Why were Adam and Eve cast out of Eden?

From Genesis 2 (KJV):

8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil….

15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

In Genesis 3:

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

I presume you all know what happens next so, skipping ahead:

22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Reading this text on its own, unencumbered by 2000 years of Christian theology, it is very clear what happens in this story. Adam and Eve were not immortal at any point. The threat that they would die was a lie told to dissuade them from eating of the Tree of Knowledge, which God did not want them to do because they would then become more like him, which he seems to have found threatening.

He expelled them because there was another tree in the garden, the Tree of Life, that would also make anyone who ate its fruit immortal, and God worried it would only be a matter of time before Adam and Eve ate from that, too, and further challenged his special status. So he kicked them out of the garden, and installed guards to prevent anyone from approaching the Tree of Life as an added precaution.

I don’t really see any other reasonable interpretation of the bare facts of the story.


@Faizal_Ali, I agree with your post except for this:

A lot of Christians have agreed with your reading, because in fact it is the most straightforward and literal reading. The strange puzzle is why YECs today don’t take that reading. @jongarvey’s book gets into this, and you might enjoy hearing from him about this:

Another relevant book:

I’m not going to contest the specifics of your reading, which looks like a legitimate one. What I’m surprised at is your claim that you can just read a biblical text and immediately deduce an interpretation that is “unencumbered by 2000 years of Christian theology”, and that this is the “only reasonable interpretation of the bare facts”. This comes off as a rather hubristic claim, especially given that

  1. You didn’t do any exegesis of the original Hebrew of the text, or relate it to its ANE cultural context. Instead you use an English translation originally published in 1611. I also don’t remember you demonstrating competence in these areas.
  2. Most people on this forum, including both you and I, have been involved in many discussions regarding origins, creationism, and Genesis for quite a while. Is it really realistic to think that one is not influenced by the theology of our interlocutors at all due to this experience? By “influence” I mean both pro- and against. (Some people become more antagonistic towards an idea the more they are exposed to it, while others can become more persuaded. But the point is that exposure will result in some influence, whether we like it or not.)
  3. Even if you’re not influenced much by Christian theology, how are you sure you’re not influenced by the philosophical and cultural assumptions inherent in being a Canadian atheist psychiatrist living in the 21st century? How do you know these factors are not coloring your interpretation of the text? It would be more convincing if you actually wrote some self-reflection of your inevitable biases and the efforts that you have made to question them. But you haven’t.

That’s some good points too @dga471.

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I am unencumbered, I was atheist most of my life and don’t have any denominational ties. I know you don’t believe me, but my interpretation of the bible comes more through revelation than teaching, and I am open to other views if they make sense.

I find that by combining what is known about the age of the earth, fossil evidence and scripture, I come to the conclusion that Adam was in the garden for a very long time, billions of years. Perhaps Eden/God’s time is not relevant or functions differently, but Adam was tending the garden and naming the animals as God created them, which to me is billions of years of evolution…Eve was more recent in my opinion. So, agreed that Adam was not immortal, but also not living a normal mortal lifespan.

God cannot lie, he is a perfect being and commands truth (do not bear false witness), so this is in error. The lie came from the devil, who is the “father of lies”. The devil knew that man would not be like God, but he wanted man to sin.

The rest of your interpretation is pretty accurate in my opinion, except this part, God was never concerned with being challenged, He is God. He kicked them out and refused the fruit of the tree of life because they were no longer righteous, having committed sin in disobedience and condemned humanity to death. Sin brings forth death and Satan knew that, that’s why he lied to Eve.

The final victory comes when death is finally defeated at the second coming of Christ and a new heaven and earth are created for those that believe. God provides a way through faith. Jesus is God’s answer to bringing humanity back to righteousness through His sacrifice. The tree of life will be in heaven for all to enjoy, Jesus judges who gets in.

Are you and @jongarvey agreeing that God is a liar?

No. We don’t think God is a liar. We have no problem with God’s word. It is man’s misreading of His Word that is the problem.


Ok. But that’s what @Faizal_Ali said, and you wrote that you agreed with him. Maybe I’m getting confused by what you meant.

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Good catch. I would disagree with him there.

The part about Adam and Eve being created mortal was correct.


It’s not a coincidence that atheists take the serpent’s point of view and believe the lie He told Eve, which is that God lied and they could have actually had a better status, which is the whole reason they fell into sin to begin with.

Again, I say: The image of God is being like God in every way, except for being a being such as God is: eternal, omnipotent, etc. Satan was just a blatant liar. God is good, and atheists will never believe that and they will always, always read this text wrong.

I agree with @Mark10.45 except for the whole part about billions of years and not being immortal. :upside_down_face: Once I got past that I agreed with the comments.

I’m actually learning towards this now. I’ll think on it some more.

I said no, on the earlier post. but I should clarify my exegesis and view. Mortal as in “man” yes, but they were created incorruptible and sin subjected them to corruption. Now I understand 1 Corinthians 15 better :slight_smile:

wow. wow. wow. I guess it just took me 38 years, reading a Church Father and @swamidass and @Faizal_Ali and @John_Harshman telling me I’m wrong a lot to figure out this passage is all about Christ and kicking them out of Eden has to do with Jesus.

God gives them coats of animal skins, symbolizing a sacrifice covering their sins. (Had that part down already)
He ironically shows them that they’re pitiful gods, yet will be like Him.
He shows them that grace and life must now come through the promised seed of the woman and through death and suffering. The tree of life will be in heaven.

No. :wink: We’ll agree to disagree.

Actually, that only has to be around 600 million years, since there have only been animals around that long. Was it necessary for him to name bacteria, protists, and fungus?

And yet in the story he clearly did.

If you’re talking about the snake, what in that story suggests he’s the devil? I think you have been contaminated by Christian theology despite all your efforts.

And yet that’s not the justification he gives in the story.

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It always has to do with Jesus…glad you got there, you’re ahead of me time-wise.

I stand corrected

How did God lie?

Titus 1:2 - in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,

Revelation 12:9 - So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Revelation 20:2 - He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
John 8:43-45 - (Jesus speaking) Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.

1 John 3:4-9 - 4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

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I refuse to go through this again. Read the story. What did God say would happen? What did the snake say would happen? What actually happened?

That’s not part of the story; that’s a much later addition. If you believe that the bible is a unified whole, seamless from beginning to end, you can pick which parts to interpret as plain text and which to interpret as meaning something other than what they say. But if you don’t require that perfect consistency in advance and look at each story in its own terms, you can’t.

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Yes! God is good.

Wow. I’ve never noticed this passage before quite this way.

Mark, I have godly jealousy of your Bible knowledge as a newer Christian. I feel like I’ve wasted many years in spiritual laziness. You would really be a blessing to whatever church you join.

God said they would die, which they did. The snake said they would be like God, which they did not become, so he lied…I am honestly not understanding your point.

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The story is the entire bible…so we disagree. I don’t think you can take one book on its own.



And there is every reason to believe that Adam and Eve had already eaten from the Tree of Life … and that it only gave immortality if it was a regular part of their diet.

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Not, however, in that day, which is what God said. That they died eventually is purely a result of their failing to eat from the tree of life.

Of course they did. God himself said so. Are you sure you’re reading the same book I did?

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.”

Yes, we disagree.

Where do you get that from? If that’s true, why the urgency to expel them before they can eat from the tree?