A traditional View of Genesis
The First Book of Moses is called Bereshith, " In The Begining."
Today we call it by its Greek name Genesis. It is a story taken from Hebrew folklore and in no way was it ever to be taken literally. The symbols must be understood in the culture of those who wrote it.I wont go over the whole story I just want to focus on the creation of man.
"Let us make man" the plural us is used when God speaks. This is called the royal we and does not mean plural.It implies after great deliberation. Mans name is Adam derived from the word adomah or from the earth. Adam is earth born. In our image in our likeness, Adam is potentially divine made i the likeness of God. Adam is endowed with reason and free will. God breathed the soul into his nostrils. Adam was not the first man he was the fist man with a soul. Adams birt is recorded as 6000 years ago.
Genesis recognizes that other primitive humans pre-existed Adam. The creation of women. Maybe God should have thought a little more before he created these complicated creatures. OK I put that in but from the perspective of men He could have spent more time on limiting their verbal profundity, emotional liability, and clinginess after sex. Also a little less uterocentrism as a context would have been nice.
OK enough digression. In creating woman Genesis is very clear. Woman is not the inferior of man. Woman is a "help" for him, not his shadow, but his other self. The term 'K'enegado" is used that defines her to be at his side, or corresponding to him, and completing him. Never beneath him. The next portion is called The Trial of Man.
There is no Hebrew concept for the fall of man and this idea is rejected by scholars of the Talmud. There is also no concept in Hebrew or Genesis as original sin. The trial of man is the story of mans moral teaching and the rise of virtue. The serpent is not the devil as there is no devil or Hell in Hebrew thinking. The serpent in folklore is the symbol for guile and the only creature that has the power of speech. God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the tree of life. This is a test. God expects them to disobey him. The ultimate test of free will is disobedience and they do not know right from wrong yet. Since Adam has no knowledge of morality before he disobeys God he is incapable of sin. This is reflected by Gods punishment of the serpent no punishment of the children Adam and Eve. After Adam eats the fruit God asks "Where art thou?".
The Midrash explains that God is giving Adam the chance to recover his composure and admit his deed. God even further asks "Hast thou eaten" Givng him another chance. Adam blames Eve and she blames the serpent. They haven't learned as yet. Man has become as one of us. Man has attained a sense of new majesty. Man has acquired moral knowledge. Through disobedience man has acquired knowledge but knowledge without morals will threaten the very existence of mankind.Therefore for their salvation not punishment God sent them out from the garden into the world to found a civilization.
The garden was forbidden to them and in this moment they discovered repentence. Now defined by their act of free will in finding the need to repent they have chosen to be nearer to God outside of Eden than when inside. Wisdom has its own price. Innocence is lost but the new life they have may not be paradise but it has real meaning now. It was all meant to be and not the result of sin and punishment. God leads us with love not fire and brimstone. Life has enough of that in store for us anyway. Well thats it in a nutshell. The Jewish version of our own story.