We have been reading Old Testament stories recently. We've also read Egyptian and Greek myths and are at a place in history where Old Testament stories fit in.
We read about the fall. You know how the story goes. God creates this perfect world, puts a man and a woman in it, then plants a tree smack dab in the center of this garden of paradise. The tree is knowledge. God tells the man and woman they may not eat the fruit of that tree (that knowledge belongs to God only). But the woman, being a curious human who has a natural desire to learn (God given?), with a little help from that Old Adversary, eats the fruit. Then she wants to share it with her husband. (I like to share my new found knowledge with my husband, also.) Bad! God warned them. Now they have to face the consequences of their behavior.
They are quickly escorted from the Garden of Eden. Sickness, suffering, death, toiling all day for food come into the world. And the dratted woman who had curiosity and want of knowledge and started this whole mess by convincing the man to eat, got a double whammy. Henceforth women will have to labor in extreme pain to bring children into the world. But the biggest one of all? Bigger than sickness, death, hard work, labor pains? God takes away His grace. His very life, His essence. Humans are no longer born with His grace. The gates of heaven are shut and locked.
We read the stories from a children's Bible history, my girls narrated the stories back to me. They asked some questions, I answered. I DO NOT give my opinion. I let the stories stand on their own merit. When we were through with our reading sessions, Beatrice looks at me and says, "Mommy, that was really, really mean." Her big eyes were tearing up (she's my sensitive one - her twin - nothing phases her) and, "Why would God be so mean?"
She's only nine. She's honest. She says what she feels and thinks. She said what I've always wished I had the courage to say, but I haven't because I'm still scared of hell. However, aren't we to be like little children? Right? Okay.
So God, why oh why were you so mean? I think your reaction to the whole incident in the garden was a knee jerk reaction (do You have knees?), and no doubt You really regretted it almost as soon as you said it. Of course, if you want to keep the humans' respect and not have them questioning your rules every few minutes, you can't backtrack. (First rule of parental discipline.) So, after You inflicted this punishment on the entire human race, and were no doubt wishing You could undo it, You had to come up with some way that wouldn't lessen your position, make sure that your children continued to respect You and not question Your authority, yet give them an out. A Savior. But just to make sure they got the message, You make them wait thousands and thousands of years. Finally, You send your Son, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity to earth as a human. On earth, He will teach the people. Then He will suffer and die a most horrible, torturous and bloody death. Then, and only then, after this bloody sacrifice, can these humans, still suffering from the punishment You inflicted on that first man in a Godly fit of rage, be redeemed, gain Your grace and live with You eternally in heaven.
I'm with my daughter; that was really, really mean. Besides sounding like a made up story.