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There is a two-horned dilemma concerning Adam and Eve that Christians of any persuasion (who take the pair’s existence as somehow true, and certainly see the Fall as making sense) must overcome.

We have a situation whereby Adam and Eve fail some kind of test and, as a result of this failure, humanity is punished from thereon in.

Let’s put aside the highly problematic theology of such a claim, and concentrate on the representative nature of Adam and Eve.

We have two problems.

  1. If Adam and Eve are properly representative of humanity, and failed the test, then God’s design of humanity is ultimately sub-optimal. This appears to render God as sub-optimal. God has created an entity which would fail that test every time, or most every time, such that it was fair and representative that Adam and Eve were chosen to take that test on behalf of humanity.
  2. If Adam and Eve are not properly representative of humanity, and failed the test, and humanity are punished as a result of this failure, then god is quite obviously not fair. God has chosen two people who are in some meaningful way different to the rest of humanity and any other test case may well have passed the test and not eaten the fruit. If we are all being punished (and this potentially includes the whole carnivorous animal kingdom) as a result of that unrepresentative moral decision of Adam and Eve, then something is rotten in the state of Eden.

And this leaves God, in both cases, looking less than what he should.

God is either incompetent, or morally imperfect. Perhaps even both.


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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...