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rationalist
Dec 25th 2008, 11:43 PM
Today as I celebrated the birth of Christ i did some reflection on being saved and why we need to be saved and it brought me back to the story of creation. As much as I am a Christian I am also someone with a lot of scientific background so I tend to always ask a lot of questions and answer them with another question. If we are to take the bible as a literal historic document and not a set of parables to teach the word of God then I have found a flaw in the fall from grace. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge they had no knowledge of good and evil until they ate from the tree. So yes God told them not to eat but because they had no knowledge of sin or good and evil there act can not be seen as an unrighteous act. Their actions was not an intent to turn their nose up at Gods law and act with a knowing knowledge of what they were about to do was wrong. If i put a raw steak in front of my dog and tell him not to eat it can you guess what is going to happen as soon as I turn my back. It is not that he is doing with an evil intent its just that is his instinct. And yes man is different from animals in that we have a soul and can choose between right and wrong but Adam and Eve could not choose between right or wrong or good and evil because they had no knowledge or distinctions between the two. So it is quite a harsh punishment for someone who did not know they were doing wrong. Which would seem unjust and we know God cannot make an unjust action because he is pure good.

Scubadude
Dec 25th 2008, 11:58 PM
So it is quite a harsh punishment for someone who did not know they were doing wrong. Which would seem unjust and we know God cannot make an unjust action because he is pure good.


I am inclined to agree with you, rationalist. I beleive the story of the fall was a part of God's plan for good, and not evil. It seems He wanted us to experience his mercy and forgiveness. Without the fall, there would have been no need for Jesus' work of salvation, and He knew he would be sacrificing himself before He created the world and everything else.

Aloha

quiet dove
Dec 26th 2008, 03:30 AM
But even if that is true, Adam and Eve chose to do what God told them not to do, that did not require a conscious decision to "be evil" but it did require a conscious decision to disobey God. A knowledge of good and/or evil was not necessary, only whether or not they would obey God or not. Plus God told them when they ate from the tree they would surely die, so in believing the serpent over God, they did more than "wrong" they disbelieved God, they believed another over God.

Whether or not or how much about good and evil they understood I guess we cannot understand. I think it is safe to say that Adam and Eve were not primitive morons, they were most likely quite intelligent. Not to mention, prior to their disobedience they were not spiritually dead, but they were spiritually alive. I would think they were anything but stupid.. They chose another over God, they chose to trust another over trusting their Creator, the Creator they had communion with.

Sirus
Dec 26th 2008, 06:15 AM
If we are to take the bible as a literal historic document and not a set of parables to teach the word of God then I have found a flaw in the fall from grace. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge they had no knowledge of good and evil until they ate from the tree. So yes God told them not to eat but because they had no knowledge of sin or good and evil there act can not be seen as an unrighteous act. Their actions was not an intent to turn their nose up at Gods law and act with a knowing knowledge of what they were about to do was wrong.They had no intimate (know) knowledge. It's not that they didn't understand the commandment or that no meant no. Scripture is clear -they 'received' the commandment. Those that sinned after them til Moses sinned without the commandment. It just means they were innocent and sinless and didn't intimately know what evil was, like a child. When they ate from that tree there eyes were opened to the evil they had done, and....
God said, 'man has become like us, to know good and evil' so knowing wasn't evil. God knows, having created all things, therefore creating man to live in the environment of faith with the ability to choose good and evil. Man intimately learned what that meant, and the ramifications of their decisions.

crossnote
Dec 26th 2008, 07:55 AM
Their disobedience to God's plain command was coupled with an insidious doubt about God's loving care for them (sound familiar?). Satan had poisoned their minds that God has been holding back 'godhood' from them.

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
(Gen 3:5)

Apparently it worked-

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
(Gen 3:6)

rationalist
Dec 27th 2008, 10:16 PM
I agree that you can equate them as innocent children therefore how could they have done such a terrible sin to be thrown from the garden and be put into exile. I know if I were to put a piece of candy in front of my one year old child and told him not to eat it and his older brother picked it up and gave it to him its going in. How would you discipline your child? Now if a teenager took a gun and shot another knowing it was wrong then I think the punishment would be fitting. Again with out the knowledge of what they were doing was wrong; why such a harsh punishment. We make choices everyday based on what is right or wrong. If we did not have that knowledge we would be making choices blindly without knowing the consequences. Have you ever heard of court cases where down syndrome children are coaxed into doing something terrible by someone who knows better. They are not locked up and thrown away with the key.

Scubadude
Dec 28th 2008, 01:10 AM
I agree that you can equate them as innocent children therefore how could they have done such a terrible sin to be thrown from the garden and be put into exile. I know if I were to put a piece of candy in front of my one year old child and told him not to eat it and his older brother picked it up and gave it to him its going in. How would you discipline your child? Now if a teenager took a gun and shot another knowing it was wrong then I think the punishment would be fitting. Again with out the knowledge of what they were doing was wrong; why such a harsh punishment. We make choices everyday based on what is right or wrong. If we did not have that knowledge we would be making choices blindly without knowing the consequences. Have you ever heard of court cases where down syndrome children are coaxed into doing something terrible by someone who knows better. They are not locked up and thrown away with the key.


Sometimes I think the reason there is so much debate on what is intended by the text is because we are reading too much into it. I could be wrong (likely). I think the 'account' of the fall is a story, one intended to reveal God to us, not a historical account. Actually, I think the story was intended to teach the children of Moses' time not to disobey their parents, or else. I'm wondering if anyone has changed their life because of how they interpreted the fall passage?

Zack702
Dec 28th 2008, 02:09 AM
Because of there unbelief in the words of the Lord they were wrong.

Not that they were wrong to eat the fruit but that they were wrong because they forsook the Lords words.

It was never said that it was wrong to eat the fruit but it was said, don't eat it.

Right is to obey the words of the Lord.
Wrong is to forsake the words of the Lord.

This is why I say that they did no wrong in eating the fruit but rather they did wrong because they forsook the Lord.
And forsaking the Lord is something that starts within the heart and is hidden.
Then it takes on the form of a action which can be proven and clearly seen.

You asked that if you put a steak before a dog what do we think would happen.

But what if that dog had a garden full of food and it had never tasted steak?
And what if it was told that it would die if it ate the steak?

And if it ate then the pact will stand.

By justice we are justified to kill the poor animal.
But because of mercy we might spare it that it might repent.
Even though we know of the great perversion of it's heart which will arise because of the event.

markdrums
Dec 28th 2008, 02:38 AM
I agree that you can equate them as innocent children therefore how could they have done such a terrible sin to be thrown from the garden and be put into exile. I know if I were to put a piece of candy in front of my one year old child and told him not to eat it and his older brother picked it up and gave it to him its going in. How would you discipline your child? Now if a teenager took a gun and shot another knowing it was wrong then I think the punishment would be fitting. Again with out the knowledge of what they were doing was wrong; why such a harsh punishment. We make choices everyday based on what is right or wrong. If we did not have that knowledge we would be making choices blindly without knowing the consequences. Have you ever heard of court cases where down syndrome children are coaxed into doing something terrible by someone who knows better. They are not locked up and thrown away with the key.


There's a HUGE flaw in your "flaw" theory...
The difference between the Garden & the example of a child giving a younger child something he wasn't supposed to have is this;

Adam & Eve were NOT children. They were adults.... they were able to make decsions based on their thougts & free will, knowing also what was commanded of them.

In the case of the "children" you gave; it's an entirely different situation.
While the older child might understand it was wrong, the younger one is presumably naive to what the "rule" was.... thus not making a willfully disobedient act.

Here's the thing I MUST point out to you;

Adam and Eve knew exactly what was commanded of them.
Satan tricked them in the Garden with his smooth talk...
God did NOT set anyone up to fail, but rather had the plan of salvation in effect BEFORE he even created Heaven, the Angels, the Universe, & Mankind. He knew what would happen.... yet still cherished the relationship with us, based on OUR PERSONAL CHOICE.

One last thing, there's more to reading the Bible than reading it "literally" or "historically"..... it's a blend of every type of communication, in order to convey the message & the lessons.

You MUST MUST MUST learn to understand context, & communication style. Example;the Psalms are poetry... and not a "literal" writing.... correct?

And are you able to understand everyday communication, whether it be newspaper articles, or movies, or novels, or daily conversations???? How do you know what to take "literally" & what to take as metaphoric, or poetic?
Those same rules DO apply to Biblical reading.

Once you understand THAT, then SOOOO MANY of your "questions/accusations" will be answered & more clear to you.

I just wanted to add my reply, so I could possibly help......, since you're asking the same question, and making the exact same point, in basically the exact same wording, as I've read on "atheist/agnostic" websites.... all in an attempt to stir the pot -so to speak.

Yukerboy
Dec 28th 2008, 03:00 AM
Today as I celebrated the birth of Christ i did some reflection on being saved and why we need to be saved and it brought me back to the story of creation. As much as I am a Christian I am also someone with a lot of scientific background so I tend to always ask a lot of questions and answer them with another question. If we are to take the bible as a literal historic document and not a set of parables to teach the word of God then I have found a flaw in the fall from grace. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge they had no knowledge of good and evil until they ate from the tree. So yes God told them not to eat but because they had no knowledge of sin or good and evil there act can not be seen as an unrighteous act. Their actions was not an intent to turn their nose up at Gods law and act with a knowing knowledge of what they were about to do was wrong. If i put a raw steak in front of my dog and tell him not to eat it can you guess what is going to happen as soon as I turn my back. It is not that he is doing with an evil intent its just that is his instinct. And yes man is different from animals in that we have a soul and can choose between right and wrong but Adam and Eve could not choose between right or wrong or good and evil because they had no knowledge or distinctions between the two. So it is quite a harsh punishment for someone who did not know they were doing wrong. Which would seem unjust and we know God cannot make an unjust action because he is pure good.

Once the commandment came, sin sprang to life, and they died.

God made the law to increase the transgressions. You think God gave Adam and Eve a commandment thinking they wouldn't break it? God gave it to them because He KNEW they would break it. This is no flaw. This is the way God intended it.

How could God have mercy and grace if not for sin?

rationalist
Dec 28th 2008, 04:49 PM
First of all thank you for all of your replies. Very thoughtful and some interesting points. One of the reason I asked the original question was to get everyone's thought on wether to take the story as literal or a parable. I personally read it as a parable. However I have been scorned when discussing this with preachers when I have suggested that some things in the bible are not literal. The reason I had a hard time with it is a literal historical description was because the action was done before the knowledge was there which I have already tried to point out but some of your responses said it was still the choice to disobey God. But I would argue it is more of an instinctual act that they did because choices are made with the knowledge of the consequences which they did not have. Then I proposed that punishment was harsh and from what I understand that most people are saying was that God had already planned for our salvation before we were even created and that he knew that man would choose to eat from the tree before he even put it there. Which God is all powerful and all knowing. How else can God show his mercy on us if not for sin. So it was kind of a set up from the beginning which is still not possible because God is not capable of such an act he is pure good.


Your thoughts?

Sirus
Dec 28th 2008, 06:04 PM
Again, you start off on a false premise. Adam was not setup but made his choice with knowledge.

Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

rationalist
Dec 28th 2008, 08:00 PM
How did Adam make his choice with knowledge if he had not eaten from the tree of knowledge yet?

quiet dove
Dec 28th 2008, 08:07 PM
How did Adam make his choice with knowledge if he had not eaten from the tree of knowledge yet?

Not having knowledge about something does not mean we cannot make a decision. Probably not the best way to make a decision, but it is still possible to do so.

The knowledge of good and evil did not prevent Eve from being persuaded and deceived by Satan's lie and choosing to eat from the tree of knowledge, Satan convinced her that the knowledge was something good to be gained, that there was wisdom to be gained, and she chose to eat. Adam also chose to eat in direct disobedience to what God has said to him. Lack of having the knowledge, from the 'tree of knowledge' did not prevent them from making a choice to eat from the tree.

rationalist
Dec 28th 2008, 08:51 PM
Im not trying to be argumentative but you said it yourself that Satan convinced Eve it was good to eat from the tree. But they had no concept of good and evil so that would have been impossible. If you look at human behavior all actions are a result of a choice which is based on the knowledge that something while not always evident will happen with an outcome that is either good or bad. That is what separates us from animals. We have the cognitive ability to rationalize between a good choice or a bad choice. Not that we always choose the correct choice. However if you look at an animal there actions are not based on choice but on an inherent genetic instinct. For instance a lion doesn't think if killing another animal or human is a right or wrong think to do, it is just what it does. An action done with no knowledge of wright or wrong or good or evil is just an instinctual action and not a choice and therefore cannot be judged as doing right or wrong and therefore not be punished. I am not saying man isn't inherently evil and the only was for salvation is through Jesus. But what I am saying is that whoever wrote the story of Adam and Eve in my opinion was only tying to tell a parable to describe the inherent evil in man. If it was a literal historic description of what actually took place then there is a huge paradox.

Your thoughts ?

Athanasius
Dec 28th 2008, 09:15 PM
But they had no concept of good and evil so that would have been impossible.

How do you figure?

Sirus
Dec 28th 2008, 09:17 PM
How did Adam make his choice with knowledge if he had not eaten from the tree of knowledge yet?You are assuming eating fruit imparted knowledge, or at least at minimum, it imparted a knowledge required to understand the simple commandment given previously. This is assumed for the man that named all the animals God brought to him. A man that was made in God's image and had not sinned. Why do that? Because it says 'their eyes were opened' and 'they have become like us to know good and evil'? I'd suggest finding out what 'eye opened' means in scripture, and I'd also suggest becoming like God could not have been a bad thing.

Sirus
Dec 28th 2008, 09:21 PM
But what I am saying is that whoever wrote the story of Adam and Eve in my opinion was only tying to tell a parable to describe the inherent evil in man. If it was a literal historic description of what actually took place then there is a huge paradox.

Your thoughts ?The bigger paradox is God making man to be inherently evil. Setup, as you said earlier, which we know is not the case. Man did not make man inherently evil or change the image of man in God's image by eating fruit. No scripture says Adam's nature changed when he ate the fruit and it certainly doesn't say this supposed change is passed to his descendants. If in fact eating the fruit made a change in man making him like God it could not have been an evil change.

mike s
Dec 28th 2008, 09:32 PM
But they had no concept of good and evil so that would have been impossible.

Immediately after the narrative explaining Adam and Eve’s eating the “fruit” they were punished.

Would a loving God punish a person if they had no concept that they had done wrong?

Just my opinion but I feel Adam and Eve knew right from wrong. What Adam and Eve received after eating from the tree was they “knew“good and evil.

In the sense Adam “knew his wife and she conceived”. Adam and Eve gained intimate knowledge of good and evil. Up to that point they understood good and evil but now they experienced good and evil.

Do not confuse what I’m saying. The word “knew” was not sexual knowledge, it was intimate knowledge.

It is one thing to deny something you have not experienced, than it is to deny something you desire, and have intimate knowledge of.

Gen. 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise,

RogerW
Dec 28th 2008, 09:34 PM
Im not trying to be argumentative but you said it yourself that Satan convinced Eve it was good to eat from the tree. But they had no concept of good and evil so that would have been impossible. If you look at human behavior all actions are a result of a choice which is based on the knowledge that something while not always evident will happen with an outcome that is either good or bad. That is what separates us from animals. We have the cognitive ability to rationalize between a good choice or a bad choice. Not that we always choose the correct choice. However if you look at an animal there actions are not based on choice but on an inherent genetic instinct. For instance a lion doesn't think if killing another animal or human is a right or wrong think to do, it is just what it does. An action done with no knowledge of wright or wrong or good or evil is just an instinctual action and not a choice and therefore cannot be judged as doing right or wrong and therefore not be punished. I am not saying man isn't inherently evil and the only was for salvation is through Jesus. But what I am saying is that whoever wrote the story of Adam and Eve in my opinion was only tying to tell a parable to describe the inherent evil in man. If it was a literal historic description of what actually took place then there is a huge paradox.

Your thoughts ?

Greetings rationalist,

I agree that prior to eating of the forbidden tree there is no knowledge of good or evil, therefore why are they judged? I like your analogy of the lion with its intinct for survival. I can't really agree that Adam and Eve were doing that which comes natural...I believe Eve was deceived and Adam chose to follow His wife in disobedience. Back to the question, why are A & E, and through them the whole human race judged for doing something, since they could not understand the consquences? Prior to disobeying God, did they even know what it meant to die?

What happened to them after they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit? Then their eyes were opened and the knew they were naked. They were naked before they disobeyed and were unashamed, but now, they KNOW what is good and what is evil, and what did they do? They tried to hide their sin by hiding from God and covering their nakedness themselves with fig leaves. As if it is possible for any man to cover himself. Unless God covers them through blood sacrifice, they/we will remain in sin.

Now sin has taken its full effect. The thought was concieved in the mind through deception from the serpent, then temptation (the fruit was pleasing to the eye) gave way to sin, disobedience. Even though they did not really understand the consquences of their sin, because they had no knowledge of good and evil, still they had the ability to obey God and not give in to temptation, therefore they are judged in the flesh and we too are judged through them. Just as they needed a sacrificial covering (Christ, symbolized by the animal skins that covered them) for their sin, so too we need a sacrificial covering (Christ) for our sins.

Many Blessings,
RW

quiet dove
Dec 28th 2008, 09:37 PM
Im not trying to be argumentative but you said it yourself that Satan convinced Eve it was good to eat from the tree. But they had no concept of good and evil so that would have been impossible. If you look at human behavior all actions are a result of a choice which is based on the knowledge that something while not always evident will happen with an outcome that is either good or bad. That is what separates us from animals. We have the cognitive ability to rationalize between a good choice or a bad choice. Not that we always choose the correct choice. However if you look at an animal there actions are not based on choice but on an inherent genetic instinct. For instance a lion doesn't think if killing another animal or human is a right or wrong think to do, it is just what it does. An action done with no knowledge of wright or wrong or good or evil is just an instinctual action and not a choice and therefore cannot be judged as doing right or wrong and therefore not be punished. I am not saying man isn't inherently evil and the only was for salvation is through Jesus. But what I am saying is that whoever wrote the story of Adam and Eve in my opinion was only tying to tell a parable to describe the inherent evil in man. If it was a literal historic description of what actually took place then there is a huge paradox.

Your thoughts ?

The thing with the 'Tree of Knowledge' was not only a matter of doing right or wrong. It was a matter of choosing to disregard God's command. Adam and Eve had knowledge to or not to do that. The knowledge supplied by the tree had no bearing on there ability to chose whether or not to be obedient to God.

Just as you have said, animals just react, for the most part. Men were not created in such a way. They were created with the ability to make decisions. The 'Tree of Knowledge' was not the 'Tree of learn that one can make decisions'.

The 'Tree of Knowledge' was/is a spiritual issue. And had spiritual consequences. Adam and Eve were good and with having chosen to be disobedient they learned about being evil, the knowledge was spiritual and the result of disobedience was spiritual separation from their Creator and thus, death. That is a deeper issue than right and wrong for them, right and wrong is created within us and we can know that because men have conscience, and as you said, conscience is what separates us from the animals. My dog knows it is wrong to stick his nose on the table, or get on the couch, but he really has not conscience about it, he just knows, from being taught, his boundaries, but he has not conscience about it, he just does not want his hinny smacked.

IamBill
Dec 28th 2008, 10:57 PM
Im not trying to be argumentative but you said it yourself that Satan convinced Eve it was good to eat from the tree. But they had no concept of good and evil so that would have been impossible. If you look at human behavior all actions are a result of a choice which is based on the knowledge that something while not always evident will happen with an outcome that is either good or bad. That is what separates us from animals. We have the cognitive ability to rationalize between a good choice or a bad choice. Not that we always choose the correct choice. However if you look at an animal there actions are not based on choice but on an inherent genetic instinct. For instance a lion doesn't think if killing another animal or human is a right or wrong think to do, it is just what it does. An action done with no knowledge of wright or wrong or good or evil is just an instinctual action and not a choice and therefore cannot be judged as doing right or wrong and therefore not be punished. I am not saying man isn't inherently evil and the only was for salvation is through Jesus. But what I am saying is that whoever wrote the story of Adam and Eve in my opinion was only tying to tell a parable to describe the inherent evil in man. If it was a literal historic description of what actually took place then there is a huge paradox.

Your thoughts ?

Yes I know what you are talking about. ;)

Here is the thing Rationalist(IMHO), "knowledge of good and evil" was the 'Name' of the tree. The only thing God said eating "it's fruit" would do was cause death - not "knowledge". The only thing A/E learned from eating it was that they were naked.
They where (Eve from Adam) created in Gods 'image and likeness' -they where already like 'gods' - it didn't come from eating the fruit.

The Serpent is the one who twisted it all up.

ross3421
Dec 29th 2008, 07:27 AM
Adam and Eve knew good but not yet evil before eating the fruit. The part of the tree which Adam and Eve had not experience was the "and evil" part. They were yet without sin before eating the fruit and would have never ate from the tree if not for the serpent.

Can one be without sin and disobedient to a commandment at the same time? Yes.

Well at first most would say no however let's take the case of a newly born child. He/she is born with sin and will ultimately die but let's say he/she dies shortly after birth and has yet outwardly committed a sin. The child is still a sinner though no sin was committed. What I am trying to get at is "sin" has nothing to do with "actions" though it manifests actions as it has to do with what we inherited.

Adam and Eve were formed with a free will to choose and this does not mean they had to know sin or evil to disobey. Sin is not an action but a state. Once they ate from the tree of GE free will decisions were still made however now under a state of sin and it's judgment. So they were able to make their decision to choose wrong though they yet knew evil.

Mark

BroRog
Dec 29th 2008, 02:53 PM
When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge they had no knowledge of good and evil until they ate from the tree.

I don't agree with your initial premise that Adam and Eve had no sense of right and wrong, and no knowledge of good and evil prior to eating of the tree. The text says that God created man in his image, which clearly indicates that Adam and Eve were rational, moral creatures.

It wasn't as if Adam and Eve didn't know right from wrong. They did. What Adam DIDN'T know was whether or not he was personally capable of doing wrong. The tree was a test of his character, and an avenue for him to learn something about himself.

The tree wasn't a special kind of tree in my opinion. God could have picked any tree at random. Any tree would have done the job. In fact, any restriction or limitation at all would have become the pretext for this test of character.

John27
Dec 30th 2008, 05:33 AM
I read an article on US News about this recently that was amazing, look up Eve.

However I know there are 3 ways to read the bible, literally, figuratively, and spiritualy.

Literally means that the things happened as written.
Figuratively means that the things happening represent directly or indirectly a deeper knowledge usually told symbolically.
Spiritualy it opens the door of symbolism but also cues us into what God wants us to know, which is an even deeper meaning that the figurative ones.

THe Adam and Eve Tale qualifies for all the types of interpretation in order to seek God's message.


Also is the snake really the devil? Or is it the evil inside of us, human nature? It seems alot of god's messages and wants are against human nature, making human nature inherently evil, not evil because we were made that way but evil because we are naturally drawn to wrong items.

The more I learn about the fall from the garden it makes me question was it actually a fall? Or was it inevitable? was getting kicked out of the garden a reward?

And what is the tree of life, it was mentioned but never revealed to us more than just being there, many assume it is life everlasting. Some believe it to be Jesus.

I also want to know if the physical location has been found, I heard it was somewhere in modern day Iraq. THe location is percice in the description of the rivers.

Scubadude
Dec 30th 2008, 07:02 PM
If you look at human behavior all actions are a result of a choice which is based on the knowledge that something while not always evident will happen with an outcome that is either good or bad. That is what separates us from animals. We have the cognitive ability to rationalize between a good choice or a bad choice.

Since Adam already had this ability, are you suggesting that he thought his choice to eat the fruit was ultimately a good choice?


I disagree that humans are different than animals in that we make moral choices. We are capable of abstract thought in that we can picture something that doesn't yet exist, and subtly influence others around us in those abstract directions. The simplistic task of right and wrong changes from one group to another, one culture to another. Mastering those rules doesn't make you any more pleasing to God if you have no faith or love. Any animal can learn the rules and master them to avoid punishment or receive reward.