The Paradox of Adam and Eve
And How the New World Translation Fruitlessly Attempts to Remove
Evidence of Eve's Quest for Wisdom from the Account
Ask a Christian about the account of Adam and Eve, and they'll say the first human pair were "perfect" (i.e. free from sin, and were created as flawless, not lacking).
Problem is, the word 'perfect' (or unblemished) never appears anywhere in Genesis, and Judaism (you remember, the religion who wrote the story, and who's Holy Book from which the story is lifted?) have NEVER seen Adam and Eve as 'perfect'; that's why Judaism never accepted the idea of Adamic 'original sin'.
Which in turn explains why Jews have never seen a need for atonement for the sin of Adam and Eve, since in Judaism, someone's sin needs to be addressed by the person who committed it, after repentance and atonement via sacrifice.
Jews thus don't see a need for Jesus 'redeeming' mankind with his 'perfect' blood sacrifice, since per Judaism, Adam's sin could ONLY be atoned BY Adam, AFTER he repented and made a guilt offering to God for his sin, asking for forgiveness.
More importantly, Adam is long-since dead, and in Judaism, ALL sins are cancelled in God's eyes upon the death of the sinner: after death, the sinner's sin ledger is settled, and their debt to God is 'even steven'.
So most Jewish rabbis sees the situation of Adam and Eve quite differently than Christians, and a Jew would claim that Christians are seemingly engaging in a bit of 'textual eisegesis' (i.e. engaging in rampant speculation), reading their desired interpretation into the text when it's not stated or the author's original intent for the message he wanted to convey.
Regardless, let's play along with the Christian reading, and tentatively accept that Adam and Eve were 'perfect'. Let's see where it leads.
In the account, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden and were given only ONE Divine Restriction, found at Genesis 2:17:
"Do not eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil".
Despite having been given a handful of positive commandments (eg fill the Earth and become many, place the animals under dominion, etc), there was only ONE NEGATIVE commandment (i.e "Do Not do THIS") rule they follow.
But just like that itch you cannot help but scratching, we all know what happened next: a certain fruit was consumed, a certain deity got angry, curses were made, legs and green thumbs were confiscated, and mortals were expelled, paths were blocked, and the rest of the story is history.
However, an important element often overlooked by many readers is the REASON Eve saw the fruit as being "desirable to eat", in the first place, clearly stated in Gen 3:6 (NIV):
"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."
Now, it's fun to engage in wild speculation about WHAT the fruit might bestow to those who consumed it (some erroneously claim it would impart 'experiential knowledge', 'intelligence', etc), but the Bible is actually QUITE CLEAR on what it offers, and one only need to read carefully enough to let the account's narrator TELL US the answer.
So let's list the REASONS given in Genesis 3:6 for WHY Eve desired to eat the fruit, one by one. Eve saw it as:
1) Good for food (it looked edible/nutritious),
2) Pleasing to the eyes (it looked pretty),
3) DESIRABLE FOR GAINING WISDOM.
Now, which ONE of those reasons is unique and magical, the eyeball-raiser?
It's the THIRD, the only UNIQUE and FANTASTIC (supernatural) reason which offers Eve something that cannot be obtained by eating the fruit off any of the other trees in the Garden. The "wisdom-bestowing" properties of the fruit should jump out of the page, since last time I checked, "wisdom fruit" isn't stocked at your local grocery store (it's a 'special order only' item at your local Whole Foods)!
THAT'S WHY Eve saw it as desirable to eat: it was delicious, nutritious, AND made one wise.
Remember that wisdom was a valued trait in the Bible to possess, being the 'fuel' used by one's conscience (moral compass) needed when making independent moral decisions, required to make sound (or at least, non-foolish) decisions. And if someone lacks wisdom, the Bible denounces such people with it's antonym, FOOL, since 'wise' and 'fool' constitute a pair of words that are so commonly used in the Bible to compare and contrast, the literary device even has a name: merism.
(Another example in the same account is 'good' and 'evil', considered to lay on opposite ends of the spectrum to suggest the full range of the spectrum).
But notice how the New World Translation completely drops the ball on the translation, rendering Genesis 3:6 as:
6 Consequently the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was something to be longed for to the eyes, yes, the tree was desirable to look upon. So she began taking of its fruit and eating it...
See what they did there?
What are the THREE reasons given in the NWT?
1) Good for food (it looked edible/nutritious),
2) Longed for to the eyes (it looked pretty),
3) Desirable to look upon (it looked pretty)!
The WTBTS completely DROPPED the last reason, and simply rephrased the second! They removed the MOST-IMPORTANT element of Eve's motivation, the TRULY-UNIQUE reason that explains why Eve wanted to eat the fruit!
The NWT is implying that Eve desired to eat the fruit simply for desire's sake, and NOT to gain wisdom. Eve is depicted by the narrator in a misogynistic light, as if the silly woman was attracted to the pretty fruit for its ornamental value, alone, as if women are always attracted to bangles, baubles, and shiny beads, being shallow vapid creatures who desire shiny jewelry! The translators completely discard the Hebrew words saying that Eve was seeking to GAIN WISDOM which the forbidden fruit offered, so they transformed her from a courageous mother of all humankind who gave us wisdom, turning her into a shallow bimbo!
(Hmmm, didn't Jesus issue some kind of general warning about 'those lying scribes' who change the words of the Bible?)
It's interesting to note that almost EVERY OTHER TRANSLATION doesn't mishandle the translation (and 'wisdom' is NOT an easy word to lose in the translation: it's safe to conclude it's loss is no accident).
The NWT translators intentionally discarded this phrase (which IS found in the Hebrew Samaritan/Masoretic/Dead Sea Scrolls), as if seemingly attempting to suppress the problematic element of Eve seeking wisdom, which eliminates the problem of God forbidding mankind from having wisdom.
But don't take my word on this: here's ALL the other translations, so you can check them out for yourselves:
So how did this happen? How did the NWT make this egregious error?
Here's a likely answer:
25.1.1 … This crucial verse fragment, “and that the tree was to be desired to make (one) wise”, is missing from both the Septuagint and the Vulgate. The Hebrews who translate this verse fragment alter it to read, “and beautiful to contemplate.” The deliberate Septuagint error is translated in the Vulgate as “and delightful to behold.” This is a very serious corruption of the original story. Why the Septuagint translators choose to introduce this deception is not known.
The WT IGNORED the other translations (which relied upon 'Hebrew to English' translations, eg the King James Version), and instead used the flawed 'Hebrew to Greek' translation to perform their 'Greek to English' translation, 'cherry-picking' from the prior deliberate mistranslation to misuse that phrase: that's CLASSIC propagation of translation error, and looks to be done intentionally to deceive readers. It's dishonest, whether done by the translators of the Septuagint, or if done by the NWT translation team.
WHO'S the "Great Deceiver", again? Who was it who relied on subtle intentional deception to deceive others in the Genesis account?
So translation error aside, as stated previously, the Old Testament relies on frequently use of merisms, pairs of antonyms (as reflected in the contrasting of the words 'wise' and 'fool' in Psalms).
So if Eve saw the fruit as "desirous for gaining wisdom", the merism implies God created the pair as LACKING and/or WANTING wisdom, since Eve was DESIROUS to GAIN wisdom. Of course, people don't desire a trait they already POSSESS, so the account suggests God created the first pair as FOOLS, those lacking wisdom who are thus unable to make sound decisions reliably.
But to make matters even worse, with his ONE Divine Commandment ("don't eat the fruit"), God was PROHIBITING the pair from POSSESSING wisdom, since they were sentenced by "just" God to remain in their foolish state, having been intentionally-created that way (God even judged his own craftiwork afterwards, declaring them as "very good"). And since they were supposedly living in perfection BEFORE the fall, God wanted them to remain as "perfect fools".
Remember, Adam and Eve's fall from "perfection" is the entire basis that justifies the need for atonement from Adamic 'original sin', repaid by the equally-perfect sacrifice of Jesus. But if the pair weren't created as "perfect" (by lacking in wisdom) such that Eve coveted it, something doesn't add up in the Christian interpretation, does it?
Another element to consider:
One of the Ten Commandments is "Thou Shalt Not Covet", where coveting was later declared as a great sin that made God's "Top Ten" list. But wait a minute: since Eve supposedly was "perfect" BEFORE eating the fruit, how could she perform the act of coveting (desiring) the fruit of the Gods, when coveting was later declared sinful in God's eyes? That doesn't sound perfect to me.
But it gets worse:
Genesis 3:1 tells us that the serpent was made by God as 'arum' (a Hebrew word translated as 'crafty', 'clever', 'cautious', 'prudent' in most translations).
Genesis 3:1 (NIV):
"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made."
The serpent being described as 'prudent' would NEVER fly in any Christian Bible, since the serpent is eisegetically-interpreted by Christians as being Satan, and God creating 'prudent' or 'wise' Satan would be a 'red flag' pointing to scripture-bending of the Hebrew Genesis account.
But whatever word you use, YHWH is still suggested as having made the serpent CRAFTIER than the other animals, and arguably even craftier than the foolish humans, since the serpent was easily able to deceive foolish Eve into eating what she coveted: a clever animal talking a foolish Eve into believing what she already was inclined to believe literally was easier than stealing candy from a baby.
(Of course, it's no accident the serpent was hanging out at the 'Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil', since snakes were seen by early Hebrews as wise and cautious (arum) creatures, believed to have discovered the secret of immortality based on their ability to magically regenerate, based on seeing how they shed their skin. This was mistakenly viewed as a sign of rebirth, and hence the serpent was believed to possess immortality, knowledge of the secret contained in the fruit from the "Tree of Life".)
So it turns out the magic fruit worked as promised by both God and the serpent, since the account states, "their eyes had been opened". Even God acknowledges the fruit worked as claimed, when He admits:
Genesis 3:22 (NIV):
"They have become like us, knowing good and evil".
So the first pair gained wisdom by taking it in direct disobedience to Jehovah, since He intended it for His exclusive use, or to be doled out as He saw fit. They stole from God, after being egged on by the serpent to do what Eve wanted to do (she coveted wisdom).
HOWEVER, this is where the paradox of Adam and Eve arises:
How would Adam and Eve understand the 'wrongness' of disobeying YHWH's Single Rule, if they were LACKING in wisdom BEFORE THEY ATE the fruit?
How would they be able to use their internal "moral compass" (conscience) to understand the wrongness of disobeying God's sole commandment, if their conscience was 'out of the fuel' (wisdom) needed to make such independent moral determinations, in the first place?
<insert the sounds of crickets chirping>
THAT'S the paradox of Adam and Eve, the continuity error in the account that many readers have overlooked (probably since so few readers stop to question what they read: if you're never noticed it, don't feel bad, since you probably were reading a Bible translation that deliberately deleted important details in the original Hebrew account to hide vital clues that would point to the error).
Humans are known to be disposed to simply repeating anything that sounds reasonably good without questioning, and JWs are no different, repeating mantras that sound reasonable on first pass but don't withstand scrutiny if they simply gave it a moment's thought. A perfect example is the old chestnut stated by JWs everywhere:
"God didn't want to make humans as robots who HAD to obey or love him, so he gave them the gift of free will".
We've ALL heard (or even said) that one before, right? Well, anyone who says it is only confirming they don't actually understand 'free will' OR 'God's will'.
Let's back up and think it through, since it's often overlooked and it's necessary to understand the account.
From the Biblical (theological) Christian standpoint, there are only TWO types of Will:
1) God's Divine Will, expressed whenever God gives a commandment, e.g. "Thou Shalt (or Shalt Not) Do X". Compliance is MANDATORY, since God doesn't give mankind permission to 'sin' (defined as commiting any action that's contrary to God's Will).
2) Man's free will.
If God has spoken on a matter and issued His order (eg "Don't mix linens with cotton"), then compliance is MANDATORY (as explained above).
However, If God remained mute on some issue, then mankind IS free to exercise their free will, acting AFTER contemplating, praying, and using their 'Bible-trained conscience' to decide their course of action for which they believe God would most approve.
Thus, man's free will is to be used ONLY in situations where God hasn't already issued His Divine Will on a certain matter.
The WTBTS in fact is very careful to distinguish between the phrases, "free will" and "freedom of choice", where the former indicates the ability to decide amongst options that are FREE of consequences (like the threat of punishment), whereas the latter refers to making a choice to commit an action that violate God's Divine Will, and the expression implies the choice is NOT free from PUNISHMENT or consequences.
Also, 'free will' is not something that man is "made with" or which he is somehow "given" (as if free will is a collection of neurons that are inserted into the brain to give an organism the capability of self-determination).
Instead, mankind's free will domain is controlled by God, created by the ABSENCE of expressed Divine Will. Hence, the ONLY way God gives mankind free will is simply by keeping His Big Mouth Shut, and NOT expressing a bunch of "Thou Shalts" and "Thou Shalt Nots"! Free will is being given the PERMISSION to decide issues, and not declaring Divine law which MUST be followed.
Therefore, there's a teeter-totter relationship between God's Divine will and mankind's free will: as one grows larger, the other grows smaller by the same amount, since the decisions that God allows mankind to make decreases whenever God HIS will: if God gives a new rule, then that decision is no longer for mankind to decide using free will.
Restated, free will is given to mankind by being given God's PERMISSION to decide on the issue.
Before the Divine Prohibition was spoken by God, ALL decisions were under Adam's free will domain; after God spoke, ALL but THAT ONE decision was under Adam's free will domain: Adam and Eve weren't permitted by God to make the ONE decision to eat the 'wisdom-bestowing' forbidden fruit.
Of course, God has since stated PLENTY of rules, since we now have a Bible FILLED with "Thou Shalt (or Thou Shalt Not) Do X". Hence, mankind's free will domain is now MUCH SMALLER than it was for Adam and Eve.
Nevertheless, Adam did NOT have God's permission to eat the forbidden fruit, and disobeying Divine will is the very definition of sinning: God doesn't accept excuses for sin (i.e. Adam couldn't claim he was exercising his free will rights by disobeying; nope, that was the SINGLE decision Adam wasn't authorized to make, since in God's view, Adam exercised a 'freedom to choose' to disobey).
Hence, Adam and Eve didn't HAVE free will when it came to that ONE decision, only: they HAD to comply, or face the consequences for their sin, being punished by God.
So the decision to eat cannot properly be labelled as a "free fill" choice, and it should be obvious why the "God didn't want to create robots who HAD to obey Him" meme is nonsense, since God expressed His will, and compliance WASN'T optional. By suggesting otherwise is deception, since it's actually a distinction without any difference since the outcome is the same.
The paradox of Adam and Eve is quite similar to when Christians claim they cannot trust their own horribly-flawed and corrupt moral compass, saying that all humans must rely on God as the ultimate source of morality, since He's the "superior moral law-giver". But any admission of lacking trust in their own moral decision-making capabilities only undermines their claim, since if a person admits their internal moral compass is corrupt and horribly-flawed, how did they RELY ON IT in order to make the INDEPENDENT MORAL DETERMINATION that God's morality IS superior and worthy of voluntarily handing over the reins of one's decision-making capabilities to, without relying on their own?
Hmmmm, might THAT decision to trust in God's morality in fact be FLAWED, since it was made using their "flawed" moral compass?
The fundamental problem here is we cannot determine the morality of another entity WITHOUT relying on our OWN internal moral compass to make such a determination, since we're ALL independent moral entities. Similarly, the ability to decide WHICH Biblical commands to apply to any given situation requires making an independent moral determination, in itself, even IF God has issued a rule. You still must rely on your own moral sense in order to decide when and where God's laws are to be applied.
And such is the case with Adam and Eve's understanding the 'wrongness' of eating the fruit, since they didn't POSSESS the wisdom needed to fuel their conscience (needed to understand the immorality of disobeying God, in the first place)! Their conscience was running bone-dry of wisdom, since the 'fuel' needed to power the making of moral decisions wasn't yet consumed.
So saying they had the 'freedom to choose' to disobey completely overlooks that they were FOOLS, i.e. lacking wisdom; hence, they were operating under what psychologists would call 'diminished capacity' (more on that in a bit).
The often-heard comparison of Adam and Eve to children is actually quite valid, since children seemingly lack shame and self-awareness of their nakedness; they run around naked, free of inhibitions and without a care in the World. Children also act rashly, without thinking of the consequences of their impulsive actions.
A child's lack of fore-thought explains why modern law recognizes the concept of minors' not being fully-liable for their actions, since society UNDERSTANDS they lack sound judgment, and EXPECT them to BEHAVE like children; acting impulsive is anticipated behavior for children!
In adults who commit crimes, society recognizes the concept of "diminished capacity", where those diagnosed as sociopaths or psychotic who commit crimes are not criminally-liable for their actions by reason of insanity or mental illness (and instead of being sent to confinement within the general prison population, they're incarcerated in a prison where mental-health services are available).
The Adam and Eve account actually supports a 'diminished capacity' defense, since the story offers vital clues, eg they only understood the 'wrongness' of their disobedience AFTER eating the fruit, AFTER their "eyes had been opened" (they had gained wisdom). Hence why they only realized it was wrong to disobey God AFTER gaining wisdom, only then realizing that they had screwed up. But they clearly weren't aware of the wrongness before, since the decision to eat was made when they lacked wisdom.
The account actually depicts that God originally MADE them AS ROBOTS, who were expected to follow orders without using their own judgment; it could be stated they were made as "imperfect robots", since they apparently didn't work as designed, unable to meet the designer's exceedingly high expectations. "Perfect" God screwed up, since 'being perfect' suggests producing "perfect" work: it's impossible to explain how things could get off-track so quickly when the Earth's population was only 2, and one of the "perfect" beings coveted God's wisdom.
BTW, some defenders cite Eve's parroting of the rule to the serpent as proof that she somehow knew eating was wrong. Apparently these people have never dealt with children, who can parrot a rule that they are not supposed to break, but will break it within minutes, anyway, since they haven't actually comprehended and internalized WHY they shouldn't disobey the rule. Some children seemingly have to learn their lessons "the hard way", experiencing the consequences and punishment in order for the 'lesson' to sink in. That's the typical JW defense for God's actions in the Adam and Eve account, as a form of "tough love".
However, for God to exact death and pain on ALL subsequent generations of humans is more than a bit of an over-reaction, condemning ALL men to death for Adam's sin; that shows a strong preference for teaching lessons via punishment after placing humans in an unwinnable scenario, AKA Divine Entrapment.
As written, the story reads more like a Divine 'trip and fall' scam that's perpetuated on some grocery chain to threaten them with a lawsuit, hoping to force the store to settle out of court to avoid the expense and headaches of mounting a legal defense to defend against the claim.
Of course, this plot device is not original or unique to the Hebrew authors of the Genesis account: it's actually a classical motif found in Greek tragedies, where the protagonist realizes the folly of their action (hamartia), but only AFTER it's too late to do anything about it (anagnoris, defined as a tragic recognition or insight which explains why the character is in their current predicament, and have no choice but to accept their fate).
The story also shows CLASSIC examples of elements of Greek dramatic foreshadowing (eg Genesis 2:25: "And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed"; notice the extraneous mention of their lack of shame, serving as a hint to their later sense of shame). It seems the author of the Genesis account apparently was a big fan of the form of Greek tragedies, since he incorporated many of those same elements into the story (it's likely he had been exposed to the form during the post-exilic period, serving alongside Greek ambassadors in the Persian Imperial court).
But if the account is to be taken as a literal historical record of an event that actually happened, and NOT as a story, then Jehovah has some 'splaining to do:
If God KNEW they were incapable of making wise decisions, then WHY would He place the Tree in the MIDDLE of the Garden, where they possibly could get to it and create problems for all mankind?
Remember, God had given the first pair the RESPONSIBILITY to serve as caretakers of the Garden in Genesis 1:26, placing animals in their dominion to "rule over" them. Presumably this delegation would NOT allow playing elaborate pranks and practical jokes on the animals (cow-tipping was likely not an approved past-time). God is implicitly tasking them with the responsibility to be responsible custodians over His creations.
However, the legal concept of 'responsible custodianship' says that we cannot leave sweet-tasting anti-freeze (ethylene glycol) in open containers where small child and animals can drink it, since it looks and tastes like Kool-Aid (but is actually toxic and fatal). To do so violates Federal Laws, and results in criminal and civil liability.
Responsible adults cannot leave unlocked and loaded handguns laying around the house, where small children can play with them. It's just not safe for them AND others, and gun owners are prosecuted for it.
I mean, duh? Isn't that OBVIOUS?
You wouldn't leave a loaded firearm laying on the floor where toddlers could get to it, would you?
So why does God get to violate His OWN principles? Is this one of those "might makes right" situations, where God can do no wrong since He's "God"?
Even the picture at the top of the page depicts a measure God DIDN'T take to protect his "children" and his wisdom fruit: it shows barbed wire wrapped around an apple (a common symbol used for the forbidden fruit). That step WOULD actually discourage (but not eliminate the possibility for) eating. Heck, even putting a few thorny spikes found on pineapples would be a step towards TRYING to protect his "children" from eating the fruit!
To make matters worse for God, though, the account later demonstrates that God actually POSSESSED the ability to block access to fruit-bearing trees, and had the capability to prevent humans from eating of the fruit, but didn't use it. Remember that immediately afterwards, God posted a cherubim with a flaming sword to protect the Tree of Life? So YHWH clearly had the CAPABILITY to protect his wisdom-bestowing fruit, and elsewhere God is said to possess Divine foreknowledge (i.e. God is prescient, and knows the future), but we're supposed to believe God didn't see THIS ONE COMING? Hmmm....
However, there's no barbed wire mentioned in Genesis, and no mention of thorns on the fruit, etc but only evidence of God doing the exact OPPOSITE: as discussed above, God tested their loyalty and obedience by leaving the desirable fruit in the middle of the Garden.
In fact, God actually marketed the tree to them to MAKE IT tempting and DESIROUS, calling it "The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil". God didn't give it a non-descriptive name (eg 'Cherymoya tree'), but one that seemingly marketed it to them as if God were some Madison Avenue ad agency.
There's just no other way to spin it other than God just BEGGING them to eat it, despite the later protestations and denials found in James 1:13, which says God just doesn't do that kind of thing: no sirree! No way, no how!
James 1:13 (NIV)
When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
Apparently the inspired author of James hadn't read the account of Adam and Eve, for he quickly shifts the blame back to humans in verse 14:
James 1:14 (NIV)
but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
Again, how could Eve's have evil desire if she supposedly was "perfect" BEFORE eating? See how the sin is moving backwards in time, where the thought of eating is now defined as a sin?
God couldn't hang a tiny sign like this on the tree, as seen everywhere in California (required by law)?
In fact, that's EXACTLY what we have with the Christian interpretation of the inherited sin of Adam: eating the fruit supposedly caused an inheritable sin defect that resulted in the mortality of ALL humans, even though the concept of inheritable sin was eventually rejected in the Tanakh:
“The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.
Ezekiel says we all are judged based on OUR righteousness, hence not condemned based on the sins of our parents. However, Ezekiel's principle directly contradicts the 'doctrine of transferable righteousness' which was depicted in the Genesis account of unworthy Lot being saved due to the righteousness of Abraham (read my 3-part article on 'Lot's depiction in Genesis vs 2nd Peter', where I discuss this doctrine in greater detail).
Ezekiel apparently wasn't a fan of the doctrine, saying everyone had to stand before God on their own two feet, i.e. based on THEIR OWN righteousness (which reflects the ancient Egyptian belief that after death each soul stands before Ra in order to have their life recounted from the Book of Life, with their hearts weighed before Ra to decide on their soul's fate). Jesus apparently didn't agree with Ezekiel either, since he HEALED the disabled by forgiving the sins of the parents, which was supposedly God's punishment!
As usual, Jews and Christians are insisting on having their cake and eating it too, making claims that contradict earlier claims, and not wanting to let any of them go. Hence Christians cite the doctrine of 'inherited original sin' to explain man's mortality (saying that Jesus' sacrifice atones for Adam's sin), but then shift gears to say that God will judge each person based on their OWN righteous works. Huh? What a hodge-podge collection of contradictory beliefs!
Not that the sign above likely would've protected Adam and Eve: the first pair were intentionally created as fools, and thus likely would've foolishly eaten the fruit anyway, sooner or later, since that's EXACTLY what fools do: they make foolish choices, and act like fools, revealing their true nature.
But that only begs the question-
Who's the greater fool: the fool who acts foolish, or someone who claims to be wise but expects fools to act any differently than fools?
Yeah, I'm going with the LATTER, the entity who only THINKS he's wise and constantly brags about his great wisdom, but his actions speak louder than his words ever could.
God flew off the handle and acted shocked when they acted EXACTLY in keeping with the way He made them. So God comes off more like that sad Uncle who teases the nephews with the ol' "pull my finger" trick (except God is a much-more sadistic version)!
And despite my (simulated) outrage against cruel God, trust and believe that I see the account for what it is: it's just an old fable, a Hebraic rewriting of an ancient 'origins' myth that was well-known throughout the Ancient Near East, with many Sumerian/Babylonian versions which predate the Genesis account by 1,000 years.
The same basic plot can be seen in Greek versions you may have read in an ancient Literature course, eg Hesiod's story of Prometheus contains a demi-god who stole "fire" (a symbol for knowledge) to help mortals. Throw a dash of Pandora's Box into the broth, and there's your bog-standard Adam and Eve story (Pandora's 'hope' is inserted into the story by Christians who later co-opted the account by claiming it contains the first OT prophetic foreshadowing of Jesus, eisegetically inserting such an interpretation into Genesis 3:16).
So only the names have been changed to protect the innocent (and guilty):
1) Replace 'Zeus' with 'YHWH',
2) 'Prometheus' with 'the serpent',
3) 'Pandora' with 'Eve',
4) 'fire' (a symbol for knowledge in Greek mythology) with 'wisdom' (a specific form of knowledge: morality, where wisdom underlies morality),
and you've got another version of the same basic story.
Parallels are seen in the Sisypean (never-ending) tasks that were doled out to protagonists as punishment by God(s) for helping mortals: the serpent was cursed to crawl on his belly thereafter, Adam (the reluctant co-protagonist of Eve and the serpent) was condemned to work the cursed ground until he eventually died, and Zeus cursed Prometheus to have his liver torn out on a daily basis by an eagle (his liver magically grew back daily, as well). It's the same idea: the God gives out a never-ending punishment, where the Hebrew version explains where human mortality comes from (as well as why women experience birthing pains, are afraid of snakes, etc).
The Gnostics (a diverse group of beliefs found within early Christianity) even recognized the 'good guy' nature of the serpent and Eve, just as Prometheus was viewed as the friend and advocate of humanity by the Greeks; Gnostics saw Adam and Eve as the victims of a cruel trickster God, and just couldn't fathom such a deity being worthy of worship. So Gnostics demoted Jehovah to the role of a trickster demiurge (a minor deity who was appointed by a higher God to manage the affairs of the Earth). It's only temporarily kicking the "where does evil come from?" can down the road, since all responsibility for evil ultimately lies with the Boss, the guy who's desk SHOULD have a sign saying, "the buck stops here" rather than trying to use a series of scapegoats.
I suspect the rewording of the account in the Greek and Latin translations (Septuagint and Vulgate) was done SPECIFICALLY to reduce the obvious ethical issues that contributed to the growth of Gnostic beliefs, and the NWT simply kept up the 2,000 yr old tradition of hiding the flaws in the story that hindered acceptance of Christianity amongst Jews. Hellenized Greek Jews would've seen the obvious parallels to Hesiod, and likely would've objected to the flagrant overlay of Zeus onto Jehovah, and wouldn't buy into the 'original sin' thinking of Christianity without experiencing a bit of cognitive dissonance. Hence the subtle change seen in the Septuagint, which was done for other reasons, but suited Christianity just as well.
The Adam and Eve account is contrasted in the OT with the later tale of a young King Solomon who was asked by YHWH in a dream what he desired most as a gift from God: Solomon responded, "wisdom!", and hence Solomon was granted an extra-generous dollop.
The MORAL of the account is that one should ASK before taking: as Jesus said, "ask and ye shall be given". Just don't steal God's fruit: it REALLY pisses Him off!
It's as if YHWH wants to play an elaborate game of "Mother May I?" with mortals, where Adam and Eve lost the game, and all humanity paid the price (Adam and Eve also were bad at playing 'Hide and Seek' with God, who played dumb with the, "Adam, where are thou?" line. It's admittedly hard to win, when the guy you're trying to hide from is omniscient and ALREADY KNOWS where you are hiding)!
In contrast, King Solomon was a Champ at the "Mother, May I?" game, since he ASKED before TAKING (where stealing wisdom would be hard for him to do, since the Tree with the magic fruit of wisdom had been removed from the Earth by the time Solomon came along: I'm guessing it was chopped down and used to build Noah's Ark, as some form of magical wood?)
It's absolutely crazy how many people build their lives around these ancient myths.
Seriously, is this Bible thing some kind of an inside joke, where a few of us just didn't get the memo? I almost expect camera crews to jump out from behind the bushes any minute, with Ashton Kutcher saying we've all been punk'd!