Tori’s Post- The Fall

In a little place calledEden, the two lovers lived. This wasn’t Heaven and it wasn’t quite the present Earth but somewhere in between. Whatever it was, it was paradise and it was perfect.

What happened between them wasn’t exactly the typical love story. She came from his rib and not from the dust as Adam did. When she was made was put to sleep by God as part of him was taken and put into her. He was a part of her even then.

And thus, their love story begins. Adam and Eve.

They were the first man and woman, meant to procreate to make even more. God had given them a beautiful, blissful sanctuary and they were meant to live out the rest of their lives there in peace.

There was one catch, though.

There was the tree in the mist. The tree with the forbidden fruit. They could do anything in that garden but they couldn’t eat that.

They couldn’t touch it and they couldn’t eat it. God told them that they would die if they did.

The serpent Satan told them otherwise.

Eve was his first victim.

He came to even and tantalized her. “You and your lover will be like gods,” he whispered to her.

Eve tried to be good, of course, but it was oh so much for her. To be a goddess? That seemed incredible. It was her big break. The idea of it a big, looming thing in the midst, a shiny toy she had to touch.  She would know good and evil and then maybe she might preside over the Earth.

Eve realized that there were indeed a difference between the two trees. One of them was for food and the other for knowledge. And so Eve decided that she would just try one little fruit from the tree of knowledge.

The best part was that she got Adam to go along with her. “C’mon, Adam, we’ll be like gods,” she said. “I need someone to do it with me.” She gave him her pouty face and that was all he needed.

Adam was Satan’s second victim, though by association.

They ate the fruits then, together. As soon as they did, the knowledge thrummed through their veins and hit them too.

They were naked. That realization never fully hit them until that moment. Somehow, they both knew that nakedness was bad. They needed to cover themselves!

Someone must have said something to the other because they both realized that they had to fix this as soon as they could. The only thing on hand, however, seemed to be fig leaves.

From the fig leaves they both fashioned themselves aprons. Being fully covered, they both took a sigh of relief. They weren’t naked and dirty anymore! Yay!

However, this wouldn’t last for long. Their creator happened to be watching over them and shadowing them like a gray cloud. He, of course, was not at all happy with the situation.

“Hey!” God said.

They turned around in horror.

“Who even told you you two were naked? How did you even know?” He asked, surely thinking of that evil Satan that always had to mess things up.

They both turned to each other.

Adam and Eve looked at each other. They could say what they want but they both knew God could see through them.

“Eve told me to do it!” Adam said. Eve couldn’t deny this accusation because, of course, it was true.

God turned to Eve and gave her the stink-eye. “What have you done?”

“The serpent told me to do it!” Eve said. “And he tempted me. So I did.”

God paused for a moment to consider this.

“I see,” He said. “Well, now I have to punish you, you know. You too, serpent. So here it goes.”

And thus, the punishment was cast.

The serpent was doomed to slither on the ground and not have any legs. It was also an enemy of humans and the worst of all animals.

And then came Eve’s punishment. For being an evil seductress, Eve and all women were forced to submit to their husbands and to men in general. They also had to go through childbirth, something that God decided in that moment to make extremely painful.

Adam didn’t get away, either. He had to work the rest of his life instead of having everything handed to him on a silver platter.

“Oh,” God said. “One more thing. Get out of this garden. None of you deserve my awesomeness.”

And, so, with hanged heads, they did.

Hence, life is now what we know it- blood, sweat, tears and death. All because Adam and Eve ate some fruit.

Thoughts-

While this story is entertaining, I do have a few problems with it.

First of all, I have an issue with what it reveals of God’s character. If God is omniscient, shouldn’t he have known that this was coming? I know Adam and Eve were supposed to have free will along with the snake, but if God predicts it, is it really free will? It almost seems as if Adam and Eve are being asked to do something beyond their human capability and then being punished for that.

Quite frankly, I don’t get why it was so bad. Besides the fact that fruit is just fruit, knowledge is just knowledge. It all depends on how it’s used. The idea of hoarding knowledge seems like something very unfair to me, unless it’s from a child unable to handle it. Anyway, doesn’t God want them to know the truth? What’s good from bad? How could they be expected to know? I’m personally a big lover of the truth, so knowledge is something that’s really important to me. This story almost reminds me of the blue pill versus the red pill in The Matrix (the red pill being truth and the blue pill being paradise and bliss and ignorance). Sure, Adam and Eve could have been kept ignorant but they both chose the red pill. They chose the truth.

Anyway, Adam and Eve were essentially just two rebelling kids here. Being kicked out ofEdenforever along with their specific punishments seems like kind of a big deal. A temporary exile would have worked just as well for both Adam and Eve and Satan alike. But then to punish everyone else? Now that really is going too far here. How are kids supposed to be responsible for what their parents and ancestors do? I suppose, as a feminist, I should be getting all upset at Eve’s subjugation, although I must say that Adam’s punishment sounds really bad too. On behalf of all women, I also think dealing with periods and childbirth is a cruel and unusual punishment. Since Eve was ultimately tempted by another person too, I don’t see how she’s done any worse than Adam.

In addition to this, there seems to be one thing that is missing here. God had deliberately lied to them while Satan showed them the truth. How is God getting off scot-free here? If he sat down and explained everything to them, none of it would have happened.

This line of thinking is one of my biggest problems with Christianity. Eating from the Tree of Knowledge was wrong not because it hurt anyone but because it disobeyed God. Things are wrong here just because God says they’re wrong. Also, this goes back to accepting things on faith and without evidence. There is no evidence to show that eating the fruit will kill them, and yet they are expected to believe it. God isn’t telling them why it’s morally wrong, just how it’s harmful. In any case, if a small child ingests poison despite parental warning, that would simply being a stupid move and not one that was bad. How is this any different? Not to mention, I guess this is where all of the sex-negativity in Christianity starts (you know the whole nudity equals sex, sex equals bad).

This story, once again, really was written quite beautifully and I really did appreciate the language used in KJV. Also, I do love the idea of Eve coming from Adam’s rib; it almost seems romantic 😉 I also do appreciate the cultural significance of Adam and Eve and all of the references made to it this very day.

If this was considered just a story, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. The big deal is when people start to take it literally and draw morality from it (Original Sin, faith without evidence, etc.). By terms of the Old Testament, this story is pretty tame and innocent but it still is a part of its broader message.

Okay, I guess my atheism is showing. Peace out.

Tori’s Post- The Fall

            In a little place calledEden, the two lovers lived. This wasn’t Heaven and it wasn’t quite the present Earth but somewhere in between. Whatever it was, it was paradise and it was perfect.

            What happened between them wasn’t exactly the typical love story. She came from his rib and not from the dust as Adam did. When she was made was put to sleep by God as part of him was taken and put into her. He was a part of her even then.

            And thus, their love story begins. Adam and Eve.

            They were the first man and woman, meant to procreate to make even more. God had given them a beautiful, blissful sanctuary and they were meant to live out the rest of their lives there in peace.

            There was one catch, though.

            There was the tree in the mist. The tree with the forbidden fruit. They could do anything in that garden but they couldn’t eat that.

            They couldn’t touch it and they couldn’t eat it. God told them that they would die if they did.

            The serpent Satan told them otherwise.

            Eve was his first victim.

            He came to even and tantalized her. “You and your lover will be like gods,” he whispered to her.

            Eve tried to be good, of course, but it was oh so much for her. To be a goddess? That seemed incredible. It was her big break. The idea of it a big, looming thing in the midst, a shiny toy she had to touch.  She would know good and evil and then maybe she might preside over the Earth.

            Eve realized that there were indeed a difference between the two trees. One of them was for food and the other for knowledge. And so Eve decided that she would just try one little fruit from the tree of knowledge.

            The best part was that she got Adam to go along with her. “C’mon, Adam, we’ll be like gods,” she said. “I need someone to do it with me.” She gave him her pouty face and that was all he needed.

            Adam was Satan’s second victim, though by association.

            They ate the fruits then, together. As soon as they did, the knowledge thrummed through their veins and hit them too.

            They were naked. That realization never fully hit them until that moment. Somehow, they both knew that nakedness was bad. They needed to cover themselves!

            Someone must have said something to the other because they both realized that they had to fix this as soon as they could. The only thing on hand, however, seemed to be fig leaves.

            From the fig leaves they both fashioned themselves aprons. Being fully covered, they both took a sigh of relief. They weren’t naked and dirty anymore! Yay!

            However, this wouldn’t last for long. Their creator happened to be watching over them and shadowing them like a gray cloud. He, of course, was not at all happy with the situation.

            “Hey!” God said.

            They turned around in horror.

            “Who even told you you two were naked? How did you even know?” He asked, surely thinking of that evil Satan that always had to mess things up.

            They both turned to each other.

            Adam and Eve looked at each other. They could say what they want but they both knew God could see through them.

            “Eve told me to do it!” Adam said. Eve couldn’t deny this accusation because, of course, it was true.

            God turned to Eve and gave her the stink-eye. “What have you done?”

            “The serpent told me to do it!” Eve said. “And he tempted me. So I did.”

            God paused for a moment to consider this.

            “I see,” He said. “Well, now I have to punish you, you know. You too, serpent. So here it goes.”

            And thus, the punishment was cast.

            The serpent was doomed to slither on the ground and not have any legs. It was also an enemy of humans and the worst of all animals.

            And then came Eve’s punishment. For being an evil seductress, Eve and all women were forced to submit to their husbands and to men in general. They also had to go through childbirth, something that God decided in that moment to make extremely painful.

            Adam didn’t get away, either. He had to work the rest of his life instead of having everything handed to him on a silver platter.

            “Oh,” God said. “One more thing. Get out of this garden. None of you deserve my awesomeness.”

            And, so, with hanged heads, they did.

            Hence, life is now what we know it- blood, sweat, tears and death. All because Adam and Eve ate some fruit.   

 

Thoughts-

            While this story is entertaining, I do have a few problems with it.

            First of all, I have an issue with what it reveals of God’s character. If God is omniscient, shouldn’t he have known that this was coming? I know Adam and Eve were supposed to have free will along with the snake, but if God predicts it, is it really free will? It almost seems as if Adam and Eve are being asked to do something beyond their human capability and then being punished for that.

            Quite frankly, I don’t get why it was so bad. Besides the fact that fruit is just fruit, knowledge is just knowledge. It all depends on how it’s used. The idea of hoarding knowledge seems like something very unfair to me, unless it’s from a child unable to handle it. Anyway, doesn’t God want them to know the truth? What’s good from bad? How could they be expected to know? I’m personally a big lover of the truth, so knowledge is something that’s really important to me. This story almost reminds me of the blue pill versus the red pill in The Matrix (the red pill being truth and the blue pill being paradise and bliss and ignorance). Sure, Adam and Eve could have been kept ignorant but they both chose the red pill. They chose the truth.

            Anyway, Adam and Eve were essentially just two rebelling kids here. Being kicked out ofEdenforever along with their specific punishments seems like kind of a big deal. A temporary exile would have worked just as well for both Adam and Eve and Satan alike. But then to punish everyone else? Now that really is going too far here. How are kids supposed to be responsible for what their parents and ancestors do?

            In addition to this, there seems to be one thing that is missing here. God had deliberately lied to them while Satan showed them the truth. How is God getting off scot-free here? If he sat down and explained everything to them, none of it would have happened.

            This line of thinking is one of my biggest problems with Christianity. Eating from the Tree of Knowledge was wrong not because it hurt anyone but because it disobeyed God. Things are wrong here just because God says they’re wrong. Also, this goes back to accepting things on faith and without evidence. There is no evidence to show that eating the fruit will kill them, and yet they are expected to believe it. God isn’t telling them why it’s morally wrong, just how it’s harmful. In any case, if a small child ingests poison despite parental warning, that would simply being a stupid move and not one that was bad. How is this any different? Not to mention, I guess this is where all of the sex-negativity in Christianity starts (you know the whole nudity equals sex, sex equals bad).  

            This story, once again, really was written quite beautifully and I really did appreciate the language used in KJV. Also, I do love the idea of Eve coming from Adam’s rib; it almost seems romantic 😉 I also do appreciate the cultural significance of Adam and Eve and all of the references made to it this very day.

            If this was considered just a story, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. The big deal is when people start to take it literally and draw morality from it (Original Sin, faith without evidence, etc.). By terms of the Old Testament, this story is pretty tame and innocent but it still is a part of its broader message.

            Okay, I guess my atheism is showing. Peace out.

Jacqui’s Post–The Fall

Cliffnotes Version of the Fall:

God forms Adam from the dirt and breathes life into him. (Hilarious father-son conversation not recorded in Scripture. Adam: “Son, don’t treat me like dirt.” Cain: “But you’re made from dirt.” Adam: “I should never have brought sin and disobedience into the world…”)

For all you Dora the Explorer or Blue’s Clues fans (I know you’re out there somewhere), the location of the Garden of Eden is described, but, unfortunately, an angel with a flaming torch is now stationed at all major entrances, so you won’t be able to get in without a ticket. Your time is better spent searching for Narnia in wardrobes (cautionary message from C.S. Lewis: children, remember not to shut the door after you, but feel free to have tea with any strange goat creature you should happen to meet in the woods) or running at barriers hoping to find Platform 9 ¾ (cautionary message from JKR: don’t stop and don’t be scared you’ll crash into it. That’s very important.). For those of you who really want a religious quest, I recommend searching for the Holy Grail, which, if Indiana Jones is to be believed, is only guarded by an emaciated knight, rather than a fierce seraph.

God informs Adam that he may eat the fruit of any tree in the Garden of Eden except for the fruit from the tree in the center of the garden. God warns Adam that on the day he eats the forbidden fruit, he will die.

God brings animals before Adam, so that Adam could name them.

God puts Adam into a deep sleep, and while Adam sleeps, God, being the first surgeon, removes Adam’s rib and then creates the first woman from that rib.

Adam recognizes the woman as one of his own kind, declaring that she is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.

The snake, possessed by Satan, asks the woman if God really told the humans not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden.

The woman answers that they can eat fruit from any tree in the garden except the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, because, on the day they eat fruit from that tree, they will die.

Giving truth (or perhaps birth) to the adage about being as sly as a serpent, the snake argues that God only says the humans would die upon eating the fruit because, upon consuming the fruit, the man and the woman would be like God themselves.

Like a toddler enthralled by a new choke-able object, the woman looks at the fruit, sees how beautiful it is, and has the incredible desire to put it in her mouth, and so she takes a piece of fruit and eats it. Then she gives some to her husband.

The man and woman realize they are naked and decide to cover themselves in fig leaves, because oak leaves were so last week, and wearing furs didn’t strike them as environmentally friendly.

That evening, they hear God in the garden, and they hide from Him about as effectively as babies playing Peek-a-Boo hide from their mothers.

When God asks why they are concealing themselves from Him, Adam replies that they are ashamed of their nakedness.

Like a parent wondering where a child has picked up a disgusting swear word, God asks who told them that they are naked and if they have consumed the forbidden fruit.

Much like a brother eager to blame his sister for a fight, Adam answers that the woman had given him the fruit.

Equally ready to play the Blame Game (because it was a great new pastime), the woman, when asked by God why she had done this, says that the serpent tricked her into eating the forbidden fruit.

God punishes the snake, making it crawl around on the ground and eat dust, and placing enmity between the serpent’s offspring and the woman’s offspring. The woman’s offspring, God prophecies, will strike at the serpent’s head, while the snake would strike at the heels of the woman’s offspring.

God punishes the woman, increasing her pain in childbirth and giving her a desire for the husband to whom she would be subject.

God punishes the man by making him work hard to produce enough food to feed himself (always the most difficult task for any male) and his family until his body returns to the soil from which he had been created.

After providing Adam and his wife with clothes made from animal skins, God exiles the man and woman from the Garden of Eden.

Adam names his wife Eve, which means life, because she is the mother of mankind.

Analysis: This story contains many ideas essential to understanding Christian theology. First, there is the idea of Original Sin that is linked to Adam and Eve’s decision to eat the forbidden fruit. Original Sin, or the stain of guilt that all humans are born with, is not seen by Christians as being unfair, because the main thrust behind Original Sin is that if any of us stood in Adam and Eve’s place, we’d eat the forbidden fruit and reject God. Our natural inclination is to reject God and to disobey Him. Christians believe that we do not have the power to save ourselves from Original Sin (or any other sin). Therefore, we believe that God needs to save us from Original Sin and personal sin.

We think that this salvation is available to us all only because of God’s grace and Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. This idea that people need a savior introduces the other half of Christian thought about mankind (the first half, shown in the story of Creation, glorifies mankind and reminds him that he is given a special rank above all other creatures). This other important side of Christian thought, that we are all sinners in need of a savior, is introduced in the story of the Fall. When we combine the two aspects of Christian teaching, we understand humans to be special creatures made in God’s image who are loved by God very much, but who are separated from Him by their own sin, which they must overcome by God’s grace in order to spend eternity in union with Him.

The fact that the consequence, as expressed by God, for eating the forbidden fruit is death is also significant, because it reminds us that the wage of sin is death (spiritual death and physical death), which is why Christ had to die on the Cross to redeem humanity.  In short, because God is just, He demands the death that is the consequence of sin, but, because He is merciful, He suffers the death Himself, saving His people from it.

In the forbidden fruit, I think we also see the Christian wariness of esteeming things of this world more than things of God. In the story of Creation, we are assured that creation is good, and that God made the universe for His own joy. However, in the Fall, we see the other side of the coin. That is, we are reminded that nature is not God, and that if we place fleshly desires over spiritual ones, we may find ourselves getting exactly what we want and not liking it one bit. By combining the two views, we get the very Christian virtue of moderation, which, essentially is a reminder to enjoy eating one packet of M&M’s every now and then, but not to stuff your face with ten packets of M&M’s every day.

I also want to point out that, to a Christian, God is not trying to prevent Adam and Eve from gaining knowledge by telling them not to eat the forbidden fruit. To a Christian, He is trying to protect them from pain and death. To a Christian, God is also testing if the people, whom He created out of love, love Him enough to obey Him. We also are reminded that every time we sin we are (as Eve did when the serpent tempted her and she ate the fruit) trying to become our own gods and make our own rules based on our own fallible knowledge. Pride is responsible for Eve’s sin and for our own sins.

In the interest of political correctness, I will say that, yes, Eve is made subject to her husband, but I see that as a way for her to overcome her pride, which resulted in her downfall, through humble service. Humble service, from a Christian perspective, results in spiritual purification, and the Bible is full of reminders for men and women alike to be humble, so being subject to your husband shouldn’t be too much of a chore if you’re going around being humble, as you should be, anyway, so, ladies, it could be worse. I mean, we could have to crawl around all day and eat dust all the time:D And if your husband tells you that you need to submit to him, remind him that he is supposed to love you (as the Epistles say) as Christ loves his Church. That will make him nice and humble…

Since we’re on the subject of marriage, I think that this story provides an introduction to traditional Christian disapproval of homosexuality. The idea that Eve is Adam’s partner, and, by extension, that woman is man’s partner that offers the first indication of why homosexual  relationships are frowned upon and the sanctity of marriage is exulted within traditional Christian thought.

Also, as an interesting sidenote for all you Biblical Prophecy majors (a more useful major than Philosophy, at any rate), some scholars have suggested that God’s comment to Eve, in which He addresses her as woman, is referring to Mary (addressed by her Son as “Woman” several times in Scripture), and foreshadowing how Mary’s offspring (Jesus) struck the serpent (Satan) on the heel when He died on the Cross.  It’s cool bit of Biblical scholarship, at any rate, so I figured I’d share it with you all and try to earn my nonexistent paycheck for writing this blog entry…

The Creation Story-Jacqui’s Post

The SparkNotes Version of the Story of Creation:

In the beginning, Jacqui opened the Bible and discovered that God created the universe, including, unsurprisingly, the Earth.  God said, “Let there be light,” and light appeared, though not (most scholars agree) in the form of neon lights. The light pleased God, Who then separated the light from the darkness, calling the light “day” and the darkness “night.” That was the  first day of creation.

On the second day, God divided the water in the air from the gigantic ocean covering the earth, and called the water in the air “sky,” because Cloud City was already trademarked by the Star Wars franchise.

God consolidated the ocean, so that land could appear (calling the land “Earth” and the water “sea”), on the third day of creation, and God was pleased with His work. He also creted many plants, including those that bear fruit, those that drop pollen right on your as-yet-uninvented windshield, and grains. God was pleased with the plants He had created.

On the fourth day, God created the stars (including the sun) and the moon to mark the passage of time and to shine down upon the Earth.

On the fifth day, God created all the animals that dwell in the sea, and in the sky. He was pleased with the animals He made, because this isn’t Jurassic Park, and He blessed them all, instructing them all to reproduce and fill the sea and sky.

On the sixth day, God created land animals, and told them to reproduce and fill the land.  Perhaps of more interest to us two-leggers, God also created human beings in His image. He blessed them, told them to be fruitful and multiply, and gave them dominion over all the animals. God was very pleased with humans, and with all that He had created.

God was finished with the work of creation on the seventh day. Like a college senior finally done with a thesis, He blessed the seventh day, setting it aside as a day of rest, because it was the day  on which He completed the work of creation.

Commentary on the Story of Creation:

Whether a Christian believes in a literal interpretation of the account of creation or reads “day” as referring to potentially thousands of millions of years, the story of creation articulates the Christian belief that the universe was made as the result of the purposeful act of an all-powerful God. God is distinct from His creation, God is not created, and all that exists (except God) has a single source called God.

As a result, the cosmos, in Christian theology, is God-centered, not human-centered. Humans are the created; they are not gods. Christianity accepts the Jewish position that leaves no doubt that humans are not the Creator. God is the Supreme Being, the ultimate source of goodness and power. Humans were made in an act of divine favor and generosity. God did not have to create this universe and populate it. Creation sprang from God’s pleasure, not from necessity.

Although humans are creatures, we are special ones made in God’s image and given charge over all the animals. This does not mean that humans are masters of the world, free to use everything in it for our benefit. Rather, it means that humans have been entrusted with the upkeep and conservation of God’s creation. In essence, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the planet and to live in harmony with all its human and non-human inhabitants.

The Creation Story

As in most holy books, the beginning of the Bible starts out with the story of creation. It’s pretty standard and most people know the basic details of it, though. One day God was bored and came up with the idea to create the universe.

According to the Bible, God did this in the following order.

With His super-spider powers, God turned on the light switch of the universe. The light made up the days, basically, the light distinguished from all the nasty dark.

On the second day, God decided that the Earth needed to be something more than one, big watery sphere. In order to do this, He separated the waters to make the sky and the ocean.

It was still a watery blob, even though it was separate. Realizing this,  He sculpted dry Earth and vegetation on the third day, separating it all from the water. It was on its way to be something special.

He was on to something but He still had a lot to do. So, on the fourth day, He made the sun, moon and stars in order for people to be able to tell the difference between day and night. This also was meant to help people tell the difference between seasons, years, and the like, even though the humans had yet to be made.

Then the animals came along on the fifth day. That is, the animals in the seas and sky to fill it up. Still, the earth that he made below was barren and dull as a valley girl’s brain. It needed spark and a bit of jazz.

The land animals only came along on the sixth day to fill up the earth below and God’s big sculpture of the universe was beginning to look complete. Human beings (a male and a female) also came along, created in His likeness because something that awesome needed a trademark.

Utterly exhausted from His efforts, He took a break from it all. Hence, the Sabbath, which He then declared a holy day. Yay, lazy Sundays!

Of course, God had to water the plants to make them grow and make it actually look like something. He gardened the earth after the seventh day. He also made sure to give man a living soul and to give the male and female a place to stay (Eden).

And, at this point, the story begins.

Thoughts-

This was a very interesting story and I have to say I was glued to my seat a bit. The language used to describe this story in KJV was beautiful. “Breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” sounds so grandiose. Wow.

That aside, I have to say that I have read some more interesting creation stories before. I have to say that the Greeks have them beat. The universe essentially being hatched from an egg? How cool is that? I digress, however.

The story was coherent and readable, though. Definitely organized well. Although, I kind of wish that they marked the days from the beginning of the passages instead of towards the end. Also, the summary bit at the end was confusing (2:4 and 2:5 in KJV) because I thought for a second that God was doing them again.

Overall, so far so good. It’s a little hard to take any moral issues against creation.

This  has me thinking about the whole creationism vs. evolution debate. This is the little story that made biology so controversial. I don’t really get how creationism and evolution are compatible. As glad as I am that people are waking up and accepting facts of all faiths, here’s a clear difference here.