Monday, 7 April 2008

The Fall of Man

My inability to find a supermarket open after 4pm on Sunday has led me to dwell instead on religious matters. As someone who used to be a fervent believer in the Bible, it never ceases to amaze me how easily I once overlooked certain obvious nonsenses in the whole thing. I mean, for example, take the original "Fall", i.e. the famous Adam and Eve thing.

"And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. ... And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 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." - Genesis 2:8-9,16-17.

1. If God didn't want Adam to have the knowledge of good and evil, why plant the tree in the garden?

2. If Adam doesn't have knowledge of good and evil, how's he supposed to know that disobeying God is wrong?

3. If Adam "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die", why did he not die for another nine hundred and thirty years (minus the length of time (no more than 130 years) spent in the garden before eating the fruit)?

Now, we all know what happened next:

"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? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 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. 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. 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. 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." - Genesis 3:1-7

4. The implication in verse 1 is that God did not make the serpent. If not, who did? And if he did, why did he make such a sneaky creature and why did he not warn Adam and Eve not to listen to it? (Omniscient God, surely could have seen that one coming?!)

5. The serpent is always made out to be the deceiver, so how come he's the one that tells the truth?! As the serpent told them, "your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." ... "And the eyes of them both were opened". God himself confirms what the serpent told them:

"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know 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: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." - Genesis 3:22-24.

6. If Adam was to die the day he ate the fruit, why the need to keep him away from the tree of life?

7. If Adam only "[became] as one of [God and ???]" after eating in the fruit, in what capacity was he created "in the image/likeness of God" (Genesis 1:27/5:1)?

8. Given the presumed perfection of Adam and Eve, made by God himself, the fact that they now knew about nakedness, their obvious inability to resist any form of temptation, and the lack of contraception... how did it take 130 years for them to make a baby?!

Answers on a postcard please...

I can't help but feel that far from the eating of the mythical fruit, the real "Fall of Man" was when widespread brainwashing with this nonsense became the norm in Western civilisation.