• Jonathan Shuerger

The Devil is Pro-Choice: Lessons from Eden

In the Garden of Eden, the Lord placed two trees. One was the Tree of Life, and the other the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Within this garden, entirely devoid of sin or death, God placed Adam and Eve and told them to multiply and take possession of the Earth.

They received only one negative commandment, one Thou Shalt Not: do not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, because if they did, they would surely die.

According to the dimensions of the garden provided in Genesis 2, Eden was enormous. However, Adam and Eve were close enough to the tree to be tempted. This implies either that they were drawn to the tree, or, more likely, they were placed near the trees upon their creation and little time had elapsed for them to wander away.

The temptation itself is what interests me, however.

The serpent, being more subtle than anything else, asked Eve if God really said that she would die if she ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve answered yes, and added that even if the tree were to be touched, they would die.

Note that death did not enter the world when the serpent implied that God had lied, nor when Eve added to His commandments.

The serpent then proceeded to elaborate on a premise that God actually wished to limit humanity and retain divinity for Himself alone by denying humanity the resource they required to ascend to His level: namely, the knowledge that the fruit of the forbidden Tree would impart.

There's a couple things to consider here.

First, humanity at this point only knew Good.

The implication of the serpent is that knowing only Good is not good enough. The serpent, in its subtlety, placed Eve in a rough situation by stating that God knew both Good and Evil, but did not wish His creations access to such knowledge. The deeper implications are that God desired zoo specimens, creatures caged for His delight but bound to His control.

This is absurd, as God created the Tree a couple days before, placed it in the Garden Himself, and then placed Adam and Eve in easy reach of it. There was no great quest to find the Tree, slay a dragon and save humanity from darkness. God clearly had no fear of any danger to or competition with Himself by leaving the Tree accessible to humans.

In the moment, however, Eve found herself in agreement with the serpent's allegations and suspicious of God's motives. When she looked on the fruit, she immediately went through a process of minimizing the danger it represented.

1. The fruit was attractive

2. It had nutritional value

3. It offered intangible career benefits to her

Second, the serpent's position is that he only wanted Eve to have access to the choice between good and evil. Nowhere does the serpent attack Eve, force her to pick the fruit, throw it at her or otherwise hold her hostage in order to condemn humanity to an eternity of Death. The serpent merely evinced a simple desire for Eve to have the choice for herself.

Let's consider God's position. He stated in the form of a negative commandment that humanity desist from eating the fruit specifically because if they ate it, they would become vulnerable to entropy and Death.

By the way, this occurred when their eyes were opened after eating the fruit and they realized they were naked. Nakedness is the quintessential state of vulnerability, and they realized their newfound mortality instantaneously and tried to cover themselves.

By inverting the negative rationale of God's commandment to find the positive, we see clearly that God wanted Adam and Eve to remain alive.

By considering the positions of the serpent and God in this story, we come to the fun thought for the day: God is pro-life, and Satan is pro-choice.