1Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?Again we hear that knowledge is a sin, in a Promethean or Icarian don't-horn-in-on-God's-action kind of way.
2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8And 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 amongst the trees of the garden.
9And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done?
And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
14And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
16Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
22And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is 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 for ever:
23Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
My recent debates with Christianists give me a sense of what this is all about: they believe that morality is absolute and that it comes only from God.
Man, they believe, is incapable of understanding what good and bad are. Their entire world-view would collapse if they had to accept that we live in a world of relative morality, and that it's ours to influence and interpret.
This drives their need to watch life through black-and-white-colored glasses. The only other colors they see are the ones that don't run. America's imperialistic misadventures and a history marked by slavery and genocide of native peoples do not compute — they must be ignored. Iran-Contra can't matter. Abu Ghraib can't matter.
God's Blessed America = good. Pure good, goddamn it, and burn in Hell, motherfucker, if you don't get it.
In verse #8, Adam and Eve hide from the old man, leaving him to beg "Where art thou?" I was under the impression that God was omniscient. Ain't he?
Adam rats out his woman in verse #12, even though he knew full well that he wasn't supposed to eat the fruit. Disappointing to see that the first man was a dick.
Verse #16 is pretty fucked-up. Because Eve plucked a couple of apples (actually, are they ever called "apples," or just "fruit"?), childbirth is going to be painful, and women will be subservient to men. Now I see where Adam gets it.
Weird punishment in verse #17. It seems to say that your punishment for eating that fruit is that you'll keep on eating that fruit. Oh, and you and the ground you walk on will be cursed. Maybe that makes sense, the way the sergeant let Private Pyle eat the smuggled donut in Full Metal Jacket.
There are some curious gaps in the story. How do Adam and Eve know what dying is (verse #3)? Or what bread is (verse #19)? At the very least, those would have been interesting subplots.
Speaking of story development, in verse #22, God says that man is now a god. Sounds like it should be the end of the story: God makes man, man becomes god. Nice and circular.
But there are 1186 chapters to go. I hope this isn't going to be one of those AI or Return of the King deals, with a gazillion false endings.
Well, there's at least one remaining mystery to follow: if man is a god, why do we need all those churches? Seems kind of masturbatory.
And what's up with the "tree of life"? That sounds like a pretty big plot device to throw in here and not explain. The forbidden fruit was from the tree of knowledge; with that one, we were told about the serpent and the Gremlins-like warning, but God's ghostwriter can't spare a couple of syllables of exposition for the "tree of life"? Inquiring minds want to know.
Finally, Adam (along with, I reckon, Eve) is driven out of the Garden of Eden to try his hand at farming. Just like "Green Acres," but without the catchy theme song. Hmm... Eve, Eva — coincidence?
If they've been driven out, I'm not sure how they're supposed to keep eating that knowledge fruit.
But at least the chapter closes with a bit more about the tree of life: it's guarded by baby angels and a rotating fiery sword. Easily the weirdest security tandem until Turner & Hooch.