Forbidden Tree of Eden

According to man-written holy texts the creation of man was the Creator’s last and highest work. Naturally, from the writers’ perspective, man was God’s favored creation—especially the authors. But this claim brought with it the uncomfortable necessity to explain the imperfect circumstances which are experienced in life. Thus, very early in Genesis the assumed male Creator explains the facts of life by instructing the vaguely defined male/female beings about diet: they must not eat of the fruit of two specific trees in the center of his landscaped garden. And so in paradisiacal Eden, so the authors contend, the requirement for enjoying that paradise was to simply submit and obey. And that tactic of control has been used by and for every cult and faith system ever devised by man.

Thus in verse 29 of the first chapter God is quoted as saying, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of the tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” It is never explained how Adam and Eve would have known what “meat” actually signified, but we must ignore such trivialities. The plotting starts to get heavier by the opening of chapter three (verses 2 and 3) where Eve is portrayed as conversing with a serpent in regard to one of those trees which God had made the focus-point of his garden. The innocent and inexperienced Eve tells the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest you die.”

Whoa, wait a minute! Eve and Adam have existed only for an extremely short time, all of which had been played out in a paradisiacal garden; how could they possibly have any concept of what the threat of death meant? That’s not important! Anyway, in verse five the serpent reassured Eve that, “…God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” It is not explained how the serpent, a lowly creature fashioned in the early “let there be” throes of Creation, already possessed such knowledge, but God’s last and supposedly highest creation was, well, kind of stupid. So why would the newly functioning brains of these favorite beings, which are essentially blank, have any aspiration to be as gods since they don’t even know what good and evil means? Their eyes shall be opened, the serpent says to entice, but Eve already sees well enough to know a good meal when she sees it. So maybe the fruit of the tempting tree in question didn’t yield any seed, as specified in verse 29 of the opening chapter, how was she supposed to tell? (Plotting, you may have noticed, was not a strong point of the Genesis authors.)

Believers are never supposed to question why it is that the “fruit” is never named or even described in the Genesis account; an avoidance which has always allowed plenty of room for speculation as to which fruit might inspire knowledge of good and evil. Almost certainly the fruit could not be from an apple tree, although that makes for easy picking and colorful storytelling. On the non-accommodating side of the apple myth, apples occasionally may serve as the incubating media for some worms, and these wriggling God-made creatures are not exactly noted for their wisdom.

Just maybe biblical lore has been hugely misinterpreted. Anyway, who is to say that the fabled tree of Eden could not have actually been a banana tree? Of course the banana is not technically a “tree,” but is considered a large herbaceous plant with a perennial root or rhizome from which the plant is perpetuated. Such details certainly would not have bothered the Genesis authors. The banana is, however, a tree-like tropical plant, and we should remember that Adam and Eve are said to have romped around the garden naked. And how could they have ignored such a plant which can, when full-grown, attain a height of ten to forty feet and is surmounted by a crown of large leaves six to ten feet long and which may be two to three feet across? And the plant’s flowers are charmingly arranged in whorl-like clusters along a central spike. All-in-all a very ornate, attractive, alluring bit of foliage.

And what tempting fruit it bears! How was Eve to know that it was not fruit that bore seed (as specified in Genesis 3:29)? For some strange reason the shape of the fruit made Eve think of Adam. The fruit, she would notice, varied in length from four to twelve inches, and from one to nearly two inches thick; just right for enjoying raw. Thus we read in verse six of the third chapter of Genesis, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat…” Of course we are not supposed to ask, if Eve was virtually as brainless as a doorknob how could she have understood the advantages of becoming wise? But the fable says that Eve was overjoyed at the new delight, and she then coaxed her mate to share the enjoyment of gobbling on the forbidden fruit. With this God-revealed holy truth the authors of Genesis not only provided the limp excuse for man’s woes but placed the female in position as the direct cause of “original sin.”

So isn’t all this compelling evidence that the banana is a better representative of forbidden fruit? First of all this species of vegetation does not exist in the wild: it cannot perpetuate itself–cannot survive without the intervention of human cultivation. Only by taking cuttings from the perennial root of a banana tree and transplanting it can a new tree be produced. Such a dead-end situation certainly is not an ordinary perpetuation condition. Maybe that means that the original couple dared to steal some roots of the forbidden tree before they were booted out of Eden.

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