Thursday, March 8, 2012

Back in the Garden

The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden continues to weigh on my mind. I find it a little funny to be hung up so early in The Story, but here I am, questioning from the get-go. I'm pretty sure that having a proper understanding of this myth or parable will greatly influence how I read and understand the rest of the Bible. I have no doubt there are very profound truths about the human condition contained within this deceptively simple narrative. Although I am willing to admit that we are imperfect beings, I don't subscribe wholeheartedly to the doctrine of original sin as commonly understood.

In fact, from a certain perspective I don't consider The Fall of Man to be a rebellion or corruption at all, seeing it instead as a necessary step on the journey toward spiritual maturity. The garden story is the perfect example of ignorance being bliss. Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the dawn of consciousness. At that point, man grew beyond his oneness with nature (was expelled from the garden) by becoming aware of right and wrong. He developed a conscience. Do animals feel shame? I don't think so. But from that point on, Adam and Eve felt vulnerability (nakedness) and shame.

Once man evolved beyond his animalistic instincts he developed the ability to consciously bring harm to himself and others. He was also able to use his mental powers to judge despite his errors in perception. Consciousness, or self-awareness, created the fundamental spiritual challenge: overcoming the temptation to serve and preserve oneself at the expense of others. In short, learning to love.

There's a similar perspective I learned through the writings of Emmet Fox and I can't tell you how true they ring. To me, it makes more sense than anything else I've heard up to this point. (These points are paraphrased for the most part.):
  • Adam and Eve represent two aspects of the same person. Adam represents the physical body and Eve represents the mind.
  • The serpent represents our lower nature -our carnal mind or ego (an aspect of Eve), thus it was Eve who the serpent tempted.
  • Eve eats the fruit first because mind is the builder and body is the effect. The mind can bring harmony or trouble into the body/world but the body cannot act independent of the mind.
  • When Eve ate the fruit (gave in to the temptations of the ego) she started to view herself as separate from God, this mistaken belief is the Fall of Man.
  • When it says Eve shared the fruit with Adam, it represents those mistaken beliefs becoming manifested in the material world (acted out). (I guess you could call this sin!)
  • The result of these mistaken beliefs is much suffering and effort. (Eve experiences pain in childbirth; Adam must till the ground.)
  • A belief in separation from God also causes us to feel vulnerable and fearful, hence the feeling of nakedness Adam and Eve experienced and the desire to cover up that feeling with material things.
I don't know about you, but I find all this stuff absolutely fascinating. The Bible is an amazing, amazing book filled with truths beyond what we can even currently imagine. I really must spend more time reading and meditating on these inspired writings.


jss said...

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day."

From William Wordsworth

Ode; Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

I too find this stuff endlessly fascinating. Your post made me think of this poem.

Best to you Michelle.

Michelle said...

Beautiful Eleanor. Thanks for sharing this.

I want to mention, that Emmet also points out that in Genesis God puts Adam into a deep sleep when he creates Eve, but there is no mention of a waking...

jss said...

Yet another interesting perspective. God also separated male from female at that time yes? An indication somehow that we were at once both. Of course the commentary on the multitude of meanings of masculine and feminine could go on forever but it is yet one more piece of the whole puzzle that I hold in my hand, having no idea where the piece fits.

Good times!

Jordan Rosier said...

Adam is similarly looking to develop his mind.
Eve is looking to learn how to be aware of her body.

The way Adam learns about the mind is through Eve.
The way Eve learns about the body is through Adam.

Love is Learning about Ones Mind and Body and how his mind and her body can create REAL truth. Not The Truth You See On TV - Women are feminine and Men are Masculine (this is a falsity) - Women and Men are not Eve and Adam, they are Children Of Adam AND Eve.

We are a Duality - Original Sin cannot be made by Humans, Human's in themselves are too unaware (ignorant) of life still growing up to be 'Sinners' the Only real beings are the Ones who decided to Negate what it means to be human and transcend our bodily form to Marry 'Spirit' - The Spirit of Jesus and the Spirit of Gods.

Love, Jordan. Your Admirer. X.