Adam and Eve Never Existed: It's a Myth!

Adam and Eve Never Existed: It's a Myth!

The Garden of Eden story is a myth. How do I know this? For one, because it’s a myth!

But seriously, how do I know it didn’t happen as a matter of fact? A couple things: the lack of talking snakes (or the lack of language genes within the DNA of snakes for that matter), and the lack of any evidence what so ever for its reliability as a historical occurrence. In fact, the lack of the infamous Garden of Eden itself is the biggest give away. Not to mention that talking animals are common to myth and fable, not historical fact, with the exception of a few talking parrots.

Yet why is it so crucial for Christians to believe in the Garden of Eden story? Because it is where the concept of “original sin” comes from. If this story wasn’t told, then Jesus wouldn’t have had to die for humanity, and that would have meant his life and death were ultimately meaningless. If truth be told, it would imply he needn’t have died in the first place. So it’s better to believe in talking snakes than admit that. Otherwise you’re a sinless Christian, and as we all know, that can’t be the case since Jesus died (specifically) for your sins. What of the counterargument that the Garden of Eden fable was just a metaphor to explain “sin” so simple minded humans could understand the profundity of it all? Well, then you’d need to explain why God created sin? Not only this, but then you’d have to explain why he created us sinful if he intended to punish and persecute us for it? Surely a loving God would be incapable of such mischief and mayhem? The argument of allegory and metaphor not withstanding. 

The way I read it, Adam and Eve did not yet possess the knowledge of "good and evil" which means they had no inkling of rebellion or mischievousness. Since to disobey God requires, first and foremost, a certain prerequisite of naughtiness.

Only by means of a magical talking snake could Adam and Eve be compelled to do wrong. In which case they, having no knowledge, would still be guiltless because they would have been victims of having been deceived, let alone withheld a proper education to prevent them from talking to strangers, especially dubious talking snakes.

Yet Christians tend to need to believe in the talking snake, because without it, then there is no such thing as "original sin." Therefore imputation would be erroneous. So Christians posit that the talking snake was a serpentine Satan in disguise. Imaginative speculation sure, but is purely conjecture since there is no reason to assume this, and scripture does not yield such a reading.

But if you read it for what it is, a myth, it makes much of Christianity seem absurd. We can't have that now, so we'll consider it a myth to explain sin--but this begs the question of why God would create sin to begin with and why he made mankind sinners?

Free will is the argument here, but I'm not convinced that free will has any direct correlation to sin per se. I mean, if we had the freedom to choose to do bad then surely we have the freedom to choose to do good. And so Christians must show how, if Adam and Eve had no inclination to do bad (not knowing good and evil) then how could they ever choose to do bad and disobey God's law? They couldn't have. It's impossible...

Unless you believe in talking snakes that is.

Regardless, I'm always more concerned about the divine reversal periscopes in the Bible. I mean, how do Christians account for them? Assuming God is real, granting them oh so much lee way as this, then divine reversals would complicate the nature of their concept of God to the nth degree. The talking snake being a great example, I think you’ll find.

I agree with Thomas Paine’s question: Shouldn't the snake be crucified for mankind's "original sin" as punishment for his meddling instead of Jesus? Paine’s observations was right on the money, basically that the garden serpent should be nailed to the cross, not some poor Jewish sap, let alone the son of God. You do realize how absurd it all sounds, don’t you? 

Not to go overlooked, however, is the peculiar fact that the snake gets off scott free while God incarnate, comes in the flesh, and in human form, must punish himself, as his own son (?), for the initial meddling of a talking snake which he himself supposedly created! Not only this, but to get the ball rolling he had to start it with a big fat juicy lie! You shall SURELY die if though eat the fruit of this tree, God said unto them. And the snake said, nah’, you won’t die if you eat the fruit. And guess what? They ate and did not die. In the meantime, the good and honest talking snake, whatever his reasons may have been, persuaded two (uneducated) teenagers playing 'hide the snake in the garden patch' into doing something they were told not to, namely to gain knowledge, i.e. get an education. 

Or if you insist on proper terminology, the knowledge of "good and evil," which actually can be metaphor for "carnal knowledge." But Christian miss this point because they like to equate "evil" with "sin." In this case, wrongly so. Understanding that there is no spiritual connotation behind the knowledge of "good and evil" will clear up matters, and anyone who thinks I'm mistaken here has missed the moral this myth is trying to convey altogether. Which is simply this: Obey your father, for he protects you and provides for you, and only upon becoming a man (contextualized as a coming of age fable) and find thee a wife shall ye be worthy to venture out onto your own, with the knowledge which your father has provided. No sin required for the moral to get across.

It often gets overlooked that the snake was telling the truth. I mean, they didn't "surely" die. Terrifying kids with "certain death" is certainly not metaphorical language. Besides, how did God expect Adam and Eve to understand the subtle layers of metaphor before they had knowledge? For all intents and purposes he’s speaking to children, an all knowing God would at least know this much. So anyone who offers the counterargument that God was speaking metaphorically (for spiritual death) has to explain why he would deliberately deceive two unknowing children. After all, it’s suspicious that God uses the language of certainty, not the more commonly ambiguous language found in allegory. Metaphor and allegory are rarely ever "certain." However, they’re abundantly contained and used in the genre of myth.

Fact: God lied. Fact: the snake told the truth. Fact: God deliberately withheld knowledge since obedience was more important to him than his children's well being and edification. Fact: The snake showed Adam and Eve how to gain the knowledge and become enlightened. Fact: God punished Adam and Eve for their disobedience with no regard to their new-found understanding of the world. Fact: God regularly acts capricious and cruel. Fact: The snake is nowhere to be found. Fact: These are all traits of myth, not fact. What about the counterargument that none of this would have happened if Adam and Eve would just have listened and obeyed God? What about my counterargument to the Christian counterargument that this too could have been avoided if God simply didn’t create a talking snake?

And that brings me back to my first divine reversal question. If you were all knowing, then why oh why, would you design a dubious talking snake to deceive Adam and Eve, knowing the predestined events which would unfold ahead of time, and using all forms of subterfuge and trickery to dupe them into sinning, knowing this is the serpents purpose and design, only to then shift the blame onto your son (which is supposedly you?) for doing something you initiated in the first place?

Also, why would the Creator create a talking snake he knew was going to misbehave to begin with? As I mentioned earlier, wouldn't it have simply been easier not to create a talking snake? Or he could have just as easily created a behaving snake, since only humans have free will (right?).  That way the snake wouldn’t have been capable of defying God at all, problem solved. And those who make the counterargument that the serpent is actually Satan in disguise would be hard pressed to support this claim, since there is absolutely no Biblical evidence for it! Either the all knowing creator made a blunder, or he deliberately used the snake as a tool to force Adam and Eve into a no win situation. Could an all loving God really do that? Not likely. Thus Satan was introduced to get around this colossal problem, but as I pointed out this is pure conjecture and is not Biblically supported in the least. The facts remain, Adam and Eve were still unable to make educated decisions mind you, while using manipulative language God forced them into doing something they were instructed not to, and blackmailed them, for the price of their souls! Poor kids.

It makes me wonder what the moral of the story is supposed to be. Obey your parents? Duh. Don’t need to create “original sin” for that. Don’t disobey God? How could they not? Yeah, I know, it’s hard not to laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of the scenario.

If it's a true story, it's dumb. If it's a myth, as anyone can clearly see, it's not much better (especially since it lacks a clear moral). Just saying. God tricking mankind into causing “original sin” so he can murder (ah-hem *sacrifice) his own son to appease the sin which he first initiated by creating a dubious talking snake in the first place is a fun story! Patent myth, sure, but it’s not a true story. And if you think it is, then I feel sorry for you. 

Not because you deserve my pity for believing in silly things, because I can appreciate the fondness of the nonsensical and outlandish, but because more rational minds will mock and ridicule you with unrestrained laughter, and deservedly so, but also because of the heart wrenching sadness I feel whenever a prospective intellect goes to waste. In the famous words of Sheldon Cooper, “One cries because one is sad. For example, I cry because others are stupid, and it makes me sad.” Condescending? You bet. But so is trying to pass a blatant myth off as fact so you can justify the ins and outs of your faith and thereby sustain it by desperately clinging to fallacious stories with no basis in reality—just so you can tell me I’m wrong, that I’m a sinner, and need of salvation? Seriously, I ask you, what’s more condescending than that?!

If you think that’s going to convince me or impress me much, think again. Unlike the bumbling and mentally handicapped Adam and Eve prancing around Eden oblivious to the cruelties they would have to endure at the hand of their Creator, amid all the “hanky-panky,” I can see it for what it is: a sham. As a fully actualized, educated adult I know, using reason and critical thinking skills (something uneducated children typically lack), that it was all just a bedtime story. If you want to convince me of the Christian story of being anything more than legend and myth historicized, then you’ll simply have to do better than this. 

When it comes to credibility talking snakes just don’t cut it.  The belief in them is not even sensible, indeed, it's quite incredible. That is to say, rather far fetched, to say the least. Here incredible doesn't mean the same as astonishing, although, admittedly, a talking snake would be rather astonishing. There's just no proof, and never has been, for anything like it. 

Additionally, the concept of “original sin” is wickedly preposterous, not to mention wholly unnecessary, and an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God not being able to get around the problematic elements of introducing a cunning serpent who didactically chatted up Eve thus convincing her to eat a magic fruit, also the source of all knowledge, consequently tempting her gullible husband to do so as well, to suggest the only way to solve the problem of "disobedience" (aka the big set up) was if God sacrificed his own son for the situations and crimes he himself perpetrated, thereby rewrite destiny (which he needn’t had bothered with if he would have done it sensible thing to begin with by just not toiling with gabby loose tongued serpents), just seems beyond ludicrous to me. So you’ll just have to excuse me if I don’t  buy into it. Until something convincing comes my way, my atheism is sustained by the acknowledgment that the story is, in fact, a myth.



  1. Great post, although quite long, as always. Now, pardon if I repeated what you said, but I would also like to put forward another problem in the Adam/Eve story.

    God punished Adam and Eve for eating the fruit, which taught them on what's right and what's wrong. However, when God ordered Adam & Eve to not eat the fruit, he was already teaching them to differentiate between right and wrong. So, isn't God's act simply self-contradicting? Just a thought. :-)

  2. Darren! Thanks for posting your comments. Always welcome here!

    Yes, I apologize for the length. I try and hit so many ideas that it ends up becoming rather long winded. Also I use a high rhetorical style, which maybe a little verbose.

    But you're right about "good and evil" not being causally related to the rebellion.

    Indeed, rebellion requires a certain mischief, a disobedience akin to naughtiness, the slightest amount of evil, which they did not posses because they hadn't eaten the forbidden fruit yet. Meaning they couldn't have sinned.

    The snake then becomes an vital element in the story for Christians, and this is why so many Christians believe the talking snake was real. But to get around the absurdity of it, they presume the snake was Satan in disguise, because Satan is assumed to be evil and therefor capable of tricking Adam and Eve into acting out evil.

    Although, as I stated, there is no Biblical support for this claim. And also, if Adam and Eve were tricked by the snake they remain guiltless, the guilt falls upon the snake. And so there is no possible way to get original sin--no matter how you interpret the story.

  3. Although I appreciated your viewpoint, I feel I need to point out that, in this post, you actually manage to refute your own argument.

    About two thirds of the way down, you inserted a pic of Mary-Louise Parker, hottest TV mom ever! She is exactly 14 times hotter than Shirley Jones of the Partridge Family and that's saying something! And you're gonna sit there and tell me that our Heavenly father was not involved in sculpting that bod? Damn! I looked at it again and just re-dedicated my life to Christ. Thanks alot!

    That aside, did you ever wonder what God's plan for us would have been if sin hadn't supposedly ruined it? Basically, what is there to do in paradise? Would there be any adversity to overcome? Any real knowledge to be derived from experience? How about an exposed tree root that Adam trips over, skins his knee, and so learns to avoid that spot. Or any kind of advancement? We wouldn't have even worked up a sweat farming. It seems to me sin was an essential plot element just to get the story going.

    Maybe because it was just that, a story.

  4. Tim-

    I think Dan Dennett's quote sums it up nicely, "But what good to us is the gods‘ knowledge if we can‘t get it from them?"

    –Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell)

    In that sense I agree with you. It's just a story, and so "the fall" is necessary to give our protagonists something to combat. The problem is, at the same time, this story has enough rudimentary features, not to mention flaws, to show that it can't be a great story. It's just your mediocre creation myth, but I like it.

    Although I don't see how I refuted my argument. If evolution caused us to evolve so we had 3 arms, 6 legs, an extra set of genitals, and twelve eyes, that's what we'd find sexy.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Tim:

    Cute post.

    Three points for you to ponder:

    #1 Myths can contain truth without being taken as literal descriptions of actual events.

    #2 Like many books found in the Bible, Genesis was cobbled together from multiple sources. Your post presumes that all of these texts are supposed to cohere perfectly and converge on a particular theological understanding. That has never been the scholarly view.

    #3 The rabbinical tradition that predates the writings of Paul did not take every part of Genesis to be literally true, and some of the Church Fathers who followed Paul (such as St. Augustine) expressed the same opinion. So much of the pretzel logic you find is based upon a naive and ahistorical view. Much (but not all) paradox vanishes if you start with a different understanding of scripture.

  6. Actually, I would disagree. In order to get original sin, or the sin which Christ supposedly died for, you do need to take a literal (at least legalistic) view of this myth.

    That was the main gist behind my critique. If you consider the myth metaphorical, then it would as consequence, delegate the concept of "sin" to mere metaphor and nothing more.

    Something to think about.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Conflating Atheism and Agnosticism is a Mistake

Discussing the Historicity of Jesus with a Christian Agnostic