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