I’ll Have the Garden Salad with Damnation Dressing

The Christian story of the “fall of man” is a tale of magnificent power, poor decision-making skills, cunning linguists, and problems…lots and lots of problems. I’ll give you the ones that immediately spring to mind. This takes into account the literature from the Bible in Genesis 1:26-31, Genesis 2, and Genesis 3:1-19.

Problem #1: Ignorance
God creates human beings with free will – although he never gave us a choice as to whether or not we wanted free will or even to be created at all. As Christopher Hitchens says, “Of course we have free will; we have no choice!” What god does not create humans with is the knowledge of good and evil – that is to say, they had no sense of right and wrong and no way to tell if disobedience was a sin – or even what “disobedience” or “sin” were. I doubt their vocabulary included such complex words. They were completely innocent.

Problem #2: Temptation
God creates the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” (sounds like a metaphor, right?) right smack dab in the middle of the ignorant human beings’ living space. This tree produces delicious-looking, aromatic fruit (not apples though, they’re more like “knowledgeberries”) so – of course – god tells the humans not to touch it. In fact, it would probably be best if they didn’t even look at it. Perhaps just forget it’s even there…even though it’s in your living room. Oh, and it’ll kill you.

Problem #3: Clarity
God instructs the humans not to eat the fruit and tells them that the day they eat the fruit they’ll die, right then and there. He didn’t give them a definition of “die” and from everything I’ve heard, the humans at this point had no experience whatsoever with death because everything was perfect in the Garden and nobody ate meat…not even the meat-eating predators. One could argue that telling someone who has never seen or heard of death that they’re going to die doesn’t really have the impact that you’d expect. Anyway (SPOILER ALERT), the point is we’ll see later that god bent the truth on this one because the humans didn’t die the same day they ate the fruit and, in fact, lived on to bear many children.

Problem #4: Outside Influence
God creates a talking, ambiguous serpent and sets it loose in the Garden, fully aware that the paths of the humans and this serpent would cross and that the serpent was a tricky little guy who derived pleasure from messing with people’s heads (or at least, it would seem). Now, one could argue that setting up a scenario like this is a test. I would argue that this scenario is nothing short of a masterful chef’s no-bake recipe for disaster. Either way, it displays a woeful lack of foresight on god’s part.

The talking serpent convinces the woman (oh, of course it’s the woman because they’re weaker than men, right?) to just have a taste of the knowledgeberries because she’s most likely misinterpreting what god is saying and should actually be listening to what his words mean. Now, I don’t know how things worked in the Garden but if I were confronted with an eloquently-spoken Gecko accosting me with persuasive arguments, I’d be inclined to buy his insurance.

Problem #5: Nonintervention
Anyway, the woman exercises her (coerced) free will by eating the fruit and convinces the man that he also misinterpreted what god meant so he eats it as well. God is chilling somewhere else at this point. Maybe he was in the shower or something. Of course when god gets back and finds out (didn’t he already know?) he damns them and all of their descendants for all time. That includes you, bub.

Conclusion
What have we learned from this story? It’s best not to make decisions on an empty stomach, right? No. We’ve learned that god is a sadist who intentionally created humans ignorant so that he could have the pleasure of damning them forever after laughing at their decision to save 30% or more on car insurance (they didn’t even own a car!).

Now, the creation myth is said to be allegorical by some and literal by others but no matter how you slice it, it’s got problems from a moral standpoint.

For one, god gives humans free will but keeps them completely ignorant of right and wrong and therefore the consequences of their actions. That’s pretty bad. To make things worse, he puts the innocent-looking device that will cause their destruction within their arms’ reach. That’s horrible. Let’s not stop there though, because we haven’t yet introduced the cunning serpent who gets created with the powers of speech and convinces the humans (who don’t know right from wrong) that it’s OK to set the doomsday device off. That’s detestable! But wait, there’s more! Next we’re going to damn the humans for making a choice that was a product of their god-given free will combined with their god-induced ignorance. That’s disgusting! Don’t stop there, though. While we’re damning people we may as well extend the punishment out for eternity, applicable to every descendant of the humans without exception. That’s just pure, unfettered evil.

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18 comments

  1. Actually, it’s a pretty handy scare tactic. Since we are all “doomed” from the beginning, we just “have to” believe in God (and his hippie son Jesus) and that’s the “only way our sins from eons ago” will ever be erased.

    Wait… I think that was your point 🙂

  2. You nailed it.

    @ange_lae – Yep, yep. It’s quite a racket when you think it through for a minute, isn’t it? Not only are you born a sinner, but anything that’s natural (sexual desires, masturbation, craving food just a little too much), and other not-so-natural but quite understandable things  (such as wanting to have what others have and working towards that end), are all sins!  Imagine that. You have to apologize for your natural instincts.

  3. @Unstoppable_Inner_Strength – Oh ofc, but that’s the only way to receive true absolution!!

    I’ve always – well, obviously not always, but for a long time now – maintained that Christianity breeds off of fear and guilt.

    Guilt for having feelings that are “shameful” and “sinful” (which are actually NATURAL).

    Fear of “going to hell” because of those “sins”.

    Find a way to instill fear and guilt into a person and BAM! You have a believer.

  4. @ange_lae – This is exactly why it irritates me so much.
    My drama class did a heart to heart session where we shared stories about our lives and (if) we had any problems. A few people had parents who had died, eating disorders and some were having trouble living a homosexual lifestyle because of [religious] relatives. My friend is a Christian and the first thing she did after we were all in such a vulnerable state is say that “You don’t have to keep going through pain, God will save you. That never would have happened if you prayed to God…” etc… or “Join God…”
    It’s like… how dare you manipulate people into believing that praying etc will end what they’re going through! Especially when they are so vulnerable right now. Sadly this is what happens to those who are abusers of drugs, or those in poverty. Times where people are feeling hurt or vulnerable makes it easy for Christians to manipulate them into joining their cult. *sigh*. So irritating -____- Ugh. And she saw it as a time to reach out to people… This is why people who are overweight are more likely to watch an advertisement that calls them fat, gets them to think about being overweight and then shows them a solution. The people watching become aware of their bodies and think that hey maybe this person on TV does have all the answers with my weight problems! Let me buy that treadmill…

    I agree with your mindset 110% [And everyone else above ^^]

  5. @petiteme_x – Hearing your experience with drama class reminded me of the experience I recently had when I went to church with my friend. If you read that post, you’ll see the same tactic being employed.

    And, thank you. I became quite fond of it after writing it myself. 

  6. @petiteme_x – It infuriates me, as well, if I let myself think about it for too long. I’m trying very hard to teach myself to just let people do what they want. As long as it isn’t directly affecting me, whatever. BUT as soon as somebody starts preaching to me, Game On.

  7. I always had a problem with you “you don’t get to have knowledge” bit. Men are better off from having knowledge than they would be for remaining ignorant, regardless of how blissful that ignorance may be. And Milton himself said that. 

  8. I always find the whole serpent aspect strange. I constantly read that it was really Satan that possessed the snake and convinced Eve to eat the forbidden pomegranate or whatever, but that makes me wonder why the snake had to be punished for it (Gen 3:14-15). Was the snake a Satan-worshiper or something?

  9. @Jimbo1023 – I find it interesting on a couple of different levels. First, the Bible gives no indication at all that Satan had a hand in the situation and that makes it all the more strange that this creature had the powers of speech. It seriously gives me a mental image of something like Barney.

    Second, while it says “serpent” I think everybody agrees that it’s a snake (because of the punishment that follows). If the punishment for a snake is crawling on its belly, then is that really a punishment? I mean, we all burn in Hell but a snake just has to crawl around? They seem to do just fine anyway, don’t they?

    Third, snakes don’t eat dirt. I don’t know what that part of the punishment is all about.

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