Temptation and sin (Genesis chap. 3, verse 6)

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, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The woman succumbs to the serpent’s words full of flattery. The verb “to see” – ra’ah in Hebrew – indicates not only the vision of the fruit, but also the sensible enjoyment that is expressed in the following three sentences. It was good to eat, that is “it was palatable”. This is the deep desire to take possession of something (or someone). Talking, in fact, about the fruit, the author also speaks of a process whose purpose is not just to eat. Therefore, we have here the “dynamics of temptation” that leads to sin. The craving for the possession of what we cannot have, even at the cost of undermining the freedom and dignity of others …

Such a strong desire is nurtured and maintained by the eyes that are deeply enamored of appropriating the object of desire. It is an uninterrupted research of bodies and prohibited items, that tickle the imagination and excite the senses. A search which, if not stopped, can lead sooner or later to the worst actions …

When an item has been seen and desired, you then reach the last phase, one that immediately precedes action: desired to make one wise. When do you do something forbidden? Typically, when the mind starts spinning the self-justifications. That thing is forbidden? Yes, but, after all, if I do it I feel better … I get rid of the obsessions, fears, etc. etc. When that happens, you do not only something of wrong but also it is the beginning of a path that leads to making things more dangerous for themselves and for others. The wisdom of which we speak, is the wisdom of the individual, without any comparison, without any censorship, without limitation, totally outside the divine horizon. The woman realizes that the words of the serpent, after all, were true. Eating the fruit – the forbidden thing – had its own charm because it is an act to reach a higher consciousness …

So “eating” is not only the action of biting into the apple, because the Genesis’ text speaks only of “fruit” (in Hebrew peri). Eating indicates here the appropriation of what has been desired for a long time. An action that also involves the man. Scholars have speculated about the nature of the woman’s and man’s sin; the most famous explanation is that the woman and the man had a sexual relationship, which is not true. God commanded man to “be fruitful and multiply” on the face of the earth, thus implicitly indicating the completion of the sexual function. Here, however, it indicates any kind of action that crosses the boundaries established by God, an action that puts man at the center of everything. This action could be ALSO a sexual relationship that affects the dignity and freedom of others …

Simone Venturini

Scrittore

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