Monday, June 15, 2020

#167 / Sent Forth With Nothing

The "Garden of Eden" can be understood as a metaphor for the World of Nature that sustains all life. The very nature of the Garden is abundance, but we have been sent forth from the Garden, where everything was provided to us, and we are now compelled to "make our own world." That we have to construct our own world, through our work, is the penalty we are compelled to bear for not having honored the World of Nature, and for not having followed its rules.

That, at least, is one way to read the story in Genesis, one that is appealing to me. 

Once we were provided with all abundance, with everything we would ever need for life, within the Garden, but human beings were sent forth from that Garden with nothing, banished to the greater world outside, and humans have thus been compelled "to till the ground from whence they were taken."

If that is a proper way to look at the meaning of the Biblical story, there is something more to consider. Are there different rules outside the Gates of Eden than the rules that apply within?

Genesis says that Eden was just a part of the world that God created, a Garden set aside, and it was from the Garden alone that humans were expelled.

My "Two Worlds" idea does not attempt to differentiate between the Garden and the rest of the world. Both of these constitute the World of Nature, the World that God created. The rules are the same both inside and outside the gates.

We forget this at our peril.

The Creation is a mystery beyond our knowing. Why we are here, and alive, and exist we do not know. The stories we tell ourselves, in order to try to understand, are our way of exploring the mystery, as we seek to make sense of it. Some of the most powerful stories we have told ourselves, in order to try to understand, are found in the Bible, and the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden is certainly one of the most compelling of them.

I do think that the world we now most immediately inhabit is a world that is almost totally a human creation, but our human world is built within the World of Nature. We make a mistake if we do not acknowledge our continuing dependence on that World of Nature, and our continuing responsibility to honor and respect the rules that run the World of Nature, the world on which our lives ultimately depend.

As we all know, we are now pushing the limits of what Nature can abide, and if we don't change our ways, the consequences will almost certainly be catastrophic.

Time for a change?

That would be my thought.

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