Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Is it so that God has said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Ok, a talking snake. Of all of the animals the ancient writers chose, they chose a serpent or snake. Ironically, snakes do not have vocal cords. Snakes are intelligent, for reptiles, but as charming as snakes are, they don’t hold candle to mammals or birds. The most cunning beast on land is probably the chimpanzee, our closest relative. In the sea, dolphins and orca probably rival us. The only problem is, how could the unnamed woman (she is not named Eve yet) know not to eat the fruit other than God’s word? She does not know the difference between right or wrong. Again, very odd God would put the tree of knowledge in the garden AND create the talking, cunning serpent to temp this innocent woman. Almost like he wanted her to fail.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food. and that it was pleasing to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make wise, she took of its fruit, and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. And the eyes of both of them were opened. And they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made girdles for themselves. 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 in the middle of the trees of the garden.
So they pressed the giant, flashing, do not touch this button. Not much of a surprise.
God can apparently walk, makes noise when he walks, and can be hidden from. Seems like an ordinary, mortal creature to me.
And the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you? And he said, I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I am naked, and I hid myself.
Where are you? An all powerful god sucks at hide and seek?
And He said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree which I commanded you that you should not eat? And the man said, The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate. And the LORD God said to the woman, What is this you have done? And the woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate.
Why does the LORD God need to ask any of these questions? Shouldn’t he know these answers already? So now we know that the LORD God is not omnipresent, in addition to not being omnipotent.
And the LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every animal of the field. You shall go upon your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.
A serpent cursed to crawl on its belly? Wow, not much of a curse for an animal that moves on its belly. Snakes don’t eat dust, they eat live food, unless this just means the snakes head is close to the ground. Either way, snakes are a very successful group of reptiles and the lack of legs in no way hinders them. I know plenty of women who like snakes and I would never intentionally hurt a snake. They are wonderful and charming creatures.
To the woman He said, I will greatly increase your sorrow and your conception. In pain you shall bear sons, and your desire shall be toward your husband, and he shall rule over you.
This is where God curses women to have difficult and painful childbirth. In reality, women have it hard because of our large brains. Evolution had to make a lot of compromises, dangerous childbirth is the price we pay for knowledge. In a way, the Bible got this right. The very next sentence, misogyny rears its ugly head. I wonder how many men have justified abuse quoting this passage?
And to Adam He said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it! The ground is cursed for your sake. In pain shall you eat of it all the days of your life. It shall also bring forth thorns and thistles to you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.
Farming is a noble and necessary profession, and I am thankful everyone who grows our food. It is not a curse. Looks like we return to dust, in the end. This I actually agree with. No goofy, happy eternal life, or unreasonable hell. Just dust.
And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
And for Adam and his wife the LORD God made coats of skins, and clothed them.
I am glad she has a name finally. God made them nice coats, leather and everything, so they have that going for them.
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man has 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 forever, therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he had been taken. And He drove out the man. And He placed cherubs at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
The ‘us’ came back in this section. Must be a bleed-over from the polytheistic oral stories this book is based on. Wouldn’t it be nifty if we found a tree surrounded by flame sword wielding cherubs in modern Iraq? Lack of this discovery is disappointing.