Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Theology of the Body, Adam, Eve, and Curiosity

Instead of reading overviews and relying on others' explanations of Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body, the other day I decided to start reading the actual text of John Paul II's Theology of the Body (TOB).  My husband and I started discussing Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, and their being tempted by the serpent.  

From TOB: 

But could manwho in his original consciousness, knew exclusively the experience of existing and therefore of lifehave understood the meaning of the words, "You shall die"? Would he have been able to arrive at understanding the meaning of these words through the complex structure of life, given to him when "the Lord God...breathed into his nostrils the breath of life"? It must be admitted that the word "die," a completely new one, appeared on the horizon of man's consciousness without his having ever experienced its reality. At the same time this word appeared before him as a radical antithesis of all that man had been endowed with.

For the first time, man heard the words "You shall die," without having any familiarity with them in his experience up to then. On the other hand, he could not but associate the meaning of death with that dimension of life which he had enjoyed up to then. The words of God-Yahweh addressed to man confirmed a dependence in existing, such as to make man a limited being and, by his very nature, liable to nonexistence.

These words raised the problem of death in a conditional way: "In the day that you eat of it you shall die." Man, who had heard these words, had to find their truth in the interior structure of his own solitude. In short, it depended on him, on his decision and free choice, if, with solitude, he was to enter also the circle of the antithesis revealed to him by the Creator, together with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and thereby to make his own the experience of dying and death.

While discussing this passage I contended that curiosity and the fact that Adam and Eve did not have knowledge of dying is partly what led to their giving into temptation and eating from the tree of knowledge.  Who of us isn't curious when you are told that something, such as a particular item, is off limits? Or that you are not allowed in a particular room?  Doesn't the fact that you are not allowed in that one particular room make you more curious?  When as a young boy or girl and your parents told you something was off limits didn't that make you want to find out what that item was even more than before?  Do you think that Adam and Eve might have been similarly curious?  Or could it have been in God's plan from the beginning that in order for man to fully understand the good they had to have knowledge and experience evil also?  Since God is both omnipotent and omniscient did God know that Adam and Eve were going to be tempted by the serpent?  Did God know that Adam and Eve were going to give into temptation?  


Toyin O. said...

That is a very interesting question, God is all knowing, so I won't be suprised:)

Teresa said...

@Toyin O.

Thank you for your comment. God Bless!