Issue 1 – A Poisoned Cupcake:
“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed… The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2: 7-17)
My first problem with the Adam and Eve story begins with the creation of Adam and the Garden of Eden. Here we see God creating Adam from dust, then building a beautiful garden for him to live in. But for some strange reason he decides to plant a tree right in the middle of that garden that will supposedly kill him… My question is why? The God we’ve seen up to this point is presented as this all-powerful being who knows exactly what this newly created, innocent being will do, yet he plants this deadly tree there anyway? What purpose could this possibly serve? Many who actually believe this story to be true fall back on the “well it was necessary so that man could have free will and could choose to obey God willingly.” But was it really necessary (outside of a story narrative that is…)? Do parents that are not cruel and vindictive sociopaths test the obedience of their children by putting deadly temptations within their reach? For any parent out there, let me know which choice you feel your child (who has no concept of life or death) would make if you put a poisoned cupcake on the ground, said “Don’t eat this, it’s poisonous!”, then left the room. I don’t have any children, but I am pretty certain of the choice my nieces and nephews would make.
According to the story, at this point Adam has no knowledge of the world (which was apparently just created), no concept of temptation, of sin, or of disobedience. Yet somehow he is supposed to be able to resist temptation? Because that makes sense. Right?
Issue 2 – Major Surgery:
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2: 18-22)
Even though, just a few short verses ago, we were told that God made Adam from dust in just a few seconds, for some reason he had to mutilate his newly created being to make another. Why? (Let’s just ignore the fact that God apparently just spoke the Universe and all other living things into existence, but for some reason can’t speak Adam and Eve into existence the same way…)
Issue 3 – The Crafty Serpent:
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 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 when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:1-6)
Apparently Adam was just too darn successful at avoiding the temptation of the tree-trap that God put in Eden. In this section, God throws in a few more kinks and we see the “big mistake” that Adam and Eve made that apparently cursed mankind for all eternity, all orchestrated by that “Crafty Serpent.” But the very first line of the story says that “the Lord God had made” the serpent, so who was really behind this horrible error? As with Adam, God supposedly made the Serpent exactly the way that he was. If this God was truly all knowing, then why in the world did He create the Serpent, then allow him to roam the garden and corrupt his innocent creation?
If Christians are to believe that God has everything planned, right down to the hair on their heads, then, if this story is to be believed, how can we ignore the fact that this entire scenario would have been part of that plan? If one is willing to admit that the “fall” of man was part of God’s plan, then how can they then believe that those considered “sinful” deserve to be cast into Hell to be tortured for all eternity? Many say that this is just the first part of the whole “Redemption” narrative of Christ’s salvation, but if that’s true, then that still means that God created billions of human beings who didn’t know Christ (and in fact would never have a chance to know him) specifically for the purpose of doing bad things and to be thrown into a pit of fire to be tortured for all eternity. But I’m jumping into the concept of a future entry, so I’ll move along…
Issue 4 – Our Evil Bodies:
“Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths, and they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:7-8)
So we see in this section the foundation of the Christian ideal that our bodies and our sexuality are not just immodest, but evil. Some might argue that is not the point of the passage, but that is exactly the point of the passage. Adam and Eve had just eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, their “eyes were opened”, and they realized their naked bodies were evil, so covered themselves. This probably wouldn’t affect an adult much, because we already have certain societal guidelines regarding modesty, but what sort of damage does this sort of nonsense do to a child’s self-esteem if they are told repeatedly, in their formative years, that their bodies are evil and shameful? It’s evil to be naked? Really? Why?
Issue 5 – God Plays Dumb and The “Blame” Game:
But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
This entire passage almost seems like a scene from a Three Stooges episode or some other silly sitcom. We have God, who is supposed to know everything, asking questions like “Where are you” and “did you eat from the tree I told you not to eat from?” when we all know he already knows, and then we have Adam and Eve, covering their private parts, nervously shuffling their feet, pointing fingers at one another, then finally at the Serpent. The funniest part is that Adam even attempts to blame God for all the trouble! “Well the woman YOU gave me made me do it!” It’s just ridiculous, and very hard to take seriously. It would almost be funny if it weren’t followed up with a scene worse than something straight out of A Child Called It.
Issue 5 – Can Someone Say “Overreaction?”:
“The Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.’” (Genesis 3: 14-15)
Ignoring the fact that this is biologically inaccurate (something you think God would know…) God is apparently making the woman and her children hate the serpent, whether they really want to or not. What happened to free will?
“To the woman he said: ‘I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16)
If you think this scripture would fit perfectly in the “How to be a Misogynist” handbook, you’re not the only one. Not only is the story saying that God is cursing women for the rest of humanity’s existence with nearly unbearable pain when giving birth to children, but he’s also making her a slave to her husband? It kind of seems like Eve is getting the greater portion of God’s displeasure here, but she’s just a woman right? This is just the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to horrific things happening to women in the Bible.
“And to Adam he said: ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’” (Genesis 3:17-19)
So, add to the “Things that are Evil” list “Listening to your wife” right below “being naked.” I’m having a hard time seeing Adam’s punishment as comparable to the severity of Eve’s. So basically he has to grow and harvest vegetables and sweat a little? I’m sure Eve would have gladly taken that over the pain of childbirth.
“The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them” (Genesis 3:20-21)
So, once more we have a little bit of body shaming. Before it was just Adam and Eve thinking it, but here God had a chance to say “Hey guys, I created you in my image. Your bodies aren’t shameful! They’re natural!” But instead he decides to slaughter a few animals and cover them up, reinforcing their body issues.
“Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:22-24)
So apparently all it takes to be “like God” is an understanding of what is good and evil and a little bit of immortality. But seriously… The Bible tells us over and over and over again how “loving” God is, what an awesome, caring Father he is. It even goes so far as to say that human parents can’t even understand the measure of God’s love for “his children”, yet I can’t imagine any sane parent that truly loves their children, punishing them in the fashion that God is supposedly punishing beings that were basically the equivalent of extremely naive and trusting children, who had no concept of sin, evil, disobedience, or deception. Not only that but he’s punishing all of their descendants, for as long as humans exist, with the same punishment, even though they hadn’t even had their chance to make their own choices! This is considered just and loving? This is a being that Christians think deserves to be worshiped? To me it sounds more like a character out of a scary movie.
There are many Christians these days that say the Adam and Eve story is just a moral story or a parable, and I’ve even heard some say that it was never meant to be taken as truth. But the Bible and history itself don’t back up that assertion. The “Sin of Adam” is mentioned multiple times throughout the Bible, by Jesus, Paul, and the other Apostles. 56% of Americans think that Adam and Eve were real people! This isn’t some small sect that everyone thinks is crazy, like the Westboro Baptist church. This is a large portion of humanity that ignores common sense, biology, archeology, and all of the other evidence that shows this is just a strange, misogynistic, story. These same people demand that this nonsense be taught in public schools in science classes! It’s insane! Whether the original author was off his rocker and truly believed God told him that this is what happened, or if he wrote it as some cautionary tale to get people to do what he wanted, it still amounts to the same thing: When this story is looked at logically, with all of the historical and scientific discoveries that have been made, it just doesn’t make sense.
James Garcia: 8/19/2015