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Is the Scene in the Garden of Eden too Simplistic to be Believed?

By Hal Flemings
October 1994

Some intellectuals find the story of Adam and Eve naive and simplistic. The story of a talking snake seems comical. And the test with the forbidden fruit seems too simple to mean so much. Aside from the fact that the Bible represents this as truth are there any other reasons to believe the story?

Several years ago in the United States there was a popular television program called "Candid Camera". One program featured a talking mailbox. Now, one might think that modern, first-world educated people would not believe that mailboxes talk and yet this program contradicted that conclusion. The producers arranged to have a carefully wired mailbox talk to lone passers-by who after expressing disbelief finally decided that the impossible had occurred. They formalized that belief by returning the conversation. No, things have not changed. People in our century, even sophisticated ones, still can be fooled by such unusual phenomena. Surreal phenomena arrest attention. That is what the Devil wanted--Eve’s attention--and he obtained it by means of the phenomenal.

When European explorers landed in the New World and planted flags on the soil each of those plantings, however simple the act, had major, substantive significance. Could we imagine, if the world went on the way that it is, that two thousand years from now intellectuals would look back and express disbelief that the simple act of planting a pole with a piece of cloth attached to it at the top could mean so much? Would they argue that this was too infantile and that no mature, adult human would perform such a simple gesture? How could something that simple means so much? Other "simple" human behaviors having a meaning with substance include: saluting within the military, standing up for the elderly and bowing to a monarch. Why would eating a forbidden fruit be less credible for significance? If intelligent humans perform simple behaviors that can mean so much, what is wrong with God decreeing that the simple behavior of eating from a forbidden tree also had far reaching significance? This criticism of Genesis 2 and 3 is unfair and hypocritical.


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