So many people don’t understand that man really did fall, but all the ancient cultures knew. In the Grecian religions, they did something that really seems to connect. The goddess Athena was the goddess of wisdom. The goddess Aphrodite (Venus) was the goddess of love and beauty. When young girls got to be the age they were approaching puberty, they had to go and stay at an area of the temple where Athena was, and close to it, the temple of Aphrodite was there too. The temple of Athena was above ground. During the day, the girls were to stay in the temple of Athena. During the night, the girls were to get a bowl full of forbidden things and not look at them. They were supposed to put the bowls on their heads. In the bowl, there were clay figures of fruit, snakes, and genitals. They were supposed to walk down dark steps with those bowls on their heads into the temple of Aphrodite at night, and then in the daytime, come back and stay in the temple of Athena (BBC, March 23, 2014). They were reenacting the fall of man.
All the ancient peoples, including the Hindus, Greeks, and Jewish people, knew something that we as modern people don’t understand. If we go back to the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, the first two chapters, we will understand exactly what ancient man understood that we don’t understand now. There were two trees in the garden. Man was allowed to eat of the tree of life, but no of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All the ancient people were “one with God,” or “one with Brahman” (if you were Hindu), or “one with the universe,” but man chose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Before the fall of man, men were creatures of instinct like animals. People didn’t know they were naked just as babies don’t understand or animals don’t worry about clothing. People slept together and procreated, but instinctively. God told them to be “fruitful and multiply.” People didn’t have lust or selfishness inside of them. Animals don’t have those things. Animals don’t lust and are not selfish; what they do is instinctive. The animals are already one with the universe or one with God. The servant talked the woman into trying the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil by saying that she would become like God and know the difference between good and evil. She would have the ability to think for herself She would be separated from God and no longer be one with God, no longer one with the universe. She wanted to think for herself; she listened to the serpent. She ate the fruit, and so did Adam who was with her. They did it together. They made the wrong choice and became separated from God.
When that happened, the received, along with the ability to think, many other things. they realized that they were naked. They could look at one another and desire one another. they could look at things and desire them. They became selfish. They didn’t understand one another, and they didn’t understand God because they were no longer one with God or one with the universe. They became separate thinking beings, like God. The woman was no longer protected from the pain that came with childbirth. She was allowed to feel the pain because she wanted the ability to think. The man understood that he had responsibility , and that he would have to work to put a roof over their heads and make sure they had something to eat. They were no longer protected the way animals are protected. Everyone wants to know if he animals go to Heaven. My answer is that the animals are already in Heaven. They are one with God, but we are not. We chose knowledge, and it separated us from God. After that, man’s whole existence was trying to take care of himself and the woman. Woman’s whole existence became trying to take care of her self, her husband, and the children she bore. They wanted protection from God, but they didn’t have it anymore. Many began the religions to try to get back to God. They knew where God was. However, some of them forgot just as many have forgotten today. With the ability to understand, also came many problems. If those young girls in the Grecian temples stayed in the temple of Athena all day and didn’t touch what was in the bowls on their heads at night when they went into the temple of Aphrodite, they were in business, but what was on their heads, gave them knowledge that caused pain in child birth that was brought when Eve first ate the fruit and listened to the snake. The Greeks knew the story from Genesis.
Man didn’t wholly understand sin, but they knew that sin lead to death. If a man looks at another man’s wife wanting her and takes her, it causes trouble. If we take something that belongs to another man, it causes trouble. Selfishness is the root of sin. God made a plan from the beginning of the time to send Christ to crush the head of the snake, of Satan, of sin. God had a plan for one man to be sinless even though he was also tempted like we are and could think like we do because God wanted us to go back to him. Genesis 3 says that someone will come from Eve that will crush the head of the snake and the snake will bite his heal. Jesus had to die on the cross to show us how to find God. Ancient man knew that the heal was a weak place. That is why we have the expression, an Achilles heal. Achilles was a Greek who was supposed to be half man and half God. The only way someone could kill him was through his heal. God knew that Jesus must die on the cross for our sins from he beginning of time to show us the way back to God. We are called to take up our cross and follow Jesus, to submit ourselves to the will of God so we can be one with God. Jesus crushed sin when he died on the cross. He crushed all his selfish desires, and that is what he calls us to do. Mankind wants God, and Jesus showed us the road. We fell at the beginning of time, but Jesus came to bring us back, to make us one with God again. We can think, and we are called to think is a better way. We are called to leave these things behind us: sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, orgies, etc. We are encouraged to do these things: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control, etc. We are encouraged to wash our sins away and try hard to be who we should be if we want to go back to God. (Acts 2:38, Galatians 5:16-26).
God was still reaching out to those early people. He made a plan to teach people about sin. He sent the ten Commandments. He sent the prophets to tell them that Jesus was coming. That plan was made from the beginning of time, when God said someone would come from Eve that would crush sin (Genesis 3:15). The ancient people knew they were separated from God, and they knew why. If they didn’t, the early Greeks wouldn’t have been sending those young girls into the temple of Aphrodite with a bowl of models of fruit, genitals, and snakes on their heads telling them those things were forbidden. They knew about the Garden of Eden and the fall of man.