Garden of Eden: What Do We Know About Adam and Eve?

Part 2: The first lesson of Genesis is cold and hard: Sustaining human life is not meant to be easy.
8:49 | 12/21/12

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Transcript for Garden of Eden: What Do We Know About Adam and Eve?
In the beginning, the bible tells us, god created the heavens and the earth. ♪ There's no turning back ♪ then god's wind swept over the surface of the darkaters and god said "let there be light." He separated the day from the night and then he created life. And after all of this, god saw that it was good. And so it goes, the story of humanity, our story begins. God created a man and a woman and gave them a perfect place to live, a garden called eden. The garden is depicted as an orchard. God gives them this wonderful orchard, tells them they can eat all of the fruit they want. They live in peace with the animals and with one another. It's an imachblg peace, completion, wholeness. When we imagine the garden of ee den, most of us think of a paradise like this, the ultimate xiangry la, better than anything on earth. What does the bible about where it all began? The biblical description is very short, says there are four rivers, tigris and euphrates are two of them and the other two are unknown. That is the problem. If you could figure out where all four rivers are then you have got the location. And it is the tantalizing mention of these two remaining rivers that has fueled a neverending search for the garden of eden. For centuries people looked everywhere from the depths of the persian gulf to rural missouri and even the planet mars. I have a problem with the looking for the garden of eden, because how are you going to know when you have found it? There is no signpost because writing hasn't been invented That brings us back to the bible story and the two rivers we can locates tigris and euphrates, coming together in the fertile crescent where civilization first began. A perfect backdrop for the biblical beginning. You have the place where early man and women could live in idyllic harmony and with the food readily accessible and all that, that is what we're talk about is an earthly paradise. We're told that adam and eve had everything they could ever need. But in order to keep all of this, they had to obey one rule. God tells adam and eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And god warned them that if they disobeyed they would die. Snake comes along and says once you have access to the tree of wisdom you can become like the gods. You can move up the ladder. In a very human moment, we're told, eve couldn't resist the tempta take more. So, she took a bite and she passed the apple to adam. It was the snack that changed history. The men and woman hide because they're afraid because they know they've done something wrong. When god says did you eat? It's adam who points the finger at eve and not only at eve but at god. Because he says, she gave me and you gave her tome. Now, an angry god casts his creation out of paradise and just like adam, throughout the millenn millennia, everyone has blamed eve. Women are blamed for lots of things that perhaps they need not. Ad'amico have said, that fruit? I'm not going to eat it. But he took the fruit and he ate it. Does that trouble you the way it's been portrayed? Of course it's troubling but it reminds me that the bible, for all that we say it's a divine document, it is written from a man's point of view. Ironically, in the muslim holy book the koran, there is more than enough blame to go around. Both adam and eve are to blame equally for eating the forbidden fruit, so they're co-equal human beings and i think that's lost in today's narrative about islam and muslims and that's important to keep in mind. In the end it didn't matter whose fault it was, they both suffered the consequences of disobeying god. The first le sochb genesis is cold and hard. For humans sustaining life on this earth is not meant to be easy. We have to go out into that cold, suffering world that we labor by the sweat of our brow and give forth our children in pain and have to suffer and die. We christians believe this is why jesus came, to solve that problem. To pay the penalty for sin. But maybe, when eve made the choice that christians call original sin, it wasng more. Maybe it was the first act of original thought. Adam and eve? Free will? Oh, absolutely free will. That's a story of you can make a choice. That's the most horrible thing that faces a human being. You got to choose. On our journey, we met believers who say the bible is the literal truth straight from the mouth of god. Do you think it happened? And we met others, even those of faith, who believe that these are stories and have been passed down through the generations. What brought you to israel? A record of a people's struggle with the world and their place in it. So, how are we meant to read the book of creation? This is a wonderful myth. A myth is more than history. It's telling you the meaning of history. The meaning of events. God can communicate truth through different types of literature. It doesn't always have to be newspaper-style account of what happened. For instance was the earth created in seven days or did it take millions of years of evolution? Both. Both -- you are saying -- thats a catholic priest? Yes, absolutely. Science gives us insight into the how. How the universe works, how particles behave but zero insight into why. I mean, why are we here? What's the meaning of it all? For some people, religion offers some degree of insight into those very important questions. Important and difficult questions the bible forces us to think about. Like jealousy and rage and why some people come to hate and harm each other. A lesson starkly taught in the story of the first children, the first siblings, cain is a shepherd and abel a farmer. Both offer sacrifices but god likes abel's better. This is about life as we know it and it's not fair, we feel the pain that those god hasn't chosen. In a fit of jealousy, cain kills his brother abel. This is the first example we ever saw of murder and the gravity with which god holds the taking of another human life. And yet, with the passage of thousands of years, humankind is still at it. As surely as cain killed abel, the slaughter of innocents continues in the very place the bible tells us this story was set. Today's syria. Wracked by the most brutal of wars. And in aepy town in connecticut, the horrifying massacre of children in their elementary school. How do you we make sense of our torn world and torn personalities? And the conflict and despair we fall into when we see suffering and injustice? What I think the bible does really well is help us ask really good questions. How could we do this better? If I were in this person's shoes how would I have acted? If I'm judge and jury what punishment would I assess and god forbid if I committed that crime, what would I want my peers to do to me?

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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