Genesis chapter three: The Fall of Man
Based on the New International Version as found in the Insight Bible (revised 1992)
Verses three, five, seven, nine, 11, 16, 19 and 22
Verse 3: “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’.”
As I mentioned previously, Eve never actually heard this directly from God. In fact, Genesis 1:29, which she did hear direct from God, contradicts this as it allows all the plants for food. She only knows that she is disobeying man, not that she is disobeying God.
The other problem with this verse is the threat. What God immediately threatens death on disobedience? It doesn’t sound very benevolent to me, at all. It’s twisted, in fact. If, as a parent, someone turned to their kid and said that the delicious sandwich in the fridge would kill them, most people would rightly argue that was messed up, possibly even abusive.
Verse 5: “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
God wishes to keep people ignorant. Again, use the analogy of a parent. A good parent will do everything possible to teach their child how to tell right from wrong; it doesn’t take a genius to know how important that is. It seems to me what God really wants is to prevent people from questioning him. This is a tactic commonly employed by dictators. It doesn’t sit well with me, especially not when it concerns an all-seeing, all-knowing being.
Verse 7: Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Again, this verse highlights the ignorance of Adam and Eve prior to eating the fruit. The fact that they then immediately cover their bodies – despite the fact they are man and wife and God made them that way and so has definitely already seen them naked – reflects the human idea that nudity is shameful. Man has almost certainly manipulated the word of God here.
Verse 9: But the Lord God called to the man “Where are you?”
On realising their nudity and covering themselves, man and his wife have hidden among the trees of the garden. They have hidden from an all-seeing god among trees. And the all-seeing God had to call out and ask where they were. Seems odd to me.
Verse 11: And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?”
The all-seeing, all-knowing God has had to ask what has happened. I can’t be the only one who has noticed how odd this is.
Verse 16: To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.
It seems to me that this was written to reflect the fact that giving birth hurts. A lot. It’s dangerous too. The idea that God would start off making childbirth difficult for his creation isn’t really compatible with the idea of a just and caring God, but it has to be mentioned for the creation story to be believed. Try telling a woman in labour that it doesn’t hurt; I bet she’d have some colourful language to respond to that.
The last bit of this verse, about the husband ruling over the wife, again harks back to those pre-equality dark ages when women were the property of men. What better way to keep them from stirring things up than saying that God says to be quiet?
Verse 19: … For dust you are and to dust you will return
The eternal soul has not yet been established. Keep note of this, it will be interesting to see if it has been before the concepts of heaven and hell are introduced. As it stands, man has no eternal soul.
Verse 22: And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.
This is my favourite verse of Genesis so far, as it removes the necessity for the rest of the Bible. Why do we need God’s teachings if we know good and evil? Isn’t that the main argument in favour of Christianity? I know many who say that without faith one cannot be moral, but isn’t morality basically knowing good from evil and acting accordingly? Because if so, we’ve got it nailed, without God. Right there and then, in the early days of man, in the Bible, we go beyond the need for God.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Remember; don’t be afraid to ask questions, faith should be a choice, not an obligation. And as always I am open to discussion.