Okay, this post is for those who enjoy trying to look at Scripture through fresh eyes instead of what you have been taught for years on end. I started this post about six months ago and came back to it recently. It is now out for all to see so let me know if I am way off base here or not. Keep in mind, most of these are just questions, not answers. So don’t expect me to elaborate on a lot that I bring up. Also, it will help you tremendously to have a Bible opened to Genesis 3 as I go through. This is almost verse by verse.
In verse 1 God is credited with having made a “cunning” animal in the snake. What is the original word for “cunning” and its various meanings? What is the insinuation?
Okay, verse 2 is where things start getting interesting. The woman said that she and Adam would die if they ate from or touched the tree in the middle of the garden. First off, the fact that touching the tree would lead to death is a testimony to the enactment of sin through temptation. James 1:14-15 reads, “but each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.” So you have enticing desires which happen in the body and then sin (whether externally or internally) leading to death. God never told Eve that she couldn’t touch the tree. God only said not to eat of it (at least as recorded). I think that is important. It shows that Adam and Eve were aware of temptation to an extent. When you know you will want something that you shouldn’t have, don’t you impose further restrictions on yourself to prevent a possible compromising situation? To avoid premarital sex for example, some people will not kiss until their wedding day. They do not see kissing as fornication, but they do know that it is part of the enticing desires to get to that point. So I propose that Eve at least had put an additional restriction on herself to keep her from eating the fruit from the tree – not touching the tree.
Secondly, in verse 2 we hear what God said repeated about the duo dying if they eat of the tree containing the knowledge of good and evil. The reality is that the Bible only has God telling Adam, so Eve might have heard things from Adam or from God. I am going to go with Adam for parental motivation reasons that I will explain shortly and for the possibility that he was with her when she was talking to the snake, so he could have intervened if there was false information presented.
The key here is that they were warned about death prior to eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There is a tree of life, and a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The instructions are to avoid the knowledge of good and evil because they will die if they eat it. There is so much here. They didn’t die immediately when they ate the fruit. Meaning, God told them the result but didn’t tell them the process. So were they not going to die before they ate of the fruit? It is implied that they would have died prior to this because God shut them out of the garden to keep them from getting to the tree of life. Why have a tree of life if everyone is already living forever at this point?
It seems highly plausible that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is a metaphor or allegory or something along those lines. If it was an actual tree it works as well, but the key here is theology not historical accuracy – before going crazy on me because of what I just said read the rest. God gave a command. To violate the command was to choose evil. When they chose to violate the command then they now had knowledge of evil. Thus by going down the path to break the command they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The result was not a physical death. The result was a spiritual death – eternal separation from God. The warning of death was immediate in its inception but not in its fruition. Keep reading…
The problem with this line of thought is that there was a second tree that could give eternal life. First off, this doesn’t seem to fit the Jesus story. If a tree could give eternal life back then, even after they had sinned, then where did the need for Jesus come into play? Second, if it is metaphorical then does the tree of life represent the cross of Jesus where the payment for our sins was made? That kind of fits because if Adam and Eve had gotten to partake of that tree before it was time then they would not have known death – the payment everyone must give for their sins – and the timeline for when Jesus was revealed would be all messed up. But this presents other issues to…if the Jesus tree was there then why not go ahead and inact it to stop all the suffering, pain, hell-boundness, etc… that this world was going to experience as a result of sin? And by Jesus tree, I mean the foreknowledge of the crucifixion – our atonement for our sins.
In verse 6, the HCSB reads, “So she took some of its fruit and ate it, she also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate it.” That is my rationale for saying that Adam was with her when she was confronted by the snake. Let me throw this out there too, what if Adam’s sin occurred before Eve’s? His unrecorded response(s) could have been his downfall and once he knew something was different then he decided not to intervene so Eve would fall with him. “What do you mean, Keith?” I mean that Adam’s sin occurred before he even ate the fruit because he did not intervene as she continued down the road towards sin. His failure to do so was sinful because God has given him the command directly and here he was allowing the command to be broken. Just a thought and not much to base it on other than omission and knowing sin on a first hand basis (that sin doesn’t always show external signs to those around them).
The whole naked thing is interesting in verse 7. There are tribes who have barely any covering on to where you can see the genitalia of the sexes very easily. I think they wear the coverings for protection more than anything. So why was it important that they felt shame at being naked? We cannot comprehend thinking that being naked is okay… typically. But that could be culture influencing us. I do not know. Our children do not care a lick about being naked until certain developmental stages come into play where they want to be like mommy/daddy/guardian and the rest of the world they see. But children do eventually feel embarrassed about being naked, at least here in America. Why don’t those tribes feel ashamed? I have no idea.
That is enough for now. I don’t think anything I am suggesting is new, and some of it has been called heresy or progressive by others, but what I am trying to do is look at a very familiar passage and ask some tough questions because it just doesn’t make sense the way I have been taught it in light of the questions above.