Sunday, October 12, 2008

Revisiting the Garden

Many people today miss the points of their own mythology. Interestingly enough, the Creation/Evolution debate becomes nonexistent if we examine the Biblical Creation stories in their mythological context.
Perhaps the most telling tale in the Bible is the "Garden of Eden" story. This story is unique to Judeo-Christendom, as the "6 Days of Creation" story is a copy of the Babylonian Enuma Elish. The "Garden" myth focuses on the origin of suffering, for in this story all is in balance until mankind eats of the Tree of Knowledge and is then cast out of the garden.
Sadly, many believe this story is a literal tale, and so they miss the whole point of the myth. As myths use metaphors to tell their story, much of the "Garden" story becomes very clear when we but try to understand the symbols.
The Garden, it seems, is a peaceful and perfect place. This is where the animals and plants are. Here is where all is beautiful and in balance. Here is where the Tree of Life is. Here, also, is where God walks.
The Garden represents a time when we were in balance with the animals. It is a metaphor for a time when we were no different from animals. A time when we were emotionally-driven creatures -- not the somewhat rational creatures that we are today.
In the Garden we were cautioned not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. But the serpent, long a symbol of transformation and rebirth, encouraged us to do otherwise. And so, by eating of the Tree of Knowledge we were transformed from reactive creatures into active ones. That is to say that we went from lives of simply reacting to instincts and emotions to lives of active change. And so we began to shape the patterns of our own lives.
And so the "Garden" story represents the moment when we separated ourselves from the Animal Kingdom -- the time when we became human.

No comments:

Post a Comment