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    • The tree of knowledge of good and evil is a good place to start this series because it illustrates how the shifting of my perception is often the result of a gradual erosion of the presumptions on which my misunderstandings are often based.

      Like many people who have some degree of knowledge of the content of the Bible, my perception of Genesis 3 was based on what I was taught when I was a child. When I was a child, I was taught that because of the eating of the fruit of this tree, Adam and Eve gained a knowledge of right and wrong.

      One of the things which I am certain I learned long before I realized that my view of Genesis 3 was wrong is that the hebrew words which are the equivalent of "good" and "evil" don't mean "right" and "wrong."

      When I teach on this, I suggest that the terms "good" and "evil" are like the terms Reptiles, Birds, Mammals, and Amphibians. While "right" and "wrong" are more like the terms canine, feline, porcine, bovine, etc.

      That is to say that "right" is a subset of what the Hebrew term for "good" means and "wrong" is a subset of what the Hebrew term for "evil" means.

      That which is tragic, calamitous, detrimental, or malfunctioning regardless of whether it is capable of moral choice falls under the category of what Hebrew calls "evil". Thus a tornado is "evil" even though it is incapable of committing sin or transgression.

      Likewise, that which is beneficial, prosperous, or functioning well falls under the category of "good" regardless of whether it is or can be "right" in the sense of obedient by choice to the will of God.

      Thus what really occurred when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit was that they acquired the capability of evaluating whether a choice which they might make would lead to a detrimental result or a beneficial result.

      I might add that the text does not tell us whether the "efficacy" for this effect on Adam and Eve was in the fruit itself or whether it was a result of an act of God based on their having eaten of the fruit. In many events in the Bible, such as the fall of the walls of Jericho, the result is not caaused by what humans do but rather by an act of God.

      From 1983 onwards, I have known a woman who is about three years younger than me who from the time of her birth has been mentally limited and one of the areas in which she is limited is in the area of sequencing. Cause and Effect are often confused in her mind. Before, Between, and After are also confused in her mind. Why flour is not a substitute for baking powder is confused in her mind. She loves to cook but she must be supervised or else her attempts to cook do not succeed. Observing her, listening to her, and seeing both successes and failures in her life has caused me to have a better understanding of why a knowledge of what is beneficial and what is detrimental affects how we deal with life.

      Tagging @StephenL

    • Thus what really occurred when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit was that they acquired the capability of evaluating whether a choice which they might make would lead to a detrimental result or a beneficial result.

      So based on their gaining that capability, why did they put on clothes if it wasn’t a question of right or wrong for them?

    • Stephen,

      Were there any other humans around besides themselves? May a husband and wife gaze on each other's nakedness? In what way would it have been a sin to be naked if there are no other humans?

      At the same time, nakedness has its own disadvantages. Further, because they were not aware of the consequences of their actions, they had not realized how unthinking their actions were. There's a saying "We don't know what we don't know." The more one learns the more one becomes aware of one's earlier ignorance and the farther one's vision of unanswered questions expands.

      Adam and Eve had understood that God knew more than they did, but they really did not grasp what it meant to know the difference between what is beneficial and detrimental till the eyes of their understanding were opened. See Genesis 3:7

      Animals have protections such as scales or furs that humans do not possess. The fig leaves which they attempted to sew together provided a limited degree of protection but it was still inadequate therefore God gave them clothing made of animal skins which would provide better protection.

      But without other humans to see them, their nakedness would not have provoked desire in a stranger's mind.

    • Almost all the writing that I do (outside of social media and correspondence) is of the kind which this "conversation" began with. I have gotten the distinct impression that there are few if any Cake users who are interested in discussions of the content of the Bible.

      I don't think that a discussion of the methods which I use in preparation and the tools I use while composing are likely to resonate with those whose purposes in writing are completely different from the purposes which motivate my writing.

      I appreciate your kindness in asking me to discuss writing but I think that people who write novels would be more interested in the counsel of a novelist and that people who write dissertations would be more interested in discussions from those who have to research and footnote citations from many different sources.