(Genesis 1:26) The [Elohim] said, "Let us make humanity in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth." Elohim is a plural word, including male and female, and should properly be...
(Genesis 1:26) The [Elohim] said, "Let us make humanity in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth." Elohim is a plural word, including male and female, and should properly be translated "Gods" or "Pantheon." (1: 27) The Gods created humanity in the image of themselves, In the image of the Gods they created them, Male and female they created them. (1:28) The Gods blessed them, saying to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth."
Now clearly, here we are talking about the original creation of the human species: male and female. All the animals, plants, etc. have all been created in previous verses. This is before the Garden of Eden, and Yahweh is not mentioned as the creator of these people.
The next chapter talks about how Yahweh, an individual member of the Pantheon, goes about assembling his own special little botanical and zoological Garden in Eden, and making his own little man to inhabit it: (Gen 2:7) Yahweh God fashioned a man of dust from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and thus the man became a living being. (2:8) Yahweh God planted a garden in Eden which is in the east, and there he put the man he had fashioned. (2:9) Yahweh God caused to spring up from the soil every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, with the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden. (2:15) Yahweh God took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and take care of it. Now this next is crucial: note Yahweh's precise words: (2:16) Then Yahweh God gave the man this admonition, "You may eat indeed of all the trees in the garden. (2:17) Nevertheless of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat, for on the day you eat of it you shall most surely die." Fateful words, those. We will refer back to this admonition later.
Then Yahweh decides to make a woman to go with the man. Now, don't forget that the Pantheon had earlier created a whole population of people, "male and female," who are presumably doing just fine somewhere "outside the gates of Eden." But this set-up in Eden is Yahweh's own little experiment, and will unfold to its own separate destiny. (2:21) So Yahweh God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And while he slept, he took one of his ribs and enclosed it in flesh. (2:22) Yahweh God built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. Right. Man gives birth to woman. Sure he does. But that's the way the story is told here. (2:25) Now both of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they felt no shame in front of each other. Well, of course not! Why should they? But take careful note of those words, as they also will prove to be significant...
Now this next part is where it starts to get interesting. Enter the Serpent: (Gen. 3:1) The serpent was the most subtle of all the wild beasts that Yahweh God had made. It asked the woman, "Did God really say you were not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?" (3:2) The woman answered the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden. (3:3) "But of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, 'You must not eat it, nor touch it, under pain of death." (3:4) Then the serpent said to the woman, "No! You will not die! (3:5) "God knows in fact that on the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil." What a remarkable statement! "Your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil." The Serpent directly contradicts Yahweh. Obviously, one of them has to be lying. Which one, do you suppose? And, if the serpent speaks true, wouldn't you wish to eat of the magic fruit? Wouldn't it be a good thing, to become "like gods, knowing good and evil"? Or is it preferable to remain in ignorance?
(Gen. 3:6) The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye, and that it was desirable for the knowledge that it could give. So she took some of its fruit and ate it. She gave some also to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. (3:7) Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together to make themselves loincloths. The author makes an interesting assumption here: that if you realize you are naked you will automatically want to cover yourself. Further implications will unfold shortly...
(Gen. 3:8) The man and his wife heard the sound of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from Yahweh God among the trees of the garden. (3:9) But Yahweh God called to the man. "Where are you?" he asked. (3:10) "I heard the sound of you in the garden," he replied. "I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid." (3:11) "Who told you that you were naked?" he asked. "Have you been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?"
And so the sign of the Fall becomes modesty. Take note of this. The descendants of Adam and Eve will be distinguished throughout history from virtually all other peoples by their obsessive modesty taboos, wherein they will feel ashamed of being naked. It follows that those who feel no shame in being naked are, by definition, not carriers of this spiritual disease of original sin!
(Gen. 3:12) The man replied, "It was the woman you put with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it." Right. Blame the woman. What a turkey! (3:13) Then Yahweh God asked the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman replied, "The serpent tempted me and I ate." So of course she blames the serpent. But just what did the serpent do that was so evil? Why, he called Yahweh a liar! Was he wrong? Let's see... (3:21) Yahweh God made clothes out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on. Out of skins? This means that Yahweh had to kill some innocent animals to pander to Adam and Eve's new obsession with modesty!
And now we come to the crux of the Fall. Yahweh had said back there in chapter (2:17), regarding the fruit of the tree of knowledge, that "on the day you eat of it you shall most surely die." The Serpent, on the other hand, had contradicted Yahweh in chapter (3:4-5): "No! You will not die! God knows in fact that on the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil." So what actually happened? Who lied and who told the truth about this remarkable fruit? The answer is given in the next verse: (3:22) Then Yahweh God said, "See, the man has become like one of us, with his knowledge of good and evil. He must not be allowed to stretch his hand out next and pick from the tree of life also, and eat some and live forever."
Get that? Yahweh himself admits that he had lied! In fact, and in Yahweh's own words, the Serpent spoke the absolute truth! And moreover, Yahweh tells the rest of the Pantheon that he intends to evict Adam (and presumably Eve as well) to keep them from gaining immortality to go with their newly-acquired divine knowledge. To prevent them, in other words, from truly becoming gods! So who, in this story, comes off as a benefactor of humanity, and who comes off as a tyrant? THE SERPENT NEVER LIED!