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Lessons from the Garden of Eden 12
Three Reasons Why It’s Important to Understand the Garden of Eden Story
The irony in the garden of Eden story must not be overlooked. Adam & Eve were ushered from the Garden because they ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil. They gained the special knowledge of Good & Evil against God’s wishes yet, today, who has this knowledge? Who can clearly state what Good & Evil is all about?
And that’s the point.
What’s our common understanding of Evil? Hollywood horror movies. Monsters, monstrous people, monstrous animal-people thingies with strange, dangerous, murderous powers.
Not a true, real-life perspective of things, is it?
But when we look to real life, what do we think of in connection with Evil? Mass murderers or those who have perpetrated horrible, unthinkable crimes against humanity. We focus on the gross examples of Evil, the consequences of un-checked Evil.
But provided with its “pure” meaning, Evil is nothing like what we imagine. Instead, it’s much more subtle – and therefore – much more powerful, insidious…and dangerous.
“As not intended” vs. “As intended.” The line of distinction, in actuality, is very fine, very subtle.
And frankly, the fewer people who understand this, the fewer who really know what Evil is all about, the better, as far as Satan is concerned. He likes the subtlety of it all – because subtlety makes room for ambiguity, and there we are, right where he wants us, wandering around in the gray area.
We can wander there – safely – but only if we are aware of what can happen to us there, only if we understand and have a strong working knowledge of Good & Evil.
But we don’t have such a clear understanding. Society, as a whole doesn’t share a clear, working knowledge of Good & Evil in today’s world. And the reason for this is simple – because it benefits Satan and this world.
Our clear understanding of the Knowledge of Good & Evil has been obfuscated, white-washed, twisted around, even glamorized and sensationalized through ambiguity.
The result? We get pulled, tempted and distracted by Evil much more than we know and want to -- or are willing to -- admit.
And that’s just the way the “ruler of this world” likes it.
As common knowledge, we have lost the lesson available in what got us here in the first place. But we have not lost the means of discovering this important bit of knowledge – because we have the Story in all its purity, in all its simplicity. The treasures it holds for us are there. We just have to look for them.
This is one reason why it is so important to understand the Garden of Eden Story.
A second reason for understanding the Story is this: It tells us very clearly what the Will of God is for our lives.
This is a very personal issue for me. For years as a young adult, I felt I was wandering in the wilderness because I couldn’t determine God’s Will for my life. I would listen to other people in Church speak so confidently about doing God’s Will or how they felt His Hand in their life. But me? It wasn’t happening. And yes, I felt extremely inadequate because of it.
Not good enough for God’s work.
But now my eyes are opened. God’s Will is not a mystery. It is not something that must be sought. It’s not a test we can pass or fail.
God’s Will is one simple thing: For us to recognize, accept, embrace and express who we are. We are to be thankful for how we have been created, thankful for being who we are and then live our lives as expressions of who we are.
This, then, sets up a whole new set of priorities for us, as human beings.
We no longer need to seek purpose and meaning. We have it. Clear & simple.
Our task is to discover and understand who we are, then make the choices necessary to express who we are.
Once again, life really is all about us. It’s all about us becoming the real, authentic us and then finding ways to authentically express who we are.
This is powerful, life-changing, affirming and fulfilling information. It allows us to have clarity. It affords us strength. If activates calmness…because this knowledge empowers us to start living “as intended” in the security of adequacy.
Is it any wonder, then, that our modern society is all about the opposite frame of mind? We aren’t complete unless we buy the right type of denim, drive the right car, live in the right place….
We live in a world that sells us on our own inadequacy, that makes us doubt who we are and what we are doing. As a result, most of us search for -- long for -- meaning and purpose.
But this longing and searching is misleading, because it isn’t meaning and purpose we seek. What we truly long for is truth and clarity – the truth and clarity that is provided in the Garden of Eden Story.
What we want so desperately is to feel good about being who we are. The Garden of Eden Story provides us with all we need to do that.
The third reason this story is so important for us to understand is because it is ultimately all about us. It’s the story of you. It’s the story of me.
There have been countless debates through the ages about whether or not this story is factually true. Was there really an Adam & Eve?
That’s an argument that will never be settled. And here’s the good news. It doesn’t matter.
What does matter is the meaning of the story, the wisdom it wishes to impart.
When all is said and done, Adam & Eve represent you and me. Adam & Eve ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. Everyday, I eat the fruit of the same forbidden tree. I follow in Adam & Eve’s footsteps. I believe I am inadequate.
Even though I – of all people -- know better, I succumb.
And that’s the point of this Story. It provides a clear picture of “The human dilemma.” It shows us what it is, how we are affected by it and what its consequences are.
The knowledge in this Story is priceless! It answers all our questions.
What’s wrong with me? I choose to believe I’m inadequate.
How did I get this way? I continue to choose to believe I’m inadequate.
Why do I feel this way? Because I was born that way….
Now, a lot of folks will take exception to this last statement and say babies are pure. But the Story doesn’t tell us that. It essentially explains that we are born this way.
This, then, would lead these folks to say, “It’s not our fault. We are born with this ‘flaw’. It’s not our responsibility. It wasn’t our choice so we can’t be held accountable.”
To this, I can only say, “Yes, it is our choice – a choice we make everyday. Like it or not, more often than not, we will choose to side with our inadequacy.”
But now that we have awareness in the light of the clarity provided by the Garden of Eden Story, we can now begin to make choices that reinforce our adequacy. We can start choosing to believe we are perfect as we are. That, as is, we are “very good.”
We can know the truth and with that truth, we can start making better, more fulfilling. More affirming choices. We can begin to live “as intended” and expressing who we are – because we understand the Story of the Garden of Eden.
Living in this state of intended awareness doesn’t necessarily make life easier. It’s not the magic wand that makes the world bend to your whims and wishes. I would argue the pursuit of such is nothing more than an expression of one’s attempt to compensate for inadequacy.
Life is hard. And it’s not getting any easier. The wisdom offered in the Story has nothing to do with making things easy or fulfilling dreams. What it does offer is meaning, purpose and clarity – and, along with these, the peace that passes all understanding. The Peace that only comes from being at peace with ones’ self.
That peace is the gift the Story of the Garden of Eden offers to anyone and everyone who reads and understands….