Cast Out from the Garden of Eden

SA wrote on Progressive Ink: “It’s no small secret that the ancients who came up with the patriarchal doctrine of Original Sin being passed along by the seed of our biological fathers . . .” Presumably, this “secret” is not actually written in the biblical texts as a literal. Does the writer of this quote care to further explain?

I’ve believed for many years now that the story of Adam and Eve being ‘cast out’ from the Garden of Eden likely happened because they procreated, but the biblical stories only imply this at best; “imply” might even be to strong of a word to use. To make this leap required connecting a dot that doesn’t seem to be explicitly connected in the King James biblical translation. The primary ‘missing dot’ I saw is that the stories subsequent to the expulsion include their children, Cain and Able.

SA is the first other person whose thoughts I’ve read that confirms this belief of mine. It also brings to my mind, first and foremost, that being ‘cast out’ from Eden was simply a metaphorical reference to a population boom, which, as some of us may understand, is quite out-of-control in our current earthly civilization. Weren’t there other biblical stories of occasional famines?

Population booms and famines are a complementary historical cycle of earthly life, one not confined solely to humans. The first act leading to a population bubble, like sets of falling dominos, sets in motion serieses of causes and effects, culminating in an eventual extinction, often due to the food supply becoming scarce, but not necessarily limited only to extinction by famine. For the deeply devout, eschatology becomes the point of focus of this natural cause and effect.

Being ‘cast out’ of Eden, when understood literally, means something else entirely than what the missing-dot message delineated above suggests, bringing to mind thoughts of “punishment” when restricted to this singular story concept. As a lesson taught to a potentially procreative couple in the distant past by an omnipotent, the literal interpretation of punishment and resulting guilt for failure to obey is quite strong among some believers.

Some people that I’ve discussed this story with suggested that Eve’s eating of the fruit from the tree of knowledge at the urging of the serpent is a metaphor within a metaphor, instigated by yet another metaphor. This tends to result in an obfuscated original-intent meaning, open to many interpretations. Are any ‘missing dots’ explicitly connected in other religious or surviving historical texts regarding any procreative reason for the expulsion from Eden of Adam and Eve?

Regardless, what we appear to have ended up with for a number of millennia is a cycle of hierarchical command and control punishments, for all but the luckiest, meted out generously by humans in various societal hierarchies. Punishments are even executed when other people’s non-harmful-to-another behaviors are not to their liking.

When one is punished, that lesson ultimately teaches how to punish.

5 thoughts on “Cast Out from the Garden of Eden

  1. Ken, you wrote, “SA wrote on Progressive Ink: “It’s no small secret that the ancients who came up with the patriarchal doctrine of Original Sin being passed along by the seed of our biological fathers . . .” Presumably, this “secret” is not actually written in the biblical texts as a literal. Does the writer of this quote care to further explain?”

    I’m unclear as to what you are asking me. Can you say more?

  2. I’m not sure that I can clarify my questions further. This morning shortly after I woke up I thought I should delete this entry. In some respects, perhaps the post is simple dribble; it’s certainly tangential to your entry.

    The above interpretation of original sin was an impression I had, years ago, from later thinking about what I had read in the KJ bible, when I read it from cover-to-cover some 25-28 years ago, as a latter-year teenager. My memory of that reading is now quite dim. I was either blessed (my belief), or cursed (what others have told me), that I didn’t have any outside influences, such as a religious group to guide my reading and understanding of it.

    It wasn’t at all clear what Adam & Eve’s sin was to deserve expulsion. On one hand, there’s the literal, they ate a forbidden fruit, and were punished for disobedience. OTOH, there would be no reason for them to ‘cover themselves’ for this particular disobedience, and which suggests the fruit is at best a metaphor.

    It simply strikes me that this particular story helps to create psychosexual dysfunctions in some believers.

  3. Ken, your being to hard on yourself. This post is not dribble at all! If only more people would give such issues as in-depth and lengthy thought as you obviously have …

    The issue I am forced to raise in light of your questions has to do with the literalness in which it seems you are taking the Genesis account of the Garden of Eden and the subsequent fall. I’m not convinced they are history, true, or could have been filmed had there been the technology to do so. The story is at best theology, which does present us with a myth and much truth;literal, however, it is not. This is where I’m not connecting with your ideas. Please, help me out if you can …

    Also, there is much more to say about the aid such stories give to the creation of “psychosexual dysfunctions in some believers,” as you say. I think you would do good to investigate this even further than you obviously already have. There is a mountain of detail within this particular subject that could/would do these sorts of “believers” some very real good. This is the point that I think you wonderfully raise in this post. /

  4. SA, just as a quick note, what I attempted was to create a rhetorical oscillation between literal and metaphorical interpretative questions as a method of illustrating something which I saw when reading it versus later thinking about what I’d read. Nowhere when I read it, that I recall, did I see anything in the text that suggested the whole story is a metaphor. Perhaps that indication is in the “original” scrolls, if they still exist—that I do not know. I do know that I have no intention of spending the rest of my years studying every semantic nuance.

    One thing that I found (years ago) was that attempting to understand many portions, especially the New Testament, such as Revelations and some letters other portions, twisted my mind into metaphorical knots. I only learned of the Jefferson Bible a few years ago, and find myself somewhat regretful that I didn’t read it instead when I was a teenager.

    If science and religion will one day come together in a better understanding of the phenomenon described in the Garden of Eden story, then I suppose that given current scientific thought that I’m privy too (not much, just what’s generally in the news), that fit seems to work better when the whole biblical story of Creation and the Garden of Eden is understood solely as a metaphor.

    But metaphor is not what my mind perceived when I first read the words.

  5. I believe the Garden of Eden story in the Bible to be symbolic language – although I must add that I grew up in a religion that believes it to be fiercely literal. (I am no longer associated with that religious group)

    I think one must ask, what is the Garden of Eden aka “Paradise”. And does such a place or state exist today. Many who practice meditation, the stilling/quieting of the mind, will say that this is the state in which we connect with our spiritual self. Rather than “thinking”, it is more about a state of “beingness” (from which comes the expression “I AM”)and this state, when totally absent of thought, can be quite euphoric.

    Anyone who practices meditation will attest to the effect that even very modest attempts at meditation has on daily living – calm, joy, and positive outlook on the world and its inherent madness.

    Eating of the fruits of the material world ie. only seeing our brothers and sisters as “bodies” and not seeing them as souls and our interconnectedness, taking of the material world and not living the spiritual life, results in a loss of that state of connectedness to our spiritual self and loss of the calm, joy and love for all beings and things – ie a decent into our own self-made hell.

    When we connect with one another at the spiritual level, the result is joy rather than conflict, struggle and pain. (It is interesting that when there is a disaster, many humans have an easier time reconnecting with their brothers at the spiritual level and materiality is relegated to a place of much less significance)

    Why the reference to cover up?

    When we see one another through spiritual eyes, flaws, erros and “wrong” have no meaning as they are met with total love which has no judgement (Some Christian churches teach that God, who is a God of love, is a judgemental and punishing God – which is most unfortunate – because God is relegated to a have a love that is inferior to many humans who are able to practice unconditional love with their children). When we see the world through non-spiritual sight, we are using the ego – where the predominant player is fear, and where “love” is conditional, at best.

    These were also the central teachings of Jesus. Interestingly, Christian churches, while they are very busy teaching vicarious salvation, forget that Jesus said that we could do what he was able to do AND MORE!!!

    Bottom line is that the Garden of Eden story is a message to us all on how to live in a paradise-like state – and how it is that we create our own hell.

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