Monday, February 1, 2010

Bible study - How's the fruit?

I have been thinking more about Adam and Eve's alledged "sin", the so called "original sin", the one we all are cursed with. I don't think it was a sin at all. I think God wanted Adam and Eve to do what they did. I think the story sets the God of the story up as both the Good cop and the Bad cop, but My God doesn't operate this way.

Here's my way of thinking.

If God didn't want Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of good and evil why did He even put it in the garden to begin with? God created the Heavens and the Earth and then He created Adam and Eve and then He created a beautiful garden for them to live in where they had every thing they needed, but then God places in the garden a tree of good and evil and points it out to them like a seductress and tells them about it and not to eat from it. Isn't that like pointing the cookie jar out to a two year old who hasn't seen it before and then telling the kid that she can't have a cookie now that the parent has brought it to the kid's attention. What kind of manipulative and sadistic nonsense is that, unless God really wanted them to eat from the tree of good and evil and I think God did.


Because as I was taught in Religious Ed from the Baltimore Catechism back in the 50s that "God created us to know, love, and serve Him." In order to do that God had to give the humans He created free will. Love out of obligation, responsibility, gratitude is not real love. True love is unconditional. True love loves just because it wants to not because it is conditioned by obligation, responsibility, or gratitude. So God has put Herself in a Catch-22. If She is to create a loving creature, then She has to give that creature free will. And free will requires that the being with free will is conscious, that that being knows what it is doing. That beings thoughts, feelings, behavior can't be based on instinct, can't come just naturally, it has to be the product of awareness so that it has intentionality or it isn't true love.

So, God, in the Garden of Eden tricked Adam and Eve into becoming self-conscious by using Reverse Psychology like a parent or a teacher might do with a young child. You tell the child not to do the very thing that you are hoping that the child will do.

Self-consciousness is a great blessing as it brings great joy and freedom, but on the other hand it also can be a curse and bring much pain and suffering. I love this God which leaves it up to us to decide who we want to be, what we want to do, who we want to become. God created a creature She respects and has given creative power to. That's quite a gift. God has created us to be God-like.

God is tricky if you believe the story of Genesis. He loves His creatures and He hates His creatures. He blesses them and He kills them. The God of Genesis is like a war lord who dominates and oppresses with His will and if His will is not followed He smites and kills those who would oppose His Will. At the same time, He gave us that capability all along, or did we steal it from Him? Have we like in the myth of Prometheus stolen not fire but the creative power of God? Perhaps it is we humans who live in guilt and fear for having stolen God's power of creativity and yet God made it possible for us to steal it all along and even in a paradoxical way pointed it out to us telling us we shouldn't take it.

But we did, and here we are trying to get back to God, to the At-one-ment with the universe that we enjoyed naturally in the Garden before our ancestors ate the fruit from the tree of Good and Evil.

I love the greeting, "Hey, how are you? What do you know?"

"What do you know?" You, too, have been blessed or cursed with self-consciousness and what do you know about your soul and its relationship with the God of the Universe? Do you need to eat some more fruit from the Tree Of Good and Evil or have you had enough?

My God wants us to know and the only way She could get us to give up our cozy enmeshment in the Garden of Eden was to get us to eat from the Tree of Good and Evil and since we did that and became self-conscious, humanity has never been the same. We have been cursed with a creative power that we don't know what to do with and don't know how to manange atomic energy, the power of reproduction, the atmosphere on our planet, the relationships with one another. God gave it to us when God put the Tree of Good and Evil into the garden. It has been like pointing out that whole jar of cookies to a two year old.

Do you think that someday we will learn how to manage our self-consciousness in a way that recreates the Garden of Eden that God gave us to begin with? Buddha claimed that he had done it. Jesus not only said that He had done it, but that we all can do it too if only we have more faith and love. Humans seem to be low on faith and love, but I believe that we are slowly finding our way back home to God as individuals, as partnerships, as communities, and as the whole human family. God knows that we have a ways to go yet.

The story of Genesis is a tricky one. It is not what it seems. It certainly can't be taken literally, but as allegory it is outstanding.

Well, I am at the end of this article and I am going to go get me some more fruit.

This is article #4 in a series on Bible Study.

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