The paradox of Eden

Download The paradox of Eden

Post on 06-Jul-2016

226 views

Category:

Documents

1 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

<ul><li><p>Int J Phil Re115:171 (1984). 9 Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague. Printed in the Netherlands. </p><p>THE PARADOX OF EDEN </p><p>RICHARD R. La CROIX State University College at Buffalo </p><p>In the book of Genesis we are told that God created Adam and Eve and put them in the garden of Eden. God also placed in the midst of the garden of Eden the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve were permitted to eat of any of the trees in the garden of Eden, but God commanded them not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The forbidden fruit was eaten by Adam and Eve and God punished them for their disobedience (see Genesis 3:16-19). </p><p>Notice that there is a difficulty with this story. Before they ate the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve either knew that obeying God is good and disobeying God is evil or they did not know this. If they knew it, then Adam and Eve would have al- ready possessed the knowledge of good and evil and through his omniscience God would know this and he would also know that Adam and Eve would not very like- ly be tempted to eat the forbidden fruit because they would have nothing to gain by disobeying God. So, since God's command not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was an inadequate and unfair test of the righteous- ness of Adam and Eve if they already possessed the knowledge of good and evil, God acted unjustly by making this command if they already had this knowledge. </p><p>On the other hand, if Adam and Eve did not know that obeying God is good and disobeying God is evil, then they could not have known that it was wrong or evil to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So, since God pun- ished Adam and Eve for doing something that they could not have known to be wrong or evil, God acted unjustly by punishing them. It would appear to follow that whether or not Adam and Eve knew that obeying God is good and disobeying God is evil, God acted unjustly. But, then, God is just at one time and unjust at another time. Consequently, being just is not a necessary or essential property of God. </p><p>171 </p></li></ul>