Thursday, September 07, 2006

Eating from the Tree, continued

There are a lot of really dumb misconceptions about the story of Temptation and Fall in Genesis 3. One of stupidist is the idea that the story blames the woman for what happened. (Adam is just as culpable. Whereas Eve was deceived, Adam ate knowingly.)

Next in line is the ubiquitous idea that eating from the tree somehow involved, or at least initiated, the human practice of sex. After all, people think, there is a noticeable discussion of being naked in the story (Genesis 2:25; 3:7, 10, 11, 21).

Well, no, eating from the tree of Eden had nothing to do with initiating sex. The talk of nudity here entails an entirely diffent cultural symbolism than sexuality. In ancient Hebrew culture, nudity could symbolize feelings of weakness, vulnerability and helplessness (cf. 2 Samuel 10:4). That is exactly how Adam and Eve felt once their new discernment sharpened. There is quite an irony here: in pride they desired to "be like God" (3:5), but instead ended up being weak and vulnerable.

2 Comments:

Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

I would argue that Adam wasn't equally responsible but that he was more responsible.

Tue Nov 07, 01:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger S and C said...

Hi Jeremy,
Cool. Can you say a bit more about this? ---Stephen C.

Tue Nov 07, 02:55:00 PM GMT-5  

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