Why were Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden?

Why were Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden?  Because they didn’t listen.  Adam didn’t listen to God.  Eve didn’t listen to Adam.  And then, Eve didn’t listen to the serpent.  And finally, Adam didn’t listen to God. Got all that?

Why were Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden?And we still don’t listen today.  You can tell that we don’t listen , or read, merely by looking at the image to the right.  So many people think Eve ate a forbidden apple.  But the Bible never says what the forbidden fruit was.  Only that it was from a specific tree – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  If you’re curious as to how the apple came to be blamed – see this explanation below.

We don’t listen today.  Neither did Adam and Eve.

We don’t listen.  People don’t listen.  Just like Adam and Eve didn’t listen.  This is actually the beginning of a series named, appropriately enough, “Because we don’t listen“.   And what better place to start than at the beginning?

Why were Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden?

Well, we going to start just a bit after the beginning.  We’ll start with the beginning of Adam and Eve:

Ge 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

Ge 2:2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Adam and Eve

Ge 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens— 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground— 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

And so we have Adam.  the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  Special.

Ge 2:8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And 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 now we have the beginning of the Garden of Eden.  Planted by God – not as a result of “God said”.  Special.

Ge 2:10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

Ge 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

Now we have Adam, placed by God, in the Garden of Eden.

Notice what God said about what Adam could eat.  You are free to eat from any tree in the garden.  God told Adam he could eat from any tree in the garden.  However, there was a warning attached to one of the trees.  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.

Ge 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Ge 2:19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
But for Adam 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 and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

And now we have Eve.  Special by the was she was created.

Ge 2:23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”

Ge 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Who told Eve what God said?

The next thing we read is about the fatal conversation between the serpent and Eve.

The Fall of Man

Ge 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Ge 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 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.’ ”

This begs a question.  Who told Eve about the tree in the middle of the garden – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

Was it God?  Probably not, otherwise it most likely would have been recorded in the Bible.  The likely scenario is that God left it for Adam to tell Eve.  Just as they both would have had to tell their children – if they hadn’t already eaten from that tree.  We see though, throughout the Bible, God tells someone something – and they are to make sure it’s passed down through the generations.  The most famous ones might be Moses with the Ten Commandments and Jesus with the Great Commission.  So it’s reasonable to think it was Adam’s duty to pass the warning about the tree to Eve.

And obviously, Eve knew something of the warning.  But it was wrong.

We don’t listen.

And so the “we don’t listen” scenarios begin.

I think an explanation is in order before we go any further.  By “listen”, I don’t mean just the act of hearing something.  I mean that we actually hear the words – understand the words – and believe the words.  And if we don’t get all three of those characteristics of “listening”, we really need to ask questions.  Otherwise, we’ll be asking our own version of “Why did Adam and Eve get kicked out of the Garden of Eden?”

Adam didn’t listen to God.  Eve didn’t listen to Adam.

We can’t really know for sure who didn’t listen to who.  Was it that Adam didn’t really listen to God?  Or was it that Eve didn’t listen to Adam?  Or some of both?

We’ve already seen how the apple came to be the fruit from the tree – even though the Bible didn’t say that.  We also know that many people think the fruit was forbidden – as in thou shalt not eat it – even though the Bible didn’t say that either.  The act of eating from that particular tree came with a very severe penalty, but it wasn’t forbidden.  It was their choice to eat it or not.

All we can really know is that by the time Eve and the serpent got together, Eve clearly had bad information:

Ge 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 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.’ ”

Ge 3:4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

That’s certainly not what God told Adam.  It may or may not have been what Adam told Eve.  But somewhere, someone didn’t listen.

By the way, using our meaning of listen – to hear, understand and believe – it’s also possible that Eve didn’t really listen to the serpent either.  It takes really truly listening to know what’s going on when truth, half-truths, and lies are involved.  When we’re asking the question, “Why were Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden?”, listening – really listening – is of critical importance.

Adam didn’t listen to God.

You may be thinking that we should have ended with the last thought.  But remember, I brought the loop full circle at the top of this article.  Adam didn’t listen to God.

Ge 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

While we can’t really know what went wrong with Eve’s understanding related to eating from that tree, there’s not much question about this last act.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

She also gave some to her husband, … , and he ate it.

Eve gave some of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to Adam.  And he ate it.  There was no chance of something “lost in the translation”, so to speak, when it comes to Adam eating the fruit.  He had heard God’s words directly.  It’s not like he got bad information from a messenger.  In Adam’s case, the messenger was none other than God.  And Adam ate it anyway.

But it gets worse.

She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Adam was right there for the whole time!  We tend to overlook this.  Maybe especially men?  That way, we can blame Eve.  Just like Adam did.

Ge 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Ge 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

Ge 3:10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Ge 3:11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? ”

Ge 3:12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

There it is – Adam said, in modern words – “She did it!”

And, because we don’t really “listen” / pay attention, we tend to go along with that.

But, if we are listening and paying attention, what do we do with the words “who was with her“?  He was there.  Many Christian commentaries ignore this phrase altogether and say nothing about it.  Others will try to explain it away, saying that other things happened between the exchange between Eve and the serpent – and the moment Eve gave the fruit to Adam.  But Adam was there!

However, here’s an explanation from The Rev. Dr. Julie Faith Parker, who was awarded the Ph.D. in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible with distinction from Yale University. She also holds degrees from Hamilton College (B.A.; Phi Beta Kappa), Union Theological Seminary in New York City (M.Div.), and Yale Divinity School (S.T.M.).  The abstract below is from an article she published titled “Blaming Eve Alone: Translation, Omission, and Implications of עמה in Genesis 3:6b”.

“Blaming Eve Alone: Translation, Omission, and Implications of עמה in Genesis 3:6b”:
Abstract
Interpreters tend to blame only Eve for succumbing to temptation in the garden, even though Adam is present in Gen 3:1-6 and shares responsibility for disobedience. This article reveals how English translations of Gen 3: 6b (“and she gave also to her husband with her and he ate”) frequently isolate the woman by failing to translate עמה (“with her”) in this verse. The Hebrew word HDP is undisputed in the MT. Ancient textual witnesses, except the Vulgate, consistently include some version of this phrase. Grammatical reference works agree on the function and importance of עמה Especially in English,עמה provides critical information, yet many translations of Gen 3: 6 (including the RSV and NJPS) do not say that Eves husband is “with her.” This discussion looks at the biblical text, Hebrew grammars, commentaries, ancient sources, fifty English translations of Gen 3: 6b, and translation committee notes to explore the history, implications, and motivations of translators’ decisions regarding HDi). While some translators consider HOD insignificant in Gen 3: 6, this article argues that neglecting to translate this word has important ramifications. Bibles that do not mention that Adam was “with her” facilitate interpretations that excuse the man and condemn the woman.  [1]JOURNAL ARTICLE; Blaming Eve Alone: Translation, Omission, and Implications of עמה in Genesis 3:6b; JULIE FAITH PARKER; Journal of Biblical Literature; Vol. 132, No. 4 (2013), pp. … Continue reading

Conclusion: Why were Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden?

It seems we have another example of how we don’t listen.

But now that we know, how is it that Adam was there the whole time – heard the entire conversation – and didn’t say anything?

Sure – we can blame Eve for messing things up.  But how can we get around Adam also being present?

One way is to not listen.  To pretend it didn’t happen that way.  To just ignore it, because we don’t like what it has to say.

Why not?  We do that a lot – ignore things we don’t want to hear.  Claim things we hear, but don’t want to believe, are lies.  But does that change anything?  No.  Some things just are what they are, no matter what we want to believe.  Like our title question:

Why were Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden?

Because they didn’t listen.




How the apple came to be labeled as the forbidden fruit.

NPR did a write-up in April, 2017.  It was titled ‘Paradise Lost’: How The Apple Became The Forbidden Fruit.

… in the course of his over-10,000-line poem [Paradise Lost], Milton names the fruit twice, explicitly calling it an apple. So how did the apple become the guilty fruit that brought death into this world and all our woe?

The short and unexpected answer is: a Latin pun.

In order to explain, we have to go all the way back to the fourth century A.D., when Pope Damasus ordered his leading scholar of scripture, Jerome, to translate the Hebrew Bible into Latin. Jerome’s path-breaking, 15-year project, which resulted in the canonical Vulgate, used the Latin spoken by the common man. As it turned out, the Latin words for evil and apple are the same: malus.

In the Hebrew Bible, a generic term, peri, is used for the fruit hanging from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, explains Robert Appelbaum, who discusses the biblical provenance of the apple in his book Aguecheek’s Beef, Belch’s Hiccup, and Other Gastronomic Interjections.

“Peri could be absolutely any fruit,” he says. “Rabbinic commentators variously characterized it as a fig, a pomegranate, a grape, an apricot, a citron, or even wheat. Some commentators even thought of the forbidden fruit as a kind of wine, intoxicating to drink.”

When Jerome was translating the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,” the word malus snaked in. A brilliant but controversial theologian, Jerome was known for his hot temper, but he obviously also had a rather cool sense of humor.

“Jerome had several options,” says Appelbaum, a professor of English literature at Sweden’s Uppsala University. “But he hit upon the idea of translating peri as malus, which in Latin has two very different meanings. As an adjective, malus means bad or evil. As a noun it seems to mean an apple, in our own sense of the word, coming from the very common tree now known officially as the Malus pumila. So Jerome came up with a very good pun.”

The story doesn’t end there. “To complicate things even more,” says Appelbaum, “the word malus in Jerome’s time, and for a long time after, could refer to any fleshy seed-bearing fruit. A pear was a kind of malus. So was the fig, the peach, and so forth.”

Which explains why Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel fresco features a serpent coiled around a fig tree. But the apple began to dominate Fall artworks in Europe after the German artist Albrecht Dürer’s famous 1504 engraving depicted the First Couple counterpoised beside an apple tree. It became a template for future artists such as Lucas Cranach the Elder, whose luminous Adam and Eve painting is hung with apples that glow like rubies.

Milton, then, was only following cultural tradition. But he was a renowned Cambridge intellectual fluent in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, who served as secretary for foreign tongues to Oliver Cromwell during the Commonwealth. If anyone was aware of the malus pun, it would be him. And yet he chose to run it with it. Why?

Appelbaum says that Milton’s use of the term “apple” was ambiguous. “Even in Milton’s time the word had two meanings: either what was our common apple, or, again, any fleshy seed-bearing fruit. Milton probably had in mind an ambiguously named object with a variety of connotations as well as denotations, most but not all of them associating the idea of the apple with a kind of innocence, though also with a kind of intoxication, since hard apple cider was a common English drink.”

It was only later readers of Milton, says Appelbaum, who thought of “apple” as “apple” and not any seed-bearing fruit. For them, the forbidden fruit became synonymous with the malus pumila. As a widely read canonical work, Paradise Lost was influential in cementing the role of apple in the Fall story.

If you’d like to read the entire NPR article, it’s here.

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