The Original Blame

Tracking down the first blame in history.

Let’s take a new look at the world’s oldest game – The Blame Game. Yes, that’s right; The Guinness Book of World Records has recently awarded Blaming the title of the world’s “Oldest Game.” It is fascinating at least to me, that although The Blame Game is probably the most popular game ever invented and that we all actively participate during some time in our lives, the history of blaming is not well understood. What do we really know about the history of blaming? Where did it all begin?

When did it start?

While The International Blaming Federation (IBF) might have us believe otherwise, The Blame Game was not invented by this certifying and organizational body. In fact, Blaming Quarterly (BQ) magazine’s recent editorial did not detail the origin of blaming, yet strongly suggested that it began many years before the IBF was even formed.

Although rarely publicized, The Blame Game has been played since the beginning of biblically recorded time. The first written account of blaming was performed shortly after the creation of the world, according to the Judeo-Christian-Muslim view.

There are actually two distinct stories of creation in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. The first story describes the creation of heaven and earth over an indeterminate period of time and then the formation of everything else, including humanity over a period of six days. 1st day: God creates day and night, 2nd day: God creates the sky and oceans, 3rd day: God creates the land, sea, plants, and fruit-bearing trees, 4th day: God separates light from darkness to mark days, 5th day: God creates birds and sea creatures, 6th day: God creates wild beasts, livestock, reptiles and humankind in His/Her image. The 7th day was set aside for a much deserved day of rest.

The second story of creation is quite different from the first. While the creation of man still follows the formation of the heavens and earth, God takes dirt from the ground to give life to Adam, the first man, then he creates the plants and animals. Finally, he briefly anesthetizes Adam, takes something from his side and from this creates Eve, the first woman.

In this second version of creation, God tells Adam (Eve wasn’t around yet) that he can have anything he wants in the Garden of Eden, except to eat or even touch the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or he will die (John Milton described the fruit as an apple in his Paradise Lost novel in the 1600’s, but that’s not in the Bible). A serpent tells Eve (who is by now aware of the prohibition) that eating the forbidden fruit won’t actually kill her, and in fact will make her wise. Eve explains to the serpent that she isn’t supposed to eat the fruit and then goes ahead and does it anyway. Then Eve, in turn, gives the fruit to Adam who, being of sound mind and body and with informed consent and knowledge of the potential risks involved, also indulges in the fruit.

God notices Adam and Eve hiding themselves because of their nakedness, and asks rhetorically, ‘Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” Adam responds with the “Original blame”. “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” This first blame wasn’t an ordinary blame, it was a double-inclusive blame (worth more points). Adam blamed Eve for giving him the fruit, as if he was drugged and force-fed with a pureed fruit smoothie. He also cleverly reminded God that it was actually God who gave him the woman in the first place. Thus, he argues, the initial blame and

Adam and Eve in The Garden of Eden

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden

Edward and Bella from Twilight and the Forbidden Fruit

Edward and Bella Taste the Forbidden Fruit

ultimate responsibility lies with God. God then turns to Eve and asks for her explanation of the events. Eve doesn’t claim any responsibility. Instead, she exclaims, “The serpent duped me, and I ate it.” God didn’t buy these excuses or accept the blame.

Adam and Eve lost their jobs and were forced to seek alternative career paths outside of Eden. Adam is cursed to labor and the woman is cursed to submit to her husband and to bear children in pain (until the advent of epidurals). Thus, we can blame Adam every morning on our way out the door to the office and women in labor can blame Eve.

It is interesting to conjecture that prior to eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, there had been no recorded blames occurring in the Garden of Eden. Is it thus too speculative to suggest that it was actually the Knowledge of Evil rather than Good that was specifically responsible for the introduction of the original blame? Not surprisingly, these first blames were accompanied by the first responsibility shifts and first attempts to relieve ourselves of accountability.