The excuse that most Christians give for there being so much pain/suffering/evil in the world is that ole chestnut about it being our own fault. Everything was rosy in the garden. Then we, more exactly Adam and Eve, ate some fruit and ruined everything. It wasn’t just any fruit; it was a fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Most important to note is that God dared told them, not to eat the fruit of that particular tree. They did though and death and all manner of bad things entered the world with Adam and Eve’s sin. Incidentally, Eve took the fruit at the behest of a talking snake.
Apart from that obvious silliness of the tale, it presents some puzzling questions.
Here are 5 that I have never heard any answer to, let alone a good one.
If God is forgiving, why did he not just forgive Adam and Eve’s relatively minor sin?
Baring in mind the pure innocence of Adam and Eve, was God’s damnation of not just them but their progeny ad infinitum a bit harsh. Given how in modern societies the notion of passing blame or sin to relatives of a criminal would be considered an outrageous wrong, why does God seem to think it is ok?
How could Adam and Eve know, prior to eating the apple, that disobeying God was a bad thing?
It is claimed in the story that Adam and Eve happily pranced about naked in the garden and were unashamed because they had no knowledge of good and evil. Let us ignore the bizarre implication that nakedness is evil and something to be ashamed of, even when the only two people in the universe are a married couple (de facto married anyway). The problem here is that Adam and Eve have no knowledge of good and evil. They literally don’t know right from wrong. How then were they to know that obeying God was ‘good’ and that disobeying God was ‘evil’. They simply are not equipped to make a sensible informed choice about it.
Why would God create man knowing he would sin against him?
God is omniscient. God knows everything, including what will happen in the future. Prophesy is often cited as compelling proof of the bibles divine origin. He must therefore have seen it coming. He knew it would happen and went ahead with the whole project anyway. Bizarre and a little perverse.
Why does the tree of the knowledge of good and evil exist?
What would posses God to somehow transmute knowledge into fruit form? Honestly, why? Not only does he do that though, he then puts the tree in the same garden as his completely innocent humans. Remember now that he had a universe of incomprehensible vastness in which to put the bizarre tree but he chose to put it within easy reach of the hapless humans. To digress a little, is there a tree of the knowledge of quantum mechanics? The tree of C++ programming….for dummies? Hey! There might actually have been a tree of the knowledge of the theory of gravity. Newton being hit by the apple was incidental; it was when he wrapped his kisser round that big ole granny smith that the magic really happened!!
How can free will co-exist with the notion of a prophesizing God?
Slightly off topic but I have been looking for an answer to this for a while now. Free will is often cited as the reason why God allows sin. I don’t think the concepts of an omniscient being and free will can co-exist. If God knows everything that WILL happen, the future is already laid out. You have no real choice. Everything you will do in your lifetime is already set in stone. You cannot deviate from the known path of your life. If the outcome of an event is known before the event occurs, there is no choice involved. There are no alternatives.
Can the Christians who might happen by please give me some answers, though anyone who can shed a little light on how these seeming inconsistancies can be reconsiled is invited to weigh in.