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White Crane Feather

What was the tree of knowledge of g & e

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Posted (edited)

Maybe just because of spelling errors or because of some words in there that we don't use today, but it's the only version that is truly the Word of God, not the New King James Version or the New International Version. And where did you get your information on?

That's an interesting take. The KJV is the only true word of God? Just curious, what are your thoughts on THIS ARTICLE (link)? In particular the following:

The King James Version has with good reason been termed "the noblest monument of English prose." Its revisers in 1881 expressed admiration for "its simplicity, its dignity, its power, its happy turns of expression … the music of it cadences, and the felicities of its rhythm." It entered, as no other book has, into the making of the personal character and the public institutions of the English-speaking peoples. We owe to it an incalculable debt.

Yet the King James Version has grave defects. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of Biblical studies and the discovery of many manuscripts more ancient than those upon which the King James Version was based, made it manifest that these defects are so many and so serious as to call for revision of the English translation. The task was undertaken, by authority of the Church of England, in 1870. The English Revised Version of the Bible was published in 1881-1885; and the American Standard Version, its variant embodying the preferences of the American scholars associated in the work, was published in 1901....

....The King James Version of the New Testament was based upon a Greek text that was marred by mistakes, containing the accumulated errors of fourteen centuries of manuscript copying. It was essentially the Greek text of the New Testament as edited by Beza, 1589, who closely followed that published by Erasmus, 1516-1535, which was based upon a few medieval manuscripts. The earliest and best of the eight manuscripts which Erasmus consulted was from the tenth century, and he made the least use of it because it differed most from the commonly received text; Beza had access to two manuscripts of great value, dating from the fifth and sixth centuries, but he made very little use of them because they differed from the text published by Erasmus.

We now possess many more ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, and are far better equipped to seek to recover the original wording of the Greek text.

I only sometimes use the RSV (generally I prefer the ESV) and you can read the rest of the article at the link itself for further information, but I don't see how the KJV can be the only true version of the Bible considering the details of this article.

~ Regards,

Edited by Paranoid Android

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So we go to the text to try and figure out the reference:

But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." ~ Genesis 3:4-5

Note the serpent's words, that their eyes would be opened in "knowing good and evil". You can be told what good and evil are, but in the case of Adam and Eve who had not yet committed evil they did not experientially "know" what it was until they committed it. Unless there is some mystical power to the fruit that imparts a special understanding that they didn't have before, I would argue that by disobeying God's command they understood what it meant to be good (obedience to God) and to do evil (disobedience).

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." ~ Genesis 2:16-17

I see a "command" right there, when the LORD God "commanded" the man. And I don't recall making the claim that God would kill his creations, I only said that one choice led to life and the other choice led to death, which I argue is a key moral for us to take from the story - follow God and live.

True, but let's not forget that while Adam blamed his wife, the woman also refused to take the responsibility, blaming the serpent in order to save her hide. Man blames the woman, woman blames the serpent, but in the end God was having none of it and blamed them all equally. It is obvious that the smart play was to stand together and offer settlement (as you put it), and that in itself would also impart its own symbolism to the Eden story. However, that ending could not have lasted forever since there would be no explanation as to why we humans are not still in Eden.

The fruit didn't "do" anything, God conferring upon it a rule ("don't eat that fruit") did that. Suppose for a moment I baked a cake and put it on a table. Let's now say there's a child in my house and I tell them not to eat it. If the child goes ahead and eats it anyway when I'm not looking, what is it that caused the child to do the wrong thing? Did the cake "do" anything to make that action wrong? Or was it that I laid down a rule ("don't eat that cake") to which the child broke?

Anyway, just some thoughts to consider :tu:

~ PA

PA,

It's an interesting interpretation, but why would the tree have to be a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, in the case you present?

Adam and Eve already knew good. Eve saw the fruit was good.

The text would only need to convey that eating of the Tree imparted the knowledge of Evil in your analysis, but it doesn't.

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PA,

It's an interesting interpretation, but why would the tree have to be a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, in the case you present?

Adam and Eve already knew good. Eve saw the fruit was good.

The text would only need to convey that eating of the Tree imparted the knowledge of Evil in your analysis, but it doesn't.

Somewhat true. I think the idea has more to do with the knowledge of the difference between good and evil. As you say, they know "good", but they don't have a baseline for comparison, to them what they were doing was an action with neither an understanding of good or evil. By eating the fruit, in comes the knowledge of evil, and a comparison on which to judge good. In one sense, I guess you could say darkness is indefinable without light to contrast it, and likewise good is indefinable without the contrast of evil.

Does that make sense?

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Posted (edited)

Somewhat true. I think the idea has more to do with the knowledge of the difference between good and evil. As you say, they know "good", but they don't have a baseline for comparison, to them what they were doing was an action with neither an understanding of good or evil. By eating the fruit, in comes the knowledge of evil, and a comparison on which to judge good. In one sense, I guess you could say darkness is indefinable without light to contrast it, and likewise good is indefinable without the contrast of evil.

Does that make sense?

It would, if they didn't already know what good was. How could they know what was good (as Eve demonstrates) if they did not also know what was not-good (bad, evil - call it what you will)?

The only way to reconcile this, imo, is that it was not a literal "Good vs Evil" which the Tree's knowledge represented, or that the narrative is somewhat flawed in it's construction.

Edited by Leonardo

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It would, if they didn't already know what good was. How could they know what was good (as Eve demonstrates) if they did not also know what was not-good (bad, evil - call it what you will)?

The only way to reconcile this, imo, is that it was not a literal "Good vs Evil" which the Tree's knowledge represented, or that the narrative is somewhat flawed in it's construction.

Eve was speaking of "good" in terms of aesthetics, as in the fruit was pleasing to the eye and looked tasty. However, the knowledge of "good" and evil is speaking of morally right - acting according to God's will or against it. The context of "good" means something different in the fruit looking good to eat and the directive from God not to eat from that tree.

Just a thought,

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Posted (edited)

Seeker

Couldn't the fruit of something be inturpreted as something gained.

Yes, that is a possibility. But it's a very short story and fruits are repeatedly mentioned. The two chief fruits in the story are parallel, and one of them needs to be the very sustainer of natural life. I think the fruit, then, is the concrete part of a metaphor, and not a figure in its own right.

The immediate image of parallel contrast, that the fruits of the Tree of Life would do one thing, but the leaves of the same tree would do something else, was passed over by the author. I think he simply isn't talking about insecticide at all.

Other views are possible, of course, it is a figurative narrative.

PA

Note the serpent's words, that their eyes would be opened in "knowing good and evil".

We have no dispute what the words are, or who speaks them in Genesis. It's not just Serpent. God, too, says it twice, at 2:17 and again at 3: 22. The parties are in agreement what to call the quality in question. The issue before us is to determine what the quality is.

Although neither God nor Serpent is an educated native speaker of Hebrew, Solomon is. So when the idiomatic phrase occurs in his dream report, relayed to us by another presumably native speaker, we can use that report for information about what the idiom means in Hebrew.

Since the idiom means something other than "first acquaintance with the concept of evil," and The Woman is depicted as understanding consequences, including that her death is not a good outcome and is something to be avoided, I cannot share your interpretation of the idiom.

I also do not find any issue of obedience in the story, until God raises it retrospectively.

"Don't eat beans, they'll give you gas" isn't necessarily a command, although it uses the imperative mood in part (possibly in its capacity as a carrier of indicative emphasis). "Cinnamon tastes good in cider" may be a command, even though it is entirely indicative in form. It is well-known to be very difficult to impute or to exlude command-ness concerning any statement which does not identify itself as such.

the woman also refused to take the responsibility, blaming the serpent in order to save her hide

Funny, all my text says is

Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The Woman has no opportunity to take or decline responsibility. That she is responsible is the patent premise of the question she is asked. She answers responsively and fully (I ate), with a terse explanation or amplification (she doesn't say which), an entirely permissible and ordinary thing for her to do. She declines to comment on her husband's indictment of her for her actions in giving him the fruit, although the question opens the door for her to do so. Smart girl.

There is no support in the text for a "Three Stooges" staging of this scene, although that is a popular choice among Christians. Going by the text, however, Adam and Adam alone attempted to shift responsibility, speaking first.

The Woman's response here, then, is informed not merely by her new discernment and the high dudgeon of her former friend God, but also by the despicable abandonment of his own flesh by her husband. The serpent did, indeed, deceive her. She thought her husband would be magnificent as a god, but it turns out he's a turd as a man.

However, that ending could not have lasted forever since there would be no explanation as to why we humans are not still in Eden

I am unsure that that was one of the author's objectives. There's even a hint of a different intention in the story before us. God doesn't destroy the Garden or its trees, he only stations a finite obstacle at the entrance. It has been discussed in other threads that "getting back to the Garden" remains, even today, a poetic theme, even in some Christian poetry.

In any case, since gods often die, there would be no necessary problem incorporating eventual death into the final decree. Adam lived almost a millennium anyway, which is pretty good for a god, and no explanation at all of our lifespan.

Did the cake "do" anything to make that action wrong?

No. But the effect I was pointing to was that God introduced an inevitable eventual separation of creator and created by making his remark at all.

In your story, whether your child eats her cake or not, she learns that you are alien from her, and that you have your very own ego-commitments, goals and "plans," different from hers. She may not notice this when you first speak to her about the cake, but she can hardly fail to notice it when her mischievous older brother says to her "Mmm, mmm. Doesn't that cake smell good. Fancy a piece?"

Yes or else no. Whatever happens next, she knows that you and she are not one, that you never were one, and that you do not share her conception of the good. Unlike you, she must act on this knowledge right now, her appreciation of which fact can only further her impression of being different from you.

Little Princess is growing up, which is the English euphemism for what is equally growing apart. Your cake is pretty much beside the point.

-

Edited by eight bits

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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.

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.

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Posted (edited)

PA

Although neither God nor Serpent is an educated native speaker of Hebrew, Solomon is. So when the idiomatic phrase occurs in his dream report, relayed to us by another presumably native speaker, we can use that report for information about what the idiom means in Hebrew.

Since the idiom means something other than "first acquaintance with the concept of evil," and The Woman is depicted as understanding consequences, including that her death is not a good outcome and is something to be avoided, I cannot share your interpretation of the idiom.

I get your meaning. 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. The two phrases are not the same. Genesis is providing them the knowledge of good and evil via experience. Solomon is given the ability to discern good and evil and therefore to be wise in his decisions.

I also do not find any issue of obedience in the story, until God raises it retrospectively.

"Don't eat beans, they'll give you gas" isn't necessarily a command, although it uses the imperative mood in part (possibly in its capacity as a carrier of indicative emphasis). "Cinnamon tastes good in cider" may be a command, even though it is entirely indicative in form. It is well-known to be very difficult to impute or to exlude command-ness concerning any statement which does not identify itself as such.

The language in chapter 2 is much more compelling than "don't eat beans, they give gas". That is more along the lines of a Proverb than a command. I don't know what your translation says, but mine says "And the LORD God commanded the man..." (2:16). It's a direct command, and I checked the Hebrew and the translation is correct as far as I can tell.

Funny, all my text says is

Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The Woman has no opportunity to take or decline responsibility.

I mus disagree on this. Yes, that is what she said, but she is palming responsibility off to the serpent. She could have said "sorry, I screwed up", but that's not what happened.

I am unsure that that was one of the author's objectives. There's even a hint of a different intention in the story before us. God doesn't destroy the Garden or its trees, he only stations a finite obstacle at the entrance. It has been discussed in other threads that "getting back to the Garden" remains, even today, a poetic theme, even in some Christian poetry.

I agree with that, there is an obstacle in the way and the intent is that humans will one day return to Eden (or an Eden-type existence). Whether the story was written specifically to explain why we were no longer there, that nevertheless comes out in the text. This discussion is really focused only on the knowledge of good and evil aspect, but there's a second tree that we seem to be ignoring (Tree of Life). The reason God gives for banishing them from Eden is so that they may not take from the Tree of Life and live forever. I think this is an important aspect to the story that we are overlooking. Essentially I think God is making a statement that the punishment he gave to mankind is not intended to last forever. If they ate from the Tree of Life then they would never die and the punishment laid out to man and woman is an eternal punishment. But God intends for reconciliation and rebirth and so one day will remove the curse.

At least, that's my appraisal of the situation.

In any case, since gods often die, there would be no necessary problem incorporating eventual death into the final decree. Adam lived almost a millennium anyway, which is pretty good for a god, and no explanation at all of our lifespan.

I think we have a fundamental difference here in that I would not ever describe Adam as a "god".

No. But the effect I was pointing to was that God introduced an inevitable eventual separation of creator and created by making his remark at all.

In your story, whether your child eats her cake or not, she learns that you are alien from her, and that you have your very own ego-commitments, goals and "plans," different from hers. She may not notice this when you first speak to her about the cake, but she can hardly fail to notice it when her mischievous older brother says to her "Mmm, mmm. Doesn't that cake smell good. Fancy a piece?"

Yes or else no. Whatever happens next, she knows that you and she are not one, that you never were one, and that you do not share her conception of the good. Unlike you, she must act on this knowledge right now, her appreciation of which fact can only further her impression of being different from you.

Little Princess is growing up, which is the English euphemism for what is equally growing apart. Your cake is pretty much beside the point.

-

That's exactly what happened. Mankind could not help but fail. I suppose you could say God set them up for failure as part of his plan to eventually call us back to him in our choice rather than God's forcing us (and let's not go into my view of predestination/free will, that will really take the thread in a different direction). And I agree that we are alien to God, just as my view of the cake does lead to a little child learning that I am alien to her. This is not inconsistent with being made in God's image as per Genesis 1:26-27. We can be made in God's image without being identical to God (though I believe that one day in the future God's people will no longer be alien to him, on account of one day being made in a new creation when Jesus returns).

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.

~ Regards,

Edited by Paranoid Android

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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.

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.

In this case I only half agree with the annotations in the Oxford University Bible. Satan did tell the truth. One of the messages I take from this is that Satan (who I believe is the serpent, regardless of the arguments to the contrary) is very dangerous because he uses the truth to deceive. If he lied it would be easy to resist him.

What I don't agree with is that God lied. I believe Adam and Eve did die on the day they ate the fruit. But it is more of a spiritual death, by 1- they lost their eternal life and therefore spiritually died, and 2- their action put them on their first step away from the life-giver (God) and on the inexorable march towards death.

But I acknowledge that the Oxford annotation represent the academic approach rather than the theological approach.

~ Regards,

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Posted (edited)

I mus disagree on this. Yes, that is what she said, but she is palming responsibility off to the serpent. She could have said "sorry, I screwed up", but that's not what happened.

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.

In this case I only half agree with the annotations in the Oxford University Bible. Satan did tell the truth. One of the messages I take from this is that Satan (who I believe is the serpent, regardless of the arguments to the contrary) is very dangerous because he uses the truth to deceive. If he lied it would be easy to resist him.

What I don't agree with is that God lied. I believe Adam and Eve did die on the day they ate the fruit. But it is more of a spiritual death, by 1- they lost their eternal life and therefore spiritually died, and 2- their action put them on their first step away from the life-giver (God) and on the inexorable march towards death.

But I acknowledge that the Oxford annotation represent the academic approach rather than the theological approach.

~ Regards,

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.

And this might point to the sort of death God is talking about, the death of innocence or naivety - i.e. they lost their childhood and realised the world isn't necessarily just a place filled with wonder, but danger also. And that wonder and danger do not necessarily wear different clothes. I'm not sure we can read a spiritual death into the narrative unless you equate spirituality with innocence or naivety.

If we examine the behaviour of Adam and Eve prior to this in Genesis we read of them (or Adam alone) naming various animals, learning, running around naked picking fruit. Sounds like the behaviour of children to me. Physically, they may have been mature (although the narrative concerning Adam finding/meeting Eve may be about the awakening of sexuality during pubescence), but intellectually/psychologically they were children.

Edited by Leonardo

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Posted (edited)

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....

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.

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

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Posted (edited)

Seeker

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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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.

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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:

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!

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....

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

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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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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Posted (edited)

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

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PA

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.

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.

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 :).

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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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.

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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.

http://www.masseiana.org/Dupuis/origin_of_all_religious_worship.htm#IX

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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.

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.

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/discover/10.2307/284185?uid=3739800&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=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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Posted (edited)

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

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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.

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.

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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Thou shall not know god is evil, lol

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Posted (edited)

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.gordon.edu/hu/bi/Ted_Hildebrandt/OTeSources/01-Genesis/Text/Articles-Books/Watson_TreeLife_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.evansville.edu/essays/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.evansville.edu/essays/brown.htm

Seems pretty straightforward to me.

Edited by Cybele

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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:

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