We start with Genesis 2:8-9:
8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.and Genesis 2:15-17:
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."With that, the stage is set. God creates Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden. In the Garden of Eden he has 2 trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Of these two trees, he forbids them to eat from the second tree (the tree of knowledge of good and evil), but makes no mention of the first (the tree of life). He tells them that if they eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they will die.
With this God has created the first temptation, the first command and the first deception.
This brings us to Genesis 3.
First let's look at Genesis 3:1-5:
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"Pay close attention to what the serpent says here. He says that while God has told them they will die if they eat from the tree, and Eve affirms that if she touches the tree she will die, the serpent clarifies that she will actually not die, but instead gain the Knowledge of Good and Evil like God.
2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "
4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Which brings us to Genesis 3:6-7:
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.Here Eve, prompted by the desire of knowledge and wisdom planted in her by God, listens to the advice of the serpent who tells her that she will not die if she eats from the tree, but will instead gain God's knowledge. She eats from the tree, shares with Adam and they both gain the knowledge of their own nakedness and clothe themselves.
Which brings us to Genesis 3:8-10:
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"Here we have God actually walking, as a physical being, through the Garden, where Adam and Eve hear him coming and hide themselves. God cannot find them and calls out to them, upon which they emerge and explain why they had hid themselves.
10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
This brings up a few interesting points. First the question of why an omnipotent God would not be able to find them. Second, why was he physically strolling through the garden? We'll get to the latter point, and another related point, in a bit.
Next we have Genesis 3:11-13:
11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"Here God questions how they gained the knowledge of their nakedness and Eve places the blame on the serpent for deceiving her. (A bit humorous, given the context, as we'll see shortly.)
12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"
The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
Upon hearing this, God proceeds to damn both them and the serpent for disobeying him, and in the process catching him in a lie.
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,We see that God curses the snake to be reviled for eternity and be the enemy of man to be crushed under foot etc.
"Cursed are you above all the livestock
and all the wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel."
Then God proceeds to curse Adam and Eve for their part in the discovery...
16 To the woman he said,Here he not only curses Adam and Eve and all their descendants for eternity to suffer in every aspect of lives through pain and toil, as an added bonus he makes sure to point out that Eve (and all women thereafter) will be subservient to her husband as the master who will rule over her.
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you."
17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return."
And this brings us to the key verses that tie it all together...
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.And there we have the clincher... God admits that instead of dieing, they did indeed gain his knowledge of good and evil just as the serpent said would happen, and that lest they eat from the other tree which he neglected to mention and become gods themselves, he makes sure to banish them from the garden and plant an angel with a flaming sword at the gate to make sure they can never get at that tree and gain the other half of what he has and become gods themselves.
So the question stands in its simplicity... Where did God tell the truth, and where did the serpent lie?
In case you missed it, notice that God specifically speaks of "one of us". Early Hebrew religion was polytheistic and anthropomorphized. The Gods were physical beings who strolled about the garden with Adam and Eve. They had human emotions and acted as humans, albeit with great knowledge, power and eternal life.
The particular God referred to in these chapters first creates Adam, then Eve, then tries to keep them from gaining his knowledge by threatening them with certain death if they eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He avoids mentioning the tree of life, as if they ate from that they would gain eternal life. The serpent then comes along and points out that God had lied, and that they would not die like he said, but gain his knowledge if they ate from it. When they ate from it, instead of dying like God had said, they did in fact gain his knowledge. God was enraged when the game was up and cursed the lot of them and all their progeny for eternity to lives of suffering, torment, enmity and death and then quickly cast them out before, by his own words, they could gain eternal life on top of the knowledge of the gods and become one of them (the gods).
A few points in closing. The Hebrew religion did not become a unified, monotheistic religion with a God that transcended this world until the time of Moses, when the Hebrews fled from Egypt. There are also a number of other glaring contradictions in the first two chapters of Genesis such as two conflicting stories of the creation and the more modernly understood errors of considering the sun and moon to be two of the same objects, and the stars something different from the sun. Or the fact that the light appeared before the objects, which were thought to be two different things, the sun and the stars, were created to give that light.
Let's address these points as well, just for thoroughness' sake.
In Genesis 1:6-10 we have God separating the waters into the ocean of the sky and the ocean of the Earth, which were believed to be as two oceans. He then further separates the ocean of the Earth from the land beneath it and creates the oceans and continents.
6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.See Psalm 148:4 for another verse that backs up this stance:
9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.
4 Praise him, you highest heavensThe heavens were considered a type of physical dome that separated the oceans on earth from the oceans of the heavens. Upon this dome were the stars that moved fixed in their rotations.
and you waters above the skies.
Then we have Genesis 1:11-13:
11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.Here God first creates plant life, which relies on photosynthesis to survive, before he gets around to actually creating the Sun which they depend on for their nourishment. He also states that days are passing when there is not yet a Sun created to facilitate the passage of days. This belies the obvious lack of knowledge of photosynthesis, and a puzzling disregard for what had been known for millennia at this point as the cause of the passage of days, beyond the other glaring errors I'll address momentarily.
Which brings us to Genesis 1:14-19:
14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.Here we have God creating the Sun and the Moon as two like bodies that create the day and the night, after already pronouncing day and night previous to their creation, and then creating the stars as separate entities. He then specifically notes that due to the creation of these, there was evening and morning, the fourth day. Which specifically clarifies that the days spoken of in creation were the literal days as we know them. The rising and the setting of the sun and the traversal of the moon during the night.
First let's have a look at Genesis 1:11-13:
11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.Here all plant life is created on the third day, with Man not created until the sixth day.
Then, let us contrast that with Genesis 2:4-9:
4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.This further clarifies that the biblical authors had no concept of photosynthesis, but instead believed in their primitive ignorance that plant life relied solely upon water for its nourishment. So by their reckoning, there was no problem with creating the plants before there was ever a Sun to provide light for photosynthesis.
When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground- 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Beyond that, if we look specifically at verses 4-7 above, we see that in this tale of the creation man is created before the plants. Whereas in the previous tale of creation, only one chapter prior, the plants were created a full 3 days prior to the creation of man.
Now as we move beyond these first contradictions and fallacies, we come to the first instances of things in which man, in his original state, should have had no interest, being devoid of knowledge and of worldly things...
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.Here God extols the inherent values of the lands being replete with Gold and Onyx, although Man at this point is supposedly bereft of the knowledge of such material things. Then God explicitly claims the aforementioned curse of death upon eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
This basically brings us full circle, without delving into even more issues such as the animals of creation being specifically the livestock (cattle, sheep, goats etc) of the contemporary biblical authors, as well as numerous other aspects that have been proven to be absolutely impossible as written in the bible.
Apologists will try to claim a variety of things to reconcile these biblical narrations with the reality we live in, but it takes very little effort indeed to relegate them to the inconsequential realm of primitive mythology where they belong.
A simple example is thus: "If all the supernatural claims of Christianity, and the requisite Hebrew religion, are nothing more than metaphors, then why should we ascribe any inherent supernatural power or godlike authority to a teacher who came along and contradicted the teachings of his own religion and created his own sect, and whose only authority comes from its explicit link to that prior Abrahamic God?"
We can go on at length, book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse and debunk this belief system as the conglomeration of shams that it is.
(I've been doing some further research into various aspects of early Christianity, its links to astrology, formation under Constantine, lack of any resurrection story for the first several centuries, lack of any virgin birth story for the first several centuries, lack of any contemporary mention of Jesus whatsoever for the first several centuries. It's rather easy to state at this point that the New Testament as we know it is a wholly fabricated and plagiarized collection of stories that retroactively created the Jesus Christ we know today. A person who never existed in reality, but was instead a creation of a vast array of authors over the centuries, pulling often times verbatim excerpts from other previous historical and religious texts.)
Never be afraid to question.