Books

Wait…So How Was It Supposed to Go?

Almost done Paradise Lost! (Professor McNeilly, if you’re reading this, you know it’s long.)(I did finish Oroonoko today though.)

(…after lecture.)

Finishing Book IX, I began wondering if Adam and Eve didn’t eat the fruit…what would the world be like today?

Based on the punishments given in Book X, there are some obvious stuff:

  • We wouldn’t have to worry about agriculture or feeding ourselves
  • No pain in childbirth
  • Snakes wouldn’t move on their bellies (which brings into question how did they move before…)
  • We’d be living in a giant garden
  • We’d be naked…and be okay with it
  • Women wouldn’t be subject to their husbands (so Eve is responsible for gender politics?)

But if you continue on this train of thought…the world becomes a very different place. Since everything is provided, all we’d ever do is garden. We wouldn’t have to worry about how our clothes look or how high the bills are or what are we going to do for the next three hours while we wait for the wi-fi to be fixed.

And of course there’s the big thing. You know, we wouldn’t know the difference between good and evil. Oh wait…

I find the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is a paradox–which is kind of a fallacy in the story of Genesis.

I understand that eating the fruit awakened desire and shame in Adam and Eve. However, if they know it is wrong to eat from the tree and they will be punished for doing so…doesn’t that make them aware of something “evil” whereas anything else is “good”?

Anyways…I want to pose this question: If one event could be done differently, which event would you change, how, and why?

“Ah, why should all mankind/For one man’s fault, be condemned,/If guiltless?” -John Milton, Paradise Lost

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4 thoughts on “Wait…So How Was It Supposed to Go?”

  1. Of the Tree of Good and Evil: I feel it is less the idea of good and evil that was implemented in Genesis than the essence of human nature to resist God. Your questions are pretty interesting. I have to wonder, are you or have you ever been a Christian?

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    1. I am, in fact, a born, raised, and practicing Catholic, so it may seem a little blasphemous to even read something based on biblical texts like Paradise Lost or The Divine Comedy, let alone criticize it. And I thank you for reminding me: Paradise Lost is all about God’s reasoning for giving his creations free will, and that includes us humans.

      But I don’t regret reading Milton, (despite previous posts) because reading books that seem controversial or abhorrent to you allows you to analyze your own beliefs. And Milton has certainly made me think a lot.

      In the end, the questions I pose in this post were basically what was going through my mind as I read. Given that Milton has expanded a tiny fraction of the Bible, it means a lot has been improvised (with reasonable logic), and obviously it’s not holy scripture. But the paradox of the Tree is one I find interesting, and is something that never is really explained. I could just have easily asked, “why make the tree in the first place?” or “what’s so wrong about knowledge?” (Eerily, I think Satan asks the same thing in the poem.)

      It’s just one of the mysteries that comes in the package that is religion. And despite all of this I still hold firm to my beliefs. I think it just means that Milton didn’t accomplish his goal and justify the ways of God to man, because I still have unanswered questions.

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    2. I’m sorry if I offended you, it wasn’t my intention. I loved reading Dante’s Inferno and The Garden by an author whose name escapes me. I like how you put that; it does solidify your faith to discuss controversial topics.
      The fact that you continue to stand firm in your faith is awesome! It’s something I personally struggled with when faced with unanswered questions.
      It’s so much easier to focus on what WE think we could have done better, but like you said there in lies paradoxes (paradoxi?) that become shrouded in mystery. Someone very wise recently told me at some point, you have to leave answers totally based on faith. That God would never allow Himself to be “explained” by science. I’m sure you can understand why this frustrates me so…

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    3. Oh I’m not offended at all. I was actually afraid that I had offended you in this post, or rather anyone who has such strong beliefs. And yes, I completely understand how you feel. Sometimes its so hard to just give blind faith, especially when you are surrounded by “the logical answer”. I’m also a science major and so that plays into my life a lot. And sometimes I’m not really sure how to organize these conflicting thoughts…because I’ve learned them in such a way that I can and somewhat do accept them both.

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