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Adam and Eve Were Set Up

Updated on September 16, 2017

Some years back I got into a debate about Adam and Eve, God and the question of free will. I always loved that chat (stimulates the gray matter upstairs), so I thought I’d dig around for my notes and review this question again.


First and foremost, the “existence” of God was taken as a given – whether you believed in a supernatural deity or not was irrelevant. We were debating the story of Adam and Eve, their dealings with the serpent in the Garden, and what part God played in all of this. Basically, there were two items we focused on: the idea that God is aware of everything and knows what will happen no matter what, and the idea that humanity has free will.

My take on this was/is as follows: if God knows everything that you have done or will do, then you do not have free will. The concept of “free will” only applies if you know the definite outcomes of every choice, but in general we only know the probabilities. In some cases it’s merely a question of cause and effect: if a guy releases a penny from his hand it will fall to the ground. However, outcomes are not always certain: if a guy kicks a thick wooden door without shoes on, he may hurt his foot. If a guy eats at fast food joints every day for a month, his health will probably get worse. Because everyone is different, “results may not be typical”. Further, the outcome of a lot of other choices is not so obvious: if I take a job that pays less but has great benefits will I improve my standard of living? This can’t be answered because there are simply too many variables – we just do not have all of the information. But God does. He already knows what will happen.

So…if God knows every single choice you will make, then you do not have any choice at all. It doesn’t even matter what the supposed “options” are that you are given: Get married or stay single? Take the job with tons of benefits or the job with high pay? Eat a jelly or glazed donut? Big or small, all decisions for your life are already known in advance, you’re really just along for the ride. Free will is a direct contradiction to this concept – if you can make choices, then God cannot know everything you will do. The idea that God knows all takes limitless possibilities and reduces them to just one:  his.

This fits in nicely with the “God has a plan” ideology. God has set everything in motion, and you are following a path that has been laid out for you. Nothing you do or say will change your fate. Praying or asking for guidance about what to do is irrelevant. No matter what you do, all of your “choices” God already knows about, good or bad. God is the only one who knows if you will succeed or fail, and since it is “part of God’s plan” then your fate is therefore out of your hands. If you are fated to die in a car crash as a crack-addicted prostitute with two bags of dope in the trunk, then that’s simply part of God’s plan – he planned for you to die that way. What you think about it is clearly not important.

If this is the case, then both Adam and Eve were set up for failure. God put them in Paradise knowing they would betray him, and then just sat back and waited until it happened. Thus, they were absolutely doomed from the start to be kicked out of the Garden of Eden. The omnipotent, omnipresent, supposedly benevolent God knew all of their actions in advance, didn’t do anything to prevent them from occurring, and then screamed at them for doing what he knew they would do all along. This God is not benevolent, he’s sadistic! His yelling at them about messing up had to be the most impressive bit of acting in the entire history of the world.

If Adam and Eve actually had free will, then God would never have known they were going to disobey him, and his rant would therefore have been justified. However, the book of Genesis shows that God doesn’t know what is going to happen. God makes everything, but then humanity continuously goes against him, which is clearly upsetting to him. The events in Eden contradict the notion that God is all-knowing, but they do give credence to humanity having free will. Adam and Eve may have been innocents that were duped by the serpent, but it seems pretty certain that an all-knowing God and free will simply cannot co-exist.


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    • Ldrtchbrd profile image

      Ldrtchbrd 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      NOTE: While I welcome different opinions in the comments, folks who ramble on and on yet refuse to leave their name will have their comments deleted. Own up to your work or take it elsewhere. Thanks!

    • profile image

      felix 6 years ago

      No. i disagree that God set them up to fail, what actually happen is the result of an action committed by the serpent and the woman eve.

      the fruit of the tree is not any type of fruit, it is a figurative or symbolic statement, meaning the serpent had carnal knowledge of eve. That's not the making of God you will agree. Sex was what happen between eve and the serpent, The fruit in the middle of the garden simply refer t the private part of both Adam and Eve, their genitals, it is in the middle of men and women, God simply said.

      you can touch any part of one anther's body, but the fruit in the middle, thou shall not touch or eat of it. The eating of the fruit is love making or sex.....i hope it is clearer now?

    • Ldrtchbrd profile image

      Ldrtchbrd 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Fexlix Edet, I happen to agree with you that Adam and Eve had freewill, but many believers in the Bible are convinced that God knows all, an idea that contradicts the actions in Genesis. If God does know all then He would have known what Adam and Eve were going to do, thus they were set up to fail. :)

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      Felix Edet 6 years ago

      I don't think they were set up, they only choose to follow their freewill power.

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 6 years ago

      LDRTCHBRD, when my cousin and I were teenagers, we decided one night to go to a dance in a very dangerous section of town. And we told our mothers what we were going to do and neither of them expressed any objection.

      Well, we went to that dance and, as things turned out, the two of us got beaten up by the members of a tough street gang.

      When our mothers saw us all bruised up, neither of them said anything. They just gave us one of those "you-know-you-had-no-business-going-to-that-part-of-town expressions".

      I got the message and never returned to that part of town and went on to lead a productive life.

      On the other hand, however, my cousin did not get the message. He kept right on going back to that part of town and ended up being sentenced to life in prison.

    • Bibowen profile image

      William R Bowen Jr 6 years ago

      What you are stating is the age-old problem of fatalism v. free will. I think it's an error to assume that because the future cannot be changed, it follows that it's not created by free agents in the present. It’s true that we cannot change what will be. But it does not follow that we are not presently creating it with our free choices. Our free choices in the present are the "stuff" that is creating the future. Our free choices in the present are what “fixes” the future.

      In another sense, however, it makes no sense to talk about the future being "fixed" because the future never possesses existence. If something is "fixed" it must exist, but the future does not exist; it is merely a concept we use to denote those events that will come to pass. But those events will never occur until the present moment. Another way of saying it, events never “will” occur; rather, events only occur in the present.

      Were Adam and Eve set up? Actually they had the perfect set up, but they blew it! But, this is no indictment against God. God simply knew what they would freely do. It's an unjustified leap to assume that God's foreknowledge is an imposition. Rather, think of it as a barometer that simply can "measure" what the future outcome will be. The barometer does not determine the air pressure, but simply measures it. So, God’s foreknowledge need not determine the future.

      Why didn't God create "Adams and Eves" that would not sin? Given freedom, we have to consider that it was not possible to have sinless agents and that Adam and Eve were the best representatives of the human race, but even they sinned. Given human freedom, it’s not possible to make people "freely" do something. Given God's love of freedom, sin was the price for the existence of freedom.

      Does it matter whether we pray or not? Yes, because God foreknows whether or not I will freely choose to pray or not pray in any given situation.