The terrible twos

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By Tom Holmes

Contributing Reporter / Religion Blogger

This is a little known fact.  Adam and Eve were two years old when they ate the forbidden fruit.

 

Here's the reasoning behind my theory.  My granddaughter is two years old, and like most toddlers at that age she is constantly finding out how much she can get away with.  Her mom and dad will say "don't stand on the couch," and of course that's what she does.  They will say "don't throw your books on the floor" and she'll start emptying the shelf.

 

My daughter says that they don't call it the "terrible twos" anymore.  Instead, my granddaughter is in the "pushing the boundaries" stage.  Either label works for me, but here's why I contend that Adam and Eve were two when they ate the apple.

 

God their creator had given them the run of the Garden of Eden.  They could eat anything they wanted except for the fruit of just one tree.  Imagine that.  Living life with only one simple, easy to follow rule.  It would be like walking into Brown Cow and your mother saying, "Honey, you can have flavor you want except cookie dough ice cream.

 

If you are two years old, suddenly cookie dough ice cream is what you want the most, and if your mother stands firm by her rule, you might make her pay with a tantrum.  The thing is that it's not about the flavor.  It's about who has the power.

 

On the one hand, developing children need to experience an increasing amount of power and control over their environment.  On the other hand, they need to learn to recognize limits, because first of all we love them and we don't want them to do things where they will get hurt, but second, they need to learn to live with other people—that, I'm sorry to say, the world doesn't revolve around you.

 

So, Adam and Eve are living happily in what we might call a perfect world when The Serpent comes along and asks, "Did God tell you that you can't eat the fruit of that one tree?"  Can't you hear the two year old thinking, "You know, having the Father tell me I can't do that irritates the hell out of me."  And the snake, knowing it's on a roll, says, "You know why he won't let you eat from that tree?  It's because when you do, you'll be like God.  No limits.  No stop signs.  No bicycle helmets required.  God can do whatever he wants.  No boundaries, and you'll be like that."

 

And Adam and Eve, aka you and me, took the bait.  Even though we're not very good at being God, we keep testing the rules taught by every major religion I know.  Even though we're not very good at being God, we keep wanting to control other human beings.

 

Do you remember Flip Wilson's line, "the devil made me do it"?  It's a way of abdicating responsibility, of saying, "I couldn't help myself."  And maybe I couldn't, but that's the reason we have stop signs and referees at football games and parents when we're two years old.

 

 

 

 

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