Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A little levity for something different

Artist: Wolfgang Krodel the Elder

Goodness! I have to admit I never thought about it quite this way before:

God tells Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If this was the only way they could understand the difference between good and evil, how could they have known that it was wrong to disobey God and eat the fruit?

--Laurie Lynn*

* I can't seem to find any information on this person but I found the quotation right here.


  1. It is a fascinating insight into a flaw in the logic of the story. I was drawn to it until I started to write a response. But then it came to me - and I have to admit that I still on occasion find myself drawn to such as this - it's an insight that is only relevant if you're inclined for some reason to argue with a literalist from the literalist's point of view. Yet it reminds me of how deeply literalism is imbedded in my subconscious so that I still get a kick out of finding arguments that challenge it from its own premise even though my conscious intellectual and faith view has moved on.

  2. Yes, I hear what you're saying, Tom. Still, even if one engages the story as poetic myth, it's good for it to have a certain internal consistency to it.

    And, I also thought the quote was considerably amusing! :-)

  3. I totally understood your interest, as well as your viewpoint, and shared it. I am also very much one for internal consistency. For example: If I read a fantasy novel or watch a thriller movie it takes away greatly from my ability to suspend disbelief if it appears that there is a violation of the internal rules, even though they may not conform to reality in the first place. But, in the case of the Garden story, I'm not sure how the message could have been made in another way. But then, in my opinion, the message is different if one views it as myth than it is if one views it literally. Which raises another issue of interest to me. I suspect this original story teller, didn't believe the story was literally true, though maybe s/he had a vision or dream and did in fact believe it was true. But it is also possible the s/he was simply telling a story to explain "what?" - something about the origins of the world and humanity of course - but later readers seem to often to fall prey to imposing our own assumptions.

  4. Continuing the above line of thought: The larger issue of interest to me is we can't know whether early myth sayers believed they were creating myth or believed they were conveying factual truth about another higher or lower reality. Yet it matters not what they believed about the truth or reality of their stories. For their stories always convey truth that is deeper and more abiding than fact. You may have noticed that was a point made on FB yesterday in a thread of discussion about interpreting the Bible, started by a common FB friend named Dan.

  5. It is my view that the fact that the story teller portrays Adam and Eve as having a choice shows that s/he didn't have a world view that could incorporate understanding the deeper truth of the myth. My view is that the deeper truth the myth reveals is that the inevitable consequence of self-awareness is the realization that we are separate from other sentient beings and therefore, to the extent that we believe God to be a sentient entity, we are separate from God. It is therefore a myth about the dawning of self-awareness and the inevitable consequence of a certain level of alienation from the rest of reality that comes of self-awareness. All of religion, therefore, is about the attempt to overcome the alienation that comes of self-awareness. Which is probably why people find meditation that leads to an escape from self-awareness so refreshing. It is also why total focus on anything, from gardening to art to extreme athletic challenges, that take us beyond self-awareness is refreshing and energizing. And it is also probably why forms of worship that lead to euphoria are so addictive.
    P.S. a too was needed in the last sentence two comments above. ; )


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