Genesis has two stories of the creation of man. The first chapter says: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.” The second chapter says: “Then Yahweh God formed man from the soil of the ground, and blew the breath of life into his nostrils and man became a living being.”
In the first story, God created first the animals and later man; in the second story Yahweh God created first man, then the animals and then the woman: “Then Yahweh God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And while he was asleep, He took one of his ribs and closed the flesh up again forthwith. Yahweh God fashioned the rib he had taken from the man into a woman.”
While the first story allows us to see man and woman as equals, the second story suggests that man is superior to her. That story is extremely intriguing since we are born of a woman, and we can assume that in ancient times women were considered prior and superior to men. Therefore, it may have promoted the shift from a matriarchal society to a patriarchal society.
From paying more attention to the second creation story, people assume that Genesis says that Adam and Eve were the first human beings on Earth. This is a problem because the chronology in the Bible allows us to calculate that Adam and Eve lived less than 6,000 years ago and scientists have dated certain human skeletons as more than a million years old.
Both believers and non-believers assume that a sacred book tells the whole truth and that the Bible considers Adam and Eve to be the first humans on Earth. For non-believers, the dating of those human skeletons demonstrates that not everything in the Bible is true. For believers it demonstrates that scientists are mistaken, as they give more credibility to the authority of the Bible than to that of science. Non-believers thus conclude that the Bible doesn’t deserve any credibility; believers conclude that science doesn’t deserve any credibility.
To understand what Adam and Eve refer to, we must pay attention to the information in Genesis before the flood: “When people began being numerous on Earth, the sons of God, looking at the daughters of man, saw how beautiful they were, and married as many as they chose.”
What makes Adam and Eve different from the generations before them –in the image of God He created them, male and female he created them– is that they ate the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve were expelled from paradise because after eating the forbidden fruit they were no longer able to live in harmony. From then on, some (the gods) knew how to live in harmony while others (the human beings) didn’t.
One is able to live in harmony or not. The sons that were born from the relationships between the daughters of humans and the sons of God later lived among man. Mankind benefited from these mixed unions because those children inherited certain qualities from the gods.
Genesis doesn’t mention unions between the daughters of the gods and the sons of men. The daughters of the gods avoided becoming pregnant with a human child because this entailed their expulsion from paradise as such children were destined to put an end to harmony since they inherited certain qualities from man.
The information that Adam called his wife Eve because she was the mother of all living, doesn’t mean that she was the first woman on Earth, but that humans inherited not being able to live in harmony through her. Since God warned Adam and Eve that if they ate the forbidden fruit they would die without remedy, this reference to those who live is very striking.
The fact that eating the forbidden fruit caused the expulsion of Adam and Eve from paradise, means we have to investigate what fruit it was or what it refers to. The Bible doesn’t say it was an apple. This fallacy has done a lot of harm. Since there is nothing wrong with eating an apple, it made people assume that what mattered was the prohibition and that Adam and Eve deserved punishment for disobeying God. They thus stopped asking why there was a prohibition, and therefore didn’t realize that staying away from the forbidden fruit had previously allowed Adam and Eve to live in harmony.
That one prohibition had achieved something that neither the 10 commandments nor all our current laws have ever achieved: that each person respected the others and his environment. In the days of paradise, no other laws were necessary. Even the 10 commandments were superfluous. The fact that God didn’t forbid eating other creatures, but prescribed a vegetarian diet, was because as long as they stayed away from the forbidden fruit, no one would think of killing other creatures or causing them harm.
The tree of the forbidden fruit is also called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because evil didn’t exist in the days of paradise. People behaved well because each generation imitated the previous one. After living in harmony for many generations, they no longer knew what was good and what was bad. Eating the forbidden fruit started a chain reaction of consequences that allowed people to differentiate between good and evil: when they behaved well, the consequences were pleasant, when they behaved badly, they were unpleasant.
Genesis points out that the forbidden fruit has no seeds, is good to eat, pleasing to the eye, and excellent for gaining wisdom. This is the case of the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) whose fruits contain alcohol before they fall to the ground. Like strawberries –this is why it is called strawberry tree– the fruits of the strawberry tree don’t have a visible seed inside.
The forbidden fruit is a metaphor for drugs. Someone who takes drugs, loses control because he starts paying so much attention to certain aspects (for instance, that he wants to have sex) that he ignores others (for instance, that she doesn’t want to have sex), and he focuses so much on the short-term consequences of his behaviour (to get satisfaction) that he ignores the long-term ones. He thus loses his good perception of reality.
Drugs led our ancestors to violence. That caused traumas to the victims and damaged their perception of reality. For this reason, if today we want to regain a good perception of reality, apart from abstaining from drugs, we must treat our traumas.
Many take drugs to enjoy life. But why do they need them to enjoy life? Why can’t they always enjoy life? Drugs are like medicine: instead of taking them, we must ask what makes us sick.
The fact that Eve convinced Adam to eat the forbidden fruit, and God later cursed women, has made many theologians blame women for the loss of paradise. But God also cursed men and if we blame Eve for having convinced Adam, we must blame the serpent for having convinced Eve, and blame God for having created both the serpent and the forbidden fruit.
God said to the woman: “Your misery will be as plenty as your childbirths. You will give birth to your children in pain. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will dominate you.” Since living in harmony with others requires living in harmony with the environment that provides the resources people need to survive, in the days of paradise couples had only one son and one daughter. Eating other creatures affects the growth of the foetus, which causes painful births. To replace those who died during childbirth, women began to have more children. By spending more time caring for them, women then began to get dominated by their husbands.
The next 10 articles are:
6 PHILOSOPHY versus THEOLOGY 0 The snake
7 PHILOSOPHY versus THEOLOGY 0 Cain and Abel
8 PHILOSOPHY versus THEOLOGY 0 Cain’s descendants
9 PHILOSOPHY versus THEOLOGY 0 The Flood
10 PHILOSOPHY versus THEOLOGY 0 Noah
11 PHILOSOPHY versus THEOLOGY 0 Evil since childhood
12 PHILOSOPHY versus THEOLOGY 0 Repopulating the Earth
13 PHILOSOPHY versus THEOLOGY 0 The tower of Babel
14 PHILOSOPHY versus THEOLOGY 0 An only language
15 PHILOSOPHY versus THEOLOGY 0 Whores