Evil didn’t enter into the world at a certain time; evil as much as good is inscribed in the nature of existence per se. Humankind has learned to discern between good and evil during its history and the process isn’t finished. Many things seemed to be good for many people but they proved in the end to be evil. The knowledge of good and evil didn’t come to human beings suddenly after they ate from a tree, and the entire human history is the evidence for that.
The myth of a tree of the knowledge of good and evil is generated by an authentic human concern. What is good and what is evil for humankind in a long-term perspective? Humankind had tried many possibilities in politics and economics only to discover what is good and what is evil for them, and sometimes paid a high price for this knowledge. The myth according to which by eating from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil one could have gained this discernment and become wise is an absurdity. The entire human experience aspires to find good and to identify evil. One persuasive proof that the story with the tree of knowledge is only a legend is the fact that humankind didn’t receive, from the moment of eating its fruit, the ability to discern between good and evil.
If Adam and Eve had really become wise by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so many historical errors of humankind would have been avoided, but this isn’t the case.
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Humankind never had this incredible experience of eating from such a tree and consequently didn’t become able to miraculously discern good from evil. If they had such an experience they would have known the difference between good and evil, but all the subsequent human history shows that the opposite is right.
The world history is the proof that humankind never ate from the tree of the knowledge and never knew the difference between good and evil before experiencing it in practical situations in their lives. If humankind had discerned from the beginning of its civilisation the difference between good and evil, it wouldn’t have had so many experiences which could have endangered its own existence. They would have behaved much more wisely, being able to always separate the good from the evil.
As a matter of fact, so many wars and social experiences prove that humankind didn’t miraculously receive the ability to discern between good and evil and that the conclusions were drawn post-factum. This isn’t about the evil nature of one political leader or another; this is about human nature in general which has displayed along the course of history an incredible penchant for evil. This has nothing to do with Adam and Eve but with the fight for existence.
Gulags, concentration camps, religious fanaticism, mass murders, ethnic cleansings, racism and so on could have been avoided if Adam and Eve had been real personages and if they had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Knowing in reality the difference between good and evil would have permitted the avoidance of many evils in the world.
The evil in the world cannot be explained by a so-called Fall of Adam and Eve because no-one can prove that in this world human nature was ever better than it is today. A so-called worsening of human nature in time cannot be identified in the human history. The ancient civilizations were as brutal as the modern ones and human nature was always the same. If real, Adam and Eve would have had a flawed nature and the proof is their disobedience to God. They yielded to an exterior temptation hence they had a sinful nature from the beginning of their existence. If human beings hadn’t had a sinful nature from the beginning of their creation they would have rejected the temptation of the serpent, but the inclination toward disobedience was innate in them.
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Placing all responsibility on the serpent for the temptation of human beings is one of the most absurd doctrines proposed by commentators, and even the texts of the Bible contradict such a possibility. According to the book of Genesis, human beings would have been punished for their disobedience therefore they would have been responsible for their Fall.
If God is good why does He accept so much evil in the world? Either He accepts the evil and therefore He is not that good, or He doesn’t accept it but He cannot do anything against it, consequently He doesn’t have so much power as is usually thought. If God accepted the evil deliberately He wouldn’t be as generous and merciful as He is said to be. In the first case God’s character is put in question and in the second case His power is in doubt. Which is the truth about the relation between God and evil? Does He accept human suffering or He cannot do anything against it? The explanation given by the book of Genesis is that the fault for the existence of evil in the world belongs to the serpent and to humankind and that God doesn’t have any fault because He is perfect. This interpretation exonerates God from any responsibility; He is good but humankind didn’t understand Him.
Such an interpretation loses sight of God as the author of both Satan and humankind. God took enormous risks, therefore responsibility, when He created both Satan and humankind. Adam and Eve didn’t have any freedom of will because they didn’t know the difference between good and evil. Without knowledge of good and evil the freedom of will is an illusion. Again, it is a reversal of the order in the process of creation which proves naivety on the part of the authors of the book of Genesis. First humankind was given the right to choose and only afterwards they received the moral tools for their choice.
Adam and Eve had been asked to obey God blindly and they hadn’t been prepared to resist evil and temptation from the serpent because they didn’t have the knowledge of good and evil before the temptation. The evil hadn’t been brought into the world by Adam and Eve; it was already there in the Garden of Eden and for this reason the Garden couldn’t have been a real Paradise. If Adam and Eve had obeyed God they would have spent their eternity not only with Him but also with the serpent which was present in the Garden. What Paradise would have been a place in which Satan would also have been present? It is a nonsensical proposition.
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It is true that the first human beings preferred to listen to the serpent rather than to God but whose fault was it that they valued knowledge and science above authority and blind obedience? From the beginning, human nature would have been as it is today, very curious and interested in acquiring all possible knowledge.
In another perspective, the serpent wouldn’t have been humankind’s enemy but the one who brought the light of knowledge to human beings. The choice to obey or to disobey God wouldn’t have been a moral choice. A choice between good and evil made before knowing good and evil couldn’t have been reasonable. Adam and Eve wouldn’t have known if disobedience to God was good or evil, hence they didn’t choose between the two moral alternatives but they chose between knowledge and blind obedience.
At the same time, Adam and Eve couldn’t have understood what dying means if death, according to many commentators, wouldn’t have been present in Paradise before their Fall. There hadn’t been any deaths to which Adam and Eve could have referred in their understanding about what death could be. Again, we encounter in this account the confusion of the usual order of things. Adam and Eve had been threatened with death but dying had come into the world only after the threat. How could God warn someone against something which didn’t exist at the moment of the warning? It is the description of an absurd situation and Adam and Eve, if they had existed in real life, couldn’t have understood such a warning.
The book of Genesis is commonly interpreted in the sense that blind obedience to God was a good thing and knowledge of good and evil was a bad thing for Adam and Eve. Is blind obedience a good thing? Blind obedience is a bad thing when someone needs to make an informed decision. The non-value of blind obedience promoted by God has proven to be the weapon with which the serpent entered into the world of Adam and Eve. The serpent used a temptation which functioned only because Adam and Eve weren’t prepared to make an informed decision.
The authoritarian system imposed by God on Adam and Eve would have generated their failure because the alleged first human beings would have been educated to obey rather than to discern between good and evil with their minds.
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They weren’t responsible for their decision because they weren’t allowed by God to make an informed choice, knowing the difference between good and evil. Keeping for Himself the knowledge of good and evil, God also kept the entire responsibility for all evil which would have come through Adam’s and Eve’s choices including that of eating from the tree of the knowledge.
Who is responsible for evil in the world? In real terms nature uses instincts through which biological beings are able to survive, to feed and to multiply. Are lions bad or good when they eat a deer? They are neither bad nor good, they act according to their nature. To say that their nature had been initially good but it had been transformed by Adam and Eve’s disobedience toward God is complete absurdity. Likewise, human nature follows the biological nature of all living beings. It is much ameliorated by education and culture but can become evil when fundamental instincts are in question. For this reason, dramatic events such as wars bring to the surface the darkest side of humankind. In wars people fight for their survival using their innate instincts and the world becomes an evil place. The evil in the world can be explained much better when one adopts an evolutionary view about the universe and humankind. In the creationist view with a generous God controlling everything in the world, so much evil in the human societies cannot be realistically explained by the Fall of two fictitious personages, who are Adam and Eve.
When one realises that Adam and Eve are the personages of a fiction, the question reappears with even stronger acuity. How can we explain the evil in the world if Adam and Eve aren’t guilty of the human Fall? If God exists and if He controls everything only He can be responsible for the evil in the world. How about Satan, is he responsible for the evil? If the book of Genesis isn’t accurate regarding Adam and Eve why would we give it credit for the veracity of the stories which involve Satan? We shouldn’t do that. If there are forces of evil together with powers of good it is very difficult to discern them from a human perspective. Whoever tries to impose an absolute authority on humankind must be understood as conflicting with human aspiration to freedom.
God the Father cannot lead humankind other than from the inside of human consciousness, convincing people of the importance of certain values. Trying to enforce principles including blind obedience trough a superior force is something which humankind rejected many times in its history.
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For this reason, good and evil have to be seen in the context of human freedom. Where there are minds there are different opinions, no matter if we refer to human beings or angels. Democracy is a necessity where there are thinking entities and cannot be successfully replaced by autocracy. The choice for God cannot be but freely assumed by every particular human being. Satan would be a force which tries to enslave human beings to his rules and his authority.
What would have been the human nature before Adam and Eve’s Fall? The book of Genesis doesn’t directly say anything about that. Allegedly, they didn’t need to kill in order to eat but they disobeyed God. In their nature they experienced the need for knowledge so their nature was created in such a way that they had to keep a certain distance from God in order to be able to perceive all things with their minds.
The religious intoxication which tries to induce the idea that Adam and Eve would have had free will at the moment of their choices to obey or disobey God is unacceptable. Without the knowledge of good and evil there isn’t free will. Adam and Eve would have gained free will with the price of their eternal lives. Children aren’t considered to have free will until they become mature and gain the full ability to discern between good and evil. Adam and Eve had been driven by their instincts and one such instinct was the need for knowledge.
In the context of the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve couldn’t have been responsible for their own nature if their nature had been created by God. They couldn’t have acted against their nature because they didn’t have consciousness based on the knowledge of good and evil. They would have acted according to their nature, which was the only possible alternative for them at that moment.
All of human history has demonstrated that knowledge of good and evil is a need for human beings; it wasn’t only a sinful endeavour. Why would God have tried to prevent the fulfilment of this need? According to the book of Genesis God would have created the need for knowledge but He would have tested humankind against their nature. It doesn’t make any sense. The story about the temptation of Adam and Eve from the book of Genesis is a myth and is similar to the Greek story of Prometheus:
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“Prometheus and Epimetheus were spared imprisonment in Tartarus because they had not fought with their fellow Titans during the war with the Olympians. They were given the task of creating man. Prometheus shaped man out of mud, and Athena breathed life into his clay figure. Prometheus had assigned Epimetheus the task of giving the creatures of the earth their various qualities, such as swiftness, cunning, strength, fur, and wings. Unfortunately, by the time he got to man Epimetheus had given all the good qualities out and there were none left for man. So Prometheus decided to make man stand upright as the gods did and to give him fire.”
In my view, the legend of Prometheus is very similar to the legend of the serpent from the book of Genesis. Both Prometheus and the serpent are legendary figures with the same goal of emancipating humankind. Prometheus shaped man out of mud, and Athena breathed life into his clay figure. In the book of Genesis God is the Creator and the serpent is His opponent but in Greek mythology Prometheus is the creator of man but also his supporter. The opposition for Greeks was between Prometheus and other deities.
A similar idea can be found in the book of Genesis. God in the Bible shaped man from dust and had given him the breath of life. Some legends had circulated in the ancient world and we can find traces of them in many civilizations. Prometheus, similar to the serpent, had been a friend of humankind.
What did the serpent from the book of Genesis do wrong from a moral point of view? Did the serpent incite humankind not to obey God or did he want to give to human beings the ability to think for themselves and to build their consciousness? Humankind’s capability to think on the basis of knowledge of good and evil would have been detrimental not only for God but also for Satan if the serpent had been the devil’s personification. Knowing the difference between good and evil, human beings would have identified Satan as the agent of evil and many would have become his adversaries.
Most importantly, in a mythical way the serpent apparently understood that the real revolt against God would have appeared when human beings knew the difference between good and evil. In other words, humankind wouldn’t have obeyed God any more if they understood that His command based on blind obedience couldn’t have been something good.
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The serpent calculation wasn’t entirely right. Some people continued to obey God in spite of the consummation of the forbidden fruit which would have given the capability of knowing the difference between good and evil to all human beings.
The presumption which is inherent in the biblical text that knowing the difference between good and evil would prompt humankind to choose evil is wrong. Choosing the knowledge of good and evil against blind obedience doesn’t signify a choice for evil. The book of Genesis gives the impression that God would have had something to hide from humankind.
This is of course a myth which wouldn’t have been inspired by God with this message unfavourable to Him. In any case, there still are many people who don’t know the difference between good and evil in spite of the alleged eating from the tree of knowledge by Adam and Eve.
The craftiest animal had opposed God’s decision on behalf of humankind, trying to give them what they needed, and that was knowledge. From a human perspective, the serpent is the friend and also the ally of humankind, helping in their aspiration for acquiring knowledge and improving their lives.
The book of Genesis shows us a conflict between God and the human beings but this tension is blurred by the simplistic dualism between good and evil promoted by organised religion. God is one hundred percent good and the serpent is one hundred percent bad. The book of Genesis doesn’t say that. Adam and Eve had been punished by God but this doesn’t mean that they had been in the wrong. They disobeyed Him but for good reasons. As a matter of fact, Adam and Eve would have been right when they tried to know the difference between good and evil and they made a choice with moral consequences which would have allowed them to become moral beings. They preferred disobeying God and quitting their statute rather than living in ignorance.
Humankind couldn’t have possessed at the same time the knowledge of good and evil and live forever, hence when eating from the tree of knowledge they would have died.
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The two would have been incompatible, but why? According to the Bible, at the end of the history on Earth people knowing good and evil will be saved and they will live forever. God will accept that human beings live forever in spite of them knowing good and evil, therefore that knowledge isn’t incompatible with eternal life as the book of Genesis implies.
Why then, are the sufferings caused by a long history on Earth? Couldn’t the knowledge of good and evil have been accepted from the beginning without human beings passing through the turmoil? The real incompatibility seems to be between peace and happiness and the knowledge of evil. Humankind couldn’t have known the evil without knowing sufferance because they are inextricably linked. According to the book of Genesis evil was known only theoretically in the universe before Adam and Eve’s Fall.
In the myth, Adam and Eve had preferred to jeopardise their existence for the sake of knowledge and that is what makes human greatness, but they were punished for that. Nevertheless, that endeavour was interpreted by the organised religion as a very bad thing, the substance of the original sin.
In the course of human history many human beings have risked their lives for the sake of truth and knowledge. Was there anything wrong with that? The promoted “value” of blind obedience to God isn’t a moral value. In the book of Genesis, God would have asked human beings to obey blindly His command without knowing the difference between good and evil, and the alternative to that would have been the acquisition of moral knowledge for humankind and also death. Adam and Eve made a choice which was morally right when choosing to be able to understand the sense of their lives in the light of moral knowledge.
Why should Adam and Eve have obeyed God’s command? If they had chosen to obey God blindly they would have been recompensed by Him with eternal life. What understanding could Adam and Eve have had of eternity if they didn’t have any references about death? None would have died in the earthly Paradise yet. Eternal life is the opposite of mortal life therefore without the understanding of death the eternal life in Paradise wouldn’t have had any meaning. Adam and Eve wouldn’t have wanted something which didn’t make any sense to them.
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What meaning would eternal life have had without the knowledge of good and evil? Eternal life without the knowledge of good and evil would have meant eternal ignorance. It should be remembered that the discussion is about a myth, not about some real facts, but it is important to know what the moral meanings of such a myth could be. It is true that in this myth humankind had chosen to suffer and to die, paying a price for their endeavour to find knowledge. None is entitled to blame humankind for a choice which was courageous and moral. All choices for moral awareness cannot be other than good choices.
In a gnostic Christian view the Demiurge had created humankind without the approval of the Supreme God, and the serpent had tried to warn human beings about this situation and directed them towards the tree of knowledge.
The book of Genesis has a different interpretation in an orthodox perspective than in a gnostic one. In an orthodox view, God created humankind who rebelled against Him, being tempted by the serpent. In the Gnostic view the Demiurge, a lesser divinity than the Supreme God, had created humankind and asked for blind obedience on their part. The serpent in this case is similar to Prometheus because it tried to help the human beings to overcome this absurd situation in which they didn’t have the knowledge of what was really good and evil, including in the Demiurge’s character. Quoting several texts from the O.T., the Gnostics tried to demonstrate that God of the O.T. is the Demiurge and has an evil character, and that the serpent is a positive personage supporting humankind in its need for knowledge.
The Demiurge couldn’t have had such a huge power necessary for the creation of the whole universe but could have intervened in the process of the apparition of humankind using genetic engineering. The Demiurge could be the representative of an extra-terrestrial civilization who had intervened in the process of transforming primates into human beings. The intervention wouldn’t have been appreciated by the Supreme God who preferred a natural process of evolution against an external intervention. These “sons of God” were like gods for humankind, the latter being in its first stage of evolution.
What is the origin of evil? For the orthodox Christians evil is generated by Satan’s revolt but in the context of the book of Genesis the serpent, who was later equated with Satan, is a positive and not a negative personage.
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For this reason, the Gnostic interpretation seems to be closer to the texts of the book of Genesis than the orthodox one.
The mythology of the book of Genesis supports the idea of a lesser or confused God, the Demiurge, who created the world in a chaotic way, when one looks at the contradictions contained by the Bible. The serpent in the book of Genesis seems like a reasonable personage, truthful in his assertions and aiming for humankind’s welfare even if through a painful process. At the same time, we should bear in mind all the time that we analyse a myth and not real facts so describing God as good or bad on the basis of imaginary stories doesn’t say anything about reality.
We cannot know God when we read the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis because the texts are not faithful to His reality as we know it from the Christian teachings based on other biblical texts, and from an individual experience with Him. In other words, paradoxically, one has to choose between the image according to which God is love and has a profound understanding for humankind, and the image given by the book of Genesis, because they are contradictory.
Taking the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis as parables, the image of God is rather negative and in this the Gnostics are right. This doesn’t mean that the eternal Reality which we name God corresponds to the portrayal made by the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis. In order to become a Gnostic, one has to attach some valid spiritual message to the texts discussed here and even to recognise that the texts are inspired by God. In my view, God didn’t inspire the contradictory and absurd messages which are found at the beginning at the book of Genesis, therefore they don’t say anything about Him. The first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis aren’t a revelation, on the contrary they hide God.
The book of Genesis represents mythology which can be interpreted in more than one way. The Gnostic interpretation of the texts is more coherent as far as we cannot find any lie told by the serpent. At the same time, the texts told us in Genesis chapter 1 that God would have created humankind in His likeness, but in chapter 2 that He didn’t want human beings to become like Him, knowing the difference between good and evil, and that is inconsistent. Again, the Bible says that God cannot lie but He wasn’t truthful when He says that the human beings would die on the day they ate from the tree of knowledge.
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They didn’t die either physically or spiritually, hence it wasn’t God who made that prediction.
If the world didn’t start as the book of Genesis says, it is likely that it will not end as the book of Revelation says. The common thread between the book of Genesis and the book of Revelation is Satan. The serpent is presented as a universal deceiver but if Adam and Eve are fictitious personages the serpent also is mythology and not reality, he is as imaginary as the first two human beings.
Is Satan deceiving people today? It is impossible to affirm anything positive about someone who in the book of Genesis is only a legendary personage, or to add anything else besides what the context of that myth permits. One thing is sure; there is a deceiving aspect to any mythology when metaphorical symbols are taken to be literally real. This is also the problem with Satan from the Bible. Who is Satan in the real world? In the book of Genesis, he isn’t the expression of any realities. The prime cause for the evil in the world isn’t Satan but it is the cosmic dynamic which entails the continuous transformations of the fundamental existence.
If we take the book of Genesis as a parable with some spiritual significance it would be difficult to choose who is good and who is evil. It is possible that human beings still need spiritual discernment of good and evil.
In one interpretation Jesus would be understood as the Person represented symbolically by the serpent, craftier than anyone else, who came into the world to give to humankind the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Jesus had been sent by the Father in order to change the plans of Satan for humankind. Jesus would be the serpent and He was metaphorically announced by the book of Genesis, and anyone who pays attention to Jesus’ teachings gains a real knowledge of good and evil in the spiritual realm. Nevertheless, none can take this interpretation to have any spiritual value if the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis aren’t inspired by God but are the product of human imagination.
In the real world, God didn’t and couldn’t have created the world as it is written in the book of Genesis in two conflicting accounts, but rather the world had been generated in a very different way. “Didn’t create” and “couldn’t have created” are two very different propositions. Why couldn’t He have created the world in this way?
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The narratives of creation from the book of Genesis present two stories which contradict all natural laws and all rationality. These are enough reasons to consider that God wouldn’t have chosen this path for His creation if He really created the laws of nature and if He is Logos.
More plausibly, the world was created as the modern cosmology and Darwin maintained but not necessarily without God’s contribution. All observations made of nature confirm that modern cosmology and Darwinian evolution correspond to the laws of nature. At the same time, Jesus could have come to Earth to tell us the truth and to give us the knowledge of good and evil and the access to the tree of life. No law of nature would have prohibited that event.
The problem of evil isn’t sorted out either by the Orthodox interpretations of the biblical accounts or by the Gnostic ones. In the first hypothesis God is responsible for the evil in the universe because He had created Satan in such a way that evil had been a possibility. God Himself probably knew evil before the revolt of Satan and even the book of Genesis says that He knows the difference between good and evil. God probably knows good and evil from eternity if He is Omniscient, He didn’t learn it with the occasion of Satan’s revolt.
For the Gnostics, another deity than the Father created our universe and that deity is responsible for the existence of evil. This idea comes when one sees the O.T. as a display of God’s anger on humankind. Starting with the Flood and continuing with God’s war against the people of Canaan, we can witness an angry God. We expect God to love all people, even His enemies according to Jesus’ teachings, and not only the people with whom He had a covenant. After all, according to the book of Genesis, He created human beings.
God’s anger can be better explained in a theistic evolutionist view in which He didn’t directly create humankind and it would have appeared through the evolution of the species.
In my perspective evil is intrinsic to the evolution of nature. Good and evil are two sides of the evolutionary process and no creation process could have avoided it. I reckon that this opinion is close to the theistic evolution view. Steve Lemke remarks in his article:
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“These theodicies or defenses to the problem of evil, however, normally presuppose the standard view of divine creation. Were one to propose creation by means of theistic evolution, some of the presuppositions for these responses to the problem of evil no longer function. Therefore, advocating some form of theistic evolution poses problems for standard explanations of the problem of evil.”
The Fall of humankind is only a legend, and human beings evolved from other beings developing their moral sense gradually. The history of human ethics shows that countless experiences brought humankind to the understanding of human rights. There aren’t such things as moral laws which can be imposed on human beings by God. In the O.T., based on their human nature, the Jewish people fought hard against such an imposed morality. Even if the laws were sometimes respected in their exterior forms something essential was lost from their inner moral substance. Apostle Paul said that given the spiritual nature of God’s Law, it cannot be respected by someone being exclusively in his or her human nature.
“3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin,* he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8; 3-4 NRSV)
The only chance for human beings to respect in its essence God’s moral law is by changing their nature through the process of new birth. (John 3; 3-6)
The O.T. is the history of a great failure, that of God, who wasn’t able to impose His laws on humankind. He was angry about Jewish people’s stubbornness most of the time. As a matter of fact, such an attempt would have failed anyway, being hindered by human nature which is structured differently to how those laws would have required. In the epistle toward Romans Apostle Paul says that unequivocally:
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“14 For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin.* 15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7; 14-15 NRSV)
In the context of the book of Genesis the human nature is “flesh” and it had been always “flesh” because Adam and Eve wouldn’t have been born only as spiritual beings, but they were material human beings as well, and Adam was taken from the dust of the earth. If Adam and Eve in the logic of the Bible were born from the Spirit, their failure would have been unconceivable. Whoever is born from God doesn’t sin any more. (1 John 5; 18)
Even if Adam and Eve would have had free will, which isn’t the case in the context of the book of Genesis, their choice remains problematic. Why did Adam and Eve choose to listen to the serpent and not to God? It was precisely because they were “flesh” looking for enlightenment and not spiritual beings already enlightened. In this case, the principle of free will on which so much is loaded, is again under questioning because Adam and Eve weren’t free but were determined by their “flesh” and their ignorance of good and evil. A spiritual being would have known the difference between good and evil without eating from the tree of knowledge if God had dwelled in him or her.
In the classical theism, the Fall of humankind is considered to have had a decisive function in the change in nature both of human beings and also on other natural beings. The following quotation explains this point:
“First of all, it is incumbent upon a good God to produce an optimally good world. We could not necessarily expect an evil or morally mixed God to produce a good world, but we have every reason to expect a good and beneficent God (Matt. 5:48; 1 John 1:5, 4:7-8) to produce the “best of all possible worlds” (given human freewill). In the biblical account, therefore, the evil and suffering we witness in nature and in human experience is not accountable to God because of a defective process in creation, but rather it is a result of the moral Fall of the first humans and subsequent sin by their descendents.”
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In my view, there isn’t such a thing as human beings falling from grace and I reckon this is consistent with a theistic evolution perspective. The evil is accounted for through the way God had created the world. Why did God create a world in which predators kill animals to ensure their existence? Human beings also are kept in this survival combat, and they kill animals also. According to the book of Genesis such things wouldn’t have taken place until the Flood when humankind was allowed to eat meat. This dietary change would have produced animal destruction which hadn’t been seen previously on Earth. This is inconsistent with the idea that the Fall of humankind had determined the change in human and animal nature, because if that would have been a fact, the meat consumption would have started immediately after the Fall.
If the Fall had motivated such a change in nature why would this change have shown its effects only after the Flood when animals started to kill one another, and not immediately after the Fall? In other words, if the animal nature became suddenly worse after the Fall why didn’t this change produce its effects immediately? The animal nature getting worse only after a long period of time after the Fall doesn’t make sense if the Fall of humankind had been real and not a legend.
The nature of human beings hadn’t been changed after the imaginary Fall, firstly because such a Fall wasn’t real and secondly because humankind’s behaviour was determined by their nature and not their nature by their behaviour. First comes the nature and second comes the attitude, but many interpreters of the book of Genesis inaptly reverse the rational order when affirming that the Fall had changed human nature.
After the Fall, Adam and Eve continued to have the same spiritual contact with God as before the Fall. God continued to be involved in the same manner in their lives. He had made garments for them, had received or rejected their offerings, had surveyed their lives, restricted Cain’s punishment for his crime, and separated the languages of human beings. Along the entirety of human history, God observed and influenced human fate, according to the Bible.
What is believed by creationists is that the human sin stopped a good fellowship between God and the human races. The following quotation summarises this view:
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“One of the immediate effects of the Fall was that mankind was separated from God. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had perfect communion and fellowship with God. When they rebelled against Him, that fellowship was broken. They became aware of their sin and were ashamed before Him. They hid from Him (Genesis 3:8-10), and man has been hiding from God ever since. Only through Christ can that fellowship be restored, because in Him we are made as righteous and sinless in God’s eyes as Adam and Eve were before they sinned. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).”
God and humankind never had perfect communion and fellowship because there never was a Garden of Eden or Adam and Eve. Even if Adam and Eve had been real they couldn’t have had perfect communion and fellowship with God because they couldn’t have understood Him well due to the lack of knowledge of good and evil. How could God have transmitted His teachings to Adam and Eve if they hadn’t been allowed to eat from the tree of knowledge? How can parents teach their children if they don’t understand the difference between good and evil? This “perfect communion and fellowship” is a pure invention because in the legends of creation from the Bible there are impassable frontiers between God and the human beings.
The serpent suffered important modifications between Genesis and Revelation and became the worse being in the universe. The symbol of the serpent was used by the book of Revelation but in some other way than what the context of the book of Genesis would have permitted. Who is the ancient serpent if the first 11 chapters from the book of Genesis are only a collection of fables? The book of Revelation speaks about a dragon who is supposed to be the serpent from the book of Genesis. In my opinion, the two serpents shouldn’t be equated with one another because they don’t have the same function. The serpent from the book of Genesis, who is a legendary personage, can be taken as a negative character as the orthodox interpretation does it, or as a positive one as the Gnostics believe it, but in the book of Revelation the serpent is mainly the personification of evil.
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If the book of Genesis isn’t a factual account of creation of our universe the ancient serpent also loses his significance. What is the place for Satan in our world if the book of Genesis isn’t the real description of how our world came into being? Without Adam and Eve to be tempted where is the place of the tempter? The place is nowhere to be found. If the story of Adam and Eve was a myth in which we are informed that there are malign cosmic forces beside the positive ones, we have to identify those forces in spite that they never used a serpent for their actions. The existence of the ancient serpent talking to a human being is a story mythological in character.
The serpent never deceived Adam and Eve because Adam and Eve never existed on Earth. As a matter of fact, even if we take it as a parable the serpent didn’t deceive Adam and Eve but he told the truth to the first human beings. They didn’t die, neither physically nor spiritually, on the same day when they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, as the book of Genesis states that God would have said.
Adam and Eve hadn’t been punished with death by God, they were mortal because they didn’t have the time to eat from the tree of life. Following their alleged Fall, they hadn’t been rewarded with eternal life. Consequently, death isn’t a punishment for any human being because is the natural way in which Adam and Eve had been created and the eternal life is a reward gained by few for their faithfulness.
This is only an imaginary story and not the truth. In point of fact, human beings appeared through evolution from other biological beings which all were mortal and they haven’t been tempted by Satan in order to know good and evil and to become like God. Good and evil represents phenomena that humankind defines as such, and which are deemed to be connected with its survival and progress. For the Jews, the difference between good and evil is found in the O.T. From the point of view of Christianity, good and evil is defined by Jesus’ teachings. For other religions, good and evil are expressed in their fundamental texts.
Humankind hadn’t been created by God in His physical likeness but human beings have the same physical characteristics as the animals from which they come.
Two ears, nose with two nostrils, two eyes, two arms and two legs similar to the animals’ four legs, is the image that human beings and most evolved animals have in common. If God had created human beings in His physical likeness and the animals in the likeness of the human beings, then animals also would be in God’s physical likeness. God is Spirit according to what Jesus has revealed to us, so the human beings cannot be physically in His likeness because they are also matter.
Why would God have created human beings so similar to other animals including their genetic code if they are so special and different from them? There wouldn’t have been any reason for that if God created man from dust much different than other biological beings. If God had created humankind in His physical likeness He wouldn’t have created them in animals’ likeness as they are in fact.
Physically the human beings look like other animals and this situation pleads for the evolution of humankind from other biological beings, but psychologically our evolution went very far towards the understanding of God. We have in common with God the Logos, meaning beside other understandings, word and rationality. The Logos took on a human body and revealed to us the way in which we can become the children of God. The Supreme Rationality can dwell in every human being who accepts the Logos to reside in him or her.
The knowledge of good and evil and knowledge in general permits humankind to become like God, knowing even the secret of eternal life in the future. The book of Genesis can be interpreted to contain a discouraging spiritual message which says that God wouldn’t want human beings to be like Him, knowing good and evil, and this in spite of Genesis chapter 1 which says that He had created humankind in His likeness. This is a contradictory and confusing message.
Knowledge is inherent to humankind, the essence of what differentiate human beings from other beings. Without knowledge which includes the knowledge of good and evil, and without the permanent thirst for it, there isn’t any determining element to make human what they are. Humans are more than other animals precisely because they have a moral consciousness through knowing the difference between good and evil. This is a historical and cultural achievement. Without this knowledge, human beings would have been just another kind of animal, morally undeveloped. In other words, the knowledge of good and evil is paramount to what humankind is.
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Remaining in the mythological context, in lack of eating from the tree of good and evil human beings wouldn’t have been human at all. God would have created a human form from dust but prohibiting the knowledge of good and evil He wouldn’t have created a complete human being with consciousness, in spite of what the book of Genesis tries to say, but He would have created only a biological robot.
In the real world, the search for knowledge hadn’t been induced from outside of human nature by a serpent, but this curiosity has created humankind and extracted it from the ranks of animals.
At a spiritual level, Jesus brought the knowledge of good and evil. As a matter of fact, Jesus, not the serpent, brought to human beings teachings which contain the difference between good and evil at the highest spiritual level. Why was the serpent guilty if he proposed to humankind the same thing as Jesus did, which is the knowledge of good and evil? If the first 11 chapters from the book of Genesis had any spiritual meaning the real serpent is Jesus because He brought the real knowledge about the difference between good and evil to humankind. According to the N.T. the knowledge of good and evil came to us through Jesus Christ and not through Adam and Eve, and that contradicts the book of Genesis.
Why was the serpent considered to be guilty if the human beings became knowledgeable and are human? This story is an anachronistic view on humankind and doesn’t have anything to do with reality. No Adam and Eve and no talking serpent had been present in the history of humankind, but only a tendency for knowledge coming from inside human nature and favoured by the challenge posed by the environment.
The book of Genesis doesn’t say anything about real knowledge given by God to humankind except the first clothes they wore. According to chapter 2 of the book of Genesis God would have created a world in which some beings would have strived to ascend their animal status, learning from failures and great sufferings what is good and what is evil, in this way being able to become what humankind is today. The evil isn’t primarily a problem of a fight between cosmic forces of good and of evil, but is a question of human reason dominating absurdity which is always evil.
Adam and Eve are seen many times as some etheric or idealised human beings situated above rationality at a level where the difference between good and evil isn’t important.
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There isn’t and never was such a spiritual level and even God as a spiritual Reality was eternally conscious about both good and evil. The level implied by the book of Genesis as being the initial stage of Adam and Eve, is a subhuman level, not a high spiritual stage, and for this reason they needed to get to a superior stage through the knowledge of good and evil in order to become human.
The main causes of evil in our world are ignorance and injustice and also religious and political fanaticism. If Satan had helped humankind to gain knowledge he wouldn’t have done an evil thing, but neither the serpent nor the first human beings were real. Recommending the tree of knowledge to them, Satan had helped humankind to be able to discern what is good from what is bad and in this way helped them to become moral beings. Who then was the friend of humankind, according to the book of Genesis? It was God who wanted for humankind to remain in the quasi animal stage without the ability to discern between good and evil, or it was the serpent that pushed humankind toward knowledge? The book of Genesis gives a confused message, placing God in a situation in which He seemed to push for absurd things, but this isn’t the description of real facts therefore it isn’t the right image of God.
On the other side, the theistic evolution perspective completely exonerates God of His responsibility for evil because evil is in the nature of things and a necessary condition of evolution. The indirect creation of humankind couldn’t have been realised without the contribution of evil, meaning death and countless sufferance which is an important part of the process of attaining a higher level of evolution. For this reason, the theistic evolution view offers the most favourable image of God contrary to the creationist perspective which generates the worst possible image of Him, loaded with the full responsibility for evil in the world.
Notwithstanding, both interpretations, the classical theistic one and the gnostic one being both based on a legend, raises the same problem of the conformity between the legend and reality. In order to give them any credit and real sense we have to admit that the stories of the creation had been inspired by God as parables in order to transmit to humankind a spiritual message, and this message isn’t affected at all by the numerous contradictions of the biblical account.
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Gnosticism mirrors the classic theism in the sense that the former sees as positive that which the latter sees as profoundly negative. For the Gnostics, the creator God is a bad divinity, egotistic and ready to kill human beings. The serpent is the saviour of humankind from this divinity. For the classical theists, God is a good and generous divinity and the serpent is the principle of evil.
“On the other hand, Gnostics see the Serpent Lucifer as a saviour, someone who came to save man, a Messenger of the True God. This Serpent of Enlightenment which brought Gnosis, Gnostic truth which allows the authentic and true nature of things to be seen in this world of confusion, came to liberate man. Lucifer is the true liberator of man. He came to liberate man from the tyranny of Yahve, from the tyranny of the creator god. He brought the real knowledge that in itself can free man and help him to escape from this satanic world and return to the world from which he came.”
I don’t want to favour an interpretation against the other but I am simply saying that the book of Genesis creates a confusing theology with at least two very different lines of interpretation. Even if the serpent had been a hero for humankind, bringing the light of knowledge to them, his fate is dramatic because he is hated by many human beings. God in the book of Genesis had sown hatred between human races and the serpent. In the Christian classical theistic doctrines and dogmas, the serpent is equated with Satan and is hated, being considered the enemy of humankind. At the same time, Jesus who brought us spiritual light and allowed us to be like God by knowing good and evil is loved by His followers.
When we consider the book of Genesis the conveyor of some spiritual messages, both the creationist view and the gnostic view have legitimate claims but interpreting the texts in opposite directions. For Gnosticism, Jesus was sent by the Father to show us the way toward Him and to liberate us from the domination of the Demiurge which uses our material side in order to keep us as His prisoners. The Demiurge would be the God from the O.T. whose image doesn’t correspond with what Jesus told us about the Father.
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Many stories from the O.T. would be a description of the Demiurge and they aren’t an authentic description of the Father. The question is to determine how many stories from the O.T. are precise descriptions of facts and how many are only fantasies imagined by the redactors of the texts in order to serve one theological purpose or another.
The solution to the problem of evil is different for classical theism, Gnosticism and theistic evolution. At the same time the narratives of creation can be seen either as a meaningless legend or as inspired parables without any scientific value, but containing a hidden spiritual message. For me it is obvious that the book of Genesis isn’t the expression of scientific realities or the reflection of something that really happened on Earth. At the same time, I find it hard to believe that the narratives from the book of Genesis convey a hidden spiritual message because I consider that they weren’t inspired by God.
In order to have spiritual content the narratives from the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis would have needed to be inspired by God, but they contradict each other and are very confused. God’s revelation needs to have a higher degree of coherence than those narratives from the book of Genesis, and we know that from the revelation coming through Jesus.
At the same time, having so many symbols in common with other mythologies, some stories from the book of Genesis can tell us about the first steps of humankind on Earth under the guidance of an extra-terrestrial civilization. For example, the texts about the “sons of God” or the construction of a tower can be related to the presence on Earth of a much more developed civilization from a technological point of view than humankind, but the creation of the universe in six days doesn’t have anything to do with reality.
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In short, the original sin means that all human beings are sinners because Adam and Eve had disobeyed God and had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We have inherited a fallen nature from Adam and Eve which prevents us from living pure lives. The opinions are divided about how deprived our nature is. From total depravation to only a partial depravation, all Christian theologians except Pelagius agreed that we need the grace of God in order to be saved from eternal death. In the history of Christianity, the opinions differed. Augustine of Hippo was one of the first theologians dealing with original sin:
“In Augustine’s view (termed “Realism”), all of humanity was really present in Adam when he sinned, and therefore all have sinned. Original sin, according to Augustine, consists of the guilt of Adam which all humans inherit. As sinners, humans are utterly depraved in nature, lack the freedom to do good, and cannot respond to the will of God without divine grace.”
For John Cassian, who was another important theologian, man needs God because he isn’t able to reach salvation in his nature:
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“Cassian did not accept the idea of total depravity, on which Martin Luther was to insist. He taught that human nature is fallen or depraved, but not totally. Augustine Casiday states that, at the same time, Cassian “baldly asserts that God’s grace, not human free will, is responsible for ‘everything which pertains to salvation’ – even faith.”
All these ideas start from the book of Genesis in which Adam and Eve were disobedient to God. Those theologians maintain that there is something wrong with human nature, something which cannot be fixed by human effort alone but only by God’s intervention. This is a conception which has persisted through the Reformation:
“Martin Luther (1483–1546) asserted that humans inherit Adamic guilt and are in a state of sin from the moment of conception. The second article in Lutheranism’s Augsburg Confession presents its doctrine of original sin in summary form: It is also taught among us that since the fall of Adam all men who are born according to the course of nature are conceived and born in sin. That is, all men are full of evil lust and inclinations from their mothers’ wombs and are unable by nature to have true fear of God and true faith in God. Moreover, this inborn sickness and hereditary sin is truly sin and condemns to the eternal wrath of God all those who are not born again through Baptism and the Holy Spirit.”
All human beings regardless of what religious faith they profess or in lack of any religious faith, are condemned to eternal hell because according to the book of Genesis all are the offspring of Adam and Eve, who disobeyed God by eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As a matter of fact, humankind isn’t the conveyor of Adam and Eve’s sins because these are mythological, not real personages. Something would be wrong if Buddhists or Hindus would have to suffer a punishment for something in which they don’t believe and which is only a mythological narrative.
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There aren’t any reasons to believe that the followers of other religions than Christianity would have to suffer any punishments from God for their beliefs as far as Adam and Eve are only legendary personages. No one inherited any sins from people who never existed on Earth as real human beings.
If all religions are based on mythological narratives there isn’t one religion superior to another which can make better promises for salvation.
John Calvin also referred to the original sin:
“Original sin, therefore, seems to be a hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused into all parts of the soul, which first makes us liable to God’s wrath, then also brings forth in us those works which Scripture calls “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19). And that is properly what Paul often calls sin. The works that come forth from it – such as adulteries, fornications, thefts, hatreds, murders, carousings – he accordingly calls “fruits of sin” (Gal 5:19–21), although they are also commonly called “sins” in Scripture, and even by Paul himself.”
If the book of Genesis isn’t an accurate description of what happened at the beginning of human history and Adam and Eve are not real but fictitious personages, there isn’t such a thing as the original sin. If the human races evolved during a long period of time from other less evolved biological beings, human nature isn’t the result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God but it is the product of natural evolution. As a matter of fact, human nature is similar to that of many animals but amended by culture and education. If there isn’t such thing as the original sin human beings are able to better themselves and to rise to a higher spiritual standard through their efforts. At the same time the Kingdom of God is a spiritual realm in which one can be received by God if one accepts His offer of eternal life.
According to the Bible death had entered into the world because Adam and Even didn’t obey God’s commandment not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
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“12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned— 13 sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. 14 Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.” (Romans 5; 12-14 NRSV)
If Adam and Eve never disobeyed God because they never existed they also weren’t punished by God with death for their alleged disobedience. Death didn’t come into creation based on a human attitude but it was always in the natural world, life and death being intertwined.
If God punishes all sin with death we need Jesus to redeem us from death because He suffered the punishment in our place, but we aren’t guilty of an original sin. Everyone answers before God for his or her misconduct but not for what the mythological personages Adam and Eve would have done.
Adam and Eve were punished by God with death and we also are deemed to deserve death for our disobedience which is sin. This is the logic of the Bible. What if Adam and Eve weren’t punished for their disobedience with death considering that they couldn’t have disobeyed Him because they weren’t real? If Adam and Eve are only imaginary personages the image of how God would have dealt with human beings is very different than what the Bible says.
Nevertheless, if the Decalogue includes the principle of the creation in six days, which is fiction, it is problematic to know the laws according to which our misbehaviour can be deemed sin. The Decalogue doesn’t express the truth; the world wasn’t created in six days hence the ten commands are not inspired by God. Those commands have, nevertheless, a great moral value, being the expression of necessary conditions for life in any society. They are not unique, for example, researchers have discovered a collection of laws which was authored previous to the Mosaic Law and which is known as the Code of Hammurabi. Some provisions in the Code of Hammurabi originating from Babylon are very similar with the prescriptions found in the Mosaic Law. (see also: gotquestions.org/Moses-Hammurabi-code.html)
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At the same time, there is a universal justice and according to it all human beings have to respect others’ rights.
In the O.T. there were degrees of guilt measuring human behaviour but even so almost always a ransom of blood had to be paid.
“22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrew 9; 22 NRSV)
The punishment for any kind of sin is death, of the animal in the O.T. and of Jesus who died in our place in the N.T. There isn’t any sin which doesn’t deserve to be punished by death according to the Bible and this correction would have started with the mythological personages Adam and Eve and their alleged sins.
“A matter of the will more than of the hand, sin is an act of rebellion, revolution, and anarchy against God’s righteous government. As such it is an affront to the holiness of God. The measure of God’s wrath against sin is the measure of His holiness. And the measure of the penalty—death—is the measure of the enormity of the offence.”
Are there different degrees of sin? It is true that some sins were seen as being graver than others in the O.T. but at the same time all sins are punished by death by God if the sinner is not redeemed. The problem is that it is impossible to atone for sins through his or her good deeds and everyone needs Christ as an expiatory sacrifice in order to atone for sins. How could I redeem my original sin inherited from Adam and Eve if it was such a sin? No matter what I do, I cannot redeem the original sin and only Christ can do that for me. If the doctrine of original sin was right, every person needs Christ’s redemptive sacrifice for him or her, no matter how moral his or her life is, but the doctrine is false if we take in consideration the fictitious character of Adam and Eve. We need Christ for our personal spiritual improvement, not for what Adam and Eve would have done.
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The problem is extremely important because it doesn’t matter how pure in character someone would be, due to Adam and Eve’s sins he or she cannot be saved by God if he or she doesn’t become a Christian believer. Why necessarily a Christian? The answer is that only Christ can save someone from the original sin made by Adam and Eve, according to the Bible. The story of Adam and Eve prevents Christians admitting that other religious people have an equal claim to salvation as they have. Without Christ who is the second Adam none can be forgiven of the original sin. This is an incorrect doctrine based on the fictitious story of Adam and Eve.
Some sins are worse than others but all sins are punished by eternal death if they aren’t redeemed. The following quotation explains this principle:
“In regard to eternal consequences, big sins and little sins are the same. In the eyes of a Holy God, even the smallest sin is worthy of an infinite and eternal punishment. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is talking about physical and spiritual death. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
Death had entered into the world through Adam and Eve, according to the book of Genesis. If death didn’t enter into the world through Adam and Eve because they aren’t real personages, that means that death isn’t a punishment from God but a natural thing. Even if death isn’t a punishment for human sin but a natural thing, we still need the power of God to liberate us from death. There is a condition for that, and that is the spiritual regeneration. Redemption without regeneration doesn’t bring anyone into heaven. Jesus’ death on the cross and the new birth in Christ are two doctrines which complement each other.
We aren’t forgiven for our sins unless our sins are paid for by Jesus, and in order not to sin again we need to be born again. A sin for which someone is punished isn’t a forgiven but a chastised sin. The human sins aren’t just forgiven by a forgiving God if Jesus died on the cross for them; all our sins are punished in Him.
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It doesn’t matter who was punished for our sins, if Jesus took our sins on Himself this means that sins cannot just be forgiven. God doesn’t forgive sins, He only expiates them through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
If our sins would be forgiven by God no punishment would be attached to them and Christ wouldn’t have needed to die for them. God never forgives anything unless someone is punished for the mistake. This is the lesson of the Bible; God’s justice requires punishment in order to be fulfilled. God is motivated by justice and whoever doesn’t accept Jesus as his or her Saviour, he or she is punished with eternal death.
In order to live forever one needs to rise to very high moral standards and be able to live without sin as Jesus did. The obedience to God is considered to be the most important Christian value and that message comes directly from the book of Genesis. The O.T. and the N.T. are both focused primarily on this value. The following biblical text underlines the importance of obedience to God:
“22 And Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obedience to the voice of the LORD? Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is no less a sin than divination, and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.’ “(1 Samuel 15; 22-23 NRSV)
People cannot be blamed if they don’t believe in the narratives of creation from the book of Genesis and their lack of trust in them cannot be considered sin because those stories are unbelievable. Nevertheless, people who believe in God in spite of the inconsistencies contained by the book of Genesis on the basis of their personal experience with Him, and I am one of them, have to consider the requirements of God for their salvation such as they are expressed in the life and teachings of Jesus.
The unbelievers and the sinners will not die because they are unbelievers and sinners, but they will die because all human beings are mortal by nature.
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The exception to the rule of human mortality will be made only in connection with people who freely choose to believe in God in spite of the incongruence specific to the book of Genesis, or of other texts of the Bible, and that on the basis of their personal experience with God, and on what they can find still reliable in the Bible.
If humankind had come from evolution and not through Adam and Eve we can say that God didn’t create human beings directly. God could have created them indirectly by influencing the way in which nature has evolved but they could also have appeared through the natural evolution of nature without His influence. There is an innate impulse in nature to transform lower forms of existence into more complicated forms and this natural dynamic cannot be denied.
God could have assured the necessary conditions for the development of biological life and of human beings but we don’t have any reason to believe that without His intervention the life on Earth wouldn’t have existed as we know it. If there is life in the cosmos only where God created it then the Bible doesn’t help us to know if there are other planets hosting life in the universe. Probably, biological life and even intelligent life appears where it finds the necessary conditions for its existence with or without an act of God.
The book of Genesis doesn’t say how life really would have appeared on our planet but only presents a mythological description which is contradictory and against the data of sciences. For example, the creation of plants on Earth before the creation of stars, as the book of Genesis states, is one of the most obvious absurdities that someone can hear. We all are created from matter created in the stars, plants included; hence plants couldn’t have existed on the third day of creation, before the creation of stars. It is without doubt that plants couldn’t have been created before the creation of stars and before the apparition of supernova which produced the elements found in those plants.
The stories of creation from the book of Genesis aren’t revelations coming from God because they cannot explain credibly how the universe and life on Earth came into existence. In order to find answers to fundamental questions related to the origin of the universe and humankind we have to study nature because the study of the Bible doesn’t help us in this regard. The study of nature doesn’t directly point toward God’s existence because nature contains in it all necessary ingredients for the existence of life, but also doesn’t exclude the existence of a higher Reality.
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The so-called theory of fine tuning is a rational one. Such a theory maintains that there are too many coincidences allowing life to develop on Earth. The gathering of so many conditions at the same time cannot be coincidental; it must by a Designer who set everything in place for life to appear on Earth. As a matter of fact, we don’t know how many universes are in place in the entire cosmos and what the probability for life to happen is. The theory of intelligent design contains an interesting possibility but there are also arguments against it.
Human nature cannot be diminished in any way and humankind was met by God in the human nature. In the so-called depravity and corruption of human nature humankind invented so many religions and by this we can see that human beings have an innate spiritual dimension, hence human nature is open to spirituality. How could human beings aspire to spirituality by itself in every corner of the earth if human nature is really corrupted? The Buddhist monks don’t see themselves as being born again from God but, nevertheless, they sometimes reach high levels of spirituality. The basis of our spirituality is in our nature and to condemn human nature using as an argument the alleged original sin of two fictitious personages, is also absurd. Neither Martin Luther nor John Calvin inherited a corrupt nature from Adam and Eve because the alleged two first human beings never existed on Earth.
Human nature is linked with human biology and in order to detach it more from biological bonds and see existence in another perspective, we need God’s nature which isn’t determined by biological causality, being spiritual. According to the Christian teachings we can be born again from God in this way receiving a full spiritual nature. A similar detachment from human nature is also taught by Buddhism but the new birth cannot be found in its teachings as such.
God is Spirit and therefore He communicates with us in our inner spirits, giving us personal revelations. (John 4; 24) God the Father speaks to human beings from inside their consciousness rather than in an exterior way. None has seen God and He is love. (1 John 4; 12)
Did the prophets see God or not? They declared that they saw the glory of God. Take, for example, what Ezekiel saw in connection with God.
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The images that people have seen in the O.T. when they believed they saw the glory of God aren’t specific to a spiritual Reality but to a technological one, hence cannot be God the Father. God as an external reality to humankind, as an extra-terrestrial civilization and God as the spiritual “substance” of our souls, the spiritual “field” to whom every human being can be connected if he or she wishes, are two very different realities.
If Jesus died on the cross He didn’t do it because human beings need to be forgiven for the original sin because there isn’t such a thing. A redemptory mission of Jesus on behalf of humankind isn’t excluded but only for personal sins of every individual believer. For any human being, in order to understand sin a new consciousness of good and evil is needed, and that is given to us by Christ.
The inclination to sin of the human nature, the so-called concupiscence has nothing to do with Adam and Eve because the latter don’t have anything to do with reality. The inclination to sin is nothing else but natural instincts which allow human beings to survive in our world. We live in a competitive world and many adaptations are needed which permit the realisations of the ends of nature. We have strong instincts of survival and our nature isn’t based on idealistic principles. We can, nevertheless, deny our innate instincts and believe in superior principles, and even consider them more important than life but that doesn’t have anything to do with the reality of Adam and Eve. We can believe in Adam and Eve even if they never existed but our belief doesn’t make them more real.
If Adam and Eve are missing from the picture there isn’t anything left to condemn human nature and to make human beings feel guilty. This is the reason why so many religious people need Adam and Eve. Without them we have no reason to feel ashamed that we are human beings and that our nature isn’t perfect. This attitude of human dignity shadows the need for religions and particularly for religious institutions. We are what we should be based on our natural evolution and the reasons for the aspiration to be better can be found in our culture and in our beliefs. There isn’t any guilt in what we are and there isn’t any fault in our nature, which is the source of our improvement. Christ wasn’t ashamed to be a human being and if He was an improved human being it is because Father dwelt in Him. God wants to live in every one of us because we are the temples of the Holy Spirit.
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Moreover, if Adam and Eve didn’t exist, Christ couldn’t have come to Earth, taking the human nature of Adam before the Fall, a non-sinful nature. When Christ came to Earth He necessarily was a human being like us, having a sinful nature but He had the power not to sin and to resist all temptations. All inclinations toward sin were in Christ as they are in us. The presence of the Father dwelling in Christ was the motive for which Jesus didn’t sin while He lived on Earth. This presence is offered to us also and any human being in whom the Father is present can be a sinless person.
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