God to Adam and Eve

"Ye shall be banished to a 6th floor walk-up."

God (aka Elohim), Heaven

Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden

Day 16

Dear Adam and Eve,

Due to a recent breach of contract per our leasing arrangement, it is our sincere regret to inform you that your tenancy in the Garden of Eden (GoE) has henceforth been terminated. See Section 4, Article iii regarding consumption of fruit of the Tree of Knowledge (ToK). Unfortunately, we cannot be expected to replace the fruit of the ToK every time a tenant gets the munchies, and we are therefore exercising our right to expel you from GoE.

You have 30 days to evacuate the premises, at which point we will provide accommodation (at our own cost) in the Real World (RW). While RW does not offer all of the amenities of GoE (including: succulent fruits, easily obtainable meat and other protein sources, painless births, etc.), we think you’ll find it reasonably comfortable under the circumstances, and with much more exciting rates of murder, flooding, etc.

Your legal options in this situation are limited and we hope that you will choose to leave peacefully, lest we be forced to create something really nasty to chase you out.

Sincerely,

His holiness the Lord of Hosts, Heaven

This famous passage from Genesis 12:21-48 has long puzzled biblical scholars. Why would God proscribe eating from the Tree of Knowledge when it’s really the only good tree in that part of Eden? The service was good and there was never a long wait. The Tree of Senility didn’t serve lunch, while the Tree of Vague Dread always overcooked their meat. And yet, the concept of God as nature’s grumpy landlord reappears as a theme throughout the Torah. In Leviticus 81:12-14 for example:

“And lo, thou shalt not place candles near low hanging draperies. Fire damage, as well as water damage from the sprinklers, is punishable either by a fine of 200 shekels and a goat, or stoning to death.”

Or Exodus 61:23-27:

“And God did say to Moses, ‘Thou shalt be more comfortable in the Holy Land. The superintendents there always fix broken appliances, and it is my will that your apartment will be painted once a year.’ And this was good, for the Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he had not answered Moses call to repair his sink, which had become clogged with locusts.

Interestingly, the early Christian scholars tend to interpret God’s letter as a proscription of apples in general. St. Thomas Aquinas:

“For, to eat an apple is to gain knowledge. To gain knowledge is to tamper in God’s domain. To tamper in God’s domain is a violation of the lease agreement, which explicitly prohibits tampering with either God’s domain or the wiring in the guest bedroom.”

Modern theologians tend to view the passage metaphorically. God is not a grumpy landlord, but rather an ideal of a grumpy landlord, or perhaps the latent grumpy landlordness of the universe. The passage is not real, per se, but is there to instruct the early Hebrews (and indeed, us) that violating contracts is never a good idea, particularly if the other person has plagues at his disposal.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “God to Adam and Eve

  1. Julie Danan

    Very funny, although as I recall the diet in Eden was strictly vegetarian (Gen. 1:29-30).

  2. Pingback: Great-Uncle Henry Kantrowitz to Historyoftheletter.com on the Occasion of Their 100th Letter | The History of the Letter

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