posted on Nov, 24 2013 @ 04:04 PM
What was the “fatal fruit” consumed by Adam and Eve?
In the first place, it certainly wasn’t an apple.
It’s an apple in the art of western Europe, partly because the apple is such a popular tree, and partly because of the wordplay using the Latin text
of Genesis. MALUM- “evil” or “apple” depending on the context.
Nor was it the discovery of sex.
When Adam and Eve were introduced into the story, we were told that God made them man and wife.
That implies the procreation of children, which is the Biblical purpose of marriage.
The idea that there is something evil and unspiritual about sex, as such, is more mediaeval than Biblical.
The Old Testament ideal of a perfect life is marriage with lots and lots of children.
We need to look at what the text itself says about the effect of the fruit;
“You will be like God, knowing good and evil”.
Knowing; the Hebrew word translated as “know” is not just about knowledge in the mind.
It includes what people can do and experience, as when a man “knows” his wife.
Good and evil; if they know good AND evil, side by side, that implies that they know them as distinct.
Their “knowledge” relates to the boundary line between them.
In fact it comes close to knowing good FROM evil.
So this will be the kind of knowledge that makes judgements on the rightness and wrongness of things, though it need not be limited to moral
That explains what is meant by the previous phrase, “You will be like God”.
They will be like God in that they “know good and evil”.
So this points to God as the one who determines what is right or wrong.
If they do this for themselves, they are imitating one of his features, and putting themselves in his place.
So that will be the point.
If they’re claiming a “knowledge of good and evil”, that means making their own decisions about these things, instead of depending on God’s
In fact they were already doing this when they took the fruit in the first place.
They were making their own assessment of the fruit as “good for food, a delight to the eyes, and to be desired to make one wise”.
Therefore they were already disregarding God’s judgement on the fruit as “not-to-be-touched”.
That makes the taking of the fruit a very fitting symbol of the act of claiming independent judgement.
We were told at the beginning of the story that Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed of the fact.
But one of the first effects of eating the fruit is the arrival of shame, symbolised by the arrival of clothing.
“They sewed figge leaves together, and made themselves breeches”, as one of the old translations puts it.
They did this because they recognised that they were naked.
The state of nakedness becomes something to be feared and avoided.
To be naked is to be vulnerable, and this is one of the undertones in the other Biblical references.
We might think of Noah, lying drunken and exposed.
While the disguised Joseph claims to believe that his brothers have come to Egypt “to spy out the nakedness of the land”, that is, to identify the
points of weakness.
But the real point in the Eden story is their newly discovered unwillingness to expose themselves to God and experience his judgement.
Therefore they hide themselves from the presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden.
“I was afraid because I was naked”, and this was a kind of nakedness which could not be concealed by clothing alone.
So the act of hiding and the act of clothing themselves appear to be two different symbols of the same thing, namely their awareness of something
about themselves which they would prefer to keep concealed.
This is what we might call “consciousness of sin”.
They know that they have rejected God’s judgement in preferring their own, and they may be already conscious of the flaws in their own judgement.
This independence is what constitutes the “falling away” from God’s will, which takes them away from God and isolates them from him.
So the best way to understand “Sin” would be to regard the word as a label for the state of being alienated from God.
And “Original Sin” would refer to the fact that all of us are born into that state of alienation and detachment from God’s will, prone to making
wrong decisions based on our private understanding of the difference between good and evil.
Then part of the evidence for Original Sin would be the current state of the world, which is clearly the result of a long succession of wrong human
The whole of the rest of the Bible revolves around the problem of bringing our lives back into accordance with God’s will, and the question is not
finally resolved until the last chapters of Revelation.