"...I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me..." [Deuteronomy 5:8-10]

Friday, June 25, 2004

Adam & Eve - A fair verdict?
I've been discussing this question with bigfishjuan on the IMDb::Boards::Saved! message boards.

Genesis 3:1-7 (see here for various translations) says in the KJV:

1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 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.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
The story goes that Eve ate the fruit, as did Adam, and that they were both expelled from the Garden of Eden for this act of disobediance. But how were Adam and Eve supposed to know the difference between Good and Evil acts if they did not know the distinction before they ate the fruit?

bigfishjuan offers various explanations, which I will answer in turn:

BF: The Bible never said Adam and Eve were ignorant of right and wrong...
Genesis 3:7 states that Adam & Eve did not even know that they were naked before the ate the fruit - never mind Good & Evil, or right or wrong

BF: Eating the fruit was a sort of rebellion in which they demanded independence...
Can someone with no concept of good & evil "demand independence"? More importantly, should they be punished for doing so? For the rest of their lives? And all humanity supposedly descended from them?

BF: It says Eve was deceived. What must your state of mind be before you are deceived? Not ignorant.
Ever tried taking candy from a baby? Of course you have ;> Get them to look away while you take it. Can you say that the baby is not deceived because it does not know what you are doing?

BF: Adam, however, was not deceived. He knew precisely what he was doing...
Genesis 2:25 states that Adam & Eve "were both naked, and they felt no shame" before they ate the fruit. Genesis 3:7 (above) says that "the eyes of them both were opened" after they ate the fruit. bigfishjuan's explanation contradicts the words of the text.

BF: Some have proposed that he [Adam] knew death would result from her [Eve's] sin and the only way she could be redeemed was if he "fell" too, because if he never fell, the plan of redemption would not have been necessary.
In other words, Adam apparently knew that God would throw Eve out of the Garden for eating the fruit so Adam took "the fall" too (didn't that happen in an episode of "The Simpsons"?) so that God could punish mankind so that God would have to come to earth 4,000 years later to arrange for Himself to be killed so that He could forgive mankind so that they could choose to love Him? Is it just me, or are there a couple of cases of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome in there?

If anyone has any coherent arguments as to why God's actions in Genesis 3 do not amount to Him punishing innocents for acts which they could not possibly know were wrong, please let me know.


PTET said...

This from Atheism vs. Christianity, A Response to Unanswered Questions, by Bob and Gretchen Passantino:

"While it is true that our knowledge may be imperfect or limited if it is not experiential, that does not mean that we can know nothing or that we cannot be responsible for what we do know. In the same way, God's command to Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil must have had some analogous or appositive significance or the command would have been totally meaningless. When Genesis 2:17 records God's command to Adam and Eve, it does not assume that they "knew" good and evil experientially, but rationally; after all, they were created "in God's image," which included the ability to reason... In this limited sense, as God "knows" evil perfectly or fully without ever participating in evil, so Adam and Eve were able to "know" evil, although not as fully, without having yet participated in it. The atheist who will argue against the goodness of God on the basis of the text must also accept the context of the text and its rational assumptions."Again this contradicts the literal words of the text of Genesis 3. Man may have been created in God's image - but it was not until Adam and Eve ate the fruit that they knew the difference between Good and Evil. Further, there were adverse consequences warned of by God. He said that they would die that very day. In fact, apparently, they did not, but were cursed by God for simple disobediance.

PTET said...
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