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What was the tree of knowledge of g & e


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#61    Paranoid Android

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:24 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 02 April 2012 - 04:20 PM, said:

Is she?

The narrative is not detailed enough to determine Eve's emotional state during this conversation with God - except that she was, apparently, ashamed. There is no sub-text of her connivance to push responsibility onto the serpent.

Indeed, she appears to be telling nothing but the truth, as evidenced by God punishing the serpent for it's deception.
I guess others can differ in opinion about any subtext but when I read it, her instinct to palm the heat on to the serpent is indicative of humanity's general inability to admit mistakes.  This is a truth I think many can attest to - when confronted with a wrong we do, many of us automatically look to shift the blame somewhere else.  Even if we are also culpable maybe someone deserves more blame and therefore we are less responsible.  But that's just me....


View PostLeonardo, on 02 April 2012 - 04:20 PM, said:

It is quite possible for both God and the serpent to be telling a truth in their respective conversations with Eve, each simply conveys a different truth.
That's entirely possible (in fact, I think that pretty much covers what I was saying).  The point is that Satan/serpent told Eve the truth, and that makes Satan/serpent very dangerous because he can make "sin" (disobedience to God) sound very appealing.


View PostLeonardo, on 02 April 2012 - 04:20 PM, said:

I'm not sure we can read a spiritual death into the narrative unless you equate spirituality with innocence or naivety.
Possibly not, I was sharing one view, and I think your view on innocence has merit to it.  Where once Adam and Eve knew not what sin was, now they did, and that led to tragedy.  I would not be opposed to that interpretation and actually find quite a bit of interest in that - quite Shakespearean if you think about it :innocent:

Edited by Paranoid Android, 02 April 2012 - 05:25 PM.

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#62    eight bits

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:38 PM

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Actually in the Oxford press the notations note that it was the serpent that told the truth while it was god that deceived.
Well, I don't know about Oxford Press specifically, but it's widely noted that each of the First Couple's advisers provides them with only "half the story." That is a story-telling motif, after all, as much as "the one forbidden thing." It's unclear that either elder is deceptive, or intentionally withholds crucial information, or is badly motivated.

The ground truth is really "glass half full, glass half empty." Living life as a human being is a good thing, but a necessary attribute of living a human life is to suffer a human death.


PA

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However, in Genesis the phrase is the knowledge of good and evil. In 1 Kings, Solomon asks that he be given the gift to discern good and evil.
Professor Cook testifies that the same Hebrew words are used in both stories, already cited.

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This is known from the use of the same Hebrew idiom in texts such as 1 Kings 3:9 and 2 Samuel 14:17.
I am prepared to accept his testimony as a fact witness, unless you have contrary evidence about the Hebrew. It is uncontroversial that some Christian translators have used different translations in different places. That was largely the point of Professor Cook's post.

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That is more along the lines of a Proverb than a command.
There's no arguing about possible readings of an ambiguous sentence. I find no command there, or anywhere else before the food is eaten.

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She could have said "sorry, I screwed up", but that's not what happened.
She wasn't asked whether she was sorry, either.

What would she be sorry about exactly? As noted above, I can't find an unambiguous command to Adam. There's no coversation about the matter between her and God in the text. When she freely tells her understanding of the situation to Serpent, she recites a health warning, while famously misquoting God.

Thus, I cannot think of any particular reason why she would be sorry about her actions, the only things she was asked about at trial.

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I would not ever describe Adam as a "god".
I am relying on your God's reported description of Adam and the Woman, corroborated by Serpent's description of the effects of eating the controversial fruit. I'll grant you that he is a sorry example of the type. Except that he was the only man on Earth, he'd never have had a chance with Mom.

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Thanks for the discussion so far, most of what you say actually resembles what I actually believe already, we just differ in a few fundamental points that push our views apart.
I thank you back. Yes, we do have one or two fundamental differences :), but a shared respect for the story, I think.

Edited by eight bits, 02 April 2012 - 05:48 PM.

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:48 PM

Still just reading from the Oxford pres notes here. They note that the language used by god is indicative of a death sentence. Like a judicial judgment. That's why it seems like god wasn't necessarily telling the truth. I assume in the garden one might be able to live forever. Being kicked out is a sure way to suffer death someday. God just said they would die, he did not say when.

Could the story be speaking to humanity as a whole? The story being metaphorical for all of man.

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
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#64    Paranoid Android

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:36 PM

View Posteight bits, on 02 April 2012 - 05:38 PM, said:

PA


Professor Cook testifies that the same Hebrew words are used in both stories, already cited.


I am prepared to accept his testimony as a fact witness, unless you have contrary evidence about the Hebrew. It is uncontroversial that some Christian translators have used different translations in different places. That was largely the point of Professor Cook's post.
For the words "good" and "evil" Cook is correct - both are the same words.  However, the word "knowledge" and "discern", not so much.  I am going to assume that Professor Cook did not look beyond the idea of "good and evil", and did not look at the possible intention of "knowledge" vs "discernment".  

Knowledge (Gen 2:17)

da‛ath
dah'-ath
From H3045; knowledge: - cunning, [ig-] norantly, know(-ledge), [un-] awares (wittingly).

Discern (1 Kings 3:9)

bı̂yn
bene
A primitive root; to separate mentally (or distinguish), that is, (generally) understand: - attend, consider, be cunning, diligently, direct, discern, eloquent, feel, inform, instruct, have intelligence, know, look well to, mark, perceive, be prudent, regard, (can) skill (-ful), teach, think, (cause, make to, get, give, have) understand (-ing), view, (deal) wise (-ly, man).


The Hebrew words are totally different :yes:


View Posteight bits, on 02 April 2012 - 05:38 PM, said:

There's no arguing about possible readings of an ambiguous sentence. I find no command there, or anywhere else before the food is eaten.
The word in Genesis 2:16 (before the food is eaten):

tsâvâh
tsaw-vaw'
A primitive root; (intensively) to constitute, enjoin: - appoint, (for-) bid. (give a) charge, (give a, give in, send with) command (-er, ment), send a messenger, put, (set) in order.


I have to disagree, it can be nothing but a command!


View Posteight bits, on 02 April 2012 - 05:38 PM, said:

She wasn't asked whether she was sorry, either.

What would she be sorry about exactly? As noted above, I can't find an unambiguous command to Adam. There's no coversation about the matter between her and God in the text. When she freely tells her understanding of the situation to Serpent, she recites a health warning, while famously misquoting God.

Thus, I cannot think of any particular reason why she would be sorry about her actions, the only things she was asked about at trial.
I guess on this my best response is to relay my thoughts when I read it.  As I said only a bit earlier to someone else, this is very reminiscent of human behaviour.  No one enjoys taking blame for something.  The initial reaction to any accusation is to try and palm it off to someone else.  If it can be done then maybe you aren't totally blameless but at least you have a reason for what you did.  When it comes to Eve, it seems that she tried to hand the ball to Satan as if blaming him might somehow lessen her own culpability.  

But as I also said, maybe this is just me....


View Posteight bits, on 02 April 2012 - 05:38 PM, said:

I am relying on your God's reported description of Adam and the Woman, corroborated by Serpent's description of the effects of eating the controversial fruit. I'll grant you that he is a sorry example of the type. Except that he was the only man on Earth, he'd never have had a chance with Mom.
Ahh, I get you now, so the whole "became like us" part to suggest Adam's rise to godhood.  I hadn't thought in that way before now.  For me, the focus has always been on the "knowing good and evil" and therefore the "become like us" kind of shifts by the wayside a little.  Believe it or not, when you ask this question you remind me a little bit of my pastor.  Whenever we do Bible Studies together he always does that and takes the road that no one else takes.  He'll say "so what about x, y, z" and everyone else is "umm, never really thought about that".  So what does it mean to "become like one of us" (plural intentional, which is interesting for a monotheistic God - though a typical Christian response would argue a Trinity).  I'll tell you what, it's 4:30am, can I get back to you on that one - my initial thoughts revolve around sapience and awareness and human agency affecting the world in which we live (just as God acting in creation affected the world in which we live), but I'd rather deal with it when I'm fully lucid?  Thanks :P


View Posteight bits, on 02 April 2012 - 05:38 PM, said:

I thank you back. Yes, we do have one or two fundamental differences :), but a shared respect for the story, I think.
:tu:

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#65    Paranoid Android

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:38 PM

View PostSeeker79, on 02 April 2012 - 05:48 PM, said:

Still just reading from the Oxford pres notes here. They note that the language used by god is indicative of a death sentence. Like a judicial judgment. That's why it seems like god wasn't necessarily telling the truth. I assume in the garden one might be able to live forever. Being kicked out is a sure way to suffer death someday. God just said they would die, he did not say when.

Could the story be speaking to humanity as a whole? The story being metaphorical for all of man.
A distinct possibility, I won't ever discount that idea out.  Though as said, I believe God did tell the truth, just not in the obvious "you eat, you die in the next 24-hours" kind of obviousness....

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#66    Leonardo

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:33 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 02 April 2012 - 05:24 PM, said:

Possibly not, I was sharing one view, and I think your view on innocence has merit to it.  Where once Adam and Eve knew not what sin was, now they did, and that led to tragedy.  I would not be opposed to that interpretation and actually find quite a bit of interest in that - quite Shakespearean if you think about it :innocent:

When I pondered the narrative might be about the death of innocence, I had no thought that equated to "knowing sin" - and still don't. 'Original sin' is a purely Christian spin placed on the narrative, and I don't see where it is warranted, to be honest. For sure, later authors of various Christian scripture might have cast the idea back into Genesis through their own interpretive writing, but I think the essential Genesis 2-3 (standalone, as it was originally) is simply about growing up.

Adam and Eve weren't banished from Eden because they were naughty, they were banished because they were too old.

Edited by Leonardo, 02 April 2012 - 07:33 PM.

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#67    eight bits

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:10 PM

PA

Quote

I am going to assume that Professor Cook did not look beyond the idea of "good and evil", and did not look at the possible intention of "knowledge" vs "discernment".
I do thank you for that research, and even give you a lawyer-like (not to be confused with lawyerly) nod of approval.

However, Professor Cook's testimony, already quoted, is that it is the same idiom. You apparently agree that what Solomon discerned is described in Hebrew using the same noun phrase as what Adam and the Woman came to know. You have at best established what is called a "idiomatic variant."

I remain persuaded that it is the meaning of the noun phrase we seek, and not the difference between knowing something for the first time and finding the same thing out.

What you need evidence for is that the noun phrase changes meaning when used as the object of distinct but semantically similar verbs, not a showing that the one noun phrase can function as the object of different verbs which are closely related in meaning, meanings related as cause is related to effect. That wasn't in dispute; it is inherent in the nature of noun phrases.

Letting the cat out of the bag seems to me interchangeable with the cat now being free to roam, out of the bag. I really am prepared to accept contrary evidence for the particular case before us, but that example suffices to establish that a mere change of verb doesn't cut it in general.

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I have to disagree, it can be nothing but a command!
I understand that the story is told in Hebrew, but where does it say that God spoke Hebrew to Adam, or that Adam would understand what he said in Hebrew if he did? Did I neglect to mention that the imperative is used to provide emphasis in indicative sentences? I still find no command there. I appreciate that you disagree, but you did anyway.

In any case, it is The Woman's understanding that most divides us, and there is no scene where God instructs her. Nor, when she described her understanding of the situation, is there any indication of her knowing of any issue besides a health warning. She does pause to resolve the health issue, but she does not pause beyond that. I think that's because there is no other issue, neither in her mind, nor in the original meaning of the story.

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Believe it or not, when you ask this question you remind me a little bit of my pastor.
I think that's the chief difference between agnostics and atheists. Agnostics approach religious questions in a way that just might remind someone of a clergyman :) . Unitarian Universalist clergy for sure :).

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I'll tell you what, it's 4:30am, can I get back to you on that one -
Of course. Heck, not only is it early morning where you are, but you're upside down... I don't how you guys do it over there...

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#68    Mr Walker

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 10:40 PM

View PostSeeker79, on 02 April 2012 - 02:12 PM, said:

Actually in the Oxford press the notations note that it was the serpent that told the truth while it was god that deceived.

God told her that they would die, when in fact they wouldn't. The serpent told them they would be like gods haveing gained the knowledge of good and evil ( whatever that ends up being), and that In  infact is  what happened. God the deceiver the serpent telling it like it is.
Im not so sure about that. It depends on the readers cosmology and understandings . In the story, as i read it, adam and eve were immortal beings, as long as they remained in the garden withthe tree of life and connected to god. God says this and gives it as the rason why they must be expelled form the garden after gaining the knowledge of good and evil.

  In eating from  the tree of knowledge they went from the assurity of life, to that of death.  Given that punctuation was either non existent or ambiguous in early writings Gods statement held true. In eating of the tree of knowledge, adam and eve died.  Natural process meant (in the story ) that this took some thousand years or so, but it "occured" when they ate of the fruit of knowledge. In the story, adam and eve would stil be alive today if they had not eaten of the fruit.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#69    Diablo Blanco

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:02 AM

View PostSeeker79, on 30 March 2012 - 02:45 AM, said:

Why and how is the ground cursed? Why is it ok to be naked one moment but not the next? Why should anyone be ashammed to be naked?

It dosn't sound right..

Does any one have anymore scholarlly interpretations. oh..Ill try the Oxford press.. I have  copy somewhere. Keep it comeing though
I think you will find this a scholarfied interpretation. Start reading at paragraph six.
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#70    eight bits

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 08:20 AM

Seeker

Thanks to Hazrus for reminding us that your follow-up query was overlooked. There is one piece of "low hanging fruit," so to speak, that is easily plucked.

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Why is it ok to be naked one moment but not the next?
At no point in the text is anybody ashamed to be naked. Retrojecting shame is a stretch. The only two people in the story are absolutely alone, with an ironclad guarantee that nobody else will disturb their privacy. One person is the clone of the other, and they are in a long-term, committed, and for the time being exclusive relationship.

The emotion accompanying the transformation is, according to the text, fear. So they gird their loins. There is no support in the text for the Woman ever to have covered her breasts, even though women are not often bare-breated outdoors in the author's culture, and of course not in the homelands of the subsequent retrojectors, either.

Only Adam reports fear. Whether The Woman was also afraid or simply cooperated with her husband in his ineffectual preparations for trial is left for the reader to ponder. It is meeting with God face-to-face that occasions the fear in Adam.

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Why should anyone be ashammed to be naked?
Clothing carries a lot of symbolic freight. You name the emotion, and it can be tied to clothes one way or another. Clothing is telling, both in life and in literature.

There is a revealing collective "Freudian slip" in English-speaking culture. In Hamlet (I: 3), Polonius says "For the apparel oft proclaims the man." Even that much is the poet's affirmation of the symbolic heft of clothing. But this line is often misquoted and exaggerated as "clothing makes the man." Here's a scholarly example:

http://www.jstor.org...=47698835703927

Umm ... Anyway, people do react emotionally, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively, to clothing's presence or absence, and if present, to its qualities. Even erotic impact can be enhanced by selective clothing, despite the charms of simple nakedness. You can, indeed, leave your hat on, to good effect.

Poetically, I think Adam's cover-up continues and extends the imagery of his hiding from God. He is avoiding the encounter, and all his behavior shows this, in the elegant and terse manner of the story as a whole.

Of course Adam has good reason to be afraid. He's about to get his oysters shucked. I'd cover mine, too, for the damned little good it would do.

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#71    Leonardo

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:42 AM

View Posteight bits, on 03 April 2012 - 08:20 AM, said:

Seeker

Thanks to Hazrus for reminding us that your follow-up query was overlooked. There is one piece of "low hanging fruit," so to speak, that is easily plucked.


At no point in the text is anybody ashamed to be naked. Retrojecting shame is a stretch. The only two people in the story are absolutely alone, with an ironclad guarantee that nobody else will disturb their privacy. One person is the clone of the other, and they are in a long-term, committed, and for the time being exclusive relationship.

I have an different opinion of this, eb. Not only is there sufficient reason in the text to assume the shame A&E feel does refer to their awareness of their nakedness, but there is also another who is sometimes present and it is this other whom A&E are ashamed to feel naked in front of.

This other is, of course, God - who might be seen as representing either a parent, the parents, or adults - dependent on one's particular view of the narrative. All children reach a point where they become aware of being naked, and this awareness might invoke particular embarrassment when it occurs in front of those who are already clothed.

Edited by Leonardo, 03 April 2012 - 10:44 AM.

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#72    eight bits

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:11 PM

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Not only is there sufficient reason in the text to assume the shame A&E feel
No problem, Leo. Just point me to where the text says either person felt shame.

My copy only says that Adam reports fear. I have no word at all about Eve's emotions.

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This other is, of course, God - who might be seen as representing either a parent, the parents, or adults - dependent on one's particular view of the narrative.
I am persuaded that 2: 24-25:

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body. The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.

reflects the author's intention to depict all post-gnosh married couples, including the First Couple, as eligible to enjoy conjugal intimacy shamelessly. I think this author believes in God, believes him to be present, but not to be a party pooper.

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this awareness might invoke particular embarrassment when it occurs in front of those who are already clothed.
God wears clothes in the story? God has a body to clothe? Not in my copy.

(And suppose he did. Wouldn't it then have been even more apparent to the newly enlightened that they might do well to try to get themselves some before the showdown?)

Off-hand, many situations where a person is naked around others who are clothed seem to me to carry connotations of disparity in power, status, ease of leaving the room at will, etc. Disparity is surely present in this story. Why am I supposed to overlook an obvious cause for missing clothing to be salient, and embrace the unusual (in my experience, anyway) idea that an established married couple are embarrassed to be naked together? Without any textual support?

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 04:47 AM

Thou shall not know god is evil, lol

2 Thessalonians 2:11
So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies

#74    Cybele

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 05:21 AM

One might look to the Epic of Gilgamesh for insight, as it is the most likely inspiration for the story:

The epic of Gilgamesh is even more instructive. In it the Noah-like figure
Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh of a magical, life-renewing plant at the
bottom of the sea and says, "If thy hands obtain the plant (thou wilt
find new life)." Gilgamesh does a bit of deep-sea diving, secures the
plant, and tells Urshanabi, his boatman, "Its name shall be `Man
Becomes Young in Old Age.' I myself shall eat (it) and thus return to
the state of my youth." Gilgamesh's plans are thwarted, however, by a
serpent(!) who steals the plant while Gilgamesh is taking a bath.


http://faculty.gordo...eLife_RestQ.pdf

When Gilgamesh is ready to begin his long journey home, Utnapishtim, at the urging of his wife, reveals a second mystery of the gods. He tells Gilgamesh of a plant growing under water that can restore youth to a man. Gilgamesh finds the plant and picks it; he decides to take it to Uruk to give it to the old men. But as Gilgamesh bathes in the cool water of a well, a serpent rises up and snatches away the plant; immediately it sloughs its skin and returns to the well. Again this story is familiar to us, not only because we recognize this snake as a precursor of the more sinister one that appears in the Garden of Eden, but because we comprehend it as a symbol. In the Sumerian world, Ningizzida, the god of the serpent, is "the lord of the Tree of Life" (119). While Gilgamesh himself has lost the ability to live forever, or the opportunity to pass on this ability to the men of Uruk, it is enough that the snake recalls for us, in its sloughing of its skin, nature's pattern of regeneration.

http://eawc.evansvil...ssays/brown.htm

I think the Bible, as a literary work (or, more properly, works) should be understood in the context of earlier and contemporary religious literature of the Middle East. Sumeria is probably among the best sources for parallels, imo; its myths include numerous references to trees of life.

I would say, from a cursory glance, that the story represents mortal hubris in attempting to rise to the level of God/gods in terms of immortality/knowledge.

...for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:5

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

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

So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.. Genesis 3:22


http://www.bartleby.com/108/01/3.html

You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man.

http://eawc.evansvil...ssays/brown.htm

Seems pretty straightforward to me.

Edited by Cybele, 04 April 2012 - 05:55 AM.

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#75    Cybele

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 05:52 AM

View PostMr Right Wing, on 29 March 2012 - 06:30 PM, said:

The first big difference is that the God of the Hebrew Bible is a hermaphrodite not a bearded old man. The Hebrew Bible says that in addition to God having both male and female genitalia Adam does too (Adam was created in Gods image). In order to learn about the male and female roles Adam had the female parts removed from him and turned into Eve.

Uhhhhh....what?  :unsure:

My sig: "Cryptorchid", Marilyn Manson




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