In the 19th century, certain Bible scholars in Europe tried to take the Bible apart and treat it like any other collection of ancient literature. This is not unusual. It has been happening for centuries, but these men did their best to destroy the central message of the Scriptures as they took it apart. It started in Germany and moved west. The men became what has been called the "School of Higher Criticism" even though they were not all in one place or one university.
They could not accept, for instance, that Moses wrote or at least dictated the first five books of the Old Testament, aka, the Torah or Pentateuch for us Christians. They chopped up those books and credited the different parts to different writers according to the way they referred to God. It's a ridiculous idea on it's face because there are whole chapters and even single verses where different names for God are used. This did not stop them however.
They also decided that the first eleven chapters of Genesis should be relegated to myth; stories that were passed down orally through the ages that are not literally true, but are symbolic of what really happened in those times. They had many reasons for this. One of them was that these stories are similar to stories told or recorded in the ancient history of cultures all over the world. To me, this is a testimony to the truth of it rather than any alleged myth status of these chapters. But none of this is really the point.
My personal opinion is that the most important chapter in the Bible is Genesis 3. Yes...the most important.
It records the fall of humanity from God's grace and the fall of God's creation with them. Without Genesis 3, the entire concept of humanity's need for God's redemption falls to the ground. If those events did not happen, then there is no need for all the other stuff in the Bible. It becomes an irrelevant record of the ancient history of the Jews and nothing more. It renders Jesus to the status of a slightly mad prophet with delusions of grandeur. It makes Paul and the Apostles savvy street preachers; manipulators that work crowds for their own purposes and not the salvation that can only come from God.
In short, the 'plan' to discredit the biblical record and show it as false or manufactured or ancient myth worked to a certain extent. Western Christian culture no longer had to respect the Bible as the inspired Word of God if they chose not to. It became entirely acceptable to reject it's authority and view it as a collection ancient stories. As you might expect, the intelligentsia of the time and even now laugh at the veracity of the Scriptures. Others continued on in their faith and have formed churches, schools and colleges dedicated to the preservation and integrity of the Bible and the one true faith.
Those of us that believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures, hold fast to a literal interpretation of the events of Genesis 3. They are central to both orthodox Judaism and evangelical Christianity.
The message of that chapter is this. We need God and His saving grace because we make bad choices without Him in our lives and many times we make bad choices when He is right there with us.
There have been and are secret societies throughout history who also call themselves Christian that believe what happened in the Garden of Eden was the great turning point for humanity and that, in fact, we did become like God as the serpent suggested to Eve. We are allegedly on the rode to replacing God with ourselves. These people were the Gnostics of old that later became the Cathars, the Templars, the Rosicrucians, the Illuminati and the Masons. All of these groups trace their philosophical history back to Nimrod, a post deluge descendant of Noah and also Solomon, the third King of Israel. And it's my personal opinion that Solomon is symbolic Nimrod in these secret societies.
These people are delusional along with the 19th century scholars that try to disarm the Scripture of all its salvific power. All of these people have one common purpose. They do not want to surrender to the power of the living God and repent. Their god is themselves and their only interest is to create their own morality and live in their own reality. They, like Adam and Eve before them, are choosing to deny the will of God and believe the lies of the adversary. This is why Paul says in Romans 1 that God turned them over to their own desires for their own destruction. In my next post, I will write a bit about my view of Genesis 3.