Knowledge is the Greatest Sin of All

[Written by Teresa Roberts] In Christian theology, eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was the sin that caused the downfall of humankind. Apparently, the worst thing a human can do in the eyes of god is to acquire knowledge. Every tree bearing fruit in the garden was available to Adam and Eve except the one, the big tall tree bearing answers to their questions. That tree was strictly forbidden.

Why would god want to keep Adam and his rib-sharing woman in a perpetual state of ignorance? 

How does remaining uninformed benefit human beings? It's much easier to identify the benefits that god might receive from this arrangement.  Fewer pesky questions, far less dissatisfaction with inaccurate answers, no drive to strike out on our own, no disruptive curiosity or push for personal freedom might easily please a control freak. If that was the goal then keeping his creation hopelessly naive would probably work, at least until that first question popped into their minds. 

It took a snake in the grass to plant the first niggling interest to know something new in their childlike brains, however. 

Apparently, they were created in such a naive state that they couldn't imagine questions on their own, spending their days in the garden in mindless pursuits until the snake wiggled his way into their lives. He was a low creature, a real trickster, but he must have been really good at his job because it didn't take long for him to fool Eve. That's often the case with naive people. They're too trusting and thus can be easily taken advantage of by wily critters who are street smart and conniving. 

The word provincial implies lack of exposure. 

Adam and Eve must have taken provinciality to new heights. Newsworthy topics reaching their ears were rare at best or unheard of altogether. Their ignorance made it impossible for them to even imagine that there might have existed a different perspective than the one they had been been handed at the point of creation. For all intents and purposes, they were living behind the iron curtain or to steal a popular term being tossed around today, "a wall". Walls serve a dual purpose, they keep people out but they also keep people in.  Adam and Eve were sequestered and under constant surveillance.    

Once Eve started down that path of questioning, however, she was doomed. 

Now, it would be one question after another. Why am I here? What's my purpose? What else is there to life? What's on the other side of the garden wall? An endless array of questions that would drive god crazy, so he threw the two of them out of the garden to fend for themselves. Oh, and to suffer. Suffering became the name of the game from that point on. Thousands upon thousands upon millions upon billions of humans down through the ages suffered and continue to suffer because Adam and Eve dared to ask — why. 

What was it about knowledge that god detested so much? 

It literally flipped his switches and turned him into a vindictive monster.  I started pondering this question when I was about twelve years old. I soon discovered from reading the Bible that the snake fell from grace because he, too, questioned god. 

Lucifer was said to have become very impressed with his own knowledge and beauty and began to conspire against god to steal his glory. 

Did god get his feelings hurt at the betrayal from this creation of his? Which begs the question, what kind of a relationship did these two have with one another that god would have taken the betrayal so hard? Humans often betray their best friends. Once in a while it leads to a person murdering their lover or a country executing a traitor, but most of us learn to move on even after such a deeply emotional experience. In fact, to be fully matured by human standards requires that we learn to depend upon our own abilities to care for ourselves with or without the love or adoration of any other human being. It's very difficult for me to believe that god's ego is more fragile than mine. 

Did god create Adam and Eve in such a naive state because he was  still suffering from Lucifer's betrayal? 

Were Adam and Eve merely a rebound creation to help in his own recovery? Furthermore, due to his disappointing relationship with Lucifer had god come to the conclusion that giving any of his future creations knowledge and awareness was too risky? From what we've been told about god's friendships, it does seem as though he isn't particularly happy unless he can have full and undivided attention, get all the credit for everything and control those with whom he graces his presence.

Once again, by human standards, that kind of control is not considered healthy. 

Relationships that require keeping one party sequestered, cut off from the real world and ignorant is generally looked upon as abusive. There are plenty of people who are guilty of taking such measures to secure a strangle hold on another individual's freedom, but they aren't considered to be well balanced. In fact, they're given names like narcissist, sociopath and psychopath. Perhaps my readers have personally known a few of these horrible human beings.

If we examine the attitude that knowledge is dangerous on a broader scale, however, we can easily recognize the manifestation of this belief in the political careers of dictators, despots and cult leaders. 

Keeping whole populations ignorant allows those in power to get what they need at the expense of everyone else. Often in authoritarian takeovers, the first to get arrested and thrown in prison are the educated. Why? Because they have knowledge that allows them to think and thinking is problematic for dictators. Thinking leads to questions and questions to dissatisfaction with the answers and can result in a rebellion. This story is as old as the hills. 

Any culture that promotes ignorance as a virtue and is inherently anti intellectual will go to great lengths to silence those who have knowledge. 

What keeps people living a provincial life is the lack of knowledge. They don't ask questions because they don't have the language or experiences to formulate the questions. They're naive.  They can easily be taken advantage of and that's the ultimate goal, making it easier to manipulate the masses. 

There are so many other behaviors that god could have chosen to monitor instead, behaviors that are truly harmful even evil for lack of a better term. 

Creating a society that is safe and supportive to life on this planet depends upon recognizing the virtues of cooperation and sharing. If Adam was to be another failed prototype, it makes more sense that it would be for some other reason than his desire for knowledge.  How about testing for lack of compassion or empathy? For god to set up a test to determine his creations worthiness that involved denying them access to knowledge is unfathomable. 

Christians have continued to enable god's fear of human knowledge by  embracing the senseless call for faith. 

All these centuries later after Adam and Eve's fall, the devout are still afraid to ask questions. Those of us who ask why are we here, what is my purpose, what lies outside the garden wall and why can't we see god are viewed as the worst of the worst of sinners. We're heretics, no less. As humans gain knowledge, we regularly reveal that much of the Bible is full of senseless even useless pieces of information. That creates a problem for god and his followers, forcing them to become more obstinate and self protective much to the harm of society at large. Living in a state of perpetual denial doesn't do a single thing to help humankind improve life on this planet, however. 

Knowledge is the only cure for our problems. 

What might've been good for god's ego isn't good for his creation. Contrary to popular opinion, it turns out that the more you know the farther you really do go in life. To limit our ability or desire to acquire knowledge is a death sentence to innovation, problem solving, new ideas and ultimately the creative spirit of humanity.

 I wouldn't want to live in a garden like that. 

Teresa Roberts is a myth buster. Her recently published book - Have We Been Screwed? Trading Freedom for Fairy Tales - can be purchased on Amazon.