In a past post I mentioned some of the popular symbols of the bible, mountains, roads, valleys, etc. I want to examine another story in the bible according to symbolic language (like I did the one verse related to John the Baptist earlier). The bible begins with the story of the creation that results in a garden. Throughout most of the bible, gardens often show up as a metaphor for the soul.
For example, in Job 8:16 - "He is like a well-watered plant in the sunshine, spreading its shoots over the garden" where here we have a person how receives much (well lwatered), but has no depth and his roots go around rocks, and he withers because he has no depth to his soul.So if we use that metaphor in the book of Genesis, a new understanding emerges. If we see the creation, not as the creation of the universe, but as the creation of an individual soul; then the Garden represents that individuals psyche.
or in Isaiah 1:30 - "You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water." again, suggesting that without nurishment and water (revelation? spirit?) the soul dries up and is only useful as firewood... (a dire hint... lol).
It is possible to carry the metaphor of creation much further, perhaps too far, by noting that all of the elements of the creation can be related to the creation of a new child. My quick associations:
1. Let there be light - the moment of conception
2. Separate waters - the formation of the fetus
3. Dry land - the formation of bones
4. Vegetation - the creation of systems in the body (nervous, circulatory, lymph)
5. Lights - establishment of rhythms of the body -
a. Sun - daily cycles - eating, sleeping
b. Moon - monthly cycles - moods, ovulation
c. Stars - age cycles - child, teen, adult, parent, grandparent, age
6. Animals - suggestion of movement, muscles, beginnings of life
7. Adam - the moment of quickening, life, awareness
Taken all together, the suggestion then is that the Garden of Eden represents a child in an innocent state. and all the players in the garden are simply different aspects of an individual soul. Adam represents awareness; Eve represents desires (she is desirable); and the snake represents our ego. Notice that it is the snake that pushes Adam and Eve to be like the gods (parents), to know good and evil. To me, God in the story represents our own intuition, higher consciousness, our soul, our connection to that higher power. The gods are the false gods promised by the snake and equated to God - and, ironically, they are our parents, society, and those that assume a god-like dominance over our own ability to choose what is best for us. Granted as a child, we may not always know, but the ability to learn and know is slowly eroded by those that would protect us and keep us safe.
So in the Garden there are two trees, the "Tree of Life" and the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil." Eventually, our ego (the snake) persuades us through our desire (eve) to be like our parents (gods) to accept the fruit (results) of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This tree requires a little explanation.
In the beginning, while Adam was still in the garden, God asks Adam to name the animals (Genesis 2, the other version of creation where Adam comes first). In this version, Adam simply observes and names the animals accordingly, there is no judgment apparent in the names. Just things like "Long Tooth" or "Eats Berries" (ok, you may have to go back to the original language to see this). But by taking of the fruit of good and evil, Adam (you) learn to judge things as "good" or "evil" - and here is the key. This is all about fear. You learn that if a thing is evil, you fear it; but if a thing is good, you fear it will be taken away. This is the meaning of the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil." That it is the tree of fear.
So the whole (metaphysical) meaning of this story is that when a child is born, when you were born, you were taught, as all of us were taught, to fear. to be afraid of a burning stove, losing a loved one, not having enough. And this fear is in opposition to life. Most people believe that the opposite of life is death, but it is not. The opposite of life is Fear.