Bringing together non-believers …
Why is it so crucial for Christians to believe in the Garden of Eden story? Because it is where the concept of “original sin” comes from. If this story wasn’t told, then Jesus wouldn’t have had to die for humanity, and that would have meant his life and death were ultimately meaningless. If truth be told, it would imply he needn’t have died in the first place. So it’s better to believe in talking snakes than admit that. Otherwise you’re a sinless Christian, and as we all know, that can’t be the case since Jesus died (specifically) for your sins.
What of the counterargument that the Garden of Eden fable was just a metaphor to explain “sin” so simple minded humans could understand the profundity of it all? Well, then you’d need to explain why God created sin? Not only this, but then you’d have to explain why he created us sinful if he intended to punish and persecute us for it? Surely a loving God would be incapable of such mischief and mayhem? The argument of allegory and metaphor not withstanding.
The way I read it, Adam and Eve did not yet possess the knowledge of “good and evil” which means they had no inkling of rebellion or mischievousness. Since to disobey God requires, first and foremost, a certain prerequisite of naughtiness.
Only by means of a magical talking snake could Adam and Eve be compelled to do wrong. In which case they, having no knowledge, would still be guiltless because they would have been victims of having been deceived, let alone withheld a proper education to prevent them from talking to strangers, especially dubious talking snakes.
Yet Christians tend to need to believe in the talking snake, because without it, then there is no such thing as “original sin.” Therefore imputation would be erroneous. So Christians posit that the talking snake was a serpentine Satan in disguise. Imaginative speculation sure, but is purely conjecture since there is no reason to assume this, and scripture does not yield such a reading.
But if you read it for what it is, a myth, it makes much of Christianity seem absurd. We can’t have that now, so we’ll consider it a myth to explain sin–but this begs the question of why God would create sin to begin with and why he made mankind sinners?
Free will is the argument here, but I’m not convinced that free will has any direct correlation to sin per se. I mean, if we had the freedom to choose to do bad then surely we have the freedom to choose to do good. And so Christians must show how, if Adam and Eve had no inclination to do bad (not knowing good and evil) then how could they ever choose to do bad and disobey God’s law? They couldn’t have. It’s impossible…
Unless you believe in talking snakes that is.
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