Genesis 3: The Fall

Earnest Examination

To start, I’ve realized that I have never read the Bible front to back, and so would like to remedy that. On some of my posts, I quote from the Bible, which I feel is a little insincere if I’m not going to study the whole Bible. So this is my chance to get closer to the Word and really understand the book that I occasionally quote from. 

Originally, I was going to start with the New Testament as a friend has advised me to do, since when I started on the Old Testament I kept getting hung up on what I saw at the time were contradictions, and baseless wickedness and corruption. It repelled me from the Bible. She mentioned that that is exactly why Jesus Christ came. To do away with the “old” ways and bring about a new, better way of living. Which is to love and care about one another. The reason the Old Testament is so important is so that we know the conditions of how the world used to be, before Jesus Christ arrived to show us a more peaceful and loving way to be. 

Now that I feel I may have a better understanding of this, I am compelled to start from “The Beginning“, both literally and figuratively. After having attempted Matthew 3, I realize that I am constantly having the urge to go back through the Bible to check references and names, etc. Since my desire is to take this one step at a time and build upon the knowledge based upon the timeline laid out before us in the Bible, I have decided to revisit the time I tried to read the Bible front to back, and see if my old views still stand. 

Make no mistake, I will still have questions and ponderings about why God decided to do the things He’s done (and of course more questions on top of that), but I have learned not to condemn or judge such actions since I do feel some things are beyond our understandings and it is not my place to judge. I will try my best to look at it from an unbiased and simply curious, thoughtful mind. 

To lay it out in a way that I can manage, I have highlighted the texts of verses that I either don’t understand or have a comment or question about in yellow. And the comments I’ve left beneath it will be of a smaller font and using brown text.

I would love it if you’d join me in this journey and if you have any insights and/or knowledge of these chapters/verses etc., please feel free to share with me and the other readers. Any chance to get a clearer understanding of the Bible and Jesus Christ would be welcomed with open arms.

All verses used are from biblestudytools.com (NIV) Genesis 3

The Fall

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
So according to this verse, the serpent is referred to as a wild animal. “more crafty than any of the wild animals”. This verse is not alluding to the serpent being satan. In fact, no where in this whole chapter does it refer to the serpent being a devil. Or sent by the devil. Or being possessed by the devil. We are to assume that the serpent is just that, a snake from the animal kingdom.
Now, to get into this subject more fully, and of course, without ever really coming to a firm conclusion, it might be a good idea to keep in mind that in almost every single culture, there is a depiction of some kind of serpent or reptilian like creature.
Some different depictions across multiple different mythologies and beliefs are Jormungand (Norse, Celtic, etc.), Medusa/Hydra (Greek, Roman), Quetzalcoatl (Mesoamerican),  Apophis (Egypt), Naga (China, Hindu, Buddhism, etc.), Itzamna (Maya), – just to name a small few.
I don’t want to delve into the mythologies of other cultures too much, because it is something I can take a long time in, so please check out the names/links above for further information on those beings if you’d like (and there’s much more where that came from…).

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

Without further information on this event, I am assuming that Eve is perfectly okay with a serpent speaking to her. And she’s able to speak to it back. Was this so with all of the animals in the world? Were human beings and animals able to understand each other? Or, since Eve was still too naive to know the difference at this point, she just accepted that this was perfectly normal?
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.
5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
So when I first started trying to read the Bible in full quite a few years back, this is when I start questioning the ommiscient/all-knowing aspect of the creator. God knows, already, that Eve will be tempted by the serpent, yes? God knows, already, the downward spiral that it will put the world into. To put it mildly, if we are to take the Bible’s account to heart, the first two human beings on the planet did not even make it out of the Garden of Eden without disobeying a command from God. And if God knew that this would happen, then obviously He allowed it.
Is it a matter of free-will? Predetermination? God’s plan? This early into the Bible it doesn’t mention free will yet. Actually, I am honestly not sure if the Bible mentions we have free will at all. I will have to keep reading to find out.
And I suppose since I am not knowledgeable enough on these matters, this topic alludes me still. I can’t understand the grasp of an all-knowing God, who commands Adam and Eve to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, knowing that they will eat from it anyway. Why put the tree there in the first place?

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
I will just chalk this up to Eve, in all her innocence and naivety, not “knowing” any better and choosing to listen to a serpent than the all-powerful God. And again, we don’t know the timeframe between when all this happened. How long were Adam and Eve in the Garden living blissfully unaware that there even was a division of “good” and “evil”? Could they have been committing “evil” acts this whole time and not be aware of it? Or was their innocence and virtue not tainted by such a thing as “evil” in the first place and they simply lived in peace and harmony with no knowledge that one could even do anything bad? Perhaps their hearts and minds were just carefree and happy, without sadness, worry, hate, anger, etc., etc.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Now obviously these verses are not talking about our physical eyes, at least not in the sense of visually seeing our surroundings. It must be talking about a “conscious seeing”. They went throughout their whole life up to that point obviously seeing each other without being covered up, but because they had no knowledge that it was a “shameful” thing, they ignored it. They just didn’t “see” it like that. They were just like all of the animals. Completely naked from birth. Animals, babies and really small children, and those with certain disabilities, do not “see” these things either. They are not conscious of it.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
This verse describes God as physically walking in the Garden. It would be nice if we had some form of physical description here, but we do not. How tall was God, how old did He look, what was He clothed in? If nothing more, but to satisfy a curious mind. Of course, being God, He undoubtedly could appear in any form He wished.
9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
Again, God should already know this. And I’m sure He does. So is all of His actions just a pretense? Is He just playing along with the role that He was destined to fulfill?
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
I want to mention how interesting it is that even though the Bible itself did not specify that the fruit was an apple, there is still many things in today’s culture that depict it as one. There is also many references to the apple being the fruit of temptation and also used as symbols or metaphors for different companies. The famous tech giant Apple has this symbol with a bite taken out of it, Snow White gets tempted to take a poisoned apple from the evil queen, there are also different beliefs associated with the apple as there were with the serpents in different cultures.

I also want to mention a “fun fact” (or a creepy one, actually…) that involves an AI program that Mike Sellers was working on for DARPA (which is scary in itself…).

AI cannibalism

In the early 2000s, Mike Sellers was working on social AI agents for DARPA. During one simulation, two AI agents named Adam and Eve were given a few basic skills. They knew how to eat, but not what to eat. When they tried to eat apples from a tree, they felt happy. When they tried to eat wood from the same tree they didn’t get any reward.

So far so good, right? Things started going haywire when another AI agent, Stan, was introduced. Adam and Eve learned associatively. Because Stan was hanging around when they were eating apples, the agents learned to associate Stan with both eating and the feeling of happiness.

Guess what happened next?

“At the time it was pretty horrifying as we realized what had happened,” writes Sellers. “In this AI architecture, we tried to put as few constraints on behaviors as possible… but we did put in a firm no cannibalism restriction after that: no matter how hungry they got, they would never eat each other again.”

Scary smart tech: 9 real times AI has given us the creeps

It also shouldn’t be lost on anyone that the other “agent” exposed to Adam and Eve was named “Stan” – just one letter short of “Satan”. Just one of many strange “coincidences” that DARPA has been involved in.
Moving on, I also want to mention that another reason why “apple” was referred to as being the fruit of the tree, could stem from the latin word “malum“, which the definitions include: bad/evil/apple.

13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.

It’s very odd that the serpent depicted in these verses, again, referred to as a wild animal like all the others, has more knowledge than Eve and Adam. However, most of us know that this serpent is the devil, but what’s interesting is that God seems to forsake the entire species due to this specific serpent. And because God curses the serpent to having to crawl on his belly the remainder of their life, we can assume that before this happened, the serpent had feet. Of course, in the majority of biblical art of the serpent tempting Eve, he is usually seen as a snake wrapped around the tree of knowledge.
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
Well, I can’t speak for other married women as I have never been married, but I do have a child. I can honestly say God is wrong in this manner because even if I were to be married, my desire would not be for my husband (sorry gentlemen, not an insult, just not the main thing on my heart) but my desire would be more for my child/ren and if it were to ever come to choosing a man over my child, well, the man will always be out of luck. So… God is wrong in this subject. Or I’m just an anomaly. Or perhaps this message was reserved for Eve alone, although the childbearing for the rest of women is certainly true.
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
Looking at the origin of the word “Eve”, we can see that it means: Hebrew word חָוָה (chawah) meaning “to breathe” or the related word חָיָה (chayah) meaning “to live”. And, according to this verse, if we are to take the Bible literally, then all of us here are indeed brothers and sisters if we are all related and descendants from Eve.
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
Skin from what?
22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
Again, I wonder about the timeframe of Adam and Eve’s stay in the Garden before they were expelled. Because according to this verse, it seems they have not yet eaten from the other tree that they could have chosen to eat and “live forever”. So how long did they live in the Garden? How many different trees did they eat from? Obviously we know that they ate from the tree of knowledge, but I take it that they have not eaten from the tree of life? It was, apparently, right next to the forbidden tree. What if they chose to eat from the tree of life first, and then the tree of knowledge? What would have happened then? And obviously there was quite a significant timeframe from when they first ate the forbidden fruit and their encounter with God since they had enough time to sew figs together to make coverings. What if between this time they would have already reached out and ate from the tree of life as well?
Too many “what ifs” I suppose, but I do have an inquiring mind and seek out answers in all manner of things.

23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
So if we take this verse literally, God placed cherubim (not sure if this is singular or plural, as there is still debate about the different terminology used and the dates that they were used or transitioned from) just on the east side of the Garden (why only on one side? Wouldn’t He want it protected on all sides? Is there a reason why there is/are cherubim guarding just one side of it? Could it be that the entrance to the Garden is one entry-way only, and the other sides are all blocked off already to where no man or beast could break through?) and, as well as the cherubim guarding the east side, so is a flaming sword flashing back and forth. …
Are these visible to the naked-eye? Is it a spiritual force that only those with discerning eyes can see? Could it be astronomical? Such as a star or celestial being of some sort watching over and guarding the Garden? If the tree of life is so important and not for human food anymore, why doesn’t God just remove it from the Garden? He placed it in there, surely He can remove it. 

So the questions I have involve God’s omniscience, most of all, because He is the creator of all and knows all. In future chapters, we see references to the book of life and how God knows people before they were even in the womb, so it almost seems like the world is playing out in some kind of cosmic play. Ultimately, my belief is that Love always wins, so regardless of my questions and confusions, this is the path that I’ve set on.

And again I want to reiterate that some of my thoughts and theories may be way off base, and I also research some other things on the side as well to try and get a broader understanding of what I’m reading, so please bear with me, or, even better, if you have insights that bring more light to these verses, please let me know.

I enjoy bouncing off theories and theology off of each other and love to hear other people’s perspectives on things. Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

Fact checking is extremely important. I want to reiterate not to take everything at face value; no matter what you read, where you read it from, or who you hear it from. And to be clear, do not rely on “fact checking” websites to give you accurate information either. These are just as likely, (if not even more likely…), to feed false information and false debunking accounts to manipulate the reader. Please take everything into consideration before adhering to a certain narrative – and always keep your mind open to other possibilities.

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