The discrepancy between data, stories, and sources is a phenomenon that occurs in ancient literature, great epic novels, classical texts, and also in sacred texts such as the Bible. Since these are such ancient and emblematic writings, it is not so far-fetched to think that before these texts were “fixed” and reproduced, there were different versions and variants depending on who wrote them. Even when it comes to works that became very popular, apocryphal continuations appear, as in the case of Avellaneda’s Don Quixote, which was not written by Cervantes.
At present, and in the ecclesiastical sphere, something similar happens. Each side of Catholicism and Christianity has different interpretations of the same passages of the Bible: some believe in the New Testament and others only study the Old one, to give examples. In that sense, when it comes to the Bible, a canonical text that compiles several books that were written at different historical moments, it is relatively simple that there are certain discrepancies, as well as that as time goes by new symbols are added or certain associations are made with other canonical characters. Here are some about the Garden of Eden, the place where, according to the Christian canon, God placed Adam and Eve until their exile:
The Serpent as the Devil
In Genesis, the Devil never makes an explicit appearance, nor is there any element that causes him to be associated with Lucifer. However, this has been the case throughout the ages, even though Moses had a staff that turned into a serpent. So this animal did not always have a connotation associated with the Devil. In Genesis, God simply condemns the creature to crawl on its belly and eat dust for all the days of its life.
The Forbidden Apple
The fact that the fruit of the tree of knowledge, which was forbidden to Adam and Eve, is associated with an apple is due to the pictorial representations of Genesis and the expulsion of humans from the Garden of Eden. However, there are theories that it was grapes, figs, or pomegranates. It never specifies it is an apple.
Eve, the First Woman in Eden?
The contradiction between the first two parts of Genesis is also a reason to refute the consistency between the texts, since in the creation of the world, it is described that God created man and woman on the same day. However, in the second part, it is related to how after Adam named all the animals in Eden, God created Eve from his rib.
Some allude that it is a translation error in the verb tenses; however, others recover the figure of Lilith, present in the Jewish text Ben Sira, who was created as equal to Adam but refused to be submitted by him, opting voluntarily to leave Eden.
The Book of Ezekiel
This is one of the most important prophetic books of the Bible and it contains an account of the king of Tyre, in some versions the prince, who at one time lived in Eden surrounded by precious stones, gold, and silver, but sinned of pride and was expelled because he believed himself to be equal to a god. This description has been considered a discrepancy in the confirmation of Eden. However, it is also argued that when a people boasted of their wealth they used to claim to be in Eden, although this resulted in disgrace by divine punishment, given their lack of humility. Likewise, the figure of this “perfect” prince has also been interpreted as Satan.
According to studies and some interpretations, the difference of an Eden made for humans instead of God -like the one in Genesis- is meant to represent a god who is not envious and who tries to establish a connection with humanity. Eden also became a place of aspiration for eternal life after the death of believers, where human suffering ends, regardless of any discrepancies between versions or who was in the garden first.