Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The first deception - regarding Eve and the apple.

Presumably most of us feel uneasy when deceiving other people.  If you work for the secret services it might be part of the job, but until you become too well practised at this particular skill then you will suffer cognitive dissonance.   After you become good at it, I would imagine that all the people around you will start to suffer from the same problem.

Who started this problem off?

God did.  Yes, to be quite clear, in the garden of Eden, God (with a capital G) was the first deceiver, and yet for some reason people still worship various forms of him.

Why do I say this?  Well - read the bible.  The relevant passages are in Genesis, chapters 2 and 3.

'You may eat from every tree in the garden but not from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for on the day that you eat from it you will surely die.'

Well, we all know what happened.  The talking serpent persuaded Eve to eat from that tree and contrary to what most Jews and Christians say, the serpent actually told her the truth.  The 'deceiving' serpent, known to Jews as 'the evil inclination', was more honest than God.

So they ate the fruit - which the more observant of you will notice is not an apple.  The apple is never mentioned in the biblical account.  It was 'fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil'.

And then they both died?  That is what honest, loving, omnibenevolent and omnipotent God had told them after all.

No - they lived!  Precisely as the serpent had told them!

I'm taking this story as literally as creationists take the first chapter of Genesis.  Yes, yes, you can claim that it is metaphor or allegory, but not with a great deal of intellectual integrity.

Looking at this story again, I notice another odd feature of this whole myth is that God had apparently created Adam and Eve without a knowledge of good and evil.  And yet, because Eve did not recognise that the serpent ('the evil inclination') might have had evil intent (which as I mentioned above is already a non-sequiter), she was somehow 'to blame' for having been deceived.  This is the same justice as we see in Islam today - where a woman who is raped is deemed to be 'to blame' for it

God likes to have his cake and to eat it.  He said to the serpent:

'Because you have done this you are accursed, more than all cattle and wild creatures . . ." etc.

Here is another strange inconsistency though.  The serpent was accursed, and in Leviticus defined as unclean.  Had God wanted the serpent to be most badly affected by humanity surely he would have made it ritually clean and kosher - in other words, edible!

Eat snakes?  Yuk!

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