Disclaimer: I don't hate religious people. This is my own analysis of Genesis 1 to 3. I found it to be quite an interesting perspective on God.
I read Genesis when I was a senior in high school. I read about creation and the whole Adam and Eve incident. My English teacher told me to write what I thought about the whole deal. Being the Godless atheist I am, I proceeded to lay down my two cents on the whole issue. I was rewarded with an F. I did not know she was a devout Protestant. After a long argument, my paper was regraded and I was given a B. I think what pissed her off was my insistence that it was God's fault, not Adam or Eve. Well, we do have to defend our fellow man (and woman).
Genesis 1 dealed with the entire 6 days of creation and in Genesis 2 God proceeded to lay his trap for Adam and Eve, in the form of the Tree of Knowledge (I will explain this shortly). You see, God is omnipotent. God also created everything (no, not this everything). He should know exactly what ran through the curious minds of Adam and Eve. He knows that they would be irresistably attracted to it and be unable to stop themselves. But he still proceeds to plunk down the big ol' tree, right in the middle of the Garden of Eden.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die."
So knowingly God creates the snake, and made it more subtle than any other wild creature that God had made (direct quote). Why? To trigger the trap of course. Unable to resist the snake and the fruit, Adam and Eve eat it, pisses God off, and are punished. Here is how:
Snake: "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."
For being God's tool, he is forced to wiggle on his belly forever and get trampled and stepped on, as well as being hated by all humankind. Ouch that's gotta hurt a bit.
Woman: "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."
Gut-wrenching pain (literally) AND slavery! Condemned for her own innocence (again, God knowingly intended her to be so). Sexist bastard.
Man: "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
For listening to your wife (like any good husband does), you are condemned to a life of sweat and toil and eventual death. What kind of benevolence is this?
Did God really expect eternal obedience from creatures he created and intended to be curious and disobedient? God knew this was going to happen. He planned it all from the start. He used the tree as a trap and the snake as bait, then punished all three of them. Then he put that big spinning fiery sword to keep them out of the Garden of Eden.
Now that is the ultimate cruelty right there. Give them a brief taste of heaven, plan their own demise, then forever lock them out of it. Did I hear somewhere that God was supposed to be benevolent? Doesn't look like it. He really set a real good example for everyone there. Cruel sadistic sexist manipulator.