the day you eat you'll die, etc.

Dave Washburn dwashbur at
Fri Aug 25 11:22:38 EDT 2000

> OK Here's my two cents worth.  A few points some of which I support others
> which are a bit tenuous.
> 1, The interpreting one day of gods being a thousand years cannot stand due
> to chapter one of Genesis, 'and there was evening and there was morning the
> first day...etc etc'  The first chapter clearly describes a day, created by
> god, as being just that-one day.
> You can of course rule out chapter one as being from a different author, but
> if you do that then you must then also rule out any other parallels with
> other non J texts.  Including any texts that support the '1000 years'
> hypothesis

Multiple author hypotheses are not necessary to refute this idea; 
someone already pointed out that the sun and moon, which are 
required for a literal "evening and morning" were not created until 
the fourth day, so it's clear that we have a pair of metaphors here, 
Noel's later attempt to explain that away notwithstanding.

> 2.  The idea that the serpent=Satan is again not supported anywhere in the
> text, from a non-prejudicial reading of the text it is clear that the
> serpent
> did not even lie, and you can reach the conclusion, as Liz has, that God is
> the Liar.

Non-prejudicial?  So now any view that doesn't see the snake as 
the good guy and God as the bad is prejudicial?  That's a nice 
subtle job of writing off any and every contrary view with a single 
stroke of the keyboard, but it doesn't hold up.  If we look at the text 
as a whole, we note that 1) this was no ordinary snake, 2) he did in 
fact lie and as soon as Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit they 
knew they were in big trouble, 3) death did in fact result from their 
disobedience, as shown by the part of the curse that says Adam 
will return to the dust that he came from.  It's easy to pick and 
choose isolated statements from the text and support any view one 
wants to, but the text as a whole blows it to pieces.

> 3.  Crucially Adam is not told how he will die, you can interpret the text
> as meaning this:
> Adam is told by God that if he eats from the tree he will die, a very
> feasible interpretation of this is that the fruit is poisonous and will kill
> him,  

Now who's reading into the text?  The context makes it clear that 
death will result, not from the fruit, but from the act of disobedience.

Adam seeing Eve eating from the tree sees that she does not die, (Eve
> is here playing the food taster role :-) ) hence he will not die, so why not
> eat?  You could even argue that what God said to Adam was not a prohibition
> but a warning, and maybe Adam thought God was just plain mistaken when he
> said that he would die.

Then he was a fool.  And grammatically, I don't see how you can 
get a "warning" out of LO) TO)KAL MIM.EN.U, which is a perfectly 
plain and common Hebrew prohibition.

> 4.  If sin was introduced into the world after Adam and Eve ate from the
> tree and realized that they had sinned then how did they know they were
> sinning by eating from the tree in the first place.  (Stretching it I know!)

Stretching?  That's putting it mildly.  Whether they knew to call it 
sin or not, they knew they would be disobeying a direct 
command/prohibition from the God who made them if they ate.  

> 5.  The tree of Life seems to me to be a separate tradition and only
> inserted into the text alongside the tree of knowledge,  I cant remember the
> exact argument for this but I did come to support that conclusion at some
> point.

Regardless of the argument, it's irrelevant because we need to deal 
with the text as it stands, not with speculative cut-and-paste ideas. 
Whoever pasted it together had a reason and had something in 
mind, and our job is to interpret that.

> You can argue a lot of the details in some of the above arguments, but it
> just shows that there are many different interpretations, 

But not all interpretations look at the whole of the text, and that's 
where many of them fail.  The fact that one can come up with a 
different interpretation does not make said interpretation right or 

however I believe
> that it is wrong to interpret the text from any angle apart from the
> information presented in the text, 

Practice what you preach!

forget about Satan, and Christian
> doctrine, they have only made it one of the most damaging of all the
> biblical passages.

Hmm, I thought this kind of blatant attack on other list members' 
beliefs wasn't permitted by the moderators?  For one thing, it's 
legitimate to see the snake as some manifestation of Satan in light 
of other parts of the Hebrew Bible, as has already been argued by 
someone else.  For another, I have yet to see any real evidence 
that the Christian interpretation isn't at least as legitimate as 
others.  If someone has a mad-on for Christianity, that's their 
problem, not the text's.

Dave Washburn
"Éist le glór Dé."

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