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September 24, 2019 | by  | in Features Splash |
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Forbidden Fruit

“There is no such thing as free will,” a friend told me not too long ago. His words made me wonder whether or not Eve and Adam had any say in being brought into this world. I also ended up pondering questions like: Did Eve pick and eat that juicy fruit of her own volition? And is it fair to blame her for sending humanity down a path of sinful imperfection when she herself had no awareness of what sin was? We’ll see.


If you woke up this morning and decided to put on a red t-shirt instead of that yellow hoodie, not only did you (once again) underestimate the Wellington climate, but you probably also assumed that you made the choice voluntarily. Maybe you’re the kind of person who believes in free will. Maybe you’re not—maybe you’re aware of the fact that the reason you keep repeating that third-year paper stems more from your general disinterest in the subject than your inability to time-manage. I digress. Uncle G(oogle) defines the concept easily enough: the freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention. Seems pretty straightforward.


So what about the anti-free will camp? Well, they would argue that human behaviour can always be explained through the laws of cause and effect. Woman is hungry, woman eats. Man feels rumbles in stomach, man uses wharepaku. The idea is thus: all events are caused by something and our actions are predetermined. So when you end up disregarding this article as heresy (‘fUck yOu, I cHosE mY oWn oUtfiT ToDaY’), it will have been because firstly, you were browsing through this particular edition of Salient, and secondly, because you’re studing at Vic and/or have an interest in student literature. Think: cause and effect. You can dig back as far as you like. What led you to enroll at Vic? Why was it an option for you? What was your upbringing like? How did it mold you as a person? It’s wild shit.


Now back to the story. As per the Bible, Adam then Eve were created as the first humans, in the image of God, and tasked with birthing humankind and acting as stewards over everything God had created up until that point. They’re naked. They have no shame. They’re chillin’. They’re in a garden and God has said something like, “Hey guys. Please don’t eat that fruit over there.”


Do you really think Eve was just going to sit around and eat the same produce for the rest of her life while the most tempting of all (that which hung from the Tree of Knowledge) lay in the middle of the garden within arm’s reach? Of course Eve was gonna eat that shit—serpent or no serpent. And so, upon sharing the “Forbidden Fruit” (Cole & Kendrick, 2013), both Adam and Eve were granted the knowledge of good and evil and subsequently banished from the Garden of Eden.


So how does free will come into play? Was Eve’s picking of the fruit simply a voluntary decision or was it destined to happen? Maybe Eve is to blame… however, she was influenced… so maybe the snake (Satan) is to blame. Maybe it’s neither. Think about this: Adam and Eve didn’t choose to be brought into this world. It was God’s decision. So I suppose their will was God’s will. If Adam and Eve had no concept of morality (pre-fruit) then how were they to know that what they were about to do was wrong? If Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, does the fact that Eve fucked up prove that even God—in all their different forms—is flawed? And if God’s will is to be done, that must mean that ‘the original sin’ was all part of his master plan.


By taking a bite of that fruit, Adam and Eve were just exploring the options made available to them as living humans (which, admittedly, weren’t many). Keep in mind that God had created all their options. If he really didn’t want them eating the forbidden fruit, you’d think he would have put the tree in the corner or something, not smack-bang in the middle of the garden. But that’s a story for another day.


Just like Eve and Adam, you also didn’t choose to be brought into this world. It was the will of the universe (and maybe your parents) that sent you on a journey of discovery. Just think of all the opportunities and options you’ve had in life, especially since starting at university and assuming new responsibilities—meeting people, joining a club, trying a new sport, picking up a part-time job. And now, here you are… reading this particular article, in this particular magazine, from this particular university, in this particular city, at this particular moment in time. It’s surreal how life works…


It is said that each time a male ejaculates, up to a billion sperm cells are released. What’s more, the odds of you being that one sperm to fertilise your mother’s ovary are so unimaginable that even Marvel’s Avengers would have their doubts. You are you. You! The only you. Me is no you. Only you is you. But! You were only ever going to be you, there was never going to be another you.


I know the whole idea can sound a little depressing—the suggestion that you have no control over your own decisions, and that in actuality, all the choices you make are predetermined. But whether you believe in free will or not, it’s pretty cool to know that you’re playing an important part in the unfolding story of the universe.


“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”



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