Issues with the Garden of Eden

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by CKava, May 6, 2007.

  1. mike-IHF

    mike-IHF Valued Member


    That's exactly my point. You know yourself, that you cannot see this in a literal way, nor can you with 80% of the old testament. I see what your saying, but if your trying to have a discussion with someone who see's this story literally, than you have won. There is no sense in continuing the discussion. Any scholar would say the same.
  2. CKava

    CKava Just one more thing... Supporter

    Kind of you to say so but I made this thread specifically because I am interested in how people attempt to combine a literal interpretation and keep the omniscent, omnipotent features of God. I don't believe it can be done but I also don't believe that debate on the subject is a bad thing. People putting forward arguments helps to further clarify your own position as well as occasionally making you think of something you wouldn't have otherwise. Your right that it's very unlikely I'll be convinced that such an interpretation can be made coherently (as per Zandarov's example) but the fact is that many people in the world advocate that position and I would like to know how they can still do so in the face of apparent contradictions.

    Also for what it's worth I entirely disagree that 80% of the old testament was originally understood as parable and metaphor. I also find it highly unlikely that the original understanding of Genesis was metaphorical. I simply accept that today and in the past regarding such stories as metaphorical is a more coherent position to take... the coherent position however does not mean the correct position. Hence why we have creationism 'museums' that cost about 30 million opening in Kentucky this year.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2007
  3. Zandorv1037

    Zandorv1037 Valued Member

    Goodness, how many times do I have to say it? Adam and Eve didn't know BY THEMSELVES that it was evil to do... but they knew that God had told them not to and they also knew that God knew everything. They can put two and two together. They don't have to be able to deduct by themselves that it's wrong if God says it was. They understood the words that came out of God's mouth: "Do not eat the fruit" (paraphrased but that's okay because it probably wasn't even in English) and they understood that hey should listen to what he says, but they did it anyway. They understood that they weren't supposed to, though they didn't have that natural understanding of evil we have today or that natural tendency towards it (even a 1 year old knows how to sin) that we have today. THAT'S what the tree changed, and you can't have two imperfect people in a perfect place... which is why they had to leave (to answer another question).

    1. yes, He did. He had the right to, too. It's His world, he can do what he wants with it. A common misconception of people is that morals are absolute and even God is restricted to them. This isn't true- morals are what God makes them. It's all God's universe, and He decides what is right and what is wrong...
    Also, whether that was actually the snake saying things or not is debateable. It's always been my veiw that he made a snake and Lucifer interfered and possesed the snake, making it talk. It never specifically said that the snake was Lucifer (aka Satan), but if you read the rest of the bible you can tell that that's who it was.
    2. Because that was the perfect way to set it up, and in the end it will all magnify God's glory. How would Adam and Eve glorify God through existing with no choice but to be good? Every day that they didn't wat the fruit was a way for them to glorify him through obeying. He was letting them do what man was created to do- glorify God. He knew that they would mess up one day, but after it's all over it will magnify God's glory (as I said before)

    I really can't explain this to you so you'll understand- our worldviews are too different. The fact that you think that God doesn't have the right to set up that tree there if he wants to alone shows that.
  4. WatchfulAbyss

    WatchfulAbyss Active Member

    If they didn't understand good and evil (Right/Wrong) they couldn't have known one way or the other when it came to minding God's command. It's punishment of the ignorant. I mean, that's how he made us, so in essence, we were punished for his short comings.

    Even a one year old can sin? How? (Lets assume I believe in both God, and the garden story for a sec.)

    You have to gain knowledge of good and evil in order to be of a sinful nature. It's not even behavior itself that is sinful. The knowledge of "Good/Evil" is what allows you to perceive right and/or wrong and that creates the concept of sinful behavior. Adam and Eve were running around naked and doing all the things that came natural to them without a care in the world. It was only after the knowledge of Good/Evil that it became sinful. The curse or original sin comes in the "ability" to "gain" that "knowledge". This is something a child neither has nor acts on. (That could be why we are told to become like children. By Jesus himself I believe.)

    Lol.... Knowledge is sin...... How quaint.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2007
  5. Topher

    Topher allo!

    This simply ignores the point that they did not have knowledge of right and wrong and without such knowledge they could not be aware of the moral ramifications of disobeying god. In addition, morality/sin requires intent, and to have intent one has to have knowledge of right and wrong.

    Please read this essay on this very subject:

    It deals with your very complait. (From the essay):
    1) They were told not to eat from the tree, so they disobeyed. Disobeying is wrong.

    This fails, because it simply ignores the problem. While they could understand the rule, they are unable to grasp the moral ramifications of disobeying the rule, and THIS is the actual sin involved. Yes, god punished them for "disobeying", but the very point under contention is that this punishment is illogical, because sin requires intent, and without intent, their actions could not be immoral.

    For a theist to simply insist that disobeying is a sin misses the key point: how could you have moral knowledge it was a sin if you didn't have any, well, moral knowledge?

    So, why do they insist otherwise? Simple - all sane adults understand "right and wrong" and can't really appreciate what it would be like to be an adult and yet not know that 'disobeying" is wrong. So, theists naturally assume that "adam and eve" must know good and evil, anyway.

    My theory is based on my experience that all theism is projective - a projection of the believer. The believer knows good and evil, ergo he can't imagine another viewpoint. It's humorous to see it, over and over, but I've yet to see a theist who can break away from this projection. Yet, we must remember that according to the myth, adam and eve are about a day old, and without this knowledge. They can walk, talk, "reason", but they are without the same knowledge of right and wrong that we all learn before we can even remember.

    Another problem with response number 1: This response also suffers from another slight problem: it ignores the very fact that the entire point of christianity is that man bears responsibility for being immoral: i.e., sin requires intent. If god is simply punishing them because he can, this means that the 'problem of evil' completely undoes their religion (i.e. they can't use the "bad things are born of our free will" argument anymore)”

    How does he decide?

    If good is good simply because god commands it (i.e. what ever god says is good, by definition, simply because he said it) then there is nothing inherently good and there would be no such things as morality, it would merely be adherence to arbitrary commandments. So if god hypothetically decided to punish kindness and rewards rape the Christian would have to ‘change’ morality without any concerns whatsoever, if they actually believed this. But clearly they wouldn’t. Clearly they would still regard kindness as good and rape as bad, demonstrating that there is some innate value to morality.

    If however god commands good because it is good, this means god is not the initiator of morals, merely the messenger of them. Good would be external to this god, which would create problems for an omnipotent god since it would mean there were things beyond the control of god.

    In which case how can Adam be held responsible for original sin (aside from the problem I talked about above) when god knew it was already going to take place yet allowed it to happen?
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2007
  6. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned


    This is interesting about the word.

    I am agnostic, for the very reason you all are working yourselves into a lather. It is bunk guys, pure bunk. Without faith there is none of this, the bible has several mentionings to confuse in Genesis. So if it is confused there how else should it be looked at, but confusing, and not to worry about it.

    To many virgins, to worry about or is that version? Virgin ment unmarried in those days Hmmmm...Messed up from the start, I am wondering why women are believing this stuff, it was the reason they had such a hard time voting in America until just the last century, and still not to be considered worthy in many Arabic countries, really messed up guys and girls.


    Last edited: Jun 24, 2007
  7. Zandorv1037

    Zandorv1037 Valued Member

    If you want to look at it that way, doesn't that mean that as soon as they DID eat, it became a sin? because then they had the knowledge, and they started to sin nonstop. Before they ate there was no sin... then they ate and there was. And then they were sinning all over the place. So it really doesn't matter if the eating of the fruit itself was wrong... because after that they sinned nonstop.

    This is where we simply differ in opinion. You think that we can't sin if we're ignorant... I think we can. You can't really go any further than that. You don't have to know it's wrong to kill someone to do it... and killing that person would still be wrong, whether you know it or not. It's the samge general principle.

    no, the first part is right. The thing is... rape would become good, and it would become a kindness, and it would make people happy... it would turn the world upside down in a way we can't perceive. It would not just be called "good"... it would actually be good. If he says it's good, it is. Things aren't good because they are good... they're good because God says they are. Think about it this way... if you define "kindness" it's ultimantly things that are for the better; that make people happy... rape could become a kindness if God wanted it to. He has no limits, He could make up down if He wanted.

    because plain and simple... he did it. God did not make Adam eat that tree... it's not even like it was a big important tree, either... he said, "you can eat from any tree in the garden... except these two (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life)" and we ate of it. Is God supposed to comprimise a perfect garden because we can't keep ourselves out of trouble? Even if he did take those two trees away, we'd sin eventually somehow anyway... we'd become prideful, stop worshipping God like we should... some way, some how, we'd sin one day... which brings us to the question... why did he make creation at all, if it was inevitable that we sin? Because creation is good overall. It's incomprehesnible how small a speck on the radar all the existence of the world and man is once you look at eternity. it's a tiny little blip of trouble for something that is ultimantely good.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2007
  8. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Why is God always referred to in the masculine context. Surely God would be neither male nor female?
  9. SiAiS

    SiAiS Moved on

    In the context of the Christian religion I believe it's simply because Adam was said to be made in God's image... why then, the church doesn't refer to Women as "Ribs" I'm not entirely sure.
  10. Zandorv1037

    Zandorv1037 Valued Member

    You know, I've used to wonder about that alot, too. Why we always refferred to God as "He." Actually, it was my 7th grade english teacher who cleared it up. It used to be that if you didn't know the sex of something or it didn't have a sex (like God)... you would refer to it in the masculine. Alot of the older bibles were written in the time where that was the grammatical rule, and I guess that just stayed that way because it sounds demeaning to call God "it" and repetative to say "God" all the time.
  11. SiAiS

    SiAiS Moved on

    Do you happen to know whether Genesis was really the first book of the bible?
  12. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    As opposed to saying "he" all the time is not just repetitive or grammatically incorrect but also insulting if over used?
  13. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    I always thought it was because Christianity was predicated on God being the benevolent tyrant/father figure with the long white beard. :D
  14. SiAiS

    SiAiS Moved on

    Actually, in the Hebrew version God isn't referred to as he at all, at least not in Genesis. The original version even refers to God as a Trinity of Gods and explicitly states which aspect(s) were responsible for which acts of creation... from memory, they are similar to mind, body and spirit, one observing/deciding, one constructing the idea and one manifesting... something like that.
  15. Zandorv1037

    Zandorv1037 Valued Member

    *shrugs* That's just the way people say it. Everyone knows God's not really a guy.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2007
  16. Strafio

    Strafio Trying again...

    I've always liked the idea of God being a 'she'.
    It makes heaven that little bit easier to comprehend.
    Aphrodite ftw! ;)
  17. NEOTKD

    NEOTKD Valued Member

    Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy.
  18. WatchfulAbyss

    WatchfulAbyss Active Member

    I think this may over look the point that is being made. He set it up.

    But yes, when they gained knowledge sin was made. My "point" with that is; we aren't born ready for hell. In order to sin it takes intent and understanding. The so called "curse" is being able to gain that ability. I believe your example using a child to be flawed. Children are not able to sin from the start.

    I had this all explained to me by a priest of all people. But at any rate, he basically said the story isn't meant to be taken in a literal way.

    Lol.... This may be a bit on the hyper side of the idea.

    Lol.... It would matter, he set it up.

    It's a story. Most of the people I speak to don't regard it as anymore than a symbolic concept. One that is dripping with human ideology and error. I think you miss the point if you dwell on it.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2007
  19. Topher

    Topher allo!

    Then please explain how. Explain exactly how we can commit sin, immoral behaviour, without knowledge of right and wrong, without knowledge of the moral implications of our behaviour.

    You’re simply ignoring the problems with your claims. One cannot sin without knowledge of the moral implication of our behaviour.

    Someone saying “do not do that” is enough for you to know that that person doesn’t want you to do something, but if you do not have ANY knowledge of right and wrong i.e. morality (and Adam and Eve were specifically created without any such knowledge) then you would be incapable of understanding the moral implications of your behaviour. Having knowledge of the moral implications of behaviour is REQUIRED for sin. That is not a matter of opinion.

    Please explain why you disagree.

    Yes, you can kill someone, but without an understanding of the moral implications of such behaviour you cannot be held responsible. It’s precisely for this reason that we have a hierarchy of punishments for killing people: different degrees for murder, then manslaughter, then death by neglect/dangerous driving etc. If a person is mentally ill, and cannot know the moral implications for their actions then they’re not imprisoned, they’re institutionalised.
    Third parties can judge actions based on their own morality since they do have knowledge of right and wrong, but what actually matters is the psychology of the individual committing the act.

    So Christianity is actually not a moral system in any sense. You don’t do thing because they are good, you do them because of what you think god says.

    But the point is rape is almost universally considered bad, but if, hypothetically, god decided next week he would make it moral it would mean the Christian could rape without any qualms, yet they clearly wouldn’t. They would still regard it as immoral.

    Answer this: in moral terms, is rape equal to stealing a pencil?
    (Hint: the Bible says all sin is equal)

    The problem with this claim is it that if you’re saying our morals are fed to us by a transcendent god you are saying the foundation of our morality isn’t shaped by culture and geography. What then is the point of god feeding us moral laws if they are just going to reinterpreted through a cultural lens?

    This excuse fails on multiple levels:
    Firstly, you cannot remove the perfect responsibility from an omnipotent god. Everything is contingent on this god.
    Secondly, an omniscient god would have known of Adam’s actions before he even created Adam.
    Thirdly, as I’ve already said, disobeying what god said can only be sin if he had knowledge of the moral implications of disobeying! And he was without such knowledge.

    No, because we were without the knowledge of right and wrong REQUIRED to sin.
  20. CanuckMA

    CanuckMA Valued Member

    Not even close. G-d is never refered to as a trinity. And his refered to in the masculine. Some references are also ambiguous on gender.

    And Hebrew is a gendered language. Like all gendered languages, everything has a gender (tables, chairs, etc.) and anything that is not gendered female, or any group of objects is gendered male.

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