The Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

I've always been bothered by why god would have placed a tree in the garden of eden that bore fruit that would cause those who consumed that fruit to have knowledge of good and evil. And then he was so self-righteously angry that they ate the fruit. What did he have in mind? Why would he do such a thing except to set Adam and Eve up for the "fall from grace" that was used to explain all the horrible things that god has supposedly been punishing humankind with ever since. What a perverse trick to pull on a couple of complete innocents who had no reason to suspect such a thing would be done to them by a supposedly benevolent creator. They had no reason to suspect that death and pain and suffering for all mankind would be the result.

A good mother doesn't leave valuable, important stuff out for her children to get into and break so she will have a reason to punish them cruelly. But no one ever seems to queston god's motives for setting Adam and Eve up like that. He was completely in control of the entire situation, and it's result was exactly what he wanted it to be. They seem to all be completely unaware of the very unflattering character exhibited by the creator that is supposed to be "good."

When I was a believer it bothered me because it seemed so twisted, and now that I'm an athiest it bothers me that people have fallen for it lock, stock, and barrel and don't ever seem to question the story's perversity or the nature of a creator that would do something like that.

It must be an allegory for something much deeper than is normally taught. Any ideas? Any athiestic spin on the story?

Views: 59

Tags: evil, god, religion

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Comment by Bitsy Haywood on December 2, 2009 at 11:41pm
Something else to thing about... god's supposed qualities of omniscence and omnipotence. He knew it was going to happen, but he set it all in motion anyway. So everything is going according to "divine" plan, no matter what a mess it looks like, and even the supposed worldwide flood couldn't have been the "course correction" it was portrayed as being. He's incapable of error, but yet he willfully and intentionally created us with a "sinful nature" and has set up this horrible mess of a human society with some goal in mind. I just can hardly imagine why humans have fallen for this crapped up mess of apologetics with such a deeply conflicted view of a supposedly perfect divine being.

If all the bibles and other "holy books" in the world crumbled to dust, it would be a better world. Then maybe the most worthy members of mankind would turn their attention to meeting humanity's real needs and developing ourselves to our fullest potential instead of worrying about the needs of non-existant souls and placating non-existant gods.
Comment by Dave Rogers on November 12, 2009 at 9:20am
Trying to rationalize nonsense is the life of a bible apologist. The motivations and intentions of the original authors (and countless scribes in between), with their limited knowledge, are somewhat easier to rationalize. They were creating fairy tales, slapping the "Word of God" all over it and feeding it to the ignorant, superstitious masses for control and power with the promise of eternal bliss or threat of eternal damnation. The fact that people still believe in a book of ancient, rehashed legends overstuffed with morbid, perverted and immoral fables is the great tragedy of our time.
Comment by Stephen Moore on November 12, 2009 at 5:30am
This particular story is far better read as allegory than as literal truth.

Read as allegory, on can understand it as humanity moving from ignorance to knowledge. The knowledge gained leads humanity to a deeper appreciation of the world, but with that knowledge comes the despair of knowing death. That's a simple understanding as allegory, and there are far more in depth and beautiful understandings of the story as allegory out there.

There is also the interpretation that one must be totally submissive to God, in the sense that Islam mean submission. Eve and Adam did not submit to the will of Jehova, and so were punished with labour (in both senses of the word) and death.

But whatever the interpretation, the story is about knowing one's own mortality.
Comment by Atheist Exile on November 11, 2009 at 8:11pm
Here's my spin, Bitsy . . .

    "God tells Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If this was the only way they could understand the difference between good and evil, how could they have known that it was wrong to disobey God and eat the fruit?" ~Laurie Lynn

Haven't you ever done something you regret? If so, how does that compare to eating a fruit from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”? If all sins are the same to God and all sins are disobedience to God, then eating the apple was, by God's own terms, a pedestrian sin.

Yet God condemned all of us to death because of a single sin: the first sin ever sinned. Are you guilty of Eve’s sin? Of course not! No more so than for Hillary Clinton’s sins or for mine. Right off the bat, common sense tells us that the Bible, in Genesis, is preaching a twisted morality. It puts us in opposition to ourselves by claiming our nature is sinful.

I'm no genius but I know a scam when I see one. Biblical sin is God's heads-I-win-tails-you-lose con game: it's a sham used to manipulate and control us via fear and guilt. I reject the neurosis of biblical sin: I believe our nature is basically good but we sometimes make mistakes. Hell, if we believe we're not good, we probably won’t be.

But that’s definitely not what the Bible preaches, is it? We’re ALL unworthy, wretched, sinners.

The Bible says God created the universe and everything in it, including Adam and Eve. He did this in 6 days; executing his allegedly perfect plan on schedule and without a hitch (except that Eve was an afterthought). Adam and Eve were pure and sinless: they had all eternity, in Eden, to bask in God’s glory.

Unless, of course, they pissed him off.

And it doesn’t take much to piss off God. No sir! And second chances? Forget about it. One mistake and you’re history. By the way, all of your offspring, forever, will also be cursed with death. How do you like them apples?

Because of Adam and Eve, we’re all born guilty of “Original Sin”. So much for God’s perfect plan (let’s call it, “plan A”). In fact, Original Sin made the human condition so intractably degenerate that God had to wipe out all life (human or not) with a catastrophic flood so that Noah’s family could start humanity anew, from scratch. This was God’s idea of plan B.

Well guess what? God’s plan B was all for naught. A few thousand years later, humanity had repopulated itself from Noah’s incestuous Ark and – surprise, surprise – was no better than before. I guess that’s what inbreeding gets you. You’d think God would know that.

Time for plan C.

This time, instead of genocide, God chose suicide. He came to Earth personally, as Jesus, to act out a script he divinely inspired, in biblical prophesy, that ended with his own trial, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension back home to heaven.

Why did God do this? Original Sin. Because of Original Sin, we can never be innocent enough for eternal life. We must be forgiven before heaven’s gates will open for us. If you know your dogma, you know Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross so that we may be redeemed from sin (and have everlasting life). Because God eternally cursed mankind with death, he had to provide some means for our redemption. The alternative was to abandon us. Quite a conundrum God put himself in, no?

Basically, God had to “save” us from the curse he imputed upon us to begin with. I’m amazed that so many people don’t see through this preposterous charade. Perhaps the pretzel logic is too tangled for most to unravel. The Bible would have us believe – and doctrine upholds – that we are all miserable wretches who will be granted eternal life only if we love Jesus. Of course, this assumes we can trust God not to resort to a plan D or E or whatever. After all, God is perfect and all-powerful: who’s going to stop him from tossing out plan C if he decides, yet again, that he still hasn’t gotten creation right?

God must regret cursing mankind with death. God is perfect, so we can’t say he makes mistakes; I prefer to say he has regrets. Anyway, I suppose God was hot-headed in his youth; the Old Testament clearly depicts him with a short fuse. So once he imputed death upon us, he couldn’t “un-impute” it. I mean, he’s God! Right? His word is law and immutable. What kind of self-respecting God would change his mind? If God is love, then I guess it’s true that, “love means never having to say you’re sorry”.

Eventually, God found a loophole in his own immutable law: leave mankind cursed but offer individuals an exemption by redemption. Yeah, that’s the ticket! For Christ’s sake – why didn’t God think of plan C before plan B? After all, if redemption is a workable plan, God flooded the Earth and wiped-out humanity for nothing. I hate when that happens!

From Original Sin to redemption, the story twists a pretzel-logic plot of servile spiritual entrapment, with a theme of self-loathing morality.

You know, the more I think about it, the more I think the Supreme Being should be an elected position. Surely we can put somebody with more compassion and foresight onto the throne of the Ruler of the Universe. At least, if we elect poorly, we can vote for a replacement next time.
Comment by Atheist Exile on November 11, 2009 at 7:53pm
Bitsy,

That was a very good comparison to debunk Original Sin. God is definitely flawed, logically and morally. I guess that's not surprising, given the ignorance of the ancient authors of the Bible.

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