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Interpretations of Genesis and the Biblical Story of The Garden of Eden

Updated on May 9, 2018
Luke Holm profile image

Luke works as a middle school English, ELD, social justice, and mindfulness teacher in the sanctuary city, San Jose, CA.

Preface

I do not think of the Garden of Eden story, sometimes referred to as the Garden of God, as having only one interpretation or meaning.

I think limiting this story to strictly fact or merely fiction is a shallow approach to the depth this story allows. It is a tale that permeates many cultures and belief systems. It is an archetype of our mind. In my opinion, the story of The Garden of Eden is a story about us; about our mind, our society, and our soul.

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Introduction

The story goes a bit like this:

Adam and Eve are created and born into the world by God. They then walk around the Garden like children, unaware that they are naked. They are in direct connection to God and do not fear Him. Then, they are deceived and eat from the Tree of Knowledge. After, they recognize that they are naked. They become disconnected from God and are cast out of the Garden. Outside of the Garden, they are cursed to tend the fields, bare painful childbirths, and experience loss, separation, and hate.

There are many different versions of this story, but the following are some of the similar, basic, underlying elements shared throughout most versions of the story.

Is this story a fact? Is it fiction? Is there a deeper meaning for our lives? The various elements, symbols, and motifs are understood and expressed differently all across the world. Let’s not limit such a powerful interpretation of our beginning to one dogmatic interpretation.

I think the Garden of Eden story helps humans understand the meaning of life. It explains what we are doing here on this planet. It is an outline for humanity and a tool for enlightenment. Let me explain:

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I. Human Life and Consciousness

Adam and Eve are archetypal figures that express the progression of human life and human consciousness.

Stage 1) Walking in the Garden: As humans, we are born into the world. Then, as children, we walk around not knowing we are naked. We do not see ourselves as separate from our surroundings and, in essence, are one with all things (just like Adam and Eve before their fall). Psychologically speaking, we experience oceanic consciousness.

Stage 2) Eating the Fruit: Then, we are taught right from wrong, and good from bad. We are given a formal education. We are taught the ways of the world and we see ourselves as distinctly separate from our surroundings. We form an ego that says I am me and you are outside of me.

Stage 3) Kicked out of the Garden and the Journey: This disconnect is sad and we spend a large majority of our lives searching for meaning, for a connection to something that we feel is important and necessary for happiness. Many people do not go beyond this level of humanity. They die seeking, having never found what they were looking for.

Stage 4) Moving back into the Garden: The answer lies within ourselves. The answer is to become once again like a child, to recognize that the earth that we live on is the Garden of Eden.

There is more. In the later stages of life, we are to integrate our knowledge of good and evil with a deep and sincere sense of oneness. In order to do this, we must let go the ego and become a spiritual being.

This is the most difficult phase to accomplish, because it means letting go of your control on life, while watching as “good” and “bad” happen to you daily. Many people call this disconnect mindfulness. In this latter phase, good and bad will still occur, but you will see them from an elevated view. You will understand that all is one and that there is no real good or bad. Rather, it is one.

So, you see, the stages are 1) Walking in the Garden: innocence and oneness; 2) Eating the Fruit: knowledge of self and the ego; 3) Being kicked out of the Garden: journey of self-realization; and 4) Moving back into the Garden: a bringing of the knowledge of self into a state of oneness.

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II. Progression of Human Constructs and Society

The Garden of Eden expresses a movement from the hunter gatherer age to the agricultural age of humanity.

This story speaks about humanity. In the beginning, we walked around naked as primitive humans. We had to work together for survival. Then, we formed language and started creating a sense of separation.

Stage 1) Walking in the Garden: Originally, we were in the “garden” as hunter gatherers, working directly with the earth, taking from it as we desired. We were innocent, like children, living day to day and with no real goals for the future. At first, we did not seek control. However, we eventually developed the knowledge of cultivating the earth.

Stage 2) Eating the Fruit: We separated ourselves from the “garden” by domesticating animals and beginning the agricultural age and beginning to develop societies. This inspired greed and want for more, which beget “good” and “evil”.

Stage 3) Kicked out of Garden and the Journey: As we continued to progress, we became increasingly disconnected from our roots, which might be seen as God or the earth, and more and more determined to create a life for ourselves better than that which was originally given to us. At this point, we have been influenced by Lucifer’s deception.

Stage 4) Moving back into Garden: To once again come back to the "Garden", we must integrate our newfound technology with an environmentally friendly way of living. We must let go of our need to control every aspect of our progressive development as human beings. We need to again become connected with the earth.

We must let go of the need for accumulation and embrace the essence of living in direct connection with our planet. If we don't, we are like Lucifer, asserting that we can create a better life for ourselves outside of God’s abundance.

Well, we are just beginning to see the hell that we have created on earth. Perhaps we are the angels that were cast out of heaven, for even you believe that you need some measure of control over your life. This need for control indicates a lack of faith in God’s perfect plan. What would it take to just let go and let God provide for you?

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III. The Mirror of our Soul

God is reaching out for us to understand the truth of what it means to have a soul in connection with Him.

Stage 1) Walking in the Garden: It is said that God is found within the heart or soul of a human. We were born with this connection and some maintain it throughout their lives. However, the majority forgets this deep, resonating truth and fall into believing the world is more than a mirage.

We were originally created by God, in heaven. We walked with God and were one with God. When it comes down to it, we are literally one with God. Our ego and sense of humanity creates a separation that makes us forget this truth.

Stage 2) Eating the Fruit: At one point, we were tempted by Lucifer into thinking that we could create a better reality for ourselves than God can. We revolted against heaven / “the Garden” / our connection / the truth and were cast out.

Stage 3) Kicked out of the Garden and the Journey: Being cast out, we were sentenced to a prison term on earth in which we would experience a disconnect from God. We were made to suffer the pains of mortality and humanity. It is a hell on earth.

A veil has been pulled over our eyes. It blinds us from the realization that God is right here, right now. He always has been and always will be. We are the ones who turn our back on God, not the other way around.

The more we learn worldly knowledge, the further we trap ourselves and distract ourselves from the true goal, to come back into connection with God. The more humanity falls into the traps of consumerism, progressive technology, and societal infrastructure, the more we attempt to create a reality for ourselves that is better than the original one God provided. This is the great deception that everyone is falling into.

Stage 4) Moving back to the Garden: The goal is to escape from society and come back into connection with God and his creation, the earth. When this communion occurs, we will begin to glimpse what it was once like before we banished ourselves here (to this state of mind and place in time). Don’t fall prey to the deception. Don’t think that this world is normal. It is tearing you away from the truth of who we are and why we are here.

Seeing the Garden of Eden

Can you see the Garden all around?

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Conclusion

The Garden of Eden story promotes enlightenment.

Now that you see the four stages of Eden: walking in the Garden, eating the Fruit, leaving the Garden, and then returning to the Garden. In understanding these archetypes for humanity and human consciousness, recognize that humanity, in general, has been stuck on the third stage for far too long. Our pursuits are greedy and indicative of the separation element expressed earlier.

When will we realize that the earth is the Garden of Eden? When will remember our connection to God, our planet, and all of the universe? Enlightenment shows us that we are still living in the Garden. When will we let go and start enjoying the gifts and abundance originally intended?

Do you realize that life outside of the Garden is Lucifer's realm?

Open your eyes. Look all around. See the truth. Come home.

© 2017 JourneyHolm

Comments

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    • Luke Holm profile imageAUTHOR

      JourneyHolm 

      21 months ago

      Paul, I appreciate you taking the time to read and understand this hub. I don't think interpretations are limited to the constraints I've put on my analysis, however, I agree that these ideas have merit. I think the important thing is that people are interpreting these stories from their own perspective, opening up to the truth of their soul. Thanks again :)

    • Paul K Francis profile image

      Paul K Francis 

      21 months ago from east coast,USA

      I like your ideas on this subject. I think there is much merit in all the interpretations that you present. Enjoyed reading.

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