Saturday, June 16, 2007

In the garden

I've always been intrigued with the story of Eden. I've brooded over it and written about it many times, trying to tease out some other interpretation besides crime and punishment.

Adam, God's first human creation, was pretty much coddled by God—fed, protected, cherished, given special benefits. He received a mate because he was lonely, and, he didn't have much to do to earn his keep. He was spoiled. rotten.

It's not rocket science to predict that the only stated rule would be disobeyed. One of the hardest jobs for a parent is to enforce the standards and inflict consequences. Without that structure the child grows up undisciplined, unruly, and unprepared for life outside the home. The consequence in Adam's case was life outside the home. Only there, without all the props and privileges of the garden, would he learn how life really works.

I think we've taken that story and twisted it inside out. We've assumed that obedience and perfection are the points here, when it may be that listening to the advice of one with more knowledge and experience is the point.

Eating fruit that gave useless knowledge (of good and evil) did not kill Adam, but it certainly messed with his mind. He noticed he was naked and felt shame. He noticed he had disobeyed and felt shame and fear. He reacted to both in ways that were easily detected, and when challenged, he blamed his wife. She in turn blamed the snake. Neither had ever experienced guilt before, yet both knew instinctively the worst way to assuage it... blame someone else.

A new life outside... totally new experiences, opportunities to learn for themselves, to work and earn their own living, to trust each other, rely on each other, support each other, rather than blame each other... those were the consequences.


Jill said...

The insight that sin essentially messes with your mind is a useful one as is the idea that the consequence of Eve's misstep is really being given an opportunity to learn a different way past that blockage.

See, this is why I keep stopping by your blog. You make wonderful contributions to my thinking each day.

Bluestone Farm said...

I love, love, love the Adam and Eve sequence! As usual, your art is outstanding, moving, intriguing. And the writing is keeping pace with the art ...