Questions in Genesis (part 1): Entrapment in Eden

Fundamentalist and evangelical Christians believe that we live in a world gone wrong, and controlled by dark spiritual forces.  They think that  a host of things we face today, including death, disease, predation, violence, painful childbirth, thorns and thistles, and Miley Cyrus’ twerking can all be traced back to a Very Bad Thing which happened once upon a time in a garden called Eden, where a rebellious woman listened to a talking snake, ate a forbidden fruit, and led her husband into eating his way into God’s bad graces.
 (image credit:  Forbidden Fruit by Amanda Chervinko -
Now I know that it might sound silly, when I describe those events in plain language, but In this series, we are asking the question “If the stories in the Bible were true, would the God they describe deserve our worship?” and so, we will pretend the Genesis account is actual history, and see if it holds together with internal logic, or fails the b.s. test.

( Seriously, how could two people who ran around naked all day be SO white?)

As creationist Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis likes to correctly point out, the Christian beliefs of sin, fallen humanity, and redemption require that the Eden story be true.  Christianity is selling a ‘cure’ and to get you to buy it, they need you to believe the ‘disease’ of humanity having a fallen, sinful nature, is real.

“When we deny the existence of Adam and Eve, then how do we explain the origin of sin and death in the world? And if we cannot explain how sin and death came into the world, or if we believe that it was always here, then what was the purpose of Christ’s death and Resurrection? Why was the atonement even necessary?”
Perhaps Mr. Ham’s organization would be better-named “Questions in Genesis” since a thoughtful reading of the first few chapters of the book generates far more questions than it does answers.
Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… 

The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.  But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17 (NLT)
Some questions which arise:
  • If God didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (hereafter referred to as the “Naughty Tree”, why put it in such a central, easily-accessible location in the Garden of Eden? Why not put it on some inaccessible mountain peak? 
  • If God could put angels with a flaming sword to guard Eden’s entrance, after Adam and Eve were booted out (Genesis 3:24), wouldn’t it have made way more sense to use them to prevent access to the Naughty Tree; especially if eating the fruit would damn millions or perhaps billions of people to eternal suffering in Hell?  
 Genesis 3:6 says “…She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious”.
  • If the fruit of that tree was so deadly to the future of humanity, if God really didn’t want Adam and Eve eat from it, why make it so appealing?  Why not make the fruit look disgusting and  have it smell like vomit, perhaps even encasing it in a coconut-type shell (only stronger) which made it almost impossible to eat?
 At best, this looks negligence on God’s part.  His first two children were innocents, naïve about the world; not knowing good from bad.   Heavenly Father forgot to baby proof the house.  Think about it.  Responsible parents latch cupboards; keep sharp implements out of reach, and don’t leave chemicals where toddlers can poison themselves through curiosity.  
  • Would you be so careless?
  • Why would the wisest, most loving being, leave unsupervised access to the one thing which could (apparently) have the deadliest of effects upon the future of all humanity? It makes no sense!  
  • Why even create the tree in the first place?  Unless…
Entrapment.  That’s why.
Anyone with a basic understanding of psychology knows that the way to make someone want to do something is to forbid them to do it.  Are we the think that the being who supposedly designed humans was unaware of this?

Yahweh set Adam and Eve up, with conveniently located, highly visible tree full of yummy-looking fruit!

The trap was baited, and set.  An all-knowing deity would have been sure of the outcome.  And, he attached the harshest of penalties to the very thing that he already knew they would do.
How sadistic is that?!

The implications of the story and what it says about God’s incompetence (or sadistic nature - pick your poison)  things gets worse.  But we’ll save that for part 2.

Written by J. M. Green