In the beginning…
Well no, we’re not going to go that far back, after all the Earth was around a long time before Adam and Eve turned up on the scene. Seems it was even around before the stories of Creation took place. I want to talk about one of the first events mentioned in the bible, that event being the story of the Fall of Man.
Many Christians accept the story of the fall of man as literal history. They also point to the talking serpent as Satan, although Jews will reject this and you’d think they’d know their own history. Besides, if we are to take the serpent as being Satan, then we have some real problems with this story.
Let’s start the story from when Eve first approaches the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. So far, all that she’s been told is she’s not allowed to eat from that tree. She has no knowledge of good and evil yet, because… well because she hasn’t eaten from the tree yet. She is an innocent child, left to play in a wondrous playground, with a very poisonous tree God just happened to plant there in the middle of her play area. A little like the owner of a kindergarten might place a block of chocolate laced with cyanide in the middle of the playground.
Also in the playground is a child hating paedophile who has been allowed to hang out there unsupervised. Well, that’s not entirely true, because we know that God is all knowing and all seeing, so he is well aware that lovely innocent Eve is about to be targeted by this nasty lowlife child molester. Am I portraying Satan too negatively? No, I’m sure I’m downplaying just how despicable he is, right? But there you go, God created this hideous abomination and has done nothing to prevent his freedom of movement within his creation and stands by and watches as this creature is about to seriously mess with his perfect creations and corrupt his creation beyond repair.
So here is God’s very first test for Adam and Eve, one that he knows they will fail and which will result in him casting them out of the playground. One would be fully justified in saying he was setting them up for failure.
Satan awaits, taking on the form of a snake, which in those days had legs. The bible tells us that the serpent was more crafty than any of the animals God had made. Yep, snakes are even smarter than my childhood pet, Rusty, a dog, who was pretty darn cunning when it came to sneaking food off my plate when I wasn’t looking. Perhaps the writers of the bible hadn’t come across dogs like Rusty or for that matter foxes, chimpanzees and many other far more craftier animals that the snake. Or maybe God, the supposed author of the bible had forgotten he’d created these creatures? Never mind, let’s move on.
Anyway, this ultra-crafty animal the snake… well actually Satan taking on the form of a snake, lay in wait.
Eve being very naïve, approached the tree, feeling totally confident that she was safe and that God would never allow anything dangerous into the garden. She hadn’t had a lot of experience with men, especially not a sleazy scum bag like this particular perfect creation of God.
Well we know what happened next. God, waited in earshot and watched on while Satan, a so much smarter and craftier being than the innocent and clueless Eve; manipulated her and tricked here into eating from the forbidden tree. For some unknown reason, the effects of eating the fruit didn’t work right away. Nevertheless, Eve really loved it and couldn’t see why it was so bad, so she called over Adam to try some of it. Meanwhile the talking snake trotted off, snickering. During all this, God continues to watch from his vantage point looking forward to the moment he can unleash his wrath, because let’s face it, God loves to unleash his wrath. Nevertheless, all credit and praise to him as he manages to keep his cool for the moment, which is really unusual for our vengeful vindictive creator.
Adam and Eve indulge in eating some more of this fruit, then abracadabra, suddenly the effects of the fruit kick in and now they are no longer naïve and clueless. They know all about good and evil. They finally now realise why it was so bad to disobey God, something they had no awareness of before, because God didn’t explain himself. It’s his way or the highway. No explanations. Adam and Eve have gone from innocent children to adults in the blink of an eye.
Well actually no, he deceives Adam and Eve and pretends that he does not know where they are. He calls for them, but because they now have the knowledge of good and evil, being nude to them is now shameful for some reason. The naked body has gone from something natural and beautiful to something sinful that should be covered up.
God continues to play dumb, lulling them into a false sense of security. “Who told you, you were naked?” So Adam and Eve step out. It seems that the knowledge of good and evil has revealed to them just how wrathful and vengeful their God is too, because they are afraid.
The benevolent ruler of the universe is now in his element because he gets to curse and punish. He holds them accountable for doing what he knew they would do and penalises the entire human race because of it. A little like handing your toddler some paint, telling him not to paint on the wall and leaving them in the company of a child-hating, untrustworthy adult. When that adult convinces the child to paint on the wall and the child does, you decide to punish every kid in the neighbourhood for it and any future kids that move into the neighbourhood from here till the end of time.
So mankind was booted out of the Garden.
I wonder how many of us, when face to face with Adam in the afterlife would go up to him and say “You moron! Why did you eat from that tree? You screwed up our lives?” I’m guessing not many. I mean, let’s face it, what Adam did was hardly worthy of banishment, particularly when God set him up to fail to begin with. Let’s face facts, God really did overact and went psycho over something pretty damn stupid. Deep down every Christian realises this and knows that Adam can hardly be blamed for what happened. They realise how unjust and cruel it was of God to react this way.
Adam and Eve’s small indiscretion was hardly worthy of all their descendants being cursed till the end of time. Nor did all woman deserve to be inflicted with pain when giving birth. And even more so, every species of snake in the world did not deserve to have their legs removed and be forced to slide around in the dirt till the end of time.
What’s with that? God blames all of snakekind for the evil deed of Satan himself? He curses them all. Now what sense and logic is there in condemning all snakes to crawl on their bellies when there was no snake at fault here? This was Satan pretending to be a snake. This is a little like condemning all the sheep to death because a wolf was dressed up as one of them and tricked one into eating the wrong grass. It’s a little like punishing all the neighbourhoods’ cats because that dodgy adult I left with my child happened to be wearing a cat-suit when he convinced my child to paint all over my wall.
A completely illogical and typical example of God blowing things way out of proportion and going ballistic on the innocent for no good reason at all. Does this show a just and intelligent God? No, it shows a mean-spirited, illogical, mentally unstable God.
Did God ultimately want the fall of man to take place or was it his will that man live in ignorance? He, being omniscient, must surely have known what the outcome would be, so why not put measures in place to prevent it from happening? Why didn’t he put a flaming sword and an angel to guard the Tree of Knowledge like he did with the Tree of Life at the end of this story?
Furthermore, why not just give Adam and Eve that knowledge of good and evil in the first place rather than go through all this charade? Wouldn’t that knowledge have helped them discern the evil of disobeying God’s commands, something they really had no idea about before they ate from the tree? Or does knowledge really create a threat for God?
Do I really think that God, if he is real, is stupid, psychotic and cruel? Of course I don’t. What is quite clear to me is that the above story is fictional and not literal history as many Christians believe. To me it is obvious that what we have here in the first chapter or so of the book of Genesis is a collection of just-so-stories.
I can just imagine how these stories came into being…
Moses sat with Aaron as they looked at their scrolls of their family tree.
‘Here, I say, Moazie old chap,’ Aaron asked. ‘I’ve only been able to track our family line back so far as Adam and Eve from Eden, wherever that is. I’ve talked to Grandad, I’ve spoken to Grandma and even Great Uncle Methuselah, but what a blasted, rotter, they have no stories that go back any further than them. I can’t even find any paintings on walls which go further back than that, old boy.’
‘Mmmmm, it’s the same here, old bean. I’ve even asked cousin Kunte Kente, if he knows of anyone further back, but no bally luck I’m afraid. It looks as though this is as far back on our family tree as we’re going to get, what?’
‘I’m afraid so. Blast, it’s just not cricket!’
The two sat in silence for a few moments.
‘I saaaayyy…’ said Moses. ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if Adam and Eve were the very first two people ever created?’
‘Mmmmmm,’ said Aaron. ‘That is an interesting thought, old boy. Wouldn’t it be fun to come up with a story about how they got to be there?’
‘I say, that’s a spiffing idea, old chap.’
‘Here’s an idea! You know how when we die our bodies turned to dust?’
‘Yes.’ Moses pondered.
‘What if we were created from dust?’
‘I say, that is quite a thought.’
‘So let’s make it that in the story God creates us from dirt!’
‘Splendid! Oh, I can just imagine our great great grandchildren will enjoy hearing a story like this old boy. You know, little Chicken George the other day was asking me why people wear clothes. We could add that into the story too. I’m sure we can come up with some reason. He was also asking why snakes don’t have legs. No doubt we can come up with a side story on why that is the case too. You know, I hate snakes, we could make a snake one of the main villains in the story, after all a good story has to have a villain now doesn’t it?’
‘And we can even add in a story about how God created the world.’
‘Bravo! Oh and we should also make out women to be less important than man.’
Moses nodded his head vigorously. ‘Of yes, of course, old boy. We can’t have the women thinking they’re equal to us now. Oh, I know we’ll make it that God creates us first and then decides to create woman to act as our servants.’
‘Spiffing idea, old boy!’
‘We can make it that God takes one of Adam’s ribs while he’s asleep and creates Eve out of it!’
‘Marvellous!’ Aaron gushed but then paused and frowned. ‘One thing though, old boy… why would God need things like dirt and ribs to create humans?’
‘You can’t create something from nothing!’
‘But… he’s going to create the universe out of nothing isn’t he? Just a few magic words. “Abracadabra” or something like that. Or “Let there be light”. You know what I’m saying, old bean?’
‘Mmmm, never thought about that old chap. Oh don’t worry about it. A few plot holes here and there won’t matter, it’s just an entertaining story that’s all.’
‘True. So ok, Moazie, old bean, Adam and Eve are living in this beautiful garden of Eden. But they do something bad which gets them kicked out, which is why we still aren’t living there now and why we have no clue where this place is or even if it existed at all.’
‘Right there, old chap.’
‘Oh and let’s blame it on the woman.’
‘Ha ha ha ha! Splendid idea there, Aaron old boy. You’re a genius. Let’s just hope that nobody takes these stories too seriously though. We wouldn’t want to be responsible for people being misinformed and believing them to be actual history, what!’
‘Oh, I don’t think we have to worry about that old chap. Nobody would be that stupid!’
‘Ha ha ha ha ha. Of course they wouldn’t.’