Garden of Eden and the Original Sin

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (1701-1704) by Antonio Molinari, Venice, Italy. In silent communication, Adam and Eve point out to one another the agents of the approaching downfall: the apple and the serpent.

In the previous chapter of the Holy Scriptures we saw that there were actually two conflicting accounts of the Creation, both believed to have been written by an ancient Hebrew god named Yahveh. Why it is so, is a bit of a mystery, but as we carry on with the legend, we shall see that there are many other inconsistencies in those scriptures that later became part of the Christian Bible. Now, let’s go back to the Garden of Eden where a woman had just been created from the rib of the very first man on Earth. In the next scene the woman stands in front of the Tree of Knowledge while having a conversation with a serpent. Yeah, that’s right, a talking snake:

    Genesis 3:1: Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
    Genesis 3:2-3: The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
    Genesis 3:4-5: “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Aha, so God didn’t like any competition in there! But were they really created to live all of their lives in complete ignorance without being allowed to gain wisdom, but with the sole purpose of working as gardeners for the good Lord? Well perhaps, but if so, why then did he plant that tree there in the first place? I remember asking Jehovah’s Witnesses that question a while back and they explained that God needed to ‘test’ his followers from time to time to see how strong their faith was. So, ignorance and faith go hand in hand, I concluded, but didn’t say it aloud as to not offend them.

    Genesis 3:6-7: When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

From this, I can only conclude that it’s considered ‘evil’ to be naked, but why then didn’t God dress them right from the beginning?

It doesn’t say in the text, but in the painting above, and in many other presentations of the so-called Fall of Man, the fruit is depicted as an apple. But apple trees were (and still are) very rare in the Middle East due to the hot and dry climate, so it’s more likely it was an orange or a lemon tree. It’s also interesting to note that the Greek word for apple is the same as for (the female) breast, which opens up for a different interpretation of the event – also known as the Original Sin – suggesting that Eve actually invited Adam to take a ‘bite’ of her breast rather than of some fruit. After all, they were only humans, weren’t they? Moreover, the serpent is regarded one of the oldest phallic symbols in the world, so would it be too far-fetched to imagine that they were actually engaged in a love-making affair here? Makes sense to me, at least.

But even if they had had sex, it couldn’t be regarded ‘evil’ since God clearly had said (Genesis 1:28): “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”

    Genesis 3:8-9: Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
    Genesis 3:10: He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
    Genesis 3:11: And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
    Genesis 3:12: The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
    Genesis 3:13: Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
    Genesis 3:14-15: So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
    Genesis 3:16: To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
    Genesis 3:17-19: To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Now, this is quite a harsh punishment that shows the good Lord demanded total obedience from the people he created. No room for mercy or forgiveness. You are either with me or you are against me. And this is the same God that the Christian Church praises for his compassion and love for his people. To me it shows the exact opposite: only those who unconditionally subject themselves to his will are worth his kindness. I’m aware that Jesus had very different views on many topics, but the Old Testament is nonetheless a fundamental part of the Christian faith. Now back to the story:

    Genesis 3:20: Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
    Genesis 3:21-24: The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

How kind of God to finally make some clothes for them, but what did he mean by saying: “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” Were there other gods in the good Lord’s company that we don’t get to hear about, or did he have a multiple personality?

Apparently only Adam was expelled from the Garden of Eden for his disobedience, but the next chapter tells us that Eve went too – perhaps voluntarily, since she was now his wife and Adam had been granted the right to rule over her.

I’ll have to admit that I stopped reading the Holy Scriptures after the next few chapters, as the story contained so many inconsistencies and contradictions that it didn’t make much sense to me. For instance, Adam and Eve got three sons, named Cain, Abel and Seth, plus a couple of daughters without names. At some point Cain killed his brother Abel with a knife, and the two remaining brothers later married and got plenty of children. But whom did they marry to since they were the only existing people on Earth at the time? They could only have married their own sisters (which would be an act of incest), but we don’t get to know for sure. Sorry about this abrupt ending to my Bible reading, but I had expected to get a little better understanding of what Christianity is all about. Well, I did actually learn something, but all this confusion eventually put me off. Take care folks and thanks for reading.

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