Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Tree Of Life

The rest of the tree of life series is under the April post, thanks.

Post 1 of the tree of life series.
If one thinks about it, having that good and bad knowledge is no guarantee that one will choose or incline towards the good. After all, that's what the serpent omitted in his speech, before Eve ate off the tree of knowledge of good and bad. The serpent said, "You are not going to die, but Yahweh knows that as soon as you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like divine beings, who know good and bad." It's true in one sense, but false in another; the serpent sort of omitted to point out, that its the power of moral choice alone, that is Yahweh like. The very action that brought Adam and Eve a Yahweh like awareness of their mortal autonomy, was an action that was taken in opposition to Yahweh. Yahweh knows that, that human beings will become like Yahweh, knowing good and bad; it's one of the things about Yahweh, he knows good and bad, and has chosen the good. For Adam and Eve to have true freedom of will, Adam and Eve have to have the freedom to rebel. This is why this tree is in the garden, next to the tree of life; instead, evil will come about as a result of the clash of the will of Yahweh, and the will of humans, who happen to have the freedom to rebel. Human beings, and only human beings are the potential source of evil, responsibility for evil will lie in the hands of human beings. Yet, evil is represented not as a physical reality, it's not built into the structure of Eden, evil is a condition of human existence, and to assert that evil stems from human behavior. The drama of Adam and Eve's life should revolve not around the search for eternal life, nor preoccupation with immortality; it was not in Yahweh's design for this kind of drama. It was Yahweh's design for the tree of life to have been eaten of, there was no danger to Adam and Eve going on eternally, being immortal. The eating off the tree of knowledge of good and bad, has caused a moral conflict and tension between Yahweh's good design for creation, and the free will of human beings that can corrupt that good design. Evil is a product of human behavior, not a principal inherent in the cosmos. Man's disobedience is the cause of the human predicament. Human freedom can be at one and the same time an omen of disaster, and a challenge, and opportunity. 

So despite Adam and Eve's newfound mortality, humans are going to be a force to be reckoned with. They're unpredictable to the very Yahweh who created them. Yahweh has to modify his plan, by barring access to the tree of life; that was not something presumably Yahweh planned to do. Adam and Eve had access to this tree up to that point, as long as their will conformed to the will of Yahweh, there was no danger to their going on eternally, being immortal. Once they discovered their moral freedom, once they discovered that they could thwart Yahweh and work evil in the world, and abuse and corrupt all that Yahweh had created, then Yahweh could not afford to allow them access to the tree of life. That would be tantamount to creating divine enemies, immortal enemies. So Yahweh must maintain the upper hand in his struggle with these humans who have learned to defy him. And Yahweh maintains the upper hand in this, the fact that humans eventually must die. Yahweh stations the cherubim and the fiery ever-turning sword to guard the way back to the tree of life, once Adam and Eve were banished from the garden. The tree of life is now inaccessible; no humans have access to immortality, and the pursuit of immortality is futile. So it might be then that Yahweh really spoke the truth after all, the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and bad did bring death to the human race.  

The rest of the tree of life series is under the April post, thanks.

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