After God had finished creating the first man and woman, He placed them in the Garden of Eden, and there was perfect harmony and fellowship between God and humankind. In addition to the harmony between God and the first humans, there was peace and harmony between the first man and woman.
God, out of His foreknowledge and deep love for the well-being of Adam and Eve, gave them special instructions on how to conduct themselves in the garden. Out of all the trees in the garden, there was one tree that they were not allowed to eat the fruit, but they could eat the fruits from all the other trees. As time went on, it seems they got a little distracted.
One day, the devil showed up and tempted the woman, who decided to act contrary to the clear instructions that God had given them. She was not forced to disobey God’s command, but it is written:
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. 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. Genesis 3:6-7 (NIV)
The woman saw the fruit before the thought of eating it came into her mind. In order words, her eyes acted as a window through which her mind was influenced. Immediately after the pictures of this fruit hit her mind, she started salivating and imagining how well the fruit will taste and how she was going to gain the knowledge of good and evil. All these things transpired in her mind before she picked up the fruit and ate it. There was something sinister that had triggered all these activities: the words that the devil whispered in her ear. “Woman, do not believe what God is telling you. He is preventing you from becoming like Him. If you eat this fruit, you will not die, you will become God.” The devil was lying to the woman and she fell for it. This fall is going to have devastating consequences as we are going to see.
Before Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, there was harmony between them and there was harmony between God and them. There was no fear and no shame, but everything changed immediately after they ate the forbidden fruit.
The most significant change was the spiritual death experienced by Adam and Eve. Death is simply a separation, in this case, there was a separation between God and Adam and Eve. This spiritual death resulted from this original sin that Adam and Eve committed.
The original sin also brought with it physical death, pain, decay, and disruption of the harmony between humankind and between God and humankind. The manifestation of this havoc caused by this first act of disobedience is seen in every society and has been part of the human experience for thousands of years.
This implies that all humankind has the propensity to discriminate and to be racist if not checked. Until we start looking at racism from this vantage point, we will be chasing our tails trying to solve a problem that has eluded humankind for millennia.
Many may make us feel that the American experience, or the Holocaust in Germany or the transatlantic slave trade or genocide in Rwanda or the murder of millions by the Khmer Rouge are some of the worst things that ever happened. Their assessment is correct, but it is not the complete picture.
There will be no attempt to measure the degree of outrage of any act of discrimination and racism because any one person affected by racism is one person too many.
More in, Racism, Where Is Your Sting? A provocative look at the beginning and the end of racism
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