Monday, 27 November 2017
WHAT IS THE TRUE LESSON FROM THE FALL OF ADAM AND EVE - AQIL ONQUE
We have been taught from the beginning that it is because of the original sin of Adam and Eve that human beings have been sent to the Earth from the Paradise as a punishment. Prior to this epic fall, we were taught to believe that God, as the initial plan, made man and woman to dwell in Paradise forever. But there are some serious, and I mean serious problems with this notion! And these problems arise from many text of the bible itself.
Now, these problems seems to be exclusively problems for the Christian, since it is this community that advocates and has enshrined their doctrine of salvation around this original sin and fall of Adam and Eve. If one removes the doctrine of original sin and the redemption of a God/Man self sacrifice, or nicely put, vicarious atonement for salvation and re-entry back into Paradise, then the fall of Adam does not have the same significance and the dwelling on the earth would not be seen as such a punishment. Rather another more important meaning comes from the lesson of Adam and Eve and their experience in the Paradise, as we will see, and the fact of their temporary stay there becomes evident that it was from the Divine intent from the beginning.
Let us now look at some of these textual proofs that crushes the later concocted doctrine of the Christians in relation to the earliest scriptures. It, should be noted here also, that the initial recipients of the scriptures under discussion, respectively, the Jewish community, does not at all share in the same doctrine or view about this event as the Christians. Thus, for thousands of years, there existed a Jewish community, reading and studying their respective scriptures with a completely foreign understanding than what was then introduced by a new group thousands of years later. This is very odd, especially given the fact that the Christians adopted wholesale the belief previous scriptures, while at the same time, introducing a completely unrelated and foreign doctrine while using the same scriptures to do so? Something to truly consider.
Was Adam and Eve meant to live forever in the paradise? This question is twofold, on the one hand, we have to examine, was it the intent for Adam and Eve to live forever? After that, were they meant to live forever in the Paradise? I believe the bible is clear, I don’t mean Christian doctrine, but the bible, it is clear that the answer to both of these questions are a surprisingly, but an emphatic NO!
Let us see. We read in Genesis 2:7-9 (7 Then the Lord God formed a man[a] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.) And also we read just a chapter later, Genesis 3:22-24 (22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[a] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.)
So, from these verses, it is quite clear that man was never endowed with eternal life from the beginning! The temporal reality of Man, was and is part and parcel of who he is, as is the case with this current world. The idea that Man was to live forever in the beginning is just not supported by any biblical proof!
So, where does such an idea come from to justify the Christian doctrine? As, so often is the case, it is taken from misconstrued and misunderstood verses from the bible, then fostered into a theology and doctrine to suit the Christian author of it. We read, Genesis 3:3-5 (3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”)
Here we see that, the idea of death is directly connected to eating of the forbidden tree. But, was this implying a physical death? Clearly not! For even the devil realized this and stated what the real case was. Furthermore, Adam and Eve did eat from the tree and live a long time after before dying. So, it’s obvious that death here was not implying anything physical. This is again supported by the verses about the tree of life. What purpose would a tree of life serve if they were endowed with eternal life from the beginning? The tree of good and evil existed showing that they were ignorant. Thus, eating from it revealed what they formerly had no knowledge of. But what possibly could a tree of life do to people who were already eternal? Hence, we must conclude that the meaning of death here is not physical, but spiritual. This is made wonderfully clear elsewhere in the bible, as we read in Ezekiel 18:20-2
20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them. 21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. 22 None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
Does this help us understand this matter in full now? Certainly in these verses, the death and life referred to is not physical, just as the death referred to in Genesis when describing the event of the garden was not physical
Now, let’s complete this point by examining the second part of this question, which is was Adam and Eve meant to live in Paradise forever (in the beginning)?
Given that we have proven the fact that Adam and Eve were never meant to live forever, as asked in the first part of this question, the second part is obvious. It’s no! But, to leave no room any further misunderstanding on this matter, let us, bring some verses from the bible to make this ever so clear. We read in Genesis 1:26 (26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.)
Now, who will argue that this verse is not crystal clear in declaring that Man was given authority of the EARTH? But, wait… how could that be if Man was in Paradise? Supposingly to live forever there. One might retort, well this was after the fall that he was given authority. WRONG!!! This verse is irrefutable in declaring that from the beginning Man was to be the ruler and authority of the Earth. This verse states Man’s authority on Earth, long before his fall. Moreover, what would be the purpose of the Earth and all of these species and delights on it if Man, initially was never intended to be there? For certainly God knew that Man would need these things on Earth for his livelihood and gains. So, this also means that, of course God knew that Man would dwell on the Earth. Which means, that God knew that Man was never intended to be in that Paradise in the beginning, forever!
On this note before we conclude, can we also highlight the point in the midst of all of this, about the fact of God providing physical and sensual accommodations to Man from the very beginning, even in the Paradise? The Christians love to insult and verbally assault the Muslims and their beliefs about sensuality in Paradise. But yet, from the beginning, even in Paradise, we see that God had readily provided Adam with all amenities that one would have on the Earth, from food to drink to woman companionship. If the temporary Paradise is worthy enough to afford such amenities and delights to Man, then would it not be even more so for the everlasting, eternal Paradise? For the bible says Genesis 2:20-21 (20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam[a] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[b] and then closed up the place with flesh.)
See how Man is provided with everything, and then one thing is missing… a “suitable helper”. What is a suitable helper, and a helper in what? If you ask any man to pick a suitable helper for himself in the field to toil in the earth and maintain it, I don’t think he will choose a woman. Honestly and practically speaking. I think he would choose a strong young man as a suitable helper. Did not God, according to Christian theology choose a Son, for Himself? Why did God not choose a wife or daughter to be part of the trinity instead of a son? But, if this suitable helper has other implications… then of course, a woman would be chosen. For a man can never replace a woman! The point here that shall not be lost is the fact that, all of this is provided in the Heaven, in the company of God! Yet, somehow, for it to be granted again, with unlimited restriction for eternity now becomes a problem for the Christians. Why such hypocrisy?
In closing, so, if Adam and Eve was never meant to live in Paradise in the beginning for eternity, then why did God put them there in the first place? Why not just put them on Earth from the start and let it all began there? What an awesome question! I wish I could get a Christian to answer that before this. And I myself, don’t have the answer to that from a Christian world view, but I certainly do from the Islamic world view. And here is where, Christianity dreadfully fails humanity. Instead of offering any lesson of hope in the story of Adam and Eve’s fall in the garden, it compounds this fall with the stigma of original sin cast upon all of Adam’s descendants and further compounds this idea with a sadistic drama of God, now needing to take on human form to perform a vicarious atonement for the sins of humanity through a self sacrifice in the scene of a crucifixion, in which God becomes a curse, that He Himself needs to slaughter, all for the purpose of being able to forgive man for his sins, due to the original sin of Adam and Eve, thousands of years prior. This, can not be from the ways of a Just and Loving and Forgiving God!
The lesson to be learned in the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden, is a beautiful lesson indeed. A lesson in which man learns of his status with God while in obedience to Him and in disobedience to Him. Man learns about his arch enemy and his cunning ways to ever bring man down. Man, learns of his earthly role and the responsibility he has been given therein and he is given hope, and a longing to once again return to that beautiful place of bliss and enjoy the delights that awaits him and most importantly, the eternal pleasure and company of God Almighty
We learn from the story of Adam and Eve, that when you are in obedience to God, then you enjoy the Divine pleasure and closeness, as we seen was the case before their mistake. But we also learn that when one disobeys God, then they lose such Divine pleasure and grow and become distant from God, as we seen after their mistake. Obedience brings life to the soul, joy, contentment and bliss, while disobedience brings spiritual death, anguish, emptiness and void of the soul and depression. However, the greatest lesson to be gained is to know, that even in such a state, one can reach out and return to God, and His pleasure and His closeness by sincerely repenting and seeking His Providential Forgiveness and Mercy. As we find the amazing passage in the Qur’an, 2:3
Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful
So, God, in His Ever Compassing ability to Forgive and bestow Mercy, exhibited such with Adam. But, what was these words, that Adam learned and used to implore his Gracious Lord for Pardon? We further read in the Qur’an 7:23
They said, "Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers."
What beauty and encouragement to hope, to know that in a plight of struggle we fall, but know we can always turn back to our Lord who is waiting for us and ready to turn to us for Forgiveness. Unlike, the idea of being the bearer for the entire humanity being cursed with the stigma of sin because of you. And whatever did happen to Adam and Eve, according to the bible? Did God ever forgive them? Is there any clear verse, that God forgave them of their mistake? Or is it as legend has it? In truth, my friends, what way is better? The path and lessons learned from Islam, concluding in the guarantee of knowing that God is always there to turn to you and forgive you. Or the path and gloom offered by Christianity in that, we are all cursed and can only be redeemed by our Almighty God needing to become man, and curse and die for us, just to be able to say I forgive you? I think the way is clear. I offer you a passage from Psalms that all Christians should pay close heed to.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is[a] a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
And I will close with two beautiful verses of the Qur’an 2:186
And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me - indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.
And to sufficiently close, 39:53
Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.