Prohibition & the Original Sin

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Image retrieved from on September 24th, 2013.

In a theme again adopted from earlier mythological accounts, Genisis 2 has it that after creating the earth and the heavens, God realized that there was “no man to work the ground”, so he made Adam the first man to do just that. After being created to till the soil, Adam was then placed in a Garden that God had planted in the east: “And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”(Genesis 2:8-9)

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
(Genesis 2:15-17)

Shortly after God created man and the garden for him to work in, he realized ”It was not good for the man to be alone.” So he put Adam into a deep sleep, took out his rib, and made the first woman. It was around then that the patriarchal writers of the Biblical tale have it that trouble started... For also in this fabled garden was the serpent and ”the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, 'You must not eat fruit from any tree in the garden'?”

The woman said to the serpent. “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord god among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

(Genisis 3:1-10)

The Lord then asked, ”Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?”

So Adam turned to his wife ”The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

And the woman turned in the serpent ”The serpent deceived me and I ate.”

So God punished the serpent, making him the most cursed of all animals, having to crawl on his belly. He put enmity between the descendants of mankind and the serpent, stating to this early reptilian pusher that man will ”crush your head, and you will strike his heel”.

Then God punished the woman stating; ”I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

To Adam God said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'

“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food and return to the ground, since from it you were taken; from dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become as one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live for ever.” so the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken, After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way of the tree of life.
(Genesis 3:17-24)

And so the biblical concept of Original Sin has it's basis in the breaking of the original taboo, prohibition. As this is the case, it is not surprising to find that modern-day Prohibition has it’s roots in the Christian-Judaic world. In fact, one of the most astounding commonalties in the over ten-million plant-drug trials in North America is that the vast majority of the defendants have had to swear on the Bible as part of the court proceedings against them. Indeed, the modern Judicial system has its roots in the ancient Biblical Law, as does the very concept of prohibition itself.

Interestingly, Adam and Eve did not die from eating the prohibited tree as the Lord God had told Adam he would when he said, ”you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” but Yahweh lied! Instead the duo have an enlightening experience, as promised by the demonized serpent. As discussed in Part 2, this scandal, centuries later, would be seized upon by Jewish Gnostic sects, who viewed Jehovah as an evil demon, and the serpent as a world savior.

In the ancient world, the serpent was an image of both knowledge and healing. And as the respected scholar Merlin Stone has suggested, likely also of divine intoxication, (stone 1976). Through its association with sacred plants as early as 2025 BCE, in ancient Sumerian the serpent, under the name Ningizzidia, was known as the “Lord of the Tree of Truth” (Campbell 1964).

Feminist scholar Barbara Walker states that the “present form of the biblical story is obviously a much-revised version of the original tales of the Great Mother and her serpent. Babylonian icons showed the Goddess attended by her snake, offering man the food of immortality.” (Walker 1983) Walker's point of view isn't limited to that of the modern Goddess movement, being accepted by a wide number of religious scholars, such as Mircea Eliade, who pointed out the Garden of Eden tale suggests a well-known mythological motif; that of the naked goddess, the miraculous tree, and its serpent guardian. But here, rather than a hero who overcomes and gains a share in the symbol of life, as in a number of earlier accounts the Genisis story “gives us Adam, ingenious victim of the serpent's perfidy. In short we are dealing with a failed 'immortalization,' like that of Gilgamesh. For, once omniscient, equal to the 'gods', Adam could discover the Tree of Life (of which Yahweh had not spoken to him) and become immortal. The text is clear and categorical: 'Yahweh God said, see, the man has become like one of us, with knowledge of good and evil. He must not be allowed to stretch out his hand and pick from the tree of life also and eat some and live forever.' And God banished the couple from paradise and condemned them to work for a living” (Eliade 1978)

[In] the scenario...of the naked goddess and the miraculous tree...we can see that the serpent of Genesis succeeded, all things considered, in its role as guardian of a symbol of like and youth. But this archaic myth was radically altered by the author of the biblical accounts.
Adam's...disobedience betrayed his Luciferian pride, the desire to be like God. It was the greatest sin that the creature could commit against his creator. It was the “original sin”, a notion pregnant with consequences for the Hebrew and Christian theologies. (Eliade 1978)

Because it conflicts with basic common sense the "psyche knows unconsciously that the [Eden] story is dangerously upsetting. It creates a religious taboo to protect itself. The teaching that results from... [it's general interpretation] is that mankind must remain in an infantile state and obey those who speak in the name of the 'father' located in heaven. The dogma of original sin as disobedience is maintained to prevent disconcerting discoveries concerning that deity" (Suares 1992).

From the composition of its earliest texts, the Bible has not been about "new ideas", but maintaining "old ones" which are compounded out of ancient and outdated tribal rules and belief systems. This prohibition of knowledge also claims dominion over the plant world, and the revelations that the ingestion of certain herbs could provide. This latter prohibition could well represent the repression of experiential Religion, followed by the forced installation of a rigid dogmatic religion based on past tribal mythology, history and law. This struggle has lasted down to our present era, leading to the near death of shamanism, a religion distinguished preeminently by the ritual ingestion of powerful plant sacraments for revelation, and which has disappeared whenever it has been brought into contact with Christianity. A religion based on long past history and controlling people trough ancient tribal rules has absolutely no room for the new revelations experienced by entheogen-ingesting shamans.

pp. 2-6 of Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible by Chris Bennett and Neil McQueen (2001)

garden of eden, adam and eve, original sin, prohibition, tree of life, fruit