Sunday, January 3, 2010

The blame game

Genesis 3

I just read an article about how women have been overlooked by society to help solve the world’s problems, and I think the statement is both true, and not true. That is not what this blog is about. I always read the comments people leave, and it never ceases to amaze me how someone always brings up the bible, and twist the meaning, to support their beliefs. The comment in this instance says, “Perhaps you need to reread Genesis. The Bible blames a woman for the loss of the Garden of Eden. Eve was tempted and fooled by the Snake, and then seduced Adam. The entire premise of the Bible could be viewed as misogynist.”

What this person needs to do is learn to take things in context. Genesis 3 covers the fall of man, but my own title for this chapter is “the invention of the blame game.” The blame game was created to remove oneself from the responsibility of your own actions. The phrase, “the devil made me do it” likely got its start from this passage.

In all fairness, a lot of people believe that it was the woman’s fault, and I’ve heard a lot of preachers who still teach it that way. Due to the length of the passage, I will paraphrase parts, and ask that you read the chapter yourself.

In the first part, the serpent convinces Eve that the fruit is not deadly, and that it will open her eyes, and the best part, it will make her like God. Instead of listening to God’s instruction she listened to the serpent, and ate some. In verse 6, she gave the fruit to Adam, and he ate it. At no point does it say she seduced Adam into eating it. He was with her, and he heard the whole thing, yet he still made the same choice Eve did; to disobey God’s instruction.

Starting in verse 11, God asked Adam if he ate from the tree. Adam didn’t try to deny he ate the fruit, but he tried to pass the blame to Eve, saying, “The woman you put here with me- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Like Adam, Eve didn’t deny eating the fruit, but she tried to pass the blame to the serpent, saying, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate it.”

The thing I find fascinating about the exchange in this chapter is that God never truly places blame on any of them, but he holds each one accountable for their own actions, and punishes all three. After this, he banishes Adam, which means Eve as well, and bars them from the garden, to live a life of hard work.

I believe the lesson of this passage is fairly clear. Before we start passing on the blame to someone else, when we mess up, and do something we’re not supposed to, we should be willing to accept the consequences for our actions, and take responsibility for our part in the world.