The Garden allegory, including both Adam and Eve, is pictured as wholeness and oneness with God, with a shared reality with Him, intimate and personal. Although the garden is physically outside of oneself, the relationship with God seems existent as already birthed or awakened from within. Adam and Eve thus directly share unity with God.
The story later relates the lost understanding and relationship with God, lost light and power, and entering a world of consequences, both in the physical and the soul nature.
The garden represents the Temple, the place of congregation. The bows of the trees form the enclosure (overseeing) where God communes with man. The communion represents relationship, individuality, developed soul identity, and sharing, not only of time but of experiences.
Israel’s culture and people extend into the ancient Near East region. For this reason, the Garden narrative reflects similar images to Egyptian and Sumerian traditions. The Gilgamesh Epic is one noted example. Other similarities will be mentioned later, such as the serpent, which is safe to people as long as it stays on its path, but becomes dangerous when it rears up, as we see with the Satan-Serpent. Other traditions seem more particularly assigned to Isreal, which would include the desire for wisdom as opposed to eternal life, revisited in the Hebrew Bible.* It should be assumed that Judaic belief in the eternal life of the soul was firmly established, more so than in previous cultures. It would be wisdom that would be needed for interaction with God, His word, His law, and His code of conduct.
*Ex. 28.3, “And thou (Moses) shalt speak unto all who are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may Aaron’s garments to consecrate him…” establishing the first formal priesthood; Ex. 31.1-6, referring to Bezaleel; Dt. 5. 4.6, Moses speaks, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people,” referring to obeying the law and statutes given by God; I Kg. 4.29, “And God gave Soloman wisdom and understanding exceeding much (perception), and largeness of heart, even the sand that is on the sea shore.” Wisdom and heart teaching are pronounced throughout Hebrew and Christian scripture and an underpinning of the Way as Jesus later revealed his teaching.
Biblical literalists contend the garden account is historical but then transcribed through figures of speech. This view coincides with Pauline interpretation, then further developed under Augustine and others. For centuries this interpretation became the Christian view. Most scholars, however, accept the garden story as an allegory, usually associated with wisdom parables or tales. Others have observed it as a slightly altered version of the Babylonian creation myth. In whatever way a person may view the garden narrative, one concept within the story remains clear—through lack of discernment followed by disobedient acts, mankind’s consciousness becomes tainted and falls from his enlightened condition with God.
The concept of wisdom as the central theme reveals the core of what later develops as the teaching of the Way. Wisdom directs us toward many other attributes of character: perception is wedded to the spirit, not the intellectual fabric of man’s notions; a fundamental rightness or fairness becomes inculcated, leading to the many considerations of man concerning the broader subject of balance and continuity, or righteousness instead of power as the standard. The general nobility of man now comes into refined scrutiny, with this inspection forming many delineations concerning character, to which a major portion of the Hebrew Bible is dedicated. The teachings of Jesus continually illustrate this character format, with the spirit of God within assuming the center stage as opposed to man’s intellectual standards in the forefront, or what was in Jesus’ day an overabundance of the legalistic view.
GOOD and BAD
Man is made “from the dust of the ground” (2.7), “breath of life…living being.”
‘Dust’ is noted as dead or dead soil by the roadside (Mt. 13.4). Within Judaism, death, the grave, and dust are spiritual references to being dead to the spirit within or unawakened (Mt. 23.27).
“Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat,” Gen. 2.16. The fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Bad may not be eaten, “thou shalt surely die.” The Satan-serpent appears as a shining one (Nachash). Midrash: “Just as you did not die from touching it, so you will not die of eating it.”
As the Garden is denoted as a Tabernacle, Adam is depicted as the priest-king, with Eve fulfilling the identity of the priestess. The sin becomes creating the self, not within the godly tradition of inspiring individuality, but one of covetousness and possession, including a negative assortment of attitudes and motives (getting or grasping out of season as opposed to receiving)—once created we continue to possess ourselves, as we will later see in the story of Cain. The motive for eating the fruit is a lust for acquisition, also out of season.* Receiving the harvest (bounty), also the Tree of Life, is not directly represented in the Garden story. Only the tree of the knowledge of good and evil receives attention.
*See Matt. 18.1-6: humility, child of God.
Having blown life into thee, God expects each person to develop his life. Life is not mere existence, but the living of that life which gives life meaning. Most people understand this principle intuitively. We have Life, but the quest for Life’s meaning becomes the quest for man.
Soul development begins with discernment. Discernment is an essential factor concerning the Way. For, once a person discerns, choices naturally follow, and these choices direct individual experiences. Experiences develop character and individuality within the soul. Choice imbued with discernment denotes soul awakening. Lack of discernment denotes mortal sleep and leads to most of the problems we face in life.
The spiritual life within the garden is typified by communion with God, which represents wholeness.
The garden symbolizes unity, peace, bounty, and physical wholeness.
Adam and Eve share a relationship, masculine and feminine unity or wholeness.
In the Gospel of John: “If you keep my commands you will stay in my love—just as I have kept my Father’s commands and stay in His love,” (15.10-17).* Bad choices, disobedience, and loss of unity and love all come into play as we witness the garden story unfold.
*Complete Jewish Study Bible
The power of choice is testified to throughout scripture.
Sow for wisdom and good choice.
The seduction begins when the serpent (Diviner, Shining One) questions Eve about the fruit from the Tree of Desire.* The seed of doubt is cast onto Eve’s innocent but fertile mind, “You are not to eat from any tree in the garden?”**
*Nachmonides (Ramban) interprets the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Bad as the Tree of Desire (ritz hada’at). **KJV: “Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden?”
This fruit of which Eve is to partake shares both the good and the bad. The promised result is to make Eve wise and powerful, “…you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The word ‘knowing’ does not mean to know about, but is understood as intimate, to experience it. Eve might not understand what ‘knowing’ means, yet. As Eve would discern it, she would become exalted into a new power and status, beckoning her toward a certain kind of divinity.
The crux of the serpent’s argument to freely eat, “from any tree,” harbors a much deeper issue. Satan offers a way to access power outside the authority of God, or God’s plan, an offer to operate under a different authority, which would be each person’s own—you become a god (in your own right) once you step outside of God.*
*This differs from Jn. 10.34, in which Jesus states: “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, Ye are gods.’ “ This refers to the spirit within, which Jesus later teaches, ‘the Kingdom of God is within you,’ (Lk. 17.21). Continuing in Jn. 10.35, “If he called them gods, unto the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;” “unto the word of God came” refers to ‘instilled within’ or ‘to be like or of Him’, or awakened.
The seduction is more than standing up to authority as questioning youth is wont to do, but represents a shift into a different color of consciousness. The serpent offers ease of accomplishment, results without effort, and a deal too good to be true. ‘All you have to do is eat this,’ he promises, ‘and you can have what God keeps from you.’ The previous statement is divisive, not a wholeness pathway then developed through measured steps, which would describe the teaching of the Way.
Satan is associated with the serpent (not a snake) and the dragon, or sea dragon (Tiamat, feminine). He is reptilian (water).
Read Ezekiel 28.13-19, (18)”…inequity of thy traffic, (19) “…never shalt thou be any more.”
Genesis 3.1 Now the serpent* was more subtil (=wise, clever) than any beast of the field which the Lord God (=Elohim) had made. And he said to the woman, “Yea, hath God said, ‘Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”**
*This scripture infers craftiness, that he was shrewd, suggesting an acute perception, one who could or would look for any weakness. Most scholars accept that the serpent was one of the beasts of the field. The serpent must then be understood as an interfering spirit, a seduction into ‘other than God’, or other than wisdom.
**=”Can it be that God has said?” A question is given as a figure of speech, indicating contradiction (opposition) to God’s instruction. This approach is intellectual in nature, it is constructed carefully, intended to lead Eve to a conclusion, and is deceptive, as at the beginning of the conversation it is not couched as a direct argument, but to seed doubt, to sway.
“Every tree of the garden?”, indicates lust or overwhelming desire. “Why not have everything?” Choice without wisdom, or as it pleases you; “pleasant to the eyes,” v.6.
3.2 And the woman said unto the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: (3) But the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it,* lest ye die.’ “**
*”Neither shall ye touch it,” is added by Eve. She leaves out the word ‘freely’; freely indicates gladness and abundance. Eve now begins to configure (intellectualize) the situation for herself.
**”Lest ye die,” indicates the seed of doubt has captured Eve; for v. 2.17, “thou shall surely die,” is what God said, which is a much more definitive statement.
3.4 And the serpent said unto the woman, “Ye shall not surely die:* (5) For God doth know in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods (divine beings),** knowing good and evil.”
*Satan’s first contradiction questions, the second contradiction is direct. Satan gives his reasons for supporting the lie, which accuses God of falsehood—”Ye shall not surely die.” ‘It is God who is the liar, not me,’ Satan insinuates. The death referred to is spiritual, not physical, which was not perceived by Eve.
**”Ye shall be as gods=be as God.
3.6. And when the woman saw the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired (acquired) to make one wise,* she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
*Usually taught as the lust of the flesh (food, eyes), however, the component of “to make one wise” seems to clinch Eve into acting; also, boastful within the self, apart or outside of God. At this point, the intellectual fabric of Eve’s mind is woven, grasping instead of receiving within God’s order of events, acquiring (receiving) instead of taking harvest from God’s bounty—good is everywhere within the garden but Eve chooses otherwise, sealing the separation. Eve’s real harvest will become a calculus of wants, lusts, cunning to obtain, and eventually greed, or greed for power instead of coveting righteousness. Man’s power to execute such warrants is established, and to take by desire is also obtained (license, intellectual justification).
The wisdom Eve saw (opened) was an instrument or construct of deceit or a kind of magick, which would only add to the problem. The Satan-serpent’s wisdom is better described as craftiness, wise in evil or deceit, not a normal balanced intelligence.
3.7 And the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked;* and they sowed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
*Adam becomes “naked” through the loss of his likeness to God. God does not sin: Adam has sinned, and he is no longer like God, producing a sense of wrongness and shame. God does not need clothes, but Adam must now cover himself, cover his loss. The shame itself is not sexual but deals more with identity and communion and oneness, and the resultant separation. Adam and Eve have separated themselves from God and godly standards.
The separation is the construction the Satan-serpent has created, which Eve has accepted, and then passed on to Adam. Note that only Eve is seduced, and she eats the fruit for the wrong reasons. These reasons deal with attitudes and motives generally, which for the teaching of the Way insinuates self-inspection as to personal motives. In effect, the Eve priestess creates self not after the traditions of God but is lent toward the creation of self-centeredness and what each person determines as good or bad through this newly born intellectual construct. Wisdom is not mediated, for Eve also separates herself from Adam, leaving him out of this picture.
If God oversees, His time and His timing are essential. God’s timing (season) has now been negated. The mystical ascension so many seek, and which Eve sought (wisdom), is best kept in the character Christ demonstrated: completing his mission (will of my Father), obedience (not my will), loving God (1st commandment), loving others (2nd commandment), and many more attributes that could be mentioned. Eve’s scale of abandoned principles is overwhelming. Jesus will later delineate the teaching of the Way so that those not knowing may know, and those who drift may follow.
Remember that Eve is in a delicate position and does not know the good from the bad. Thus far, all she has encountered is good. All she knows are personal choices, which berry or ‘apple’ looks good to eat. There is no deducing when it comes to such a choice, no intellectual configuration. However, choices based on value or a specific standard have not yet arisen for her, nor the confrontation between likes and preferences, as opposed to either obedience or wisdom. The serpent’s reasoning fits right in place, and well timed.
In light of this confrontation, Eve does not seek wisdom from God, she does not ask nor knock on the door before she enters. She separates herself from counsel and does not inquire, either of God or Adam. She, like many of us, bursts through based on personal likes and preferences, desires, and even lust. Separation from Authority (God) and Experience (Adam), now occurs. Eve has removed herself from her spiritual base and in doing so has put herself in a precarious position. This leads to the thought that a firm spiritual base for living life must be assumed and should not be abandoned.
In the counter position, Adam has had responsibility, for he has named the garden and the animals. He is familiar with the cognitive power of naming, he has made decisions in the context of God’s pathway. He, more than anyone, should know to ask God before indulging. Contrarily, Eve’s experience in these matters is lacking. That the essential quality of this fruit is being renamed as good, with the added allure of withheld knowledge, becomes the bait. Adam abandons a wisdom path through life, nor does he oversee circumstances, and in both responsibilities, Adam fails.
Like many of us, Adam proceeds incautiously. People often follow motivations similarly today, naming the good as suspect and the evil as good, nor do we use our knowledge, training, or broader awareness. What is good and what is bad has already been given its cognitive mold by God, and Adam has a certain type of knowledge in these matters. He makes assumptions based on the words of Eve and enters into what will become man’s intellectual-human circumstance, and does not remain in the obedience-wisdom tradition. Adam allows Satan’s intellectual extrapolation of reality to sway him, and as we will see, this shift in consciousness will later morph into widespread lawlessness and violence.
Another aspect seldom mentioned is Adam’s lack of watchfulness. Further, determining that should evil enter your garden, be wary should it contravene God. Adam does not use the values and experiences already enhanced within him. He, like Eve, seems to be completely taken in by the Nachash, the shining serpent. Adam shifts into perceiving and judging relative to circumstances as opposed to standards, which is common in today’s world, and in that sense enters into worldliness and abandons godliness.
The Garden allegory initiates the long journey of mankind through trial and tribulation relative to wisdom teaching. The final result within the Garden is that wisdom becomes lost, or perhaps was never allowed to develop. It has been contravened. Personal willfulness, one’s ideas not rooted in the spirit, takes wisdom’s place. The Garden story illustrates the fate of man.
Within Jesus’ mission, the spiritual principle of obedience is emphasized in many scriptures.*
* Mt. 7.21; Jn. 4.34, “…do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work.” Also, Mt. 16.24: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” This statement infers a discipline or discipleship into something not before undertaken, with obedience interwoven. In contrast, Eve embraces this newly constructed self, and Adam acquiesces.
The Garden story focuses on fundamental character attributes, of which one is obedience. But why obedience? The answer is that wisdom cannot be learned without obedience to the task, or the lesson taught, as the experience would not be thorough, and the learning incomplete. The obedience God delivers is not meant to control or suppress, but one that allows the blade to become honed as if stroke by stroke, or a pathway taken step by step, much as we see Adam originally doing. To have properly learned life’s lessons, instead of jumping forward out of season, would have saved Adam, and many of us from great troubles.
The basic principles of the Way are laid down within the Garden narrative. These principles primarily deal with character attributes and the ascension into an omnibus spirituality, the emergence of the spirit of God within. The rub of experience and the refining done by the spirit provide the basic platform from which each soul develops. The intellect, which most people perceive themselves as being, becomes sublimated within this spiritual development. A higher cognitive element enters the scene, with the intellect perhaps more an organizer but less so the knower. The constellation of Self begins to move along a different logos, wherein one discovers a much greater soul identity brought about by these physical and spiritual means.
The Path of the Way Jesus* teaches remains fundamentally connected to the spirit within and without (oneness, wholeness) but practical as to individual development. Many have noted how Jesus deals with each situation individually, with personal attention, with perception as one of his keenest attributes. This preciseness provides a solid lesson in one’s approach to the Way, and we discover over time and experience that simple obedience can bring rewards that the eyes of men do not easily see.
*Referring to the Essenes: The final interpretation of the Law and the Prophets was to be given by the Messiah.
The Path of the Way is intended to bring all people forward much in the manner Jesus taught—sow good seed, speak from the spirit in matters of importance, and commune with the spirit of God through prayer. Daily activities must respond to good character. God opens to those who sow into Him, those who reach for His spirit within and speak new creation, and those who seek. Bit by bit a greater oneness into the spirit of God is received, not grasped at as Eve would do.
The difference between grasping to acquire and receiving a harvest is fundamentally different and that is why the process of receiving can be one of the most difficult to learn. Good is everywhere if one looks; receiving good and casting the other aside is one of the most basic lessons of the Garden story.
Adam and Eve are learning in the context of a burgeoning awareness, it is true. So, during this time of development, the seduction is well-placed.* Eve sits near the tree, near the place of temptation, and where seduction will be much easier accomplished. Adam is nearby. Regardless of where you put yourself, the final choice becomes one of discernment that should lead to a wise choice, enhancing the attribute of wisdom.
*Mt. 13.29-30: “tares”, development of the plant is required before the garden can be weeded.
We later discover the Nazarenes distanced themselves from unnecessary temptation by living in retreat and semi-retreat communities. In a similar temptation story concerning Abraham and Lot: whilst Abraham stays away from Sodom, youth sees the flicking torches in the night, leading to many undesireable consequences. In the case of Adam and Eve, they possess undeveloped wisdom (growth), so they must respond to obedience; opposed is the authority of likes and dislikes, preferences, lust, or even negligence.
This last thought concerning lust is directed to the words spoken by Eve, “to make one wise,” which was first insinuated by the Satan-serpent (who knows good and evil). But wise how? Much like yourself, Adam and Eve are already like God,* made in God’s image, with the spirit within (breath of life) to give light to the soul.
*Lv. 19.2, “Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.”; Mt. 5.48, “…be perfect [complete], just as your Father in heaven is perfect [complete in all ways].” The return to holiness, whole or at one with God, is a repeated theme from the beginnings of Judaism. Through which avenues this return to God is structured, being the spiritual journey told through the trials and tribulations of the Jewish people.
Adam and Eve might be likened to spirit beings, innocent and pure, childlike and without guile, a shining innocence, perhaps not yet fully situated in their physical body or habitat. They are presented as explorers moving from tree to bush, picking and eating as they will. They seem to have no concerns. Concerns or consequences may not be in their lexicon, and they may not know of such things. Not at all like the serpent’s whispering voice that now beckons.*
*Companion text: The Way, Back to the Garden;
Self, Thine Own
The Satan-Serpent proposes “…like God” to insinuate power, and Eve extends herself into that power. But the Temptation does not infer godly character, of which one quality is discernment. Discernment is how you live your life, and life is best lived through a consistent pathway, much in the manner we see Jesus perform. Satan reveals knowledge out of season and through the conduit of desire, as opposed to sanctity or wholeness, and it splits from the direct instructions of God.
This knowing (“knowing good and evil”) and wisdom (“to make one wise”) will, instead, be assumed through the pathway of lust and aggrandizement. The godly attributes of obedience, caution, and insightfulness will be left behind.
The base attributes for handling power are not first put in place. To have provided the foreknowledge for such matters would align more with God’s plan, currently developing but not yet fully revealed. In Jesus’ time, Knowledge (Knowing) and Wisdom will make up the final studies of priestly training. Intuitively, Eve may have sensed the importance of these two qualities. Regardless, for Adam and Eve, this timing is out of season.
A fuller embrace of the flesh awaits Adam and Eve.
The seduction becomes a contrast of loyalty, or trust in God’s admonition, now compared to Eve replacing that trust with her still-developing personal perception—Eve sets aside spiritual standards, and lust is followed by grasping. The new religion of Self or self-centeredness arises, and it will determine good from bad. Eve’s statement of making a person wise also seems a personal interpretation of the nature of wisdom, of which she has none.
Lust clouds perception and may override wisdom. Eve does not rely on God, His teaching, or trust in the pathway God reveals. The Path of the Way unto God is superseded. Suddenly, these newly seeded events become the center focus, and part of that focus becomes Eve herself. The seductive incense of power rises to exhilarate the mind—Power out of season, perhaps? Even so, the new Self is created, and acquired without merit or effort—it now becomes easy to sin. Beforehand, it was not so easy, Adam and Eve had to be convinced, and many a man and woman has been seduced in this manner.
Sowing good seeds is mainly intended to develop spiritual character, outlook, and perception. It seems none of these standards are solidly in place— commitment, entailing obedience, leads to new creation; lust unravels the developing soul. Operating through lust, acquisition, and satisfaction of desire, the Nachash engenders the act and the power that comes with it, intended to push the soul-mind into kingship, exalted, overriding the spirit ‘blown into man,’ the very act Satan has committed himself. The soul becomes skewed and less connected to the spirit, producing what we describe today as the sleep of the earthbound self.
The false trail of illumination without God defines the very notion of, “ye shall be like God,”—in your imagination perhaps. The wisdom, the enlightenment, is never achieved through how a person might configure things or values rearranged by the intellect to suit oneself. The intellect may take you to a place and you may comprehend some things, but true knowledge or knowing comes by preparation, much like a field is prepared and then sown. The knowledge or wisdom arrives through the spirit as revelation, received as a manifestation of the spirit of God expressed from within. It seldom arrives as fruit offered by strangers.
Getting to know the spirit is far more important than studying intellectual treatments, which will later become the great complication concerning the law in Judaism, as Jesus will reveal. In short, Eve misperceives everything. Once this false and blinded (disobedient) Self is created, the spiritual connections to the garden habitat cease. These spiritual connections will be broken outside the Garden as well. The place of God, the Garden of Eden, has been profaned, and both Adam and Eve offer excuses (legalisms) instead of accepting responsibility. The crushing blow becomes leveled, as the creation of this false self will require complete expulsion.
Even if one views the Garden story symbolically—if the Garden is rendered as some form of purity with God, or wholeness, then the Garden is not compatible with this newly created self. As the Garden story further exposes, Adam completes the task through other paths—his relinquished guardianship (responsibility) is often repeated within the story of Life, and thus man’s authority (moral expression) ebbs from him as well. The Hebrew Bible is filled with a lack of these two attributes of character which leads to innumerable ill consequences. The conduit to God is shredded, and there is no longer a place for either of them in the garden.
Nor is whatever wisdom to be assumed necessarily at God’s timing, nor may it be wisdom at all, but will reveal itself through man as guile, and dishonesty.
Reaching and grasping out of season instead of receiving* from God, Adam and Eve’s beingness is acted out through Satan’s vision—power unrestricted and curbed by only Satan’s reasonings—“ye shall be like gods.”
*The Way emphasizes receiving, harvesting, and bounty, but not necessarily for wealth. The biblical standard is bounty, unlike the Sadducees who coveted wealth.
The allegoric message from the garden story focuses on the soul nature of man. The soul nature of man is also the focus of the Way. From eating the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil, the Will becomes colored, not by wisdom but by desire. The Mind becomes tainted, for the proposal is a deceit the mind has accepted and acted upon. The Emotions of the soul nature, too, will be run through a rugged course. The standards and requirements of the earthly journey have now been altered. Mankind’s knowledge and power will mimic Satan’s character, as will later manifest within Cain.
What do you attribute?
What do you give power to?
Whither Thou Goest?
The Tree of Life represents the Spirit as an authority, wholeness or healing, and eternality.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Bad) represents the world of circumstance or consequences.
The Jewish people and all of man will contest and then suffer over the standards of good and bad. This contention is unavoidable since the Fruit of Good and Bad is mixed. It is not that one piece of fruit may be good but another bad, but that the same fruit contains both good and bad. Thus, Satan’s temptation introduces confusion into the mind, for merely tasting the fruit draws you into the worldly condition—to taste the world as it were, but not well prepared nor armored by God.
Measured soul growth and obedience are straightforward, nothing had been denied to Adam and Eve. Many good fruits were available, just as they are available to us. There was plenty, even abundance. The quality of abundance is included in the story to point out God’s abundant nature toward His children. It points toward not struggling ‘to get’ since the abundance is available, but focused on receiving instead—you need not lust to receive but rather embrace to garner the harvest.
Another issue of soul development points to timing, God’s timing, measured in His ‘Order of Events’ and for your benefit. To sow the seed of good timing (God’s timing) has altered more than one life for the better. You may ask, knock and seek, sow and then reap; regardless, there is timing to preparation and there is timing to experiences. This is a wisdom Adam and Eve did not possess.
The foundation principles of the Way* that Jesus later teaches aim, in part, at smoothing periods of change or growth and being instructed through them. Much of the instruction is intended to emerge from the kingdom within and is intended to be posed within wisdom, not desire. In contrast, the seduction is opportunistic, not necessarily measured nor prepared for, but a sudden intrusion forcing a consequential decision.
*Belief-faith, love-forgiveness, knowledge-wisdom.
This first effort in the garden is later mimicked when Satan tempts Jesus. Jesus’ response was to get the Good, rather than seek fulfillment of only Desire. Desire instead of direction and purpose, thence possessed by lust and out of the will of the spirit, and grasping, all lead to greed and ill-gotten acquisition, with no necessary counterbalance toward love or spiritual beauty. Like Adam and Eve, a person may not always consider such things while entranced with glitter. The garden of enlightened understanding will be left behind and with it the intimate communion with God. Satan’s nature begins to show in the body of man.
In Jesus’ time, a clear example emerges. Since the time of the prophets (spokesman) had passed, the Jewish lawyers had been extending law upon law, with over two thousand purity laws from what began as the Ten Commandments, or Sayings. They not only had purity laws but had prayers to go with them.* These efforts were intellectual-legalistic and never had a spiritual core, the commandments of men. Revival never occurred, awakening never occurred, and the revelatory voice for the most part remained silent within Judaism.
The wrongheadedness of thinking that the ‘acquisition’ of more laws and lawyered behavior would somehow make a person more holy became the Satanic deceit Judaism had fallen into. Adam and Eve face a similar problem. Just as wrongheaded, they did not yet understand the consequences of stepping out of God’s order. Like the Pharisees, they imposed their own order, they chose a divergent pathway.
Depending only on intellectualized inner law instead of revelation, for Adam and Eve the enlightened vision begins to fade. Today, many tread the same pathway, making the same mistakes, if not within their experiences, then within their character (repetition). They continue to operate within the same character values but expect different results. Capturing the path from sowing revelation seeds becomes lost in desire and intellectual clutter. Figuring out replaces insight. Intellectual logic may produce a fine term paper but only mimics a deeper knowing. In the Ossaean and Pharisee’s case, the clutter becomes refining the law as a substitute for personal wholeness. In the times of Jesus, with the spiritual crop now residing in isolated patches, the people could never garner the true harvest.
In the Garden, the conscience of man had now become dulled and misguided. Although conscience has always been emphasized in the Hebrew Bible, the later resolution to the issue of parsing the good and the bad will become the introduction of the Holy Spirit, presented as the Comforter, the Ruach, the breath or wind of God, revealed when God blew life into Adam. The Holy Spirit, however, is and does awaken that conscience, that kingdom of God within, from whence the reflection of the godly man and his restoration begins.
John 14.17 provides a clear description of the worldly as opposed to the awakened: “For even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” This scripture directs us toward the kingdom within (conscience), with the Spirit of Truth (revealment) as to good and bad, essentially the original pathway intended for Adam and Eve, the Path of the Way unto God.
As to Satan, he still possesses wisdom, but it now manifests within the intellectual climate of craftiness (arum). He is angelic in his creation and still possesses light. However, rebellion has darkened him in his person, and he loses sanctity. He no longer pursues God’s course but pursues his own. No longer within God’s will, he naturally disdains God’s creation and will attempt to destroy it.
Sow seed for the Spirit of Truth to manifest and reveal your pathway.
The temptation is complex, so the conversation slyly begins with a question, but one which is technically misstated. Gen. 3.1, “Yea, hath God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” But Gen. 2.16-17 quotes God as saying, “Of every tree in the garden thou mayst freely eat. (17) But of the Tree of Good and Evil thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
Adam has already initiated the power God has given him. He demonstrates power over his dominion by naming the garden. He names the animals. He cultivates* the garden. He designates. Through his actions, Adam now has the impetus for soul development and individuality.
*Also, shomer=to guard.
As to Eve, she is understood as being once removed from the tenderest part, symbolized as being created from Adam’s rib.* She is designated to be better protected and thus perceived as innocent. Without a doubt, Satan also perceives Eve as more vulnerable (innocent) to his enticements and will engage in private discussions with her. Eve, for her part, may have been admiring the fruit and wondering. We know she was nearby, as was Adam.
*Correctly, tsela=side, inferring half.
The “surely die” God speaks of refers to spiritual death, even though Eve does not understand the real meaning.* Eve thinks God refers to physical death, but the satanic voice tells her she will not die (3.3), in which Satan also infers physical death. Satan has told a half-truth, or perhaps the truth turned backward. Physical life continues, though eventually, you will die, it is the spirit that wanes in influence.
*Most religious scholars think Adam would have told Eve about the Tree of Good and Evil.
The idea of Original Sin thus passed down to all men and women, has lost favor to some extent. This viewpoint surfaced during the later Christian era.
“The truth dramatized there is this: Human nature, made to go God’s way, has an inveterate tendency to listen to the temptation to go its own way, and this rebellious way must have an evil end— …For there are laws as old as creation which we are meant to obey; and as sure as creation, if we disobey them, we shall be in trouble.”* Foundational principles apply, long before Adam and Eve.
*Interpreter’s Bible, 1952, commentary on Genesis 3.1-8, p. 503.
Satan indicates that God withholds bounty and that He is selfish, possessive, and unreasonable to deny Eve such fruit. ‘And in that God is possessive so also shall you be: reach out and possess it, and you too will be like God’, he poses, though he does not use those words. The reasoning is faulty, for God created the Garden and gave Adam and Eve their very being. Possessing or possessiveness does not describe the spirit that creates and then shares. As the spirit wanes, the new Self becomes more powerful, much as we can observe within ourselves.
Now we discover the nature of Satan’s fallen soul. The shell Satan has built around himself is full of explanations and connivance, and now the same is proffered to Eve. Satan may believe he also has been denied, and we will discover the reflection of this fallen mind when Eve and Adam explain why they ate. Much like Satan, each will tell a half-truth. Neither takes responsibility, as Adam and Eve attempt to cover their wrong-thinking and wrong-doing.
Proverbs chapter three offers insight into dealing with this Self. Notice how connected are scriptures 5-13 to the allegory of Adam and Eve. The rest of chapter three conveys a similar personal and cognitive (knowing) relationship with God. These values reflect standards of character, actions, and understanding. Verses 14-22 expound on wisdom, and where each person should sit (23-26), and behave toward others (27-32), ending with, “But His secret is with the righteous.” These scriptures should be reviewed by all students of the Way.
5 Trust (=confide) in the Lord with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding (=discernment).*
6 In all ways acknowledge (=recognize) Him, and he shall direct (=rightly divide) thy paths.
7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: Fear (=revere) the Lord, and depart (=shun, avoid) from evil.
8 It shall be health (=healing) to thy navel (=whole body), And marrow to thy bones.
9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, And with the first fruits of all thine increase:
10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, And thy presses (=wine vats) shall burst out with new wine.
11 My son, despise (=shrink not from) not the chastening of the Lord; Neither be weary of His correction:
12 For whom the Lord loveth He correcteth; Even as the father the son in whom he delighteth.
13 Happy (=blessed) is the man that findeth wisdom, And (=yea, or even) the man that getteth understanding.
Proverbs 3.5, concerns drawing discernment (wisdom) from the spirit, couched within the nature of confidence or sharing confidentiality with God, to commune and learn His ways; v. 6, infers to seek Him first (recognize Him) so that wisdom can be imparted, correctly dividing thy pathway. The relationship with God and personal pathway are always connected. Most religious writings and sermons address these attributes (v. 5-6), whether mentioned directly or not.
Capricious and wayward goes the mind without responsibility. Taking responsibility for one’s life is another key principle of the Way. Self-pity robs power; responsibility forms a pathway. If a person does not take responsibility they remain powerless to exert themselves in any meaningful manner. They have no power over their life. When individuals absolve themselves of responsibility, consequences descend upon them, as Adam and Eve will soon learn.
Analyzing a situation is useful but the real issue becomes the standards you use. Satan has entered into rebellion. His misguided ‘intellect-creation’ has become the rebellion itself. Satan has ‘thought himself’ there and persists in justifying himself. There is no operating standard outside of himself. His intellect appears as reasoning, appealing, and seductive, much as a crop ready for harvest. However, his intellect has already ‘gone to seed,’ dried up and corrupted. He seems to no longer possess godly standards, only his standards.
The ‘true self’, the spiritual self, is exchanged for the ‘false self’, the deluded self, which will become what we call ‘the mortal sleep’.
In Genesis verse 3.3, Eve makes a peculiar statement. She says, “…neither shall ye touch it, lest you die.”
That you should not even touch the fruit issues a severe warning. Even so, something peculiar lurks within the fruit, seductive and most attractive to the eye (Gn. 3.6), else why does Eve sit next to it? To sit close to the fruit is to engage it. An opportunity has fallen into Satan’s hands.
For Adam and Eve, this dividing of the pathway will entail the promise, “ye shall be as gods”. Eve perceives the fruit “to make one wise,” which presumes to Eve that she is not wise, nor can obtain wisdom in any other manner, but then eat of this fruit.
In the case of Eve the attempt to grasp is to appropriate, to steal, when, in fact, the preparation to receive is the wisdom pathway, wherein the spirit reveals from within or anoints from without.
Perhaps it is by ease Eve wishes to acquire this wisdom, as if by magical transference, suggesting her innocence in such matters. Perhaps the notion of acquiring instead of receiving leads the way to many false teachings. Eve abandons trust in God, and God’s plan or pathway is abandoned. The seduction of ease lulls many into self-deception, and for Adam and Eve, this altered self at the moment becomes created.
After eating the fruit, the new creation is mixed, a shining light (eyes opened) that will soon turn toward tragedy. Eve and Adam’s soul development will come forth not under God’s order of events but under Satan’s. It will now contain the duplicity of Satan-mindedness, much like the mixed fruit itself. Spiritual insight has become lost, and trial and error take its place. A new self has suddenly been created and moves along a different thread. The spirit within must now labor to affect conditions or deliver solutions through the stumbling block, this newly created self.
Gen. 3.5-6 “…ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Gen. 3.5-6 assaults Ex. 20.2, “Ye shall have no other gods before me.” This subtle plot will incorporate Eve and her progeny into an unending uprising controlled by this new god-self.
Satan intimates that God has withheld knowledge, that Adam and Eve are ‘not knowing.’ Eve’s desire grows, and by Eve the fruit is finally pronounced “good,” to wit she partakes. She does not wait; the allegory suggests that her newly formed reasoning power (after Satan) now guides her. The will of the spirit is no longer considered.
She will possess…out of season though it may be.
Satan demonstrates his nature by telling the half-truth that God has denied her when, in fact, God’s plan had been developing quite nicely. Once entering into the aura of the deception Eve accepts the false promise. Eve enters this world of deceit, deceived by what has now become her thinking. She believes this fruit promises godly wisdom, itself. She no longer listens to the root of the instruction from God. This leads us to the warning that great desire can replace the word and the will of God. Eve, even now, is beginning to lose her illumination.
Eve enters into tantalizing temptation with an overwhelming desire for power and status. Spiritual power and what she believes will be a new identity or status await her. Instead of maintaining faithfulness and following God’s plan, Eve takes her life into her own hands. This possession may sound reasonable, but Eve is sorely equipped for such a responsibility. Similarly, man is not equipped to walk alone, but should walk with God. In the newly recreated Eve, her soul nature moves by lust (desire), not obedience, without discernment or wisdom.
Concerning individual pathways: stepping back from the Self is often more helpful than repeatedly trying to resolve issues. Eve does not step back and consider what is before her.
Walking in the Way is not intended to be a constant struggle but is often better served by letting go of the Self, and sowing new seeds in the silent places of the soul.
“That ye resist not evil…” (Mt. 5.39), ‘that you do not become entangled in evil, but turn away,’ not only refers to the Pharisees but the Pharisee within the Self.
Perhaps, much like the modern Humanist, Eve believes she will be like God by undertaking this task through her efforts and in her manner. Be like God, how? Is she to become an earthly copy of God or a godly copy of God?
‘You no longer need God, you need only eat of this fruit,’ Satan intimates.
Satan is sometimes referred to as the enlightened one. His fall from grace came by way of disobedience, and false pride. Seeking the reins of power and wresting control out of God’s hands, the Hebrew Bible will relate the many facets of this initial rebellious act. For man, the enlightenment of the Garden is no longer the predominating force of consciousness. Temptation, through the conduit of disobedience and fueled by lust for power and status (wealth), Eve and then Adam find the fruit desirable and become overwhelmed.
Sow seed for spirit-thinking rather than self-thinking?
REBELLION and AUTHORITY
Rebellion breaks down proper authority. Discipline becomes corrupted, and the order of events wrecks upon the rocks of mortality. The ensuing chaos stuns the mind of man.
The lust for power before the issuance of proper authority has been a plague throughout the history of man.
Satan’s rebellious spirit emerges when he tempts Eve. He already knows that misleading is often more effective than lying. To engender doubt or suspicion leaves the door open to motive and thus allows for what appears to be an innocent inquiry. The listener, once misled, begins to fill in the blanks as to what is right and wrong. He begins to mislead himself, and finally, he fools himself. In the Garden allegory, Eve and Adam choose a kind of spiritual death.
God’s intended pathway of growth now becomes rewrought, and then redetermined goals begin to surface. God’s original plan for man’s progression now ends. Man has made himself the center of all things (self-centered) and seals his fate into the world. He is now subjected to worldly standards. He may not be completely cut off from God, but he has separated himself and operates through his new mental creation.
From the act of rebellion, all other negative attributes begin to rise. The folly of man, who forever pursues himself, yet cannot see—for him, the answer forever remains hidden just beyond the mist. Satan has completed the insurrection.
Adam’s Lack of Responsibility
Interestingly, Adam does not correct Eve, nor does he disavow what she has done, but instead follows after. Once closest to Adam, God is now distanced. Eve, once embracing the Serpent’s argument, separates from Adam. Then, Adam turns on Eve when confronted by God, and asked, “Hast thou eaten of the tree (3.11)?”
“The woman whom though gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree.”
The loss of spiritual light (the fall) makes them hide (Gn. 3.7). Shame appears, for they know they have disobeyed and are guilty. Perhaps their spirit has convicted them. They can no longer stand before God. The tainted fruit has led them into a new worldly awareness, thus afraid, thus ashamed. The fall is swift, as Satan, the Deceit, has accomplished the act.
In this matter, Adam now becomes a fellow traveler. More might be insinuated relative to Adam. Within the Garden, Adam has abrogated dominion and should have overseen conditions more carefully. He not only tended the garden but was also entrusted with guarding it. To guard means to oversee the values and the sanctity of the garden, much as parents oversee the values and sanctity of the home. Adam had named many things by then, after a manner he ‘makes’ the garden by naming it. Adam’s position of honor is clear. Adam had the God-given power to name, thus assert authority, discern, and accept or cast out. With this oversight authority, just what was Adam doing?
The question alone draws the many comments that have been made concerning Adam’s behavior. The power to make cogent soul decisions must remain spirit-driven. This spiritual influence will tend to order authority issues. Satan’s instruction to Eve, followed by Adam then listening to Eve, Adam essentially replaces his godly authority with the replica of Satan’s. In the end, Adam and Eve are equally culpable, and both disobey.
The above paragraphs may seem a slight treatment of Adam. However, authority affects all important issues and many different attributes of character. Various character disciplines may be called upon when exercising authority, such as clear thinking, leadership, responsibility, and the settling of wisdom within the soul. Understood from this viewpoint, Adam’s behavior is shattering. He has abrogated his authority, abrogated his power, and was not responsible for his station.
The lessons for the Way are fundamental. If God lives with you in your tent*, your tent is your garden. Keep corruption out of the garden and in a similar manner, yourself. Be wary as to whom you become involved with, remember instilled godly values that they may be a guide, and that anyone may become misguided but that others should guide them back. Simple to say but not so easy to do. The Bible is full of these basic admonitions. Although these values may seem very orthodox, they are fundamental to any form of progress within any pathway one may choose.
All events now move in the opposite direction God intended. The conveyance from Satan to Eve to Adam replaces God’s established order of events. In the new order, the fruits of desire will come first, with wisdom only accumulated after trial and error and much pain. That is another way of saying that clear perception is lost. The corrupted intellect now forms the pathway, and the relationship to the kingdom within is not handy. ‘The fall’ becomes a reduction into a tainted self-conscious state instead of remaining in a wisdom or enlightened God-conscious state. Mankind has attempted to reclaim his enlightened relationship with God ever since.
Mankind no longer lives in the Garden of Blessing but becomes removed into the backyard of consequences. This principle of where you abide, where you sit, in the garden or in the backyard, is most important to the Way. The backyard harbors an unfriendly fortune, where various vagabonds tramp down the ally and through the soul—all are needy, all are weak. The spirit is no longer foremost. The circumstances of each individual’s backyard become foremost, and the dealing with such circumstances. This is why the Nazarenes remained in semi-retreat communities, thus lessening the impact of worldly circumstances. The backyard relative to the Garden—all godly standards have become torn and must now be rebuilt. Lust may have opened the door, but the sin is walking through.
Rebellion also affects all attributes of character. Adam and Eve lose spiritual light and insight, and faithfulness diminished. They have lost their vision and determined good and bad for themselves. Since they have accepted temptation and acted upon it, the human nature to respond to Temptation is sealed, unalterably handed down through their now-transformed Self.
In the teaching of the Way, the lesson of the Garden of Eden shows us that the ‘Satan-Serpent’, seduction and temptation itself, will always boil down to desiring some form of unrighteous power or covetousness. The allegorical story of the garden relates that man does not have wisdom, which is his greatest need, and thus should rely on godly values. The story chronicles a very different outcome than originally intended for man. With the perfection of the Garden disassembled, the rebellion of Satan spreads to diminish the enlightenment and oneness with God!
That human beings daily deal with power is seldom mentioned, but true. The lesson for Adam and Eve would caution to watch who and what you desire and be aware of the power you may initiate. Just as with Adam and Eve, all excuses ring hollow when instead of progress, repercussions arrive.
Within this context of unrighteous desires spring many conniving human attitudes and motives. Once indulging in the fruit of the Tree of (Unrighteous) Desire, the fracture and consuming dissolution within the soul becomes complete. Such lust splinters throughout to produce varied consequences, some known and those unknown to be revealed later.
The Tree of (Long) Life can no longer be a part of Adam and Eve’s world. Hard experience and hard lessons now format the return to God.
The separation or the ‘fall from wholeness’, Adam and Eve become diminished. The soul light is diminished. The power to name is diminished (Naming: Back to the Garden), clarity within discernment becomes shadowed, and both Adam and Eve stand revealed before God, or naked. Once their light shined bright, but by their own choices concerning disobedience, lust, and desire they can no longer enjoy the Garden of Blessing. They, instead, enter into a world of harsh consequences.
In terms of the pathway with Him, God has drawn the lines. Choosing between the good and the good allows some form of benefit to follow. Choosing good from evil with what is now clouded judgment leads to the world we live in today, with careening cause and effect supplanting the greater wisdom.
Alternate views of the Garden Allegory can be found, the most notable is written in the Apochraphon of John. This view proposes the Garden as a kind of honey-trap in the physical, created by the Demiurge (lower god), of which the precocious Eve accepts, even as she breaks away from God, and as she initiates the act, separates herself from Adam. Considering the suffering man underwent in biblical times, this Demiurge view is understandable, but not biblical.
A second view places Tiamat the Snake Goddess, who encircles the earth and separates the land from the waters, then mating with Abzu to produce younger gods. Emerging from the primordial sea, she is associated with chaos, thus not the order of God. Being a pagan goddess, she would represent the serpent in the garden. Tiamat is associated with greed, vanity, and arrogance.
This series looks at the Garden story in terms of the teaching of the Way as Jesus taught it. The roots of personal wisdom emerge from following a consistent pathway, which Adam and Eve brokered otherwise. Relationship to God is presented in a context of wholeness, perhaps nurturing. Good counsel and good choice come into play, as well as the attribute of soul responsibility. Above all other attributes of character that man lacks, wisdom is foremost, one factor that is seldom mentioned in the Garden story.