Adam and Eve: Self-Consciousness, Evil, and Death
Lecture 4 in my Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories lecture series
I turned my attention in this lecture to the older of the two creation accounts in Genesis: the story of Adam and Eve. In its few short paragraphs, it covers:
the emergence of human self-consciousness;
mankind’s attendant realization of vulnerability, mortality, and death;
the origin of the capacity for willful evil, as the ability to exploit that newly-realized vulnerability;
the emergence of shame as a consequence of that realization;
the shrinking from divine destiny that occurred when shame emerged; and
the beginning of true history, with the self-conscious toil that life in history entails.
Impossible. Amazing. Breathtaking.
The only story that can perhaps match it in terms of impact per sentence is that of Cain and Abel, which we discuss in the next lecture: number five in this twelve part series.
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