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Sunday, July 08, 2007

You may have a point

Bro. Clarence was relating one of the discussion he had with a fellow who gave him a ride across parts of Arizona, the discussion centered around the fellow leaving the church as a teenager when he came to the conclusion that many of the Biblical stories were simply unbelievable. He said it was almost laughable to think of the garden of Eden with a tree of knowledge and the forbidden apple of good and evil and that by eating it Adam brought evil into the world and all of humanity has suffered since. After a bit of discussion, Bro. Clarence thinks that he caused the fellow to rethink some of his early teenage thoughts after he explained the Genesis story something like this.

For a moment consider the Garden of Eden story as metaphor for the great consequences of knowledge, for with knowledge one's innocence is lost, forever. We all delight in watching the innocence of toddlers, and protecting that innocence, for that is the want of most parents. Of course we don't want to protect children from the real world forever, for we know the consequences of trying to do that, so we measure our protection and little by little the child is exposed to the world outside the protection of home. So perhaps you can read the Eden story as mythology, a myth with great value, for it tells us much about ourselves, and helps us to make sense of the world around us, a world that can be a world without innocence. Bro. Clarence said the fellow's first reaction was, "Myth?!" And related how his childhood Sunday school teacher said everything in the Bible was fact, so Adam was a real person, Eve too, the garden, and all the rest. To which Bro. Clarence replied that in the synoptic gospels Jesus nearly always spoke in parables, so is it so hard to believe that God spoke to Moses with metaphors, making a simple plot with a cast of characters into a story that could be immediately understood by everyone? And the beauty of symbolism is that children read a simply story that they can remember, teenagers read a story that fills their head with questions, adults read the story and suddenly find deeper meaning, and wise old men read the story and find answers to the previous unanswerable? To this the fellow replied, "You may have a point."

2 comments:

Pascale Soleil said...

Or, is it so hard to believe that the folks who wrote the books of Moses decided to tell THAT story in metaphors and symbols, including those about Moses himself?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent, Brother Bartleby!
Thanks!