Interpretations of the Garden of Eden

I’m proposing two main interpretations of the Garden of Eden story.  1.)  The only way for humanity to get off the ground was for Adam and Eve to get banished from the Garden; and 2.) God’s banishment was an act of mercy.  Because of their previous behavior it was clear they would eat from the Tree of Life, they had already eaten from the Tree of Knowledge.  It was God’s mercy that kept them from eternal life with the knowledge that there was paradise and they were not in it.  

We have seen God’s goodness in the creation story, but this would be the first expression of a merciful God.  Do you think a merciful God contradicts the Old Testament?

It’s quite possible these “arguments” are not so new as people far smarter than I have been thinking about the Garden of Eden for far longer.  If that’s the case, I would love to know what you know about who those people are and what they said.

This is the philosophic thrust of my project.  I will look at the Jewish interpretation of these concepts, as well as others.  William Blake’s poetry (and art, maybe) will be used as a poetic expression of these concepts.  He was considered a mystic and visionary, abhorred the organized Church, but was a Christian in a creative way.




About Pam

I'm a senior at UK, majoring in Philosophy.
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3 Responses to Interpretations of the Garden of Eden

  1. jtb31 says:

    It’s unfortunate that you couldn’t attach your draft. The Garden of Eden is one of many controversial places in the Bible, as we have found out in class. Overall, your paper is solid. I like the reference to the Greeks and the Blake analysis. Also, the breaking down and analysis of the trees and serpent in the Garden supports your claims well. Not stopping at Adam and Eve (bringing in Cain and Abel) makes your essay deeper. You have a good foundation here, keep it up and I predict you will be happy with your grade.

    • Pam says:

      My internet connectivity has been challenged lately, but my paper is linked now. If you get a chance to read it, I’d appreciate any specific comments. Thanks!

  2. oliviag55 says:

    I really enjoyed your paper, you have lots of great ideas in it! I really connect with your statement ” The snake is perplexing. How did a disruptive creature enter into God’s paradise?” I would love to see how you could expand on this idea, and how the existence of the snake can be justified.
    I also like your section on Eve, how could she possible have known what it mean “to die” or to have knowledge that was outside of her? I’ve also always found it interesting that the text implies that Eve did not receive a direct command to not eat the fruit, it seems as if she is paraphrasing what Adam repeated to her, and some of the details get a little fuzzy: did God really say they would die, or is that Adam’s exageration/ interpretation. What does it mean that Eve could not have possible known what she was doing by taking the fruit.
    As far as revisions go, I would be aware of the “or”s in your first couple of paragraphs, maybe you could break up some of the sentences? And definitely expand some more on the snake (the existence of evil) and the conflict between innocence and knowledge, (i.e. which is better?)
    Can’t wait to read the final draft!

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