I see this story and how this all appears to me. If you see it differently, so be it, that’s your prerogative, as this is mine.
For those of you who take this story literally, my explanation will seem like blasphemy! But be that as it may.The only place talking serpents exist, is in movies, cartoons and insurance commercials.
But for those of you who don’t this story literally. Hopefully, this has been a refreshing and enlightening experience for you, and has given you something to think about.