The tree of knowledge of good and evil - A metaphor view

The verse

'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you [shall surely] die.'

You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like [gods], knowing good and evil."

Adam and Eve


The tree of knowledge of good and evil for me is a metaphor for the mind. The mind that houses the ego. The metaphor for the ego in reference to the above passage is the serpent. The mind has the ability to act based on your free will.

The fruits the tree brings forth are the thoughts, the ideas and the actions that usually result from these thoughts and ideas. We can bear good or evil fruits but that decision remains with the bearer of these fruits.

Dwelling in God's presence was Adam and Eves original state of being. By choosing to listen to her ego (the serpent) and partake of the fruits of the mind. Eve experienced a spiritual death. A shutting down if you will of her awareness of GOD. Adams choice to partake in Eve’s fruit was also of the mind resulting in him losing his awareness also.

Suffering


The suffering that this spiritual death brings is the suffering that is caused by the mind. The passions of the ego that are not fulfilled, bind us to the things of this world and to the things of our minds. The bible states clearly how we should rid ourselves of these passions. If our desires are not fulfilled we can suffer greatly depending on what desire has not been fulfilled but we suffer all the same if we have not learned how to rise above the mind.

Jesus’ journey on this earth was to demonstrate to humankind that you could indeed overcome sin. (Which in this instance is the ego). “He died for our sins” reinforces this level of understanding. His quote “I am capable of great things but you are capable of greater” (or something like that) tells us that we are just as capable of doing what he did if not greater.

Original Sin


We continue to be affected by the “original sin” (the metaphor view of my understanding) today largely because man has chosen not to let go of the passions of the mind. What we teach our children is therefore teaching them the original sin (passions of the mind) and the cycle continues.

For sure the mind is part of who we are and was part of Adam and Eve, the usage of it however is different when you dwell in the presence of God.

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Comments 34 comments

pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 22 months ago from New Zealand Author

Hi Jonny, glad you could visit again. Time so flys. I did not realize I was gone so long till I was replying to some of the comments. Very useful to be able to chat with friends I have not chatted with for some time. Good on hub pages!


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 22 months ago from Tasmania

The ability of Hubpages to keep one informed of those who we are "following" is very useful. I thus was able to pick up on this thread even 2-3 years later.

This forum is as valid and poignant today as it was 3 years ago.


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 22 months ago from New Zealand Author

Hi Suhel, Glad it was caught. Thank you for visiting.


Suhel. 2 years ago

i was reading boundaries. it has biblical references.

after reading ' a new earth' by tolle, a lot of bible makes sense as metaphors, came to this page after i googled 'tree of knowledge mind thought'. ;)

very rightly caught.


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 4 years ago from New Zealand Author

LeGold, thanks again for your excellent feedback. Glad you liked it!


LEGold profile image

LEGold 4 years ago from South Florida

I really like this metaphor, I agree with your perceptions:)


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 4 years ago from New Zealand Author

Mortal enemy indeed. I tend to agree that intelligence mixed with primitive impulses is indeed a dangerous cocktail. Thanks for stopping in and reading.


Charles Hilton 4 years ago

I agree with the creation story as allegory.

Much has been written on it, including the hypothesis that the original sin was the discovery of agriculture, thus profaning the original way of life we knew as hunter-gathering.

Your hypothesis of original sin as mind is also very compelling, as I have come to view man's mind as our mortal enemy, in spite of the few material benefits we've derived from it. Most things the mind has produced have been destructive and some even diabolical.

The late eminent biologist, Ernst Mayr asserted that intelligence is a lethal mutation and the evidence for it is all around us.

Intelligence mixed with primitive impulses is a dangerous cocktail, and no celestial bartender in his/her right mind would chance it.

"The gods must be crazy."


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

Thank you Penny, likewise.... there have been some very good wholesome discussions here of late.


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 4 years ago from New Zealand Author

Sounds like a very powerful movie. The dilemma of being torn between the falsities we might have clung to for so long and following what is deep within the heart of hearts is not easy. Then to realize you might be breaking the rules that goes against someone's belief system that you love and value. It may have felt right yet went against all that one might have believed in. Including the authoritarian figure represented by his mother. These forks in the road where seemingly tough decisions need to be made are what makes us stronger. Guilt is not a naturally arising emotion and usually signifies ego's deathly grip is losing strength.

I think there is perfectness in what others might deem not perfect. Mainly because the duality of our minds tend to see imperfection where there is none. I like that the trials and tribulations have brought you to the centre of your being. It is indeed where God resides and not outside of us as it is most commonly understood.

Your caring, kindness and love that shines through tells me you are in tune with the centre of your being-ness. I for one are glad you are here.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

Thank you Penny. I have mentioned in a couple of other treads that I've just finished watching Rock Haven. A very tender, provocative and insightful story about two young men entering adulthood who have an attraction for each other. The two respective mothers in the story are also a very enlightening portrayal of how to, and how not to, deal with big and deep revelations in life.

The young man Brady, who has been steeped in religion all his life, doted on by his mother who is blindly christian and very fearful of "breaking the rules," finds himself full of abject guilt. He is trying to hang onto the "faith" and "bible teachings" which have been his crutch (and his attachment to his mother) for all of his life so far. Yet the frightening feelings and desires, coupled with his deep loneliness, confuse him, threaten to destroy his narrow hold on life and hope for the future.

This film, for me, was very much about me! Brady came through his "trial" in his own way.... his final words were that his brush with god had brought him closer to god. In a way that has been my experience yet I would not put it that way. For me - yes, closer to god, but only in that "god" is the Centre of my Being, not some mysterious and intangible entity in the sky. I have managed to come through 70 years of similar trials and tribulations. Somewhat successfully, not perfect of course.


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 4 years ago from New Zealand Author

Hi Jonny,

I have no doubt in my mind at all that some of the myth creators and legend creators used the metaphors with the hidden agenda to control. Whether they were ill intended type of control or good intended we may never know because sometimes it had a good effect and sometimes a bad effect depending on who received that information and how they digested it.

Like negative gearing when buying a house, it is never useful. To use or invoke negative emotions as a tool for control is also never useful . Denying any emotion be it negative or positive means we do not allow the river of life to flow as it should. We therefore are more likely to construct dams in the river of life that otherwise should not be there and these dams can cause a whole host of problems including believing we need look no further than those who would want to control. Simply because we cannot get past the dam we might have built. Is that illiterate or conditioned way of believing?

Perhaps the reason sexual desire is the most strongest is because all learned inhibitions and self constructed dams via controlling forces at play, are released at the peak of orgasm and can be the closest some may get to that connection we have with all things. It may not connect some people with all things but it certainly connects some to the one we are having sex with!

I would question anyone who says look no further than me or my choice of faith.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

Hi Penny, James. Just another direction to consider:

I have just started to view the film Rock Haven. Set in America, with the religious aspect of life and how it impinges upon the lives of two young men. I am struck by the ingrained guilt which gets into the person's mental system.

Could it be that even thousands of years ago, when these myths and beliefs were developing, that the metaphor was used cunningly by people who wanted to control? It's a relatively easy process to convince an illiterate or semi-illiterate population that supernatural forces dwell in the mysterious and frightening animals of our world.

The snake slithering along the ground, often out of sight in the long grass; the serpent sliding sensuously around a tree trunk, awaiting its chance to fall on you and squeeze the life out of you; these fears are very natural and real, but if you then imagine within the snake a human (sub- or super-) intention to use evil against you, that fear is magnified enormously.

One of our deepest and strongest emotions is inherent in the sexual desire. This can be exploited by individuals or groups of people to enhance the fear, so as to control society. Teach that the snake, serpent, harbors such wicked thoughts and will infiltrate your being with such evil, and that you will suffer hell in eternity ....... you have people by the short-n-curlies! especially when you deny the fulfillment of the sexual desires by instilling guilt as well.

Can you see what I am getting at? Ancient traits are alive and well our own society today. There is still a huge incidence of illiteracy. People within many churches are still encourage to look no further than "the Book" lest they get other, rather awkward, embarrassing, uncontrollable ideas.


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 4 years ago from New Zealand Author

Thanks for reading my hubs. I am not surprised you related to them. Yes Castlepaloma is very witty. Thanks again


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 4 years ago from New Zealand Author

Hi James,

Sorry for the delay in replying. We moved house and our ISP took it's merry old time relocating our line and services!

I nearly always find with ancient civilizations that they seem to use that which is around them in symbolic form to explain what cannot be explained so easily. Often too it is taken too literally by those who try to interpret what they were trying to point to. The metaphysical interpretation makes sense. When we look at the anatomy of the brain and their functions joined by the corpus callosum it seems less outrageous. If the corpus callosum represents the serpent it also makes sense that it will have access to both the tree of life and the tree of knowledge. These anatomical parts of our brain utilize the substance of that which we are in unique ways. Depending on what hemisphere is more dominant we might find the corpus callosum tending to always use which ever hemisphere for the most part and like a muscle will tend to do as it always done unless given other exercises. Hence eating from the tree of knowledge instead of the tree of life or vice versa may not be useful. In my view the twins are meant to be used in harmony while in a physical body. If we learn how to use them in harmony we will have full use of the twins without limitation. We will be walking in the presence of creator as did Adam and Eve. I am convinced this is what Jesus tried to teach.


jacharless profile image

jacharless 4 years ago from Between New York and London

Ps, have read your hubs, and love them. And also -at your suggestion- read Castlepaloma humorous, but striking , 20 steps to Save Satan hub!


jacharless profile image

jacharless 4 years ago from Between New York and London

Penny,

Great question and one I hope to be able to answer.

There are several perspectives, within the collecitve churches, regading the serpent.

First, it is believed the serpent was not a snake but a creature that walked upright, and spoke. The creature, likened to a reptile {dragon} was accursed and its legs taken from it, so it could not run away, but was forced to slither on the ground. It essentially became a snake. Next is a very odd take. The serpent was a man, dissimilar to Adam, from a previous civilization, with a motive of vengeance, having been denied the Paradise. Although I have only heard of it once or twice. Third is the standardized version of an angel who embodied the likeness of a snake and spoke to Eve, as did the ass of Balaamm, Prophet to Moab. Because of the deed it had done, the serpent was accursed and its voice taken -another meaning says the demon left the serpent, but a poison remained within it, that would go into Eve and her children as they walked and it bit their ankles. I am not completely certain how the idea of a fallen angel was blended with the serpent concept. The only definite relation to the serpent comes from very old practices by the Sumerians and Egyptians regarding Wadjet and others with Nabu. Serpents, especially Asps in that region, are hypnotic on the eyes, a black-metallic color, creating the illusion -like a mirage effect- as they slid quickly across the flat surface. They believed serpents held the power of underworld or never-world. Given the regions vast array of terrain, many, many kinds of snakes inhabit it, from desert to fresh water -and more commonly field and tree snakes. Snakes were found heavily worshiped back in the day. Several sites -one at Mediggo especially- unearthed a massive snake-shrine, made of gold. And then there is the Staff of Moshe, which had a serpent on it. The list is just forever. lol. The final take is more meta-physical, that defines the serpent as the space between the two hemispheres of mans mind -wedged between the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. One very unique thought of mine: There is something nearly ever person I speak to about this Event overlooks. How did the serpent know the Twins {Tree of Knowledge, Tree of Life}, and what effect eating of it would have? Also, how did the serpent -if thoroughly "evil" get into the very Presence where man dwelt and walked with Creator?

James


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 4 years ago from New Zealand Author

I am in full agreement with your insights into the nature of sin Jacharless. Finding that part which is perfect and immortal is not easy for many because the trenches (as you so adequately described) that ego has dug are so deep and complex that they cannot fathom the notion that anywhere inside of them, there is that which is perfect and eternal. If reason can get it's stubborn little head around the perfect and immortal nature of what we are, even part of it, we would be better for it. Awesome addition that I relate well to as you might have already guessed hehe.

I have a question? How did the church teach the serpent? Was it an actual talking snake?

You might like to read my take on Satan, if you haven't already. The hub is called Gods Adversary, Can satan be saved, if you're interested. Would be interested to hear your views. A fellow hubber suggested I write it as English is not his main language and we were discussing it in the forums. The above hub is from writings many years ago (10 or so), The satan one is an updated version.

Regardless, I am very pleased that you stopped in and added some very valuable insights to this hub! Thank you!


jacharless profile image

jacharless 4 years ago from Between New York and London

What more can I add to this?!

As recently mentioned, man manifested, {created} and believed in sin. I always found it interesting the curse placed on the serpent: crawling and eat dusting. lol. Ego drags man through the trenches called Reason. The deepest rabbit hole -so deep he even forgets how he got in and how to get out. What does man really need to reason? That he is perfect, immortal; the sum-substance of the Unseen; the speaker of the Unspoken?

James.


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 4 years ago from New Zealand Author

Beautiful Analogy jonny! I do agree wholeheartedly. Thank you!


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

May I share an analogy with you?

Think of a jigsaw puzzle. This world being one huge puzzle, of an awesome picture. Looking at it from way out in space, each of us is so minute and insignificant you can't see us except with the microscopic effect of a very powerful telescope or camera.

Have you ever done a jigsaw puzzle, got almost to the finishing point, but there is one, only one, piece missing. It might be at the edge or middle of the picture. It might be an essential piece of a flower. Or just a mundane piece of the sky. YET, without that one piece the picture is not complete.

Back to you and me. Without "me," at this instant in time, this world is not complete.


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 4 years ago from New Zealand Author

That about sums it up! Thanks for the valuable feedback. Glad you enjoyed the hub!


Niteriter profile image

Niteriter 4 years ago from Canada

This would be quite an eye-opener for folks who like literal interpretations of biblical lessons!

I'm pretty sure I followed you all the way through, but I'm not always the brightest kid in the class! If I did grasp your meaning, then I would add that each one of us lives the Adam and Eve story as we progress through our lives. We continue to suffer in some way until we come to the realization that we are not truly living until we are "dwelling in God's presence" as you pointed out.

Great material. Great Hub!


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 4 years ago from New Zealand Author

Thank you for taking the time to read it. Glad you liked the expression. Yes agree useful to some not so useful to others


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania

pennyofheaven, beautifully expressed, thank you. Obviously many will not be able to see the deeper meanings, but that is no cause for de-meaning them. The metaphor is very powerful for some, useless for others.


CMCastro profile image

CMCastro 4 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

I thought for sure that I left you a comment. I am so glad you wrote this hub. It is so good to remind us of what the facts are that happened in the time when the First Sin was committed. I think that we should always think of the consequences of our actions.The decision that first Man and Woman was influenced by choice. God's opposition is the choice that we make that is influenced by self's own reasoning. I am glad I came back to visit your hub. Hope to see you write more soon.


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 5 years ago from New Zealand Author

I don't think Christians will agree with my metaphor view. Some might. Inverted tree is very interesting. I have never heard that. It does make sense however. Nice to have your feedback. Thanks


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

Symbolism of tree is very interesting. When I read this, the tree of knowledge according to Christian belief, I remember about what the Hinduism says about tree. According to ancient Hindu scriptures, the universe is just like the inverted tree.

The tree of knowledge in Hinduism is called Kalpabrikshya, literally tree of wish.


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 5 years ago from New Zealand Author

Thank you Soliloquistlocket. Glad you could stop by!


SoliloquistLocket profile image

SoliloquistLocket 5 years ago

That is a very interesting, insightful concept. Thank you very much for posting this.


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 5 years ago from New Zealand Author

Yes! Imagination is often needed to describe something that cannot be described given the limited range of words available in the English language. Not to mention the fact that it would have been even more limited in primitive mans era. Perhaps that is why there are so many different interpretations? Thanks for stopping by getitrite


getitrite profile image

getitrite 5 years ago

Another interpretation of an ancient story, that originated, who knows where.

My interpretation is that it has no REAL interpretation beyond primitive man's imagination.


pennyofheaven profile image

pennyofheaven 5 years ago from New Zealand Author

Hey my sister from afar. Glad you could visit. Many ways to climb a mountain. Many ways to view a passage in the bible. I love the uniqueness of peoples view. If anyone was going to get it I knew you would!!! Wise? Not sure I feel wise but thank you my sister. I love you!


Erin LeFey profile image

Erin LeFey 5 years ago from Maryland

Hello dear sister, this definitely is food for thought. I'm not Christian, but this certainly is a different and more enlightened take on the Old Testament. I had to read this a few times to "get" it. You are so wise in your thinking. I love you. ~E

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