A Question of Innocence & Ethics

Examine the Hebrew Torah’s myth of Creation, and you’ll find some holes and leaps in logic. One of these errors in reasoning is in the 1st Book of Moses (aka Genesis 3), wherein is described Adam & Eve’s temptation by “the Serpent” (seraph) and their subsequent failure to meet the conditions that G-d declared.

Foundation for a Divine Mortal Judgment

To begin, the “Garden of Eden” passage is revered by all 3 of the Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Adam and Eve were the first humans, according to all three religions. The myth serves as a basis not just for teaching Christianity’s view of created innocence, introduction of God’s (and humanity’s) Adversary, sin / original sin & “the curse;” but also, it serves as the foundation of Judaism’s teachings on the concepts of conditional covenants with reward and punishment based on choice, wisdom, knowledge, self-awareness, G-d’s provision despite consequence, and for forming a view of the causes for hardships in the world, including death. Likewise, Islam counts this myth of Adam & Eve’s disobedience as a significant basis for understanding and teaching concepts of free will, God’s readiness to forgive and why humanity must now live a mortal life. In summary, all 3 religions hold that Adam & Eve were, mythologically speaking, the first humans, that they were innocent before their actions, and that, either their actions somehow affect all humanity for the net worse (i.e. mortality), or the myth teaches humanity via story that disobedience gets punished. All conclude Adam & Eve’s failure is a way to contextualize death as the result of a foundational human transgression of divine will that needs (and receives) divine forgiveness / atonement, but still none can escape the consequence of mortality. All must die.

The Error

None of the three religions seem ready to openly admit the logical error and ethical inconsistency they perpetuate through their concepts of innocence and fair judgment, as it relates to the Adam & Eve myth.

All three religions deem children innocent and not deserving divine judgment, despite children’s tendency to display disobedience toward the wishes of their parental figures. Unless they strictly hold to medieval traditions of “original sin,” the great majority of Christian faith communities would say that if a child (although carrying on the curse of Adam & Eve) dies, then the innocent child will absolutely not go to any level of hell. Judaism holds that children are made in the unmarred image of God, innocent and not to be punished for the sins of the parent(s). Islam, likewise, views life as separated into 2 parts, the first being a state of innocence (childhood) and then full responsibility under Islamic law, upon puberty.

Similarly, all three religions will agree that Adam and Eve were the first humans, created in a state of freshly and previously uninfluenced innocence before their temptation by the seraph and subsequent disobedience. That is to say, Adam and Eve were far more innocent than any child who has had the influence of parents, who themselves have already “sinned.” Despite this, each of the Abrahamic religions will say G-d was just and fair in condemning Adam & Eve to be outcasts from G-d’s garden, to be temporarily estranged from G-d’s presence (until G-d made provision and pronouncement), and to experience natural hardships and mortal death for their action, which was made while in a state of innocence purer than any child. The inconsistency in ethics and concepts of innocence & judgment is glaring.

What’s Fair is Fair

How can we reconcile this glaring inconsistency in the ethics of Abrahamic religions?

It seems to me, the only way to reconcile the error is for the Abrahamic religions EITHER to agree together that all children (at conception/birth to 13 yr old puberty and/or 18-21 yrs old “adulthood”) can do things that deserve the death penalty and/or eternal punishment, just like Adam & Eve; OR, they all should openly and collectively admit the falsehood that we all physically die because of our sins… and then start teaching that because we do not condemn our innocent children to death and/or eternal punishment, we see the myth of Adam & Eve’s failure (and divinely issued consequence) as fundamentally flawed to serve as a religious origin & ethics myth, having absolutely no value for establishing concepts of divinely inspired ethical justice, and (especially not) for establishing the concept of divine judgment, i.e. mortality and/or eternal damnation. Universal Redemption / Forgiveness / Mercy and universal abolition of the death penalty is the only concept and ethic that would perhaps replace this error.

I am well aware that if the Abrahamic religions were to do the latter that I suggest, then the basis for their religions would crumble and disintegrate.

I’ll not hold my breath.