Sunday, July 5, 2009

Paradox and the Tree

I am so fascinated by our mythology. Right now I am reading The Power of Myth (Joseph Campbell) and Strangers in Paradox (by Margaret & Paul Toscano).

Anyway, while reading in Strangers in Paradox something dawned on me.

While we believe that Adam and Eve brought death into the world by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, we also believe that they brought LIFE into the world at the same time!

Now, I know we do teach this, but the paradox has never occured to me. It's amazing that through their AGENCY they were able to bring death AND life into the world. I think we are speaking of both spiritual and physical death/life.

Just eating from the Tree of Life could not accomplish this task.

We all acknowledge the paradox of the commands they were given in the garden. Why does God seem to give us opposing commands? So that we can choose which to follow. Perhaps this is not a choice between good and evil. Perhaps it is a choice of lesser truth and higher truth...or what we are ready for at that time.

Then follows the paradox of Adam and Eve being "punished." Adam must till the earth to earn his food. But what a blessing! Eve must pass through pain to bring forth life. What a blessing! Adam and Eve are two beings who must realize they are actually ONE. What an amazing journey of discovery that will be!
What a blessing to no longer remain a child and to grow into an adult. Leaving your Father and Mother to strike out and make it on your own. To discover how you are still connected to your Parents and they permeate everything in life. Maybe they aren't as far away as we think.

I have gone through several interpretations of the Garden story...and they all are probably true. There are layers and layers of truths that constantly amaze me. It'll take me a lifetime to scratch the surface.

One of the amazing things Joseph Campbell says in The Power of Myth is that our myths are supposed to aleviate our guilt about having to "kill to live." It has brought a whole new dimension to the gospel for me. Thinking of Christ and the sacrament in this context today was very enlightening.
Our myths, or the gospel, should be building us up not tearing us down. We have the power to choose which side of the paradox to partake.

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