QUESTIONS ON THE FALL OF ADAM . . . . Q.

If man and woman did not know good and evil, how did they have desire? Desire comes from man or woman thinking that something is good. It says in Genesis Chapter 3 sentence 6, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes..." How did she know the tree looked delightful when she did not know what good was? A. In answer to your question, it is important to define what the Hebrew text has to say. The term "tov" (good) has five different meanings: 1) it may connote something of a practical, economic, or material good, 2) abstract goodness such as desirability, pleasantness, and beauty, 3) quality or expense, 4) moral goodness, and 5) technical orphilosophical good. You seem to be confusing definition 4 and 5 with definitions 1 and 2; Eve merely desired the fruit because it looked like it would taste good! Rabbi Joe is also correct in what he explained regarding the relationship between desire and knowledge-at leaast from the Judaic perspective; however there is a Buddhist variant of the "Fall" story that would suggest there is indeed a connection between the two! "and a tree to be desired to make wise" (Genesis 3:6 -- MKJV) — While there are several versions of the “Fall” narrative in ancient Semitic literature, it is not widely known that a mythic memory of a primordial “Fall” is also recorded in the Oriental world that is especially interesting when seen from the perspective of Jung’s theory of the archetype. Although the Buddhist tradition does not speak of a “Fall” in the Western theological sense, it does speak of a state of “Original Ignorance” that occurred at the dawn of human creation. From ignorance come greed and anger, and jealousy and pride, and from these emotional energies come misdeeds that lead to suffering. The first sin among the ancients that perpetuated the fall was the prejudice of appearance; those of brighter skin began to look down on those with darker skin. Ignorance led to the formation of gender, which eventually gave rise to desire and passion. One ancient Pali Buddhist text [known as the Pâli Aggañña-suttam and the Prâkrit Mahâvastu a. k. a “Aphorism on the Knowledge of the Beginning”] dating back somewhere between the 5th and 1st century B.C.E., records an ancient memory of humanity’s original spiritual descent that invites comparison to the “Fall” narrative of Genesis 3: "Then the organ of womanhood appeared in the woman and the organ of manhood in the man. And the

woman offered to the man strong drink in excess, and the man unto the woman. And as they did so, passion arose, the act of sex." Buddhist doctrine believes that desire is a principal manifestation of the selfish craving, grasping, or a blind state of want. And it is for this reason, desire is considered to be at the root of human suffering, and suffering entered into their bodies. By reason of the suffering they indulged in

the ultimate goal of Buddhism since has been the extinguishment of all desire. In Judaism, desire in itself is neutral, provided one learns how to sublimate it and master it. Jewish tradition teaches that without desire, the human race would have died in its infancy. I recall reading that many of the early Buddhists died without siring children because they considered sexuality to be sinful. In any event, thanks for raising an interesting topic. Rabbi Dr. Michael Samuel

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