Purpose of the Adam and Eve story?

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Masnev
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Purpose of the Adam and Eve story?

Post #1

Post by Masnev »

It seems that not all Christians agree as to whether the six days of creation are literal or figurative.

Questions for those that believe in God and also believe that the six days of creation is figurative;
-Do you believe that the Adam and Eve story is false? If not, how can it be true?
-If the story is false, then why do you think it was written?

Thank you,
Masnev

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ttruscott
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Post #2

Post by ttruscott »

I accept the Garden of Eden story to be true.

But I wonder: do you accept Aesop's stories as true? Must they be accept4ed as true to teach us a lesson? IF the garden story was a parable, would that make it untrue to you?

Peace, Ted
PCE Theology as I see it...

We had an existence with a free will in Sheol before the creation of the physical universe. Here we chose to be able to become holy or to be eternally evil in YHWH's sight. Then the physical universe was created and all sinners were sent to earth.

This theology debunks the need to base Christianity upon the blasphemy of creating us in Adam's sin.

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Re: Purpose of the Adam and Eve story?

Post #3

Post by Divine Insight »

I would like to answer your question from both the perspective of a "Christian", and from the perspective of a person who has ultimately rejected Christianity on the grounds that it doesn't appear to have come from any God.

The reason I can answer from both of these perspectives is because I have experienced both perspectives.

The Literal Adam and Eve

As a young child I was of course taught that the Adam and Eve story was literal. They didn't say that it was literal, but they certainly taught it as though it had actually happened and Adam and Eve were actual individuals.

Of course as a young child we are all gullible and readily accept whatever our parents and pastors tell us. But as we grow older we begin to realize that things don't make literal sense. Then we move into the "non-literal interpretations" aspect of Christianity. Something that is absolutely required if the religion is to be kept afloat at all.

Adam and Eve as an Allegory

At that point we are taught that the story of Adam and Eve is just a allegory describing our very own relationship with God. They claim is that we have all "Fallen from Grace" by doing things we know that we shouldn't do. We refuse to obey authority, especially the authority of God, and rebel against those constraints. Therefore we are in dire need of correcting our rebellion from God and the only way we can do this is by accepting Jesus as our Savior and supporting the religion to the hilt, including all its ignorant bigotries.

So that's the idea. The story isn't about two people named Adam and Eve who lived long ago, it's actually a story that is supposed to be about every individual human on earth. We are all "Adam and Eve" and we have all refused to be perfectly obedient to authority.

Why I Now Reject Christianity

Of course this is not the only reason by far, but it's certainly one of them.

The idea of a God who creates innocent and "gullible" people like Adam and Eve (or you and me as new born babies) and then condemns them for not being perfect from the day of birth forward, is simply absurd, IMHO.

Surely an all-wise supremely intelligent creator would know that such an expectation is utterly foolish. It makes no sense to hold people responsible for every thought and action from the day they are born. Even human parents understand that children need to be nurtured and mentored. And we also know that the way in which they are nurtured or mentored can have a profound affect on how they turn out and what their precise actions might ultimately be.

It is my position that the Christian story is simply not compatible with a creator who is creating humans from scratch as innocent babies.

A far more convincing story would have been a story of a God who simply tells Adam and Eve that they will make mistakes and wrong choices and that this is all part of a learning process and that they need to go through this university called "Life on Earth" in order to learn lessons. And the God could then explain to them what they would need to do in order to pass the course.

Obviously in this scenario no human would be expected to make straight A's from the day they are born forward. That would extremely unrealistic. It makes no sense to fail a student for making mistakes. But Christianity proclaims that all sin is equal and that if you commit so much as a single sin then you fail and the wages of failing is death.

Moreover, "Life on Earth" as a university to learn lesson is nothing at all like a "Fall from Grace". So life as a university where we are supposed to learn is not compatible with the Biblical story or Adam and Eve.

Finally, we can also see in the New Testament that Christianity is most certainly not compatible with life being a lesson or university. You can't have Jesus dying on the cross to pay for the students who are flunking out. And all those students need to do is accept Jesus as their "Savior" and they pass, whilst other students who were doing much better fail simply because they weren't "Perfect from Birth", and every day of their lives.

In short, I totally reject the "Fall from Grace" scenario as not being compatible with an all-wise Creator.

The idea of life being a University where we all must learn about good and evil would have been a far more difficult religion to reject. But there is absolutely no way that the Bible can be twisted from being about a "Fall from Grace" to becoming a story about being a "School of Life".

So I reject the religion as being unrealistic and incompatible with a truly intelligent creator.

It can only have been the invention of men.

That's my position on the Adam and Eve Story.
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Re: Purpose of the Adam and Eve story?

Post #4

Post by cnorman19 »

[Replying to post 1 by Masnev]

I am not a Christian, so perhaps your post was not addressed to me; but here is my perspective as a Jew (i.e., of the culture and people who PRODUCED the Eden story):

The first chapters of Genesis are literature. They are stories, never intended to be read as literal fact or history. That's pretty hard to miss in the Hebrew -- Adam means "mankind," and the word is derived from "blood"; Hawwah, "Eve," is derived from "breath." They are folktale, myth -- stories. And, like other stories of that kind, their meaning changes in every generation, as every generation looks at them from their own perspective. Literature -- stories -- are supposed to do that. That's what literature is FOR, to provoke thought and reflection.

If anyone wants a book that contains truth and only truth that will never, ever change, pick up a book on basic mathematics. I don't know of any others that fill that demand.
"The Torah is true, and some of it may even have happened." -- Rabbi William Gershon

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Post #5

Post by Masnev »

Thank you for the responses! I see all your points.

If the first chapters of Genesis are literature rather than history, then why do so many Christians still treat them as history?

How does God make Himself known to mankind if not through the events of this story?

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Post #6

Post by Divine Insight »

Masnev wrote: How does God make Himself known to mankind if not through the events of this story?
I don't know.

Given that the story was merely an allegory to make a point, then what exactly was the point being made?

It would seem to me that even accepted as pure literature for the sake of just making a point, the point isn't very clear.

What I see is a God who is 'over-reacting' to the behaviors of Adam and Eve (i.e. human behavior) and cursing them with violent curses (i.e. cursing Eve to have greatly multiplied pain and sorrow in Childbirth, etc.)

So even as a pure allegory what is God making known? That he over-reacts with violence to people who were even innocently beguiled by an evil serpent?

I would suggest that this story also makes it clear that we can't even trust this God to protect innocent people from evil demons. Why did this God allow an evil demon to beguile an innocent Eve in the first place? :-k

So even as literature it doesn't describe a God that I could have any respect for. And certainly not a God that I could trust.

So what is the purpose of this story if it came from God (or was inspired by God)?

It seems to me that the story tells us that we can't trust God to protect us from evil demons, or to react intelligently or benevolently when we are beguiled by evil demons.

No actual Adam and Eve required. ;)
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Post #7

Post by tam »

Questions for those that believe in God and also believe that the six days of creation is figurative;
-Do you believe that the Adam and Eve story is false? If not, how can it be true?
The Adam and Eve story is true... taking place in the garden of eden... but that does not mean that it is all literal.

For example from just a couple of items:

The tree of Life = Life. Life = Christ.

The tree of the knowledge of good and bad = knowing good (life) and bad (death)

The garden of Eden = the spiritual realm

***

The serpent is actually a seraph (spirit being/angel) in the garden of Eden and that seraph is the one called the devil, or satan, who deceives Eve.


God did not KILL Adam and Eve. Death came as a consequence of eating from the tree that they told them they would die if they ate from it. God did not say to them, eat from this tree and I will kill you. He said, eat from this tree and you will die.



So the events happened, but how do you describe spiritual things to physical people? You have to use terms that they understand.

Even then some misunderstand, and due to their misunderstanding, they transmit their misunderstanding onto future generations. So seraph/serpent becomes 'snake'. Adam and Eve dying as a natural consequence from eating of that tree became God punishing them by killing them. This body/flesh - the long garment of skin that God made and 'clothed' Adam and Eve with so that sin and death could be trapped in that instead of killing them in spirit - became an animal hide/fur.


And since we came from Adam and Eve after the fall, we are born in their image with their flesh with sin and death in it.


Until such a time as we are clothed with the white robe (spoken about in the book of Revelation), which is the spirit body that we will be given that has no sin or death in it.

Full circle.



An example of a physical thing representing a spiritual reality is the temple arrangement given to Israel. Everything in the temple represents a spiritual thing - such as the Most Holy Place = God. And the Holy Place = Christ. One must go through the Holy to reach the Most Holy in the temple arrangement; just as one must go through Christ to reach God.


Peace to you,
your servant and a slave of Christ,
tammy

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Post #8

Post by cnorman19 »

[Replying to post 7 by tam]

I regard your entire post as imposing a meaning on the Eden story that just isn't there. You have the right to believe in that manner if you choose to, of course; but that doesn't compel anyone else to -- particularly a Jew like myself, who does not acknowledge Jesus as anything more than a nice, ordinary human who largely taught Jewish traditional values and beliefs.

I also don't consider "a God who is 'over-reacting' to the behaviors of Adam and Eve (i.e. human behavior) and cursing them with violent curses (i.e. cursing Eve to have greatly multiplied pain and sorrow in Childbirth, etc.)" a "pure allegory" or anything remotely like it; but then, we've argued that point at length to little effect elsewhere. One wonders -- when reading Animal Farm, would this member insist that the story was about the dictatorial tendencies of pigs? Perhaps. Not worth pursuing.

I'll stand by what I said earlier.
"The Torah is true, and some of it may even have happened." -- Rabbi William Gershon

"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry; but why on Earth should that mean that it is not real?" -- Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; J. K. Rowling

"It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God -- but to create him." -- Arthur C. Clarke

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Post #9

Post by puddleglum »

Masnev wrote: If the first chapters of Genesis are literature rather than history, then why do so many Christians still treat them as history?
Because they are history. Everyone accepts all of Genesis from chapter 12 to the end as being history. The first 11 chapters conflict with the generally accepted theories regarding the origin of the earth and many Christians try to reconcile these beliefs by claiming that the first part of Genesis is not literal. The genealogies in the first part, showing the ancestry of Abraham and others mentioned in the second part, show that the author of Genesis considered all of it to be historical.

https://clydeherrin.wordpress.com/2013/ ... nealogies/
How does God make Himself known to mankind if not through the events of this story?
That is exactly the point. Christians who reject the literal truth of the first part of Genesis and in fact destroying the foundation on which the rest of God's revelation is based.
His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
Romans 1:20 ESV

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Post #10

Post by tam »

Peace to you, cnorman19!
cnorman19 wrote: [Replying to post 7 by tam]

I regard your entire post as imposing a meaning on the Eden story that just isn't there. You have the right to believe in that manner if you choose to, of course; but that doesn't compel anyone else to -- particularly a Jew like myself, who does not acknowledge Jesus as anything more than a nice, ordinary human who largely taught Jewish traditional values and beliefs.
Of course no one is compelled to believe as I do, or to put faith in the One I do, either.

Because you do not accept my Lord (Jaheshua) as the Messiah, and I accept Him as the Messiah, we are bound to disagree on some things. I look at everything, including what is written, through Christ and His light. And I imagine that you do not, lol.

Still, I expect that there will be some where we agree as well. Though I am more interested in truth than agreement, and far more interested in truth than in compelling others to believe as I do.

I believe the rest of your post was addressed to a different poster?


Peace again to you,
your servant, and a slave of Christ,
tammy

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