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In the Bible it is written that God put Adam in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and take care of it, and said to Him: "Eat of every tree of the garden except the tree of good and evil, for if You eat of that, You will die."' Then it is said that God caused Adam to sleep, and He took one of His ribs and created woman in order that she might be His companion. After that it is said the serpent induced the woman to eat of the tree, saying: "God has forbidden you to eat of the tree in order that your eyes may not be opened, and that you may not know good from evil." Then Eve ate from the tree and gave unto Adam, Who also ate; their eyes were opened, they found themselves naked, and they hid their bodies with leaves. In consequence of this act they received the reproaches of God. God said to Adam: "Hast Thou eaten of the forbidden tree?" Adam answered: "Eve tempted Me, and I did eat." God then reproved Eve; Eve said: "The serpent tempted me, and I did eat." For this the serpent was cursed, and enmity was put between the serpent and Eve, and between their descendants. And God said: "The man is become like unto Us, knowing good and evil, and perhaps He will eat of the tree of life and live forever." So God guarded the tree of life (saq 122:2)
If we take this story in its apparent meaning, according to the interpretation of the masses, it is indeed extraordinary. The intelligence cannot accept it, affirm it, or imagine it; for such arrangements, such details, such speeches and reproaches are far from being those of an intelligent man, how much less of the Divinity-- that Divinity Who has organized this infinite universe in the most perfect form, and its innumerable inhabitants with absolute system, strength and perfection (saq 123:1)
A Christian Fable
The legend of the "Downfall of man" (see note '17'), depicted as a sinful condition imposed upon him from birth through no fault of his own, from which he can only be redeemed by 'faith' in the historical Jesus, is based largely on the verses in Romans chapter 5 - which on the surface may suggest a linear progression from the fall of Adam to the naive attempt by Abraham and Moses to redeem humanity through the Law, to the final redemption via the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross - but this view contains some obvious logical problems, not the least of which are found within the Bible itself, some of which are independently reported by Christian sources (see note '03'). [-ed]#17,3
In spite of the widespread acceptance of this belief, many Christians and non-Christians alike find it reprehensible, even blasphemous, to attribute such a thing to a loving and caring God - insisting that no caring person, even, would consign a baby to eternal punishment in hell fire should it die before being baptized - as would be everyone living before the time of Jesus and all who died having never heard of him. [-ed]
According to Paul, "spiritual things" of the Bible cannot be understood without "spiritual discernment" (1co 2:13-14). This has historically made interpretation very difficult, not only because there are a multitude of Bible passages which are difficult to explain spiritually, but because they are also clearly contradictory when viewed physically. Additionally, all the books were "sealed" to proper understanding until Christ returned to "unseal" them (note '47'), and attempts undertaken to interpret these and other passages have contributed to the establishment of literally thousands of Christian denominations. Now, however, in our age, the books have been "unsealed" (rev 5:5), and it is relatively easy to understand the Bible passages. It can be seen that the spiritual / symbolic passages of the Bible have historically been interpreted incorrectly as physical. In the case of Original Sin, the troublesome verses were combined with the separate story of Adam & Eve to create a legend of profound implications for the followers of Christianity. [-ed]
They say that Adam disobeyed the command of God and partook of the fruit of the forbidden tree, thereby committing a sin which was transmitted as a heritage to His posterity. They teach that because of Adam's sin all His descendants have, likewise, committed transgression and have become responsible through inheritance; that, consequently, all mankind deserves punishment and must make retribution; and that God sent forth His Son as a sacrifice in order that man might be forgiven and the human race delivered from the consequences of Adam's transgression. (pup 449:2)
We wish to consider these statements from the standpoint of reason. Could we conceive of the Divinity, Who is Justice itself, inflicting punishment upon the posterity of Adam for Adam's own sin and disobedience? Even if we should see a governor, an earthly ruler punishing a son for the wrongdoing of his father, we would look upon that ruler as an unjust man. Granted the father committed a wrong, what was the wrong committed by the son? There is no connection between the two. Adam's sin was not the sin of His posterity, especially as Adam is a thousand generations back of the man today. If the father of a thousand generations committed a sin, is it just to demand that the present generation should suffer the consequences thereof? (pup 449:3).
There are other questions and evidences to be considered. Abraham was a Manifestation of God and a descendant of Adam; likewise, Ishmael, Isaac, Jeremiah and the whole line of prophets including David, Solomon and Aaron were among His posterity. Were all these holy men condemned to a realm of punishment because of a deed committed by the first father, because of a mistake said to have been made by their mutual and remotest ancestor Adam? The explanation is made that when Christ came and sacrificed Himself, all the line of holy Prophets who preceded Him became free from sin and punishment. Even a child could not justly make such an assertion. These interpretations and statements are due to a misunderstanding of the meanings of the Bible." ('Abdu'l-Baha) (pup 449:4).
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