I'm reading a history of the Protestant reformation written by a Catholic priest, so I'm not too sure how even-handed it will be. However, the author does something I appreciate: He defines what the Christian religion was before the reformation. He begins by recounting the story of the Garden of Eden. God sets Adam and Eve in the garden, and they immediately break the rules.
Now, in story-telling, if there's a taboo, it must be broken, or there's no story. So, from a story-telling viewpoint, the incident with the snake and the apple has to happen.
But in a larger context, it doesn't really make sense. I mean, here's God, the creator of the universe, the most intelligent being in that universe, the one who knows all, sees all, and can foretell all, and the first thing he does is to create an intolerable situation. If he's all that smart, he should be able to do better than that. Heck, a 10th grade geography class could create a better scenario.
Of course, in Christian theology, the Adam and Eve story is necessary. No major sin, no fall, no need for a redemption. No redeemer.
This is a Christian invention, by the way. Neither Christianity's papa, Judaism, nor its uncle, Islam, needs a redeemer in the sense that the Christian tradition has it.
And that's always bothered me. The thought that I need an intercessor because of Adam's stupidity has always seemed to me an unnecessary complication. I can sin well enough on my own, thank you.