Much ink has been spilled over the Garden of Eden episode (Genesis 2:4b–3:24), but its meaning remains elusive. I submit, however, that there is a plain, unambiguous meaning to the story, which we can readily see by paying close attention to the text, unencumbered by the overlay of subsequent theological traditions. It is a story about sexual awareness and the creativity of which that is a part.
The first human couple is portrayed in two different accounts or traditions. The first is in Genesis 1:1–2:4a. There, the command “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28) cannot apply to the limited space of the Garden of Eden, the setting for the second tradition. After all, Adam and Eve are immortal; if the command were followed and it were applicable to the time they lived in the Garden of Eden, it would soon be overpopulated.