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Who is to blame for Original Sin the One who ate the fruit or the One who created the tree?

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December 23, 2013 2:11PM

Many consider the story of the original sin to be little more than a parable. You get to read into it whatever you think would be a good lesson in morality (or cynicism, depending on your perspective).

The First Sin and Responsibility

Note: to avoid this space turning into a confrontation, the following assumes that the story of Adam and Eve, the tree, and the first sin are essentially accurate from a historical point of view. Please use a different question if you wish to debate the veracity of the story. Please expect this answer to "be edited mercilessly" otherwise.

The question of responsibility and culpability regarding the first sin of Adam and Eve disobeying God has been debated by scholars, philosophers, and just about anybody else with an opinion for centuries. On one hand, Adam was given explicit instructions not to eat fruit from that tree. On the other hand, had God not planted the tree in there in the first place, there wouldn't have been a problem.

The tree was no ordinary tree. Genesis 2:9 mentions that the Garden of Eden had many trees that had nice-looking and nice-tasting fruit. Two particular trees, though, were singled out in the garden. "In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." The latter tree was the forbidden one. Some have tried to explain this as a metaphor for a variety of different thoughts, desired, or deeds; for the purposes of this question, I don't think the distinction is important. The implication, though, is that eating of that tree would give one the knowledge of good and evil, further implying that Adam and Eve didn't know about evil. After Adam had eaten of the fruit of that tree, brought to him by Eve, both became aware of their nakedness; again, the numerous theories behind what may have happened physically aren't essential to the answer. Adam had been given responsibility to avoid doing one thing, and he shirked that responsibility.

So why did God put it there in the first place? The Bible doesn't say. In fact, that particular tree isn't mentioned again. The other special tree, the tree of life, is mentioned again, though; it's the centerpiece of the New Jerusalem mentioned in the latter part of the book of Revelation, after the devil and Hell have been cast into the lake of fire. First, though, after the sin happens, God realizes that, if Adam and Eve ate of that tree � which had not been forbidden � then they would live forever. It appears as though that was part of God's plan. Thus, we must ask if God had planned to allow, one day, Adam and Eve and/or their descendents to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but after they were prepared for it, perhaps after eating of the tree of life. God�s will as expressed to Adam and his wife was primarily positive, setting forth things they were to do. (Ge 1:26-29; 2:15) One prohibitive command was given to Adam, that forbidding eating of (or even touching) the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. (Ge 2:16,�17; 3:2,�3) This was a test of man�s obedience and devotion to God, and it showed respect for man�s dignity. By it God attributed nothing bad to Adam; he did not use as a test the prohibition of, for example, bestiality, murder, or some similar vile or base act, thereby implying that God felt Adam might have some despicable inclinations residing within him. Eating was normal, proper, and Adam had been told to �eat to satisfaction� of what God had given him. (Ge 2:16) But God now tested Adam by restricting his eating of the fruit of this one tree. The eating of that fruit would symbolize that the eater comes to a knowledge that enables him to decide for himself what is �good� or what is �bad� for man. In other words, would Adam submit to God's rulership, or decide for himself what was good and bad? Thus, God neither imposed a hardship on the man nor did He attribute to Adam anything beneath his dignity as a human son of God. As we know, Adam chose to use his gift of free will to disobey God and saying, by his actions, that he would choose for himself what was right and wrong.

God certainly had the right to place this test apon his creation. The test was neither severe or difficult. In fact, it was only after a rebellious spirit creature, that later became known as Satan the Devil, did Eve, and then later Adam, begin desiring the fruit. As a perfect man and woman, their disobedience was deliberate. They chose for themselves, to remove themselves from God's rulership, and the blessings of that arrangement.

The fault lies, not with God, but with our first human parents. Since Adam & Eve were the first humans, they don't have parents, teachers, social & cultural groups, religious leaders, political leaders to learn from. In short, their minds were blanks. For them God and Devil are mere strangers. There were nobody to warn them not to talk to either strangers. They have no concept of good or evil.

For God to put the tree of Knowledge and the tree of Life in the garden, then commanded them not to touch it is like putting a matchbox in the middle of the room, then command an innocent child not to play with it. Or; A prudent parent will not spread rat-poison in the room and command the child not to eat it. No, Adam & Eve were not to blame for the fall of man.

Additional Comments:

*Augustine and Pelagius

In the 5th Century, Pelagius denied the Augustianian answer to the paradox of original sin. Augustine's answer was the Limited Sovereignty argument, which stated that Adam and Eve had the power to change nature by bringing sin into the world, but that the advent of sin then limited mankind's power thereafter (to evade the consequences). The problem of evil then asks: "Is God's creation still good?" Pelagius argued that death is a natural part of the universe. Both he and John Chrysostom believed that Christians, through their baptism, are free to make moral choices; that, although their wills cannot affect the course of nature, it can - and must - affect their moral decisions. This view, however, does not exclude the possibility that death came about as a result of human action. Pelagius' main argument was that God is just, and it would be unjust to punish many people for the sin of two people. Adam and Eve sinned, but universal mortality cannot be the result of their sin alone. Mortality must be the result of some other cause, which Pelagius held was simply the structure of nature. Pelagius' position is regarded by most Christian denominations as a heresy.[4] Augustine's position on the issue is discussed further in the section on Criticisms and responses below.

Another Opinion:

Regardless of whether or not one believes the story to be literal, the lesson is the same. Adam and Eve were given a clear command and they disobeyed even though they knew the consequences. Even though they were newly created, they were not babies. They were intelligent but innocent. The first humans clearly made a free-will choice to disobey God. He did not force them to do so. They are quite clearly to blame.

Additional Comments:

Hey people, im in year 9 in Australia but i think i got a good answer. I mainly agree with the first idea but we need to look at this from a more direct view. The tree of knowledge is a tree of KNOWLEDGE.. so these people are almost brainless like animals but they took a bite out of the tree of knowledge which made them able to have "free will" and an "intellect" like angels, devils and Gods. Everyone everything has free will and intellect. humans develop this around age 7-8 and this is the age you go to reconciliation because u now no when you are wrong.

Back to the question God didnt want us to have a free will and intellect because he knew , like the devil, people will exploit it so he gave us a choice because he is soo good and loves us. Humans are the resaon for original sin and more directly woman, howver, men are to blame because they got tempted too. Hope this helps.

Another Thought:

Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world - That is, it was foreordained, or predetermined, that he should be the great stoning Sacrifice for sin. On the meaning of the word "foreordained," see Romans 8:29. The word is rendered which knew, Acts 26:5; foreknew and foreknow, Romans 8:29; Romans 11:2; foreordained, 1 Peter 1:20; and know before, 2 Peter 2:17. It does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. The sense is, that God's plan was formed, and the arrangements made for the atonement, before the world was created.

Before the foundation of the world - That is, from eternity. It was before man was formed; before the earth was made; before any of the material universe was brought into being; before the angels were created. Compare the Matthew 25:34 note; John 17:24 note; Ephesians 1:4 note.

Everyone seems to ignore or dance around this issue. If Christ was chosen to be the sacrifice for original sin "before" Adam & Eve were even created, how can the blame be placed upon them?

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