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Genesis Essay

534 words - 3 pages

Whether or not the daily acts we perform are considered morally acceptable (or not) can be categorized by the familiar binary couple of Good and Evil. The opposing pair allows us to determine the degree of ‘goodness’ or ‘evilness’ an act may be by comparing its potential severity to its polar opposite. In a conflicting situation where a person is forced to choose between an evil or a lesser evil, the person will end up choosing some form of evil, but if they choose the lesser one, does that make it morally okay? Determining where an act may reside on the scale of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ has been an ongoing debate that predates biblical times and is tried based on individual circumstance and belief. The Christian religion, however, has drawn a distinct line ...view middle of the document...

Binary pairs allow us to identify a relationship between opposite ideas in order to estimate where a third party may stand on the spectrum. The book of Genesis (specifically 2.5-3) utilizes the pairing of ‘Good’ versus ‘Evil’ to demonstrate the severity of disobeying the Christian god and its consequences. Eve, the first woman on Earth, represents the purity and innocence that comes with being a ‘good’ and pure being. The serpent in the story symbolizes the unheard of and avoidable “Evil” of the world. By using this pair, the author was able to demonstrate the severity of Eve’s wrong doings and help the readers understand the reasoning behind God implementing such harsh evils onto this world.
The mediating figure in this passage between the respected ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is the Tree of Knowledge. This tree stands firmly in the middle of what is considered morally right (obeying God’s command and not eating from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge) and what was morally wrong, “You can eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil. Don’t eat from it.” This mediating figure is the comparative figure that allows readers determine where Eve now stands on the spectrum of good versus evil. The tree mediates the two forces by revealing how simple it is to obey the law but also how it’s just as easy it is to break it. Avoiding one tree in a forest full of fruitful plants seems unthinkably simple but marking something as forbidden can also be extremely tempting. Once Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree, they crossed the bridge from pure innocence to unavoidable sin.

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