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The Garden of Eden story: The fall (or
perhaps rise) of humanity, &
original sin
.

Part 3: Analysis of Genesis 3:8-24

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This topic is a continuation of the previous essay

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Analysis of Genesis 3:8 to 24:

8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where are you?

10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 

Conservative

 

Liberal

Adam and Eve hid from God because they had sinned.   Author "J" views God as resembling a large, powerful human. He has legs because he is walking in the garden. He has speech because Adam and Eve hear him. Adam and Eve hide from God because, for the first time ever, they have a moral sense and thus realize that they have sinned by disobeying God's instructions. "J's"  God is not omniscient. He does not know where Adam is.

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11 And he said, Who told thee that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that you should not eat?

12 And the man said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that you have done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. 

Conservative

 

Liberal

God accuses them of eating from the forbidden tree. Adam tries to weasel out of personal responsibility, implying that he only ate what Eve gave him. Eve tries to weasel out of personal responsibility, blaming it on the seducing powers of the snake.   In the view of the author "J", God, lacks omniscience. However, he was eventually able to deduce from the available evidence that Adam and Eve probably ate of the fruit

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14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and you shall bruise his heel.
 

Conservative

 

Liberal

God curses Satan for his involvement in the Eve and Adam's sin. In verse 15, "her seed" refers to Jesus. "According to the Christian perspective, this verse is required in order to understand the concept that the impact of Adam’s and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden would be undone by a Messiah, who is this singular seed of a woman, and who will bring salvation to both Jews and Gentiles.5 This is often called the "Protoevangelium" or "First message."  God, expressing ungodly anger, takes revenge on the snake. This passage is a good indication that the snake is a serpent and not Satan in disguise. Otherwise it would make no sense for God to have punished all later generations of snakes. After all, we don't "punish all soldiers because a robber disguised himself as one for a bank-heist." 6 If this curse was performed by a human, it might be regarded as an act of sorcery.

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16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
 

Conservative

 

Liberal

Eve is to suffer consequences for her sin: the pain of childbirth, and -- ironically -- lust for her husband which will bring on more pregnancies and births. This verse mentions God's intent for married couples: the man is to rule and the woman is to be submissive.   God also curses Eve. There is an interesting symbolic meaning to the curse of pain during childbirth. Birth for animals generally are not exceedingly painful as they are for women. It is only after humanity developed a larger brain that childbirth became so painful. This may be another reference to humanity's rise. The reference to husband ruling wives is one good indication that "J" is probably male.

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17 And unto Adam he said, Because you have hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and you shall eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shall you eat bread, till you return unto the ground; for out of it wast you taken: for dust you art, and unto dust shall you return.
 

Conservative

 

Liberal

Adam is to suffer consequences for his sin. The ground is cursed. Adam will have to struggle to survive. God promises that humans henceforth are mortal and will die, only to return to dust. This is the longest curse in history, having lasted over 6,000 years to date.   God has clearly lost control, by cursing Adam, Eve, and even the earth itself. In other times and places, such curses would also be considered sorcery. Note that only Adam and Eve were cursed. God did not mention the extension of the curse to Adam and Eve's children and later descendents.

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20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
 

Conservative

 

Liberal

Here we have God killing animals in order to harvest leather so that Adam and Eve might be clothed. This is the first instance of death in history. Death is one of the consequences of Adam and Eve's sin.   Since God had cursed the ground, in addition to Adam and Eve, then the first couple needed protection from wild animals, inclement weather, thorns, etc. "J" has God generously making  clothes for them, presumably with his hands.

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22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. 

Conservative

 

Liberal

"Us" does not refer to multiple Gods as in polytheism. Rather, it refers to the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

God is concerned that Adam and Eve might eat of the tree of life and achieve immortality, in spite of God's curse in Verse 19 that made humans mortal. So he expels them from the Garden of Eden and places a guard so that they cannot return.

 

"Us" refers to multiple Gods. The passage was copied from a Pagan Middle Eastern source who followed a polytheistic religion. The serpent was accurate and truthful throughout this chapter. God's words are essentially identical to the serpent's prediction in Verse 5. Adam and Eve had developed a moral sense, previously possessed only by the Gods.

God is jealous of his immortality and does not want to share it with humans. Having the foresight to realize what would happen if Adam and Eve remained in the Garden of Eden, God takes the precaution of putting a barrier between them and the Tree of Life.

A good indication that Genesis 3 is a myth is that no trace of the Garden of Eden and of the Cheribims have ever been found. Of course, if Noah's flood actually happened, it could have wiped out all trace of the Garden of Eden.

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References:

  1. Quoted in: Paul Laughlin, "Remedial Christianity: What every believer should know about the faith, and probably doesn't," Polebridge Press, (2000), Page 168. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
  2. Richard Bozarth, "The Meaning of Evolution," American Atheist magazine, 1979-SEP, Page 30.
  3. Op Cit., Laughlin, Page 151 to 155.
  4. "How Sin Entered the World," The Way of Righteousness, at: http://injil.org/TWOR/07.html
  5. "Is Genesis 3:15 a Messianic prophecy?," Messiah Truth, at: http://www.messiahtruth.com/gen315.html
  6. Op Cit, Laughlin, Page 153.

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Copyright © 2003 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-FEB-29
Latest update: 2013-MAY-06
Author: B.A. Robinson

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