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One can't be guilty of "sin" when one doesn't have knowledge of the difference between good and evil. Nor does one have "free-will" in such a circumstance.

 

Only by gaining the knowledge of good and evil did human beings, in a mythological sense, become moral beings and (as acknowledged in the story) more like the divine.

 

Not following an order (disobedience) that one doesn't understand on a moral level isn't "sin." To sin one must have moral discernment. That moral discernment was completely lacking in the story prior to the eating of the apple. Gaining that ability was what made people fully human on a mythic level.

 

Otherwise, we were like dogs or babies, beings whose "disobedience" carries no moral weight (since they don't know good from evil.

 

Bill

 

I disagree that they lacked moral discernment.  Why would God even tell them not to eat from that particular tree if they lacked the capacity to obey?

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. I guess I'd start with a frame that the origin story does not get the primacy of place in Judaism that a handful of others do (exodus from slavery, receipt of Torah while standing on Sinai, and sacrifices of Abraham all rank higher in the annual liturgical and holiday cycles and, I think, in the collective identity).  

 

This is such a good point, and I completely agree.  

 

 

 

Edited by JennyD
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I disagree that they lacked moral discernment.  Why would God even tell them not to eat from that particular tree if they lacked the capacity to obey?

 

For the same reasons, we tell dogs to sit/stay or we tell toddlers that irons are hot and not to touch.

 

The capacity to obey or not obey an order is completely different than understanding moral values.

 

In those cases, potential disobedience comes with a threat attached. Such as the God figure in Genesis telling the pair that on the day they ate the gained moral discernment by eating the fruit that they would die.

 

But without moral discernment, neither yielding to threats (as obedience) or failing to obey has any moral value. The disobedience isn't "sinful" as by definition sin requires the moral capacity to tell right from wrong (good vs evil) that humans don't possess in a mythical sense until Eve and Adam eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

 

Having the capacity to obey (particularly under the threat of extreme punishment) has nothing to do with having a moral sense. It just shows beings understand fear, threats, and will sometimes choose pain avoidance. But those are amoral capacities.

 

Bill

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