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 Blooming Stars

Holy Scriptures A Holistic Perspective – 3

            A very short pre-historic, mythical story in Genesis forming a part of the Torah (Old Testament of the Bible) of a small group of people (Jews) in the most obscure region of the world, the Middle East, written, according to most modern biblical scholars, between 600 and 400 B. C., is the basis of the Fall and Redemption of humans comprising the entire salvation history of Christianity, the greatest religion in the world. The entire Christian theology centers on Christ and the Old Testament background. It is good to remember that skeptical people of the time - that is, most of the people including all the wise, the learned, and the priests - referring to Jesus of Nazareth asked: What good can come out of Nazareth? Similarly we can ask: What good can come out of the least important Middle East region of the time?

            It is unthinkable that an all-knowing God, who’s past, present, and future are the same, would want to test the first parents (Adam and Eve) according to the Bible the way he did. Is this God any different from a self-centered, capricious, narcissistic person? Is this anthropomorphic, sadistic God playing with human lives, which he had created as mere toys, for his pure pleasure? What kind of a God do we have here? Humans need rational options to make decisions in order to exercise their freedom that no other animals have. It does not make any sense that God would forbid Adam and Eve, the parents of humanity, to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They are in a dilemma. If they eat, they will have knowledge of good and evil. But then they would disobey God, fall, and stay in ignorance of good and evil all their life.

            How can one know one thing is good without also knowing another thing is evil? Did God want humans never to make a mistake? Never to fail? Was God asking from human’s unquestioning obedience and belief in God for humans' own good? Are we then saying that God did not know the kind of humans God created? But that would not make any sense either. How can we also think that God did not want humans to have the knowledge of good and evil that comes from eating the fruit of the forbidden tree? Why did not God create a human being who would have freedom but who would always make the right decision? But that human will not have any choice with regard to one's destiny. Do humans need the knowledge of good and evil to live a meaningful and purposeful life? Let us assume creation took place before 4124 years before Christ according to the Masoretic Text (the authoritative Hebrew Text of the Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism). What about humans who lived before that time? How can they take part in the original sin? As you see we are getting deeper into this conundrum without a way out. Of course we can get into theological speculations and get contrived answers that compromise with our reasoning and intellectual integrity.

            Our smug satisfaction comes from a superficial self-righteousness that sacrifices reason at the altar of faith. This self-righteousness that permits no tolerance is what terrorist religions such as ISIS (Islamic State of Syria and Iraq) and the Taliban use to massacre humans, who do not believe in what they believe. A version of intolerant self-righteousness allowed Christians to persecute or kill other Christians who had divergent views a few centuries ago. A similar kind of self-righteousness and arrogant power also do not allow the State of Israel, against the warnings of their own righteous prophets in the Bible, to make reasonable compromises with the moderate Palestinian Authority (not the Hamas who do not recognize Israel) so the oppressed Palestinians can have dignity and their own state in the community of nations. The terrorist religions and organizations know little that the persons they kill in the name of God are also created in the image of God.


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