In this chapter we see Eve (who isn’t named such until the end of this chapter) “tricked” by a serpent into eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, one of two trees God has forbidden them from eating (the other being the tree of life). She takes the fruit and gives some to Adam, and upon eating it, they both realize that they are naked. The consequences of this action are strange. The serpent, whom the footnotes explain used to be able to move upright and talk with humans, now must crawl on its belly, and is now detested by humans. Also, It will strike at the heel of man while man strikes at its head. Eve must now endure pain in childbirth, and will be ruled over by her husband. For Adam, he must now be a farmer, and the ground will be difficult to raise crops in; he also becomes mortal. Then, man and woman are expelled from eden, never to return.
I have always been fascinated by this story, as I have heard it told to me before, but not with such detail. I remember from my catholic upbringing, that Eve eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was the original sin. But I have always liked Eve for her action in this, and now that i read the serpents role, I like his character too. The supposed punishment for eating from the tree of knowledge was death, however when the fruit from the tree was eaten, Adam and Eve discovered that they were naked. They did not lose life, they lost innocense. Frankly, I don’t see this as being all that bad. This was the start of man’s quest for knowledge. I think the serpent is to be respected here as well, because he did not lie to man, he exposed God’s lie to man. Neither Adam nor Eve were killed for eating the fruit. Adam was supposedly cursed with mortality, however the tree of life is supposed to grant immortality (3:22) and Man was forbidden from eating from that tree as well. So either man was immortal before eating from the tree of knowledge, and the tree of life was just a nice tree, or man was mortal, and God just said mortality was one of the punishments, lying to man (again).
I always wondered, if God did not want man to eat from two particular trees, why did he put them in the garden to begin with? If man is made in the image of God, and God’s breath is what gave us life, would he have not then done the same thing as us? From what it seems, at the time, man was just an ignorant version of God. Was this a setup job? Did God, in his all-knowingness, know this was going to happen?
Eve is punished for her disobedience with painful childbirth, and her husband ruling over her. This is an odd punishment. God doesn’t like her behaviour, so he essentially religates Adam to being her keeper. Prior to this event, they were both on (supposedly) equal ground, but now woman is definitely second to man. I don’t think I like that very much.
In the end, man and woman are kicked out of the garden, sent out to be farmers, and God installs a cherebum and a fiery rotating sword to protect the tree of knowledge of good and evil (but not the tree of life?).
- Don’t disobey God, even if he may be lying to you.
- God wanted man to be ignorant.
I was doing some more thinking on this, and the tree in question only provided knowledge of good and evil. Is this meant to be synonymous with right and wrong? If so, this is a very strange thing for God to keep man ignorant of. Perhaps it is meant more to be about good and evil, as in God and the Devil, or just that there is sin, and it is things God doesn’t want you to do. If so, that isn’t fair of God to withold knowledge of such things from man. This is getting confusing, maybe I’m reading too much into it.