When I was being confirmed in the Lutheran Church, we did some studying of the Bible. We naturally began with Genesis and the Creation story, and right away I began to have doubts about the validity of the story. Mainly with the ending of the Adam and Eve story, where Adam and Eve have Cain and Abel, then Cain kills Abel, and then Cain GOES TO THE CITY OF NOD AND FINDS A WIFE. How did he find any other human when there were only 3 people on the planet according to the story?
Anyway, this post is about what most people call “the fall of man,” which occurs in Genesis 3. The chapter picks up with Eve talking to the talking snake, who is trying to convince her to eat the fruit from the Forbidden Tree of Knowledge.
Snake: I see you two eating all the time from all the trees except that one in the middle of Eden.
Eve: Yeah, we’re not supposed to eat from that one.
Snake: Really? Why?
Eve: God told us if we eat from it, we’ll die.
Snake: Hahahahahahaha! Whaaat? And you believed him?
Eve: Yeah, why not?
Snake: Aren’t you curious about how it tastes?
Eve: Yeah, but I don’t wanna make God mad.
Snake: What if I told you that if you ate it, you would become like God, and know shit.
Eve: Really? That does sound tempting. God is a really smart guy.
Snake: He is, so why shouldn’t you be?
Eve: Yeah, but I don’t wanna die.
Snake: You won’t die! I guarantee it.
Eve: You’re fooling me.
Snake: Not at all! Scout’s Honor!
Eve: What’s a scout?
Snake: Never mind that. Just go try it. Get some for Adam too.
Eve: (thinking) Ok.
So Eve goes to the tree and picks some of the fruit and takes some to Adam, who was probably lying around naming shit.
Adam: Hey Eve! Look at this! I’ve named it a badger!
Eve: That’s lovely honey. Um, I have something for you.
Adam: Really? (Eve hands him some of the fruit) Hey this looks good…wait, this is from the Forbidden Tree!
Eve: Yep, but it’s ok. It’s gonna make us smart like God.
Adam: Who told you that?
Eve: A talking snake.
Adam: A talking snake?!?!?! Are you crazy, woman?
Eve: I AM NOT CRAZY! YOU NEVER LET ME NAME ANY ANIMALS OR DO ANYTHING! NOW EAT THE FRUIT!
Adam: Whoa. Fine then. (They both eat the fruit) Hmm, this is delicious! Whooooooa! My head! (walks around dizzy for a minute, then points at Eve) Hehehehe you have boobies!
Eve: What? (looks down) Oh my goodness! (covers up) Hey! At least I don’t have that ugly hairless ferret between my legs!
Adam: What? (finds fig leaves to cover up) We’re both naked, we should hide!
The two humans hide, and soon after God leisurely walks through the garden calling for them (Side note: If God was truly omnipotent, HE’D KNOW WHERE THEY WERE!). He finds them covering up with fig leaves.
God: What is this? Why are you covering up?
Adam: Well, we realized we were naked and didn’t think it was good to be naked outside.
God: How did you know you’re naked?
Adam: Shut up, Eve!
God: Wait, did you two eat from the Forbidden Tree? (Another side note: if he were omnipotent, HE WOULD KNOW THEY DID! Why does he have to grill them and make them feel even worse?)
Eve: Yes, we did God. But the snake said…
God: The snake? What snake?
Snake: Oh, right here! I’m here. (looks at Eve) See, I told you you wouldn’t die.
God: Snake, why did you turn my creations against my commands?
Snake: Because you created me with the ability to talk so I’d talk Adam and Eve into eating the fruit from the Forbidden Tree just so you can be a sadistic prick and punish them for the act of defiance that you knew they’d do because you’re omnipotent and have a Divine Plan.
God: Curse you! I curse you to crawl upon the dirt and bite the heel of all humanity for the end of time!
Snake: That’s…kinda what I do already God.
God: As for you, Adam, I curse you to work the earth for eternity, gaining only little yield for you and your family! And you, Eve, I curse you with horribly painful childbirth and to be subservient to your husband for eternity! You both have disobeyed me, so I will banish you from Eden, never to return!
This is the turning point of the story. There are two ways that this could turn out. The first is what is depicted, Adam and Eve leave Eden ashamed and sentenced to their curses for the rest of time. But there is a second way this could have gone.
Adam: Wait a second. God, you told us if we ate the fruit from the tree, we would die. But we didn’t die. My newfound understanding of right and wrong is telling me that that is wrong!
God: What? Do you dare oppose me?
Adam: Yeah, I do. It’s wrong that you lied to us. Sure, we went against your command, but your insecurity about making sure we stay subservient to you caused you to lie to us! You kept information from us that ensured your tyrannical control! That is wrong!
God: My own creation calling me a liar? I created you, so I have the power to destroy you too!
Adam: Yeah, but I’d rather die and give up my life in this paradise than be a slave to someone who lies to me! My wife and I are not the ones in the wrong here. You are the one who refused to let us discover more information about the world around us for the sake of keeping us stupid and fearful of you. Well, the snake was right. I do know right from wrong now, and you are in the wrong. You should be the one to get the fuck out!
Eve: (to the snake) What’s “fuck” mean?
Snake: Oh you’ll find out after this is over.
Instead of allowing God to banish them from Eden, they should’ve stood up to him and called him out on his bullshit. This idea is very relevant today. Especially in America, where we tend to let our government walk all over us, taking away our civil rights for the sake of security. Adam and Eve were safe and secure in Eden, but they could’ve given it all up for liberty. They went against God and gained the ability to acquire knowledge, which gave them the power to be “like God.” We can do the same. By acquiring knowledge we arm ourselves with the weapons to defend ourselves and make the world a better place for everyone.
Our goals in life are twofold. One, we should strive to make our own lives better. Two, we should strive to make the world better for others. The “Me” generation has this idea that they are entitled to whatever they want. News flash kids, until you work to learn about the world around you and use that knowledge to make the world better, YOU DESERVE NOTHING. The same thing goes for adults. If you don’t put other’s needs as your top priority after your personal needs are met, you deserve nothing. If you’ve ever said, “Math sucks, I hate it,” you deserve nothing. If you’ve ever said, “Why should I help that poor person? They should get off their ass and get a job!”, you deserve nothing.
We need to lose the selfish attitude and realize that our species survival depends on us working together to make sure everyone is healthy, smart, fed, sheltered, and loved. And if we cannot get together and do this, we don’t deserve to live on this planet anymore.
This reminds me of a discussion I once had with my old inter-faith group entitled, “What if they’d said no?” We examined various Biblical stories and pondered how it would have ended if:
- Noah had said no it was not ok to kill everyone on earth and that God would have to kill him and his family as well.
- Abraham had said no he wasn’t going to kill my son.
- God had said no he would not allow Satan to ruin Job.
- Joseph had said no he would not accept that God impregnated Mary.
Biblical history as we know it would be completely different would it not? Then again, when you consider that Moses wrote Genesis between 1450-1410 BCE, and not from an eyewitness accounts, it makes it hard to really take any of it seriously.
Fundamentalist Christian sister-in-law and her family are coming here tomorrow for the 4th of July. She’s… angry… with me and thinks I’m possessed by the devil or some such nonsense, so I felt the need to prepare my son this morning for any potential issues.
Me: Hey Alex? Pretend I’m someone else for a minute, k? I’m going to ask you some questions.
My son: Okay!
Me: Do you pray?
My son: Do I play what?
Me: No, do you pray? Do you talk to god?
My son: No… do you talk to god?
Me: Of course I talk to god! I talk to god every day.
My son: What do you talk about?
Me: HA! That was awesome. Okay, do you believe in Jesus?
My son: Mmmm… not really.
Me: Why don’t you believe in Jesus? Didn’t your mom tell you about Jesus?
My son: Oh! Sure, she told me about him. He’s a character in the Bible.
Me: He is in the Bible! And you know you have to believe in him to go to heaven, right?
My son: How do you know heaven is real?
Me: Because it’s in the Bible, of course.
My son: How do you know the Bible is true?
Me: Because it is God’s word.
My son: How do you know it’s God’s word?
Me (grinning): Okay, I’m me again. You know what kid? You deserve a massive high five.
My son: I know.
Questions, people. We don’t need to know or have all the answers… we just need to be able to ask questions. ~JJ
It really is as simple as asking the right questions Alex.