I’ve been thinking again about the old Jewish Creation story of the Garden of Eden. Richard Dawkins and the new atheists would laugh at us since Mr Darwin and his evolutionary descendents are the authors of a new true Genesis tale. Anyway I’m not concerned about biology too much – I wasn’t very good at it at school and the teacher didn’t like me as I sat at the back!
Anyway in light of my last post ‘Inner Peace’ I’d like to look at what this little Gardening story has to teach us about the human condition.
Firstly, the enjoyment of Unity and Oneness appears to be the reason we’re here! Apparently each primeval evening, Spirit would take an evening stroll through Eden in order to bump into and have a ‘yarn’ ( as we Irish would put it) with his human handiwork. It all sounds so pastoral to us city dwellers but it still sounds good to me. A regular date with God where we didn’t have to fear or grovel or even go to church,temple or mosque. Just a gentle stroll in Eden Park, round Paradise lake – not a sign of religion or self-sacrifice anywhere! The animals unanimously agreed with Adam on their chosen names and were only too happy not to eat him and his beautiful wife! Even the plants joined in the Divine unity, with not a dandelion weed in sight. Oneness yet variety to blow your mind – a Divine State indeed.
Secondly, something got into this heady mix of bliss. A big talking snake with desire! This poor old serpent has been identified with the God Nemesis ‘Satan’, ‘Lucifer’,the Devil etc,etc. Maybe that’s not fair on the snake or indeed Satan – let’s just say he was a big Serpent with an itchy urge. This out- of- nowhere figure possessed a dark desire to screw up the whole Divine Unity thing. Where did this desire come from? We’re not told in the story – maybe it’s not important nor none of our business! Anyway, one thing’s for sure – the desire spread from snake to mankind by means of a question. How amazing! A question was the transmitter of misalligned desire.It ignited a desirous spark within the otherwise happily ignorant human ancestry! The transfer of desire is at the heart of the human problem according to the tale’s Jewish author. What we consider our desires may actually have their origin in one of our ‘significant others’. A model whose being you want to possess. In infancy this role is played by our parents – their desires flow into our empty psyches and are hard to shift throughout life. A friend of mine has a religious addiction – her father was an alcoholic. Just a change of brand! Even as an adult the desire sponge is soaking up the desires of others. Beware!
Thirdly, what did our misguided ancestors desire? A big Golden Delicious or Cox’s Orange Pippin. I think not! The desire was aimed at being like the Divine. A crazy thing to attempt as they were already at One with the Garden stroller – the Spirit Breath that wafted around them in the cool of the day! They desired something they already enjoyed. Now that’s what I call a con-job! That snake was good, very very good! Somehow poor young A&E thought that they were missing out on something – Divinity or one of His amazing attributes. The story goes that a knowledge of good and evil was the object of their new craving. In other words, moral fragmentation – a sense of right and wrong. This shocks religious folk who think morality is a God thing.It’s not! It can be summed up as follows: our views are right ( and so God loves us) and yours are wrong ( and so God will send you evil doers to a gnashing of teeth place – forever!). What is this ‘big addiction’ that we’re all into – the Right and Wrong game! Prodigal Prophet, you’re right so ‘Come on Down’.Mr or Mrs X, I’m afraid you’re wrong so kindly leave the building and take the first on your left to ‘hell’.
In my forty years of religious study and reading all I’ve ended up with is theological knowledge, a handy weapon to further fragment my little society of neighbours, friends and indeed all mankind.A great exercise for the brain but not for the human spirit!
Religious or spiritual knowledge doesn’t lead to Inner Peace but inner and outward fragmentation, judgement, condemnation and, in many cases, violence. The plague of mankind is our knowledge of good and evil and let’s face it religions of all varieties thrive on it.Indeed even the supposedly scientific new atheists thrive on it. It’s everywhere! Has the Divine provided an escape route out of this desire for being right? Can we walk in Oneness again with Spirit and our fellow man, in the cool of our days? I believe so.
Yeshua, was the man outside of desire. The model man who had no desire to be right and no desire to exclude the other. To this extent his life and death can be seen as a drama acted out for our benefit. A scapegoated victim buried in a Garden tomb. The resurrection claims of His followers illustrate the rebirth of a new humanity – a reconciled and freed humanity back in the Garden, walking with Holy Breath in the cool of the day. I love gardens! Do you?