Originally Posted by 2xy
I guess it just seems.....silly....to me, to continue to bring millions of people into this world who will choose
to be doomed for eternity. That just doesn't sound very loving to me, at all.
But it is
God merely told them that eating of the tree would cause them to die. Had they ever seen anything die? Did they know that dying was "disastrous"?
If you tell a 18mo toddler that something is "hot," they have nothing with which to associate that word. They will still attempt to touch a hot object until they succeed....and therefore learn what "hot" is.
If nothing in the Garden had ever died, how would Adam and Eve have known that dying was undesirable? If they had no knowledge of good and evil, how would they have been able to understand that God was good and the serpent was evil? A complete innocent would trust everyone and not be suspicious of anyone.
Sorry, but the whole thing sounds like a set-up to me. I'm really not trying to be argumentative; it's just that I really don't understand
how anyone can read the Bible and come to the conclusion that the deity portrayed in it is a loving being.
You need to remember to read this story as spiritual allegory rather than a court report.
What does it mean that they were innocent? What does knowledge of good and evil entail?
The reason that Adam and Eve were innocent is because they had not conceived the possibility of choosing something that went either against God, or Natural Law. They had a clear and close relationship with God though, so they were not in quite the same position we are in, often unable to discern just what the rules are. They knew the rule, but not the reason for it.
The reason for this is that it was not until they had really conceived of the possibility of going against God's command that they actually understood the nature of the command. Not because God was trying to be tricky, but because that is what it means to have knowledge of good and evil - to be able to conceptualize going against God's commands or Natural Law.
The story is an interesting one, and it has raised a number of questions among theologians through the years. Clearly it was part of the nature of Adam and Eve that they had the capacity to conceptualize breaking the command. Was it possible though that they might never have actually fulfilled that capacity, and remained innocent? Would that have even been a good thing?
Traditionally, the serpent has been understood in Christianity as a fallen angel. Angels are also understood to have free-will, and face the same choice Adam and Eve did - Truth or Untruth. In more modern times many have seen the serpent as the embodiment of that potentiality within Adam and Eve to concieve of non-truth as a possible path. These are probably just different ways of talking about the same thing, which is that somehow, a perfect and complete God, who is Truth, manages to produce a creation that contains untruth.
This has been one of the major observations and also big problems within many philosophical and religious systems. We can see that the world is in many ways imperfect. People suffer, and do things they know to be immoral. We are confused. There is entropy, and suffering even in the animal and plant world - all of creation groans, as they say.
Yes, the First Principle, however it is understood, is perfect and Truth. How does the one produce the other? Well, according to dualist of various sorts, it is because the physical world is corrupt and weighs us down. According to Buddhists it is related to inappropriate attachment. And according to Christians, it is because within creation God planted a capacity to see and choose untruth, or free-will.
Is this loving? One might say not in a very human way, but that shouldn't really be a surprise. One way to look at it is to say without free-will, there is no possibility of free love, and so a God who wanted to maximize love would have to allow for free-will, with all its downsides.
I tend to think of it like this. God is just chock full of Being, and Is-ness. He is kind of the opposite of real Nothingness. So much so, that anything that has the possibility of being Something, he has to create, even if it is a pretty mean and pathetic something, it is still more than a Nothing, and he can create, or love, it. I like this image because it works really well with some of the things physicists seem to say about alternate dimensions and realities - that anything that could be, is.