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Program Descriptions Temptation

Sunday, October 27, 1996 at 6 p.m. (E.T.)
(Check local listings.)

Adam and Eve taste the forbidden fruit and acquire knowledge of good and evil. Says Bill Moyers: "My mother used to leave her freshly baked sugar cookies right in the middle of the table, warm and inviting but forbidden until supper was over. If she meant the temptation to be a test of discipline, to build character, my brother and I often flunked. I think of this when I hear the story of the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Why didn't God place the forbidden fruit on the very top branch, beyond the reach of innocence? Genesis confronts us with many tempting questions."

Featuring Leon Kass, Stephen Mitchell, Elaine Pagels, Naomi H. Rosenblatt, Jean-Pierre Ruiz, Marianne Meye Thompson, Robin Darling Young. See Biographies for more information about the participants.

Elaine Pagels

Audio Tales:

©Duane Michals
Alfre Woodard
Play: RealAudio

See more information on audio downloads or on obtaining a RealAudio player. For RealAudio, we recommend 2.0 or later.

Actress Alfre Woodard has lent her voice to the GENESIS television series as a storyteller. You may listen to the actual sound recording of this story either as RealAudio or as a download.
Narrative written by Elizabeth Swados.

God planted a garden in Eden and put man in it. And God planted there many trees and right in the middle of the garden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God said to Adam, "Eat freely from every tree but one. Do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If you eat from that tree on that day you will die. Yes, die."

And, after woman was created she dwelled in the garden with Adam and all its creatures and all its beauty, including the trees God planted there.

Now the serpent was the most shrewd of all the creatures. He said to the woman, "Why don't you eat from every tree in the garden?" The woman told the serpent that they couldn't eat from the Tree of Knowledge. They must not eat from that tree nor touch it, or they would die.

"You will not die!" said the serpent. "Your eyes will be opened, and you will gain knowledge and become like the gods yourselves. You will understand the difference between good and evil."
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, lovely to look at, and could make her wise, she took the fruit and ate. She gave it to Adam and he took it and ate it too.

And the eyes of both were opened. They knew they were naked; so they made clothes for themselves with fig leaves. And as they walked together in the garden they heard the voice of God in the cool of the day, and so they hid among the trees. "Where are you?" God asked. "I heard your voice in the garden," Adam said, "and I was afraid because I was naked." And the Lord God asked, "Who told you you were naked? Did you eat of the tree that was forbidden?" Then Adam told the Lord that the woman had given him the fruit from the tree. The Lord asked the woman, "What have you done?" And she said,"The serpent tricked me and I ate."

"You are cursed," the Lord said to the serpent. "Because you did this you will crawl on your belly in the dust from now on. You and the woman will be enemies."

"And you," God said to the woman. "Because you have done this, sorrow and pain will go with the bearing of your children and still you will desire your husband. He will rule over you."

And to Adam the Lord said, "Because you have listened to your wife and not to your God, you will toil and sweat to bring food from the ground. For you are dust and to dust you shall return."

Then Adam named his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living. And the Lord sent Adam and Eve out of the garden. God said, "Now that man has become like us and knows good from evil, what if he should reach out and take also from the tree of life and live forever!" So God banished Adam and Eve from the garden and placed winged creatures and a flaming sword to guard the Tree of Life at the east of Eden.
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