Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Creation, the Fall, and Reuben Lucius Goldberg

Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist and inventor.  He is famous for a series of cartoons that featured complex machines that are used to complete a simple task; e.g.,
Many people have since created this type of machine for different purposes (most often artistic).  Two examples that are prominent to me include a TV commercial for the Honda Accord, and a music video by OK Go.

This may not seem related at first, but bear with me. I have heard a lot of speculation and justification regarding a well-known topic in Judeo-Christian mythology: The Fall of Adam and Eve. Like many tenets of this ancient religion, the root of what is generally understood comes from a few short verses of scripture. While various sects hold to disparate beliefs about the details and the significance of this narrative, the basic outline may be summarized as follows:
  1. God creates Adam and Eve and places them in the Garden of Eden, where they have dominion over plants and animals, and where they are immortal;
  2. God gives commandments to 1) multiply and fill the Earth and 2) not partake of the fruit of a certain tree;
  3. The devil tempts Eve to eat the fruit and she does, and then Adam also partakes of the fruit;
  4. Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden and must live a mortal life with trials and suffering;
  5. All of mankind is afterward born into this imperfect, mortal life.
It is my belief that the Fall was good and necessary.  I overheard a discussion recently about how and why the Fall happened as it did.  While this is a complex question rooted in many unknowns, I wish to share my opinion on one facet of this issue:

     God will never take away mankind's freedom and ability to choose.  He allows us today, as he did Adam and Eve, to decide what our thoughts and actions will be in our given circumstances.
     Just as the creator of a Goldberg machine understands the laws of gravity, friction, lift, etc., God also perfectly understands the laws of nature, the nature of the devil, and the natural dispositions of all individuals.  Adam and Eve were placed in an uncorrupted realm, and given physical bodies that could only become corruptible through their choices.  He knew that the devil would tempt His children, and He knew that our progenitors would make the decisions that they did.  He set up conditions in such a way that His plan would be able to be carried out exactly as He intended.
     The Fall was not a mistake.  No power on Earth or in Hell can frustrate the plans of God.  We live in an imperfect, mortal world for a divine purpose.

And now, OK Go:

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