I don’t spend a lot of time reading the Bible and had even forgotten what I thought I knew about Adam and Eve.
I had always thought that the original sin that Adam committed was having sexual intercourse with Eve–or something like that.
Now, I finally get it. It took me a long time and a lot of research, but now I know; “Original Sin” has nothing to do with sex.
I confess to having possessed “an astonishing ignorance” as a critic once pointed out to me, and apologize for the mistake.
My awareness of my “astonishing ignorance” led me to pursue my understanding of “Original Sin” further and I learned that Original Sin has to do with apples (but not oranges). Well, not actually apples… “fruit” seems to more accurately fit the literal translation, but somehow, apples got the bad rap.
Then again, “apples” or apple trees aren’t really mentioned specifically in the Bible. The trees that seem to be at the root of the problem are “the tree of knowledge of good and evil” and “the tree of life.” Now you can see how things can become controversial, here, because there is nothing inherently bad about either “knowledge” or “life,” or even apples for that matter, but when you’ve got a ridiculous event to begin with, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do and stories can become pretty confusing.
Assuming for a moment that apples were involved in some way, why would the most powerful force imaginable set up a prohibition for the first two people it had created, against eating a goddam apple and then let the rest of us go on enjoying Red Delicious, Macintosh and Granny Smiths? “Well, it’s symbolic,” I was told. Or it’s not “about eating the apple, anyway, it’s about disobeying god.”
So that’s it! It’s about disobedience.
Okay, here’s my new understanding, based partly upon my rereading of Genesis and also on what I have read about one of the pillars of Christendom, “Aurelius Augustinus, Augustine of Hippo,” or Saint Augustine.
I must repeat, and don’t forget this, original sin has nothing to do with sex.
Once upon a time there was this guy, Augustine, The Bishop of Hippo, who had so much trouble with sexual desire, forty-four hundred years after the “apple incident,” that he gave it much thought and decided that the only way to get god’s grace was for him to avoid sex. The Bishop of Hippo came to that conclusion after living a life of debauchery and especially after many years of contemplation of the penis’s tendency to become erect without a man’s conscious control. I think maybe this is where I got part of my misconception about the relation of sex and original sin. Surely you can appreciate that mistake?
By the way, the Bishop of Hippo was given the title of St. Augustine as a reward for all his seminal (no pun intended) thinking, So Augustine, who is a pillar of Christianity, concluded that he was sick of sex and so therefore everyone else should be. But since god had already created this guy Adam who managed somehow to acquire a sexual desire, and all of us now have it, Adam and all his descendants were in trouble. The reason being that the strong sexual desires which were now instilled in everyone ran counter to what The Bishop of Hippo, later St. Augustine, was saying. Augustine finally came to the conclusion that the best people were those who avoided sex. So most of humanity is inherently evil. Very convenient after he had all that fun.
Since the ancient storytellers who concocted this mishmash knew a little bit about inheritance, you know, all those “begats” and other genealogical references, they came to the conclusion, that whether it was apples, fruit, disobedience, knowledge or life–the whole mess became the problem of every baby that was ever born from that day forward, starting with Adam and Eve’s own two kids, Cain and Abel. It was inherited. Later on, class, we’ll learn that this is why we need to have baptism–to wash away the original sin. But who’s going to get into that one now?
Part of my confusion stemmed from the fact that god also claimed that everything he made was good, yet out of nowhere, in the middle of the “fruit” incident, this bad snake character popped up. Remember it was god himself who said, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Gen 1:31) Nevertheless, I now understand the fact that god, who is good, who created everything, must have created the apple, the snake, and “original sin,” (all bad) so that billions of future human beings who had nothing to do with eating the apple, are all bad, and must suffer. You have to admit that it gets a little complicated.
Of course some theologians rejected this entire concept–everything from snakes, fruit trees and life and knowledge to disobedience–because they found it hard to accept that babies were being accused of having been born bad, since they had done nothing yet. They found it… well… unfair… to be born with sin, that is.
So, even though I know I am ignorant, one must admit that there’s a certain amount of chutzpah attached to being a loving, forgiving god, (also all-knowing, I might add), knowing ahead of time what someone’s going to do; He obviously knew that Eve was going to take a bite out of the apple… which leads to the question, could this be viewed as entrapment?
Anyway, god preaches forgiveness and even sends his own flesh-and-blood son right down here to earth to preach it to all of us, and has him killed in the bargain, TO CLEANSE US ALL. That must be the record for the most blatant hypocrisy ever perpetrated. And that must have been one potent apple, and besides, bear in mind, it had nothing to do with sex.