When God Given Morality Replaces Free Will. "Adam, Eve, and the Serpent" by Elaine Pagels.

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Within the deeply woven analysis of the creation and early history of the Christian religion, Elaine Pagels has unmasked centuries of ambiguous deceit. She tells the story of Christianity replacing the Roman traditions and in doing so unravels the real motivation for the persecution of early Christians…

Introduction

The church required morality as a rallying point to bring the diverse groups that called themselves Christian together. This morality and focused commitment would also be used to confront the Gnostics of the era.

Texts that had been lost for 16 centuries have recently been uncovered and indicate that the church may have deliberately misled its followers in the beginning. The texts that were discovered near Nag Hammadi recount the early movement towards self-enlightenment. The story of Adam and Eve is central to the modern interpretation of the bible and the lost scrolls point to the fallacy of the bible's historical accuracy. These early divergent paths paved the way for the twin philosophies of "history with a moral" and "myth with meaning" (64).

Examining the biblical account of the Garden of Eden can yield decidedly different meaning depending on which viewpoint is taken. Pagels states that when interpreted through the Secret Book of John, Eve is the primal intelligence that wakes Adam's inner self and illuminates his soul. Yet, Christians viewed the story as a moral teaching, which granted its followers moral freedom. ...
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