Genesis: The Fall of Man

Genesis 3:1-3:24

This story opens with the serpent trying to seduce Eve into tasting the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It is interesting how the serpent is the one portrayed as the evil character in this story, but all the serpent did was tell Eve the truth. God had been the one who had lied to Adam and Eve by telling them that they would die if they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. All the serpent did was tell Eve that she would not die, but be like God. The Bible then says that Eve decides to eat the fruit from the tree because it “was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom”. This passage is evidence of Christianity’s contempt for knowledge. This contempt will later have many ramifications and lead to the unjust deaths of many great minds. Eve eats the fruit then gives some to Adam who also eats from it. They are then aware of their nakedness and are ashamed. I assume this is an attempt to explain why humans wear cloths. The real reason can be explained be our evolutionary will to survive. As we became more intelligent and could create sharp tools to carve the flesh of befallen animals, we learned that we could use the hides as a way to keep warm in harsh climates.

God comes strolling by them in the garden so the two of them hide. The Lord God calls out to them inquiring where they are. Adam answers God and says they hid because they were ashamed of their nakedness.

God then asks, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

Adam’s cowardly reply tries to evade any responsibility of his own actions, and attempts to pin it all on Eve. This is definitely a man of strong character. He tells his Lord, “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it”.

When God turns to Eve to inquire of her disobedience, she also tries to find a scapegoat to avoid punishment and pins the whole thing on the serpent. She plays the damsel in distress as she tells God, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate it”.

Though the serpent didn’t deceive anyone like I said earlier. The serpent merely stated the facts, and it was God who was the deceiver. If God had just told them that if they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil that he would punish them, because he wanted to be the only one with power, maybe they wouldn’t have. Even better, as I said in my last post, if he hadn’t created the tree at all there wouldn’t have been any problems. God punishes the serpent by making it forced to live its life crawling on its stomach. I guess the serpent had had legs prior to God’s wrath.

God’s judgement on Eve is the first testament of the Bible’s clear patriarchal view of the world. God makes Eve a subject to Adam, and says Adam “will rule over you”. This promotion of the subjugation of woman to man and the oppression of women’s rights has marred our society for millenniums. Evidence of this bigoted belief is seen today with recent discussion in the US on contraceptives and abortion. Still the church believes that it has the right to control women and their reproductive functions. God also makes childbirth harder on women; the perfect example of an act by a benevolent God.

For Adam, God’s punishment really doesn’t appear to be as harsh. God’s punishment is to make the land less conducive to vegetation. “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food”, God tells Adam. Now this part of the story, at least, if it is not to be taken literal, is probably an allegory for what happened around 13,000 BCE. Around that time the Earth was coming out of an ice age and beginning to warm. This warming made once fertile lands dry up. One example would be the Sahara. The Sahara was once a lush fertile land that supported many plants and animals. As the Earth began to warm, the Sahara began to become the desert it is today. This warming forced people towards river valleys, which would later become the cradles of civilization. This warming also was what inspired humans to turn to an agrarian life instead of one of foraging. The agrarian life was harsher than the life of a forager. Fossil records show that those who became sedentary farmers were subjected to new diseases, a less diverse diet, and longer work days that increased stress, and the result was a reduced life expectancy and shorter people. The benefit of the domestication of plants and animals was that it led to surplus food, which in turn led to surplus population. The agrarian people were not as healthy, but had strength in numbers.

In the last paragraph of this passage, God gives Adam and Eve garments made from skin. I already addressed what would have led man to create such garments, so I will not readdress this. God, fearful that man will also try to usurp more of his power by eating from the tree of life and gain immortality, banishes Adam and Eve out of the garden. This fear that God has is interesting to point out. Throughout the Bible man’s relationship to God is one of reverence and fear. Man is suppose to be fearful of God’s wrath, but interestingly it is God who is afraid here. This is an interesting perspective to keep in mind while reading. Is God’s wrath more in reaction to his fear of man? In any case, it is clear here that God is afraid of sharing any power with man, as any tyrant throughout history–Stalin, Saddam Hussein,or Gaddafi. To protect the garden, and God’s power, God places a Cherubim and a flaming sword moving back and forth to guard the tree. A cherubim is related to the Assyrian karabu, they are cognates, and is a mythical animal similar to the sphinx. This mythical creature was popular in the area of Babylon, where this story takes place, and is tied to their polytheistic beliefs that Christians abhor so much. The fact these creatures never existed hurts the credibility of this book. One more fallacy to chalk up on the board if you are keeping count.

This concludes the tale of the Fall of Man. Next, the story of sibling rivalry, “Cain and Abel”.

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7 thoughts on “Genesis: The Fall of Man

  1. Very well written, you probably know more about the Bible than some who call themselves a Christian, who attend a Sunday morning service every Sunday! Now someone unschooled in the scriptures would probably fall right into to what you are saying, and just like any other individual we are all free to believe what we would like! The truth is, the serpent did lie to Eve, he twisted the words of God, he said: “You will not surely die.” Genesis 3:5 ESV. They were told they would- not a physical death at the moment, but now spiritual death/separation comes into the picture! The serpent accomplished exactly what he wanted, and that was to plant a seed of doubt! Once doubt enters, man will follow his own ungodly desires, remember, the serpent also wanted to be like God!
    As far as the situation concerning the tree, why did God put it there if it was just going to get them in trouble, is this: There is no moral value or victory in following God if ALL of mankind was built to ONLY follow God! Then we wouldn’t be free to believe whatever it is we wanted! As far as Eve goes, she fell to the lust of the flesh and the eye- 1 John 2:16. I enjoyed reading your article since I’m not biased and ignorant, it makde me think, and it made my faith in God stronger. Thanks. (I will probably read your next post, you give me more ideas of what to defend against!)

    1. Thank you for the comment. I think I need to preface this response. I may not have stated in the description of the blog which version of the Bible I am reading, I will correct this though I do link to it in the post, I am reading the New International Version. Still, even looking at the ESV version there are few differences from what I read. Now, Genesis 3:5 NIV states, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”, so I am not sure why you put that there. In Genesis 2:16-17 NIV, “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’” There is only one way to interpret that passage. God told Adam that when he eats the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he will surely die. Literally die. ‘Surely’ is used to emphasize God’s command that Adam will die. The serpent tells Eve that that is not the case, Genesis 3:4-5 NIV, “‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the women. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” And neither literally die after eating the fruit, so the serpent was being honest and God was the one who was being dishonest. Now if one was to read this as purely a metaphor and not take a word of it as the literal word of a deity, then, yes they did die in a way. The innocence that they once had was dead now that they know of good and evil, but that isn’t the literal message in the Bible. I must add this, I am reading this book literally, as any Christian who believes this is the word of God should. God never tells them they would die a spiritual death. All God says is that if they eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they will surely die. You have to infer a lot of things to come to the conclusions you have, because there is very little evidence in the text to support it. I would be more than happy to see what text you think does support your conclusions though.

      There is no literal mention in Genesis 3 of the serpents desire to be like God. You would have to infer and I don’t see any textual evidence to support it. Did he plant a seed of doubt? Yes. Was it justified? I think so. The serpent is the inquisitive mind. The inquisitive mind should be rewarded not vilified. The fact is that God was not honest to Adam and Eve and the serpent called God on it. No one should except something as truth without testing the hypothesis, and that is all the serpent promoted. God wanted them to live in ignorance; the serpent wanted them to live a life seeking truth.

      The problem with your defense on putting the tree there in the first place is your defense, “there is no moral value or victory in following God if ALL of mankind was built to ONLY follow God!”. The problem with this is that if the Christian God exists, then those who don’t believe in God will suffer an eternity in Hell. How can a benevolent God want a majority of his creation to suffer an eternity in Hell? So the point then, that I think I was trying to make in my post, was that God’s intent in creating the tree was malicious.

      You’re jumping ahead of me with the New Testament quote. I’m looking at the Bible one chapter at a time, so I won’t address the New Testament for awhile, but let’s look at this quote. 1 John 2:16 “For every thing in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world.” The problem with this is if God created the world, and created everything, then God did create our sinful cravings. And if the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the root of man’s sinful cravings then that is even more textual proof that God created it. God created the environment for such things to exist.

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading my post. I enjoyed responding to your comment. I’m glad in made you think; I always support inquisitive minds. If this made your faith in God stronger then I’m happy for you. I’m not really trying to proselytize and win devout Christians to my side. I’m just trying to share the other side’s perspective and open up the conversation. I hope you continue to read, and thanks again for reading and commenting.

      1. I will say, you have valid points, anyone should examine and check it out for themselves- despite valid points that doesn’t always mean one is right! I also want you to know, I’m here in good and gentle spirits- I’m not here to win an argument, for what I say and do is not for the sake of arguing or prvoving wrong. There are more important things hanging in the balance, that is the souls of men! I do respect the fact that you are trying to study the Bible in context, you are not wanting to go to other books at the moment, that is a better study habit then some who say they are of the faith. If someone is going doubt God, not believe in Him, and want to discredit Him- then Genesis is where one would start! If one does not believe God in Genesis, from the beginning, then he/she will not believe the rest of the Bible all the way to Revelation! When coming to know God and understanding Him, it would be totally unfair to confine Him to one vere, one chapter, or even the 66 Books that make up the Bible- He is greater than that! It would be totally unfair for me to make any kind of assumption about you only knowing you from this blog, I don’t know your favorite things, what you been through in life, or anything else. As far as the literal and figurative things of the Bible, it would be totally rediculous in some cases to take the Bible in ONLY one of the two ways- we must let the Scriptures interpret themsleves! You are skilled though in what you want to say, and it impresses me because a lot of people who call themselves Christians are not skilled in what they believe- of which whom I try my best not to be like! One last thing, for the most part, there is no institution or individual on this earth that would still love you for trying to dismantle who they are and what they stand for- ONLY GOD does that! NO MATTER how much you study to try and prove wrong His love or existence, He will continue to sustain you! You are not the first person or the last that will ever try to explain away the God of this vast universe, but there is potential in you to do things for the Lord that not even you would ever dream of or imagine! Even if you are not trying to convert people- we are all examples, all the time! I love you my fellow blogging friend!

  2. I wasn’t trying to argue with you; I was merely trying to have a discussion. I think that whenever you leave a comment on something that means you are opening up a discussion. It’s an exchange of one persons ideas with another’s, and should be analyzed and discussed. That was all I way trying to do. I agree that there are more important things to discuss, but I disagree that it’s the souls of men, or at least the literal souls of men. If you are speaking of the figurative soul, like one’s morality, then yes, that is something that is important to discuss. I don’t believe in the literal soul, so that’s of little interest to me to save. I think the question of morality should be saved for a different discussion.

    I think whenever you analyze a book you should analyze it in context. I chose to look at it one book at a time for a few reasons: to analyze it in context, to keep a clear narrative of the book and see how it evolves over time, and to make the process of studying the text easier, as it will have a clear linear progression. The Bible is like any book. You wouldn’t start reading the “Tale of Two Cities” at the end, then skip to the middle, go to the beginning, and move towards the end again to study it. You would read it from page one to the end, and analyze it as you progress. If you read it out of order, and out of context, then the story is muddled and it can be confusing. When I was a child, my grandmother would read the Bible to me and she would read it form beginning to end. I think this is also why I prefer this approach.

    I agree that it might be unfair to judge the belief of the Christian God just on one verse or one chapter, but I think it is very fair to judge God on the sum of the Bible’s books. The only basis of the Christian belief is the Bible, without it there is nothing to believe in. I also think that if you believe in something, especially religion because it is an all or nothing belief system, then you must believe in every part of it. If the Bible truly is the infallible word of God, then if you don’t believe in any one of the verses in the Bible, then you don’t believe in the word of God.

    It would be unfair to make an assumption about anyone, and I try not to as well. The unfortunate reality is that we do, but we should try to refrain. I agree that it is absurd to only read the text of the Bible literally, but Christians do. My real interpretation of it is an allegory just like any mythology, but that’s because I don’t believe it is the word of God. If you do believe in the Christian God then you kind of have to see it as literal, the literal word of God. I see the text as a work of fiction, loosely based on real world events, written by a group of men who were trying to explain the natural world without science.

    I am definitely not the first to challenge the dogma of the Christian canon, and I hope I will not be the last. But my friend, your God does not love me, because I do not believe in your God or the Son. If your God does exist, I will suffer an eternity in Hell like many billions of others who do not believe in your God or any God, along with all our early human ancestors, who existed as early as a million years ago, who also did not believe in a God or your God. So your God is not different from any other worldly institution or individual. Thank you again for your comment. I have enjoyed this discussion.

  3. Well, the reason why I said what I said about arguing is cause a lot of “Christians” can be nasty! A lot of them do and represent the faith wrong and unfortunately a lot of good Christians get couched all the same, that’s the only reason why I said that. Everybody is their own person so I will never cover everyone with the same blanket, no matter who they are or what they’ve done. I like discussion and hearing other’s point of view, no matter if it’s for God or against. Now going back to Genesis, I know at times the book can seem fantastic, like a mythical story, I don’t blame people on that, but I don’t think anything else out there makes any sense. That is a flat out true and unbiased statement for me, and again, I’m not ignorant. I wasn’t always a Christian, and I’ve done many things in my life that I’m not proud of and some of those thing coul’ve taken my life- cause it has taken others. I’m just curious, what you are saying here about the Bible and Genesis, do you treat other teachings that way?

    1. Yeah I understood why you said what you said. On Genesis, I think the story of Genesis makes about as much sense as any other religion or mythology. I am not as familiar with most of the other religions of the world, my knowledge is somewhat limited to Greco-Roman mythology and Christianity, but my goal is to read all of the religious texts. If you will humor me I would like to share a couple paragraphs of the Greek account, by the Roman author Ovid, on how the Earth was created from the book, “The Metamorphoses”.

      “Before the sea was, and the lands, and the sky that hangs over all, the face of Nature showed alike in her whole round, which state have men called chaos: a rough, unordered mass of things, nothing at all but lifeless bulk and warring seeds of ill-matched elements heaped in one. No sun as yet shone forth upon the world, nor did the waxing moon renew her slender horns; not yet did the earth hang poised by her own weight in the circumambient air, nor had the ocean stretched her arms along the far reaches of the lands. And, though there was both land and sea and air, no one could tread that land, or swim that sea; and the air was dark. No form of things remained the same; all objects were at odds, for within one body cold things strove with hot, and moist with dry, soft things with hard, things having weight with weightless things.

      God–or kindler of Nature–composed this strife; for he rent asunder land from sky, and sea from land, and separated the ethereal heavens from the dense atmosphere. When thus he had released these elements and freed them from the blind heap of things, he set them each in its own place and bound them fast in harmony. The fiery weightless element that forms heaven’s vault leaped up and made place for itself upon the topmost height. Next came the air in lightness and in place. The earth was heavier than these, and, drawing with it the grosser elements, sank to the bottom by its own weight. The streaming water took the last place of all and held the solid land confined in its embrace.” – The Metamorphoses, pg. 3, by Ovid

      That is just a brief excerpt of the Greek version of Earth’s origins. To me it is just as ridiculous as the Christian tale, but I think the grandeur of the Greek version by far overshadows the story in Genesis. The Greek version has a much better narrative and has a much better use of imagery than the story of Genesis. The story, “The beginning”, in Genesis is more of a tedious account of the beginning of the Earth. So I fail to see how the Biblical version makes any more sense than the Greek version.

      To address your question on my approach to other teachings, I’m unsure if you mean religious teachings solely, or all teachings including secular ones, so I will address both. Pertaining to religious teachings, yes, though, as I admitted earlier, I do not know much about religions from outside of the western world, but I am hoping to change that. Now, in regards to secular teachings, the answer again is yes. I don’t just believe everything someone tells me; I instead do research on what is said and from what research I gather I decide if what was said is true. I will give a personal example. I used to be a firm believer in laissez-faire capitalism, or better libertarianism during my teenage years. As I studied history and saw more of the world I began to question my belief in laissez-faire capitalism. Had I just believed in it because throughout my primary school education I was told it was “the best, most freest” economic system in the world? I first began to waiver when the US entered the recession. I agreed, reluctantly, with the bailouts. I did not think it was right, but I knew that it would prevent a depression, as it mostly did. The big test was on the healthcare debate. I was against a government healthcare system until I did research on it. All of the industrialized nations of the West and Japan who have national healthcare live longer than Americans, have a lower infant mortality rate, and are healthier all around. I heard personal account from professors who studied in Europe and had used their healthcare system. They all raved about how great it was. Once I saw that what the “capitalist” were saying was not true and I agreed with this, I had to stop and asses what I truly believed. So I studied “The Communist Manifesto”, looked at socialism, and read “The Wealth of Nations”. What I discovered is that I believe in a mix-market economy with entitlement programs, otherwise know as Social Democracy. I hope that answered your question on my approach to other teachings.

      I apologize for how long my replies are. I always try to keep them short, but somehow fail.

  4. A quick comment about God being afraid of puny man: God knows that man would destroy himself if he were eternal. Eating of the fruit of life would mean that man would be like god: knowing the difference between good and evil, and being eternal BUT without the wisdom that God does. Imagine Hitler eternal, imagine Gandhi eternal. The point isn’t that one is really good or really bad; we are all human, we all make mistakes. And we would all destroy each other.

    Adam and Eve did die–spiritually. They no longer had a “clean slate” relationship with God. God is holy and cannot tolerate any sin. It is inevitable that man will sin. Therefore, Adam and Eve and their descendants will now need to seek salvation from God from their sins. (important to note through Cain and Abel–proof that we must seek salvation through faith, not our own works). Adam and Eve will now physically die (age) and they will now experience the physical discomforts of the earth. See how perfect Eden was? In the beginning, God told Adam and Eve that he gives everything with a seed in it for them to eat, and to all the animals, he gave everything that was green. I believe this indicates that every animal was vegetarian. However, after the fall of man, God told Adam and Eve that now the animals will fear them because man may now eat them for food. Everything has now crumbled.

    A careful reader/analyzer should see that obviously the serpent was not telling the truth. Basically here’s the dialogue:

    God said, “Do not eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge”.

    The serpent asked, “Did God really say you must not EAT from ANY TREE in the garden?”

    Eve fell into the serpents trap and also twists God’s words: “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.” (Eve added, “you must not touch it”)

    Serpent continues…”You will not surely die.. your eyes will be opened to the truth.”

    Now–this is true. if eve touches the fruit she will not surely die (only if she eats it). If eve eats the fruit she will know the difference between good and evil. Now eve desires wisdom (Genesis 3:6) but what the tree will give her is a knowledge of good and evil. Realize, in the garden, there wasn’t “evil” or any discomforts of the world, but now the first sin has perverted that perfect world.

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