“What was the secret that the serpent told Eve? That she could eat a certain fruit? Pah. That was a euphemism. The fruit was carnal knowledge, and everybody from Thomas Aquinas to Milton knew it. How did they know it? Nowhere in Genesis is there even the merest hint of the equation: Forbidden fruit equals sin equals sex. We know it to be true because there can only be one thing so central to mankind. Sex.”
–Matt Ridley, The Red Queen
Now originally I picked up with book with the interest of learning more about The Red Queen’s Hypothesis, which basically says that rather than everything becoming better through evolution, we are actually constantly evolving in order to keep up with everything else that is evolving, which essentially leave us all the same. It is rather intriguing and has been studied to a limited extent with viruses and bacteria (It was published in Nature. If you don’t have access, sorry, but here is the reference: Paterson S, Vogwill T, Buckling A, et al. Antagonistic coevolution accelerates molecular evolution. Nature. 2010:4-8. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20182425).
However, only a few pages into the book and all the sudden the Fruit of the Tree was code word for sex? I do not remember covering this in Sunday School. And I would argue that in a Godless existence, then yes, there would be only one thing so central to mankind. However, for those individuals who have faith, regardless of denomination, I think there are other central things.
And even then, where in the Bible is sex demonized? It is given a context wherein there is absolutely nothing wrong with sex. Even OUTSIDE the context relationship sex is not demonized so much as the other issues that result in sex out of a proper context.
Where does it say that Adam and Eve were not ever going to have sex? Where did it say that they were never going to have sex? How could the earth be populated by man if there was no sex? Birds have sex, but they do it without lust, anger, envy. Dog’s don’t wear clothes, unless people make them, because they don’t know shame and lust. In the old testimate people are given the commission to go forth an multiply. How can people do that without sex? If God was so against sex why demand that two of every animal be brought onto the Ark? Why was a family unit, NOT just Noah and his wife and their children, brought onto the Ark? Instead his daughter’s husbands and son’s wives were also invited along. And this is all still Old Testament. Sex is essential for reproduction and population. Why do people think an all knowing God would skip that fact? Did it say somewhere in Genesis that Adam and Eve were it? That if there were going to be any more fish in the sea, or birds on land, or animals of the earth God would simply make them? Because I am pretty sure sex was part off the plan all along.
And if you want to read about sex in the Bible: Song of Songs. Now there is a book of the Bible that is laden with sex and euphamisms of sex. Try it one night: dim the lights, light some candles and read aloud from the Song of Songs. If you don’t get a little randy I would be surprised. There is a reason no one really covers that book on Sunday. That is the private, for adults only, Bible study class (assuming the leader is brave enough to cover it).
The Bible merely points out that sex should be had in proper context. Regardless of how you chose to define “adulterer” (I chose to say it is when you knowingly and consciously participate in a physical sexual relationship with someone other than your significant other. Hence, one nighters don’t technically fall into adulterer, as long as you are not in a relationship with someone else.) there is the fact that, as humans, sex in short term relationships leads to problems.
Let’s face it- we have weak, worthless, helpless young. Seriously. They are born pink, squishy, and screaming. They need almost constant care the first year or so, they have to be carried or assisted in moving for almost the first 3 years, then we get to finally start working on fine tune coordination and language for a while. Heck, human offspring is generally helpless until they are teenage. And then they develop horrible acne, body odor, and attitudes and suddenly start doing stupid things. It is amazing we have made it as far as we have. There are tens of thousands of people who should have been eaten a long time ago!
Hench that short term relations that are centered around sex are, almost, anti evolutionary. Look at the statistics- single parents have a harder time raising productive, contributing members of society. Most criminals in jail (biased population, I admit) come from single parent homes. Though if you watch Lockup, there are certainly individuals who come from wealthy-middle class, two parent homes. But those people also, generally, have a personality disorder. However, humans do better in two parent (or at least family unit) homes. Everyone craves to know their mother AND their father. And it is not just because of the random mutation we may have inherited from them. People crave intimacy and knowledge and family. Yes. Sex is a part of it. But I would venture to say Adam and Eve had sex in the garden long before the temptation of the fruit.
People tend to mock the Bible for its “backwards” thinking. But I also point out that it was written thousands of years ago. No pork? Because of one little word: trichinosis. People did not know how to properly cook pork then. Stay away from lepers? People are stupid, and leprosy is actually a very slow moving disease. It can take years, to even a decade, of exposure to transmit leprosy. Because people would never have realized it until it was too late, they would have kept those family members in their home. Because it was not immediately lethal most people never would have understood what was going on until you had three generations infected in a home! Visiting the colonies was encouraged, because limited exposure is acceptable. Hardly backwards for that time. But how else are you going to explain to a people that will have no concept of what a cell is for another few thousand years the concept of something smaller than a cell that makes your cell sick. You time travel back and tell me how that lecture goes. Watch out for flying rocks.
But I still remember nothing about not having sex in the Bible. Lust, envy, greed, adulterous relations, sex only for pleasure, masturbation… sure. These things are there. But nothing about the evils of sex.
There is no denying that sex is important to man. Personally and evolutionarily. But it is not the center of the universe and the fruit. I still say that the fruit is knowledge. Let’s face it, what woman doesn’t want to know everything about everything? Hell, that is what gossip is for! We want to be equal in knowledge. We loath it not when people are more intellectual, but when they are just smarter. I could be smarter if I read more, or studied harder, or whatever. We want equality, superiority, of knowledge. We hate secretes, lies, because they effect our knowledge. They skew not just how, but what we think about people or situations. Children get mad because mommy knows where the cookies are hidden, and won’t tell. Suzie is mad because Sally knows if Johnny likes her, but won’t tell. It goes on and on. At our core we crave knowledge.
Personally, it is so freaking hot outside right now, I’d rather be napping naked in a garden at a perfect 82 degrees with a breeze. Screw knowledge.