Sometimes a story is just a story.
It is told to make a point, hoping that the lesson can be learned more easily with the introduction of characters, props and surroundings.
When we begin to believe that every story is a commandment or that every tale placed in a holy book is intended to be the immutable word of God, we not only threaten the world around us with our piety, but we drastically miss the point.
It doesn’t take long to discover this if you ever read the Good Book.
The story of Adam and Eve is not placed in the pages to warn of the danger of eating too much fruit or to suggest that blindly following the commandments of the Almighty is the best way to achieve a good human life.
The purpose of the story is to let us know what we should do when we inevitably fail. For let me tell you, there are only two pieces of ignorance on the Earth:
1. “I never make mistakes.”
2. “I always make mistakes and am not worthy.”
Both of these paths make you dangerous to the people around you and cripple you in your pursuit of living an abundant life.
The story says that Adam and Eve were not supposed to eat some piece of fruit in the Garden. Truthfully, I do not know what in the hell that means, for heaven’s sakes.
Nor do you. You can feel free to speculate on what the fruit might have been, the danger it offered, or parallel it with some action in our world today. But certainly the Creator who tinkered with our brain to form a psyche He called human was fully cognizant that saying “no” to such beings as us was an invitation to rebellion.
People do not like to be told not to do something.
“Thou shalt not” is the best way to set in motion “thou wilt.”
So the story of Eden is not about learning discipline, but rather, learning what to do when personal discipline breaks down.
Having eaten the goddamn fruit, Adam and Eve plotted, becoming liars, deceivers, cover-up artists and hiders.
Feeling that God was more interested in His rules and regulations than He was in them, they ran away in fear of His judgment.
They completely misunderstood.
Had they walked out together, naked as jaybirds, with their half-eaten apple in hand and presented it to God with a repentant heart, we might still be living in Paradise.
God was not trying to build a Paradise that was perfect, but rather, one where imperfection could be revealed without fear.
If your situation, your religion, your politics, your family, your spouse, your school or any other mortal man or woman causes you to cower, it can’t possibly be borne of goodness.
We were not meant to cower, just as we are not meant to be sin-free.
We were meant to boldly live, to boldly fail and to boldly repent.