Essay 2 Fate And Free Will

Submitted By alek2375
Words: 1455
Pages: 6

The Hands of Fate: Fate and Free Will in Oedipus Rex and the Bible The question of whether humans are responsible for their actions or if they are under the influence of divine or supernatural power is one that has been debated over for centuries. There are three views that exist: the first is that there is only free will, the second view is that there is only fate, and the third view is that there is room and justification for both possibilities. The themes of fate and free will are very prominent in the book of Genesis and Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. In both, the fate of the characters is decided by a higher being, but the way in which they arrive at their destinies is determined by free will and the choices they make, which leads to the demise of the characters.
The book of Genesis records the creation of the world and everything in it, as well the early relationship between God and humanity. God creates man, Adam, “from the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7) and places him in a paradise on Earth called the garden of Eden, where he also places the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From the man, God creates a woman and tells them that they “may freely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil [they] shall not eat, for in the day that [they] eat of it [they] shall die (Genesis 2:16). Despite this warning, the woman, Eve, is eventually tempted to eat the fruit of the treat and convinces Adam to do the same, causing them to be cast out of the garden. Although Adam and Eve do have free will to do what they wish, by placing of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden, God fates them to failure.
Adam and Eve were both created without any concept of morality. After they committed the first sin, they learned the distinction between right and wrong: “Then the Lord God said ‘See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and also take from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22). The knowledge of right and wrong was not imparted onto Adam and Eve, but was of their own discovery. Despite His instruction to not eat from the tree, Adam and Eve cannot be reasonably expected to follow, as they do not know disobeying is immoral. Lord also allows evil to enter the garden in the form of a talking serpent, which tempts Eve into doing what God said shouldn’t be done. Although Eve is tempted to eat from the tree, it is not done as a conscious act of disobedience but, rather, because she thinks the tree is pretty and the fruit looked appetizing: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired and make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate” (Genesis 3:6). Although God tells Adam and Eve that they may not eat from the tree, he does not give them the mental capacity to understand that following His command is the right thing to do. He also allows the serpent to tempt Eve. If the serpent is in actuality Satan, God possesses the authority to limit his power. In the book of Job, Satan unleashes suffering on Job, but has to first receive permission from God to do so. However, God does not restrict the serpent from tempting Eve. However, Adam and Eve both had the choice to make the decisions that led them to failure. When God had only made Adam, he gives him the warning of eating freely off any tree in the garden except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16). Had there been no free will, there would not have been a need for the command. God gives Adam the choice to obey or disobey His command, but he did not have to obey it. Until their fall from grace, Adam and Eve did not understand the difference between good and evil, but they had the choice to obey God and decide whether or not to eat the forbidden fruit. Although God set Adam and Eve up for failure, it was by free will that they decided to eat the fruit.