Grew up with the religious belief that God created everything and gave us free will; then I was introduced into the opposite belief: God did not create anything and we were all predestined.
Went from one extreme to the other on that belief.
I went through the full experience… The full polarity on God in one lifetime.
Could God create the Universe and not create the Universe at the same time?
Could God give us free will and predestination at the same time?
Isn’t the definition of God: Omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient?
Thus; if God created everything, then God created the Devil. He created his own nemesis.
“No! The Devil was an angel who used his free will to become the Devil.”
Isn’t God omniscient? He knew what was going to happen with his creation. Thus, God created temptation, God created salvation, damnation and Hell… Isn’t that God sort of Devilish? 🙂
If God did not create anything and we are all predestined… That God doesn’t fit the previous definition of “God.”
What could be the task of such a God ?
“To give us knowledge… as it is written in holy books.”
Sorry. That is not in the definition of God.
Knowledge only brings intellectual understanding.
Intellectual understanding does not bring a new consciousness.
“But…Why is a new consciousness important?”
Without a new consciousness, we cannot go to “His” Paradise. We cannot become “angels.” We cannot be “holy…” All of those “nice words” wouldn’t have any meaning.
Without a change of consciousness we can only pretend to be “good,” act agreed upon “good” actions but our thoughts, our feelings and our intentions will be as they typically are for most: Bad thoughts, ill feelings, hidden intentions..
“… I need to practice to have positive thoughts and positive feelings.”
We cannot change what we ARE by practicing. DOING does not change BEING.
How could we go to “Paradise” pretending to be something that we ARE not?
Do you see my logic? Do you see my reasoning?
That is knowledge. It is utterly worthless when it comes to change of consciousness.
“OK…What changes consciousness, then?”
The experiences of Life itself will bring change of consciousness when we allow it, when we align with Life.
Define your God. Worship Him. Love Him.
Nothing wrong with that.
Just remember that your God is only your God, not necessarily everyone else’s.
Definitely, the “One” is not the only One.
Perhaps in this understanding by going beyond deep beliefs, we could begin to explore consciousness and to trust our Life path, which has been set up for us to travel. There is nothing “special” to DO but to enjoy the journey; for wherever it may take us, it will be without doubt, what we need in our Life process.
Going North, just to come back South. Experiencing day, just to experience night.
Do we see how insane is to label one side of the duality “good or bad”?
That only will bring fear, shame, guilt and low self-esteem.
All fears will vanish, when we open up. 🙂
Article by: BK. T. D. Joseph, Bangalore, India tdjaum(AT)gmail.com – If you have questions or remarks about this article, please contact the author.
If you observe babies, whatever they do, by instinct, may seem meaningless; yet all of those acts contribute to their growth—physical, mental and intellectual. Same is the case of the adults who, on purpose, do exercise, go for jogging or practice with various equipment in a gymnasium, all of which seem meaningless repetition—yet they help them to gain a measure of good health. Situation is not different with religions of the world, whose teachings and rituals may seem meaningless to some, yet provide an atmosphere for their members to withdraw their attention from the mundane at least temporarily and train them to develop a loving remembrance towards God and loving kindness towards fellow humans, which are the very basis of spirituality. Similarly, Adam and Eve account also, as found in the Bible, may seem not only meaningless, but also unintelligible, yet it does serve a purpose. Let us find out what it is.
Before taking up the account of Adam and Eve, it is better to be familiar with its preceding account, which speaks of an ideal, “blessed” condition that had been existing. Let us read the account in its original form: “God created mankind [Hebrew Adam] in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” And He gave the command to ‘be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it, rule over all the living creatures, take care of the land and have vegetarian food and so on. Account says this happened on the sixth day and everything went off “very good,” hence it was really like heaven on earth, even with all other species under loving subjection to man. (Genesis 1:27-31) Genesis 1:27 declares unequivocally that not only the individual Adam, but all humans, were created on the sixth day. And “on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy.” (Genesis 2:2, 3) Bible does not say how long mankind lived in that perfect and “blessed” condition; because later writings, written after a few thousand years, say God’s seventh DAY had been still continuing. (Psalm 95:11). Hence, not only the seventh day, but also the preceding days too refer to an extended period of time. What is certain is that mankind had a very ideal living for some period when they lived in truth, as ONE GOD-ONE WORLD FAMILY, in imitation of their Heavenly Father (Compare what Jesus highlighted as characteristics of an ideal people in Mathew 5:44-48 and also Gita 18:53, 54).
Then came a fall from this ideal state to its opposite which would gradually decline to reach its climax in our time. (Genesis 6:5; 8:21; 2 Timothy 3:1-5) How this fall happened is symbolically described through the account of Adam and Eve. It is symbolic; because if we take this account literally, we won’t find much of a meaning in them. Because the description goes like this: “God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired 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. (Genesis 2:16, 17 and 3:1-6) Consequently, God expelled them from the garden of Eden onto a life of suffering outside.
Unintelligibility of the contents
1. God, the source of all wisdom, will not act in dishonor of Himself. If God does not want them to eat from that particular tree, simple option is that such a tree should not be created in the first place! (It is like digging a big pit in the middle of an Express-Highway and asking the road-users to avoid falling into it.) Account does not glorify God in any way, because what God said (“in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”) did not take place. Bible says Adam lived for 930 years. (Genesis 5:3) And following the disobedience, in the affirmation of the punishment too God stresses harsher living, rather than the originally-decreed death. (Genesis 3:8-19) Story dishonors God in that He punished MORE severely the children of the violator, rather than the violator. For example, increasing of labor-pain given to Eve as punishment spread to all of her innocent children throughout the history. Some of them had to die in labor-room prematurely due to more pain than Eve experienced, thus delivering children with no mother to care for!
2. “The tree of the knowledge of good and evil” planted by God did not live up to its name. Because account says “when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.” Sense of good or bad would have arisen in Eve only after eating the fruit of that tree, but here she got that sense even before eating it. Hence the question arises: Was it a literal tree?
3. If Satan is so smart as to scheme against God and his children, he would definitely choose some smart method, not a sub-standard temptation as in this case. It is too obvious that Adam and Eve who had already experienced God as their unlimited benefactor would never believe God as withholding something good from them, nor He is a liar, especially when such a malicious suggestion originated from a stranger—with a strange phenomenon—a snake with speaking ability! Also Satan contradicted only the effects of their disobedience, which of course further weakens his position, because prima facie, it is the Law-giver that knows the effects of disobedience, not the spectators who have never seen a violation before.
4. A) It is unlikely that Adam and Eve would respond to such a lie the way they did. If they wanted to know whether they would die without eating from the tree, it is common sense that they should wait for sufficient time. For need of eating from that tree arises only when they are going to die. Hence no one would choose to eat from that tree before such a need arises. Waiting was safer option. While waiting, either of the two situations will arise—they will continue to live on and on (in this case, they don’t have to eat from that tree), or they will gradually sense that their body is moving towards death (in this case, they can try that particular tree to avert death). On the contrary, if they go ahead and eat from the tree, and thereafter find that they are going to die, what will they do? They have no other option left to try!
B) Adam and Eve who were perfect in their intelligence and reason will not act so rashly with such a life-and-death matter. They will definitely weigh the matter and see all the pros and cons of it. If they really believed what Satan said, they still had another safer option. In their natural wisdom, they would decide that one of them will try first, and after seeing the result, would decide the course of action for the other. Suppose Eve ate first, and then was going to succumb to death, Adam can avoid further testing, and approach God and say what had really happened and request God to take action against Satan, the liar, and deal with Eve mercifully as this was a matter of curiosity and first instance. [Suppose! Your loving Father says there is a lion in a nearby cave, and you and your wife should avoid going into its vicinity. Later a stranger contradicts your father. Will you and your wife TOGETHER go straight into the cave to verify the presence of a lion inside the cave? You have so many other options like the medical scientists who try their newly-invented medicines on other species before they try on themselves] Look at the imperfect, distant offsprings of Adam and Eve—for example Bank officials—how much checking and documentation they do before sanctioning a loan to an applicant, before parting with the money entrusted to them by others. In case of any doubt, they simply refuse to proceed!
5. Accounts projects woman as solely responsible for bringing suffering into the world, just as in the similar accounts found in Middle East religions of that time. [It is interesting to note that Jesus himself testifies that there has been occurences of diluting of Bible accounts to suit the perceived superiority of man over woman.—Mark 10:1-12]
Not a story, but history of mankind
If we probe beneath the details and take the essence of the story, it has a brilliant message hidden. The account, in its gross aspect, beautifully describes how the Law of Causation works: The couple left the God of all goodness, attached themselves to sensual pleasures of the outside world, and reaped consequences. (Galatians 6:7) What seemed like a nectar in the beginning turned out to be poison in the end. (Gita 18:38) In its subtle aspect, tree is named as “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Tree is something that starts from a seed, grows into a tree, disappear after producing its seed, and appear again from the seed it left behind. “Knowledge of good and evil” means a new awareness about dualities (or pair of opposites): good & bad; pleasure & pain; gain & loss; and victory & defeat; honor & dishonor……. Hence eating from such a tree symbolizes change of awareness from godly quality of even-mindedness to a sense of duality of good and bad.
Thus in a changed awareness about dualities, they fell from a kingdom of bliss to a life of illusion of good and bad. It is illusion, because what is good for one may be bad for others, and vice versa. You interpret something as good so long as it benefits you. An umbrella merchant views raining as good whereas a potter will curse raining as bad. Again the same umbrella merchant will curse rain if he is caught up in rain without umbrella! Hence good and bad are the labels we give to happenings depending upon our convenience and inconvenience respectively. This sort of thinking or sense of duality has its root in EGO, which means feeling separated from God and others, and feeling more important than others, hence looking for own good and asserting own rights, putting own interest above others—which invokes and ensures stiff resistance from others, hence is divisive. In brief, ego is the feeling of I and mine. Again, mine is an illusion. You can never posses anything in this world—beauty & health of your body, assets, and relatives—they all appear, remain for a time and disappear after a while, nor can you do anything on your own.
Suppose you want to make an apple pie from scratch. “Then you must first create the universe,” says the renowned scientist, Carl Sagan. “Flour is a product of wheat grown on this earth; sugar comes from processed cane; butter from milk of cows and an apple from a tree.The earth, its soil, water, air, fire all are endowments of Nature. Other contributing factors like, days, nights atmospheric conditions, seeds, animals/cows, sugarcane are programmed protocols of Providential plan.
Man’s intelligence of making an apple pie is also a hardware and software of the Supreme Being.Truly, one has to recreate this cosmic creation if an apple pie is to be made from scratch. This is a conclusive proof that our will is subservient to His will. A painter can create the painting but painting cannot modify or recreate itself unless willed by the painter.What is true between the painter and painting, the same applies to Creator and the creation.We can exercise our freewill, create or destroy to the extent He permits us to do so, as all basic conditions of life are circumscribed by time, place, sun, moon, stars and five basic elements of Nature. Man, in his ignorance, takes ego-credit for achieving something in which he has infinitely insignificant contribution.” Hence Ego or sense of possession/doership is an illusion.—Ecclesiastics 1:1-3; also compare Gita 3:27.
Hence the account of Adam and Eve symbolically present the history of mankind’s journey from oneness they enjoyed with God and other humans [which is the first half of the history, also called DAY figuratively where humans lived by the light within, doing virtues] to a dualistic/egoistic life style [which is the second half of the history, also called NIGHT where humans disregard the light within, doing vices] (Compare John 9:4; and 11:10, and 1 John 1:6). In other words, Adam and Eve account tells how in the second half of the history, mankind developed body-consciousness, how they began to act in forgetfulness of their original nature (wisdom, purity, peace, power, love and joy) and their loving heavenly Father. Thus humans gradually developed a feeling of I and mine (which is separation), and this gave rise to DESIRE (to add what one does not have and not to lose what one already has). Desire, when obstructed, gave rise to protest or ANGER; and on the other hand, desire, when fulfilled, brought in ATTACHMENT and GREED, which further boost one’s EGO. This sets in motion a vicious cycle, just as a tree produces seed, and seed produces tree.
The result of all of these was suffering. (Genesis 3:6-19) This is the reason why scriptures declare desire (root of which is ego) as the greatest enemy of man. “Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:14, 15; Compare also Gita 3:42) Gita calls some of those vices—lust, anger and greed—as the gates to hell. (Gita 16:21) It even goes a step further and says: seemingly simple things such as getting affected by pairs of opposites (such as pleasure & pain, gain & loss, and victory & defeat) or living in disregard of others are all sins.—Gita 2:38; 3:13.
Sense of duality and its attendant disregard of others are sins, because it is against the very nature of our soul (wisdom, purity, peace, power, love and joy), which is the child of the Supreme Soul, the Heavenly Father, the source of those qualities. Hence it is not unusual for a person to do what is right by his very instinct, without any difficulty at all. For example, Bible reports, in Genesis chapter 39, about an ordinary man, named Joseph, who was employed at the house of the Chief of Pharao’s palace guard. There he was continuously tempted by his master’s wife to commit adultery with her in all secrecy and safety. This was an unusual, tricky situation where his agreeing to adultery could have brought him promotion and other material benefits, and refusal would have landed him in great trouble. Yet he flatly refused to commit adultery. This was a very great act as there there was no law given against adultery at that time! [Law against adultery was given centuries later—Exodus 20:14]. Because he was aware of his original qualities, the source of which was his Heavenly Father about whom he had a loving remembrance always. He discerned rightly that all women are his sisters and sexual act with his master’s wife would destroy his purity, peace and joy, and more importantly it would hurt God, his Heavenly Father. Jesus was very much aware of these qualities we share with our Heavenly Father.
That is why he declared ONE GOD-ONE WORLD FAMILY concept: “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. You have heard: ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be CHILDREN OF YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? …. And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? …. Be perfect [literally be whole], therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:28, 43-48) This is exactly what Gita declares as Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Duty): Taking “delight in the welfare of all beings” (Gita 12:4, 20) which will be repeatedly re-established whenever Dharma declines completely. (Gita 4:7) This is echoed in other religions too. “Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Prophet Muhammed, Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 13). Hence God’s prohibition was on sense of duality or body-consciousness/ego, not on some literal tree. Interestingly, concept of a cosmic tree symbolizing ego, the illusion, can be seen in most cultures, prominent among whom is Hinduism. (Gita chapter 15) No doubt, prohibition is on “notion of mine.”—Gita 18:53.
Hence Adam and Eve story is actually a history given in symbolism. It tells how mankind FELL from God’s kingdom of total peace and happiness to a life of body-consciousness with its attendant vices. In dualistic/egoistic life style, people are passionate about favorable outcome for their action and live in expectation, which spoil all relationships and ensures unhappiness and misery. (Gita 12:12) Thus Adam and Eve account is the picturization of what mankind actually did collectively in the second half of human history. “The usual translation of the word as a pronoun, Adam, is an error; he is called ‘the man’ up to Genesis 4:25 where the proper name first appears. Preceding accounts use the word Adam in the sense of ‘mankind’ as made of dust from the soil (adamah in Hebrew language in which this portion of the Bible was originally written) (DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE by Dr. John L McKenzie under Adam, page 12). “In its first appearance Adam is used for MANKIND or generic man…… the word Adam is also used in the sense of “sons of men.” (Genesis 11:5) “Adam is also used in reference to any given man or to anyone male or female (Leviticus 13:2) (VINES EXPOSITORY DCTIONARY, under Man, page 147). Conversation between Cain and God, and his subsequent action too reveal the existence of rest of the mankind as the contemporaries of Adam, Eve and Cain. (Genesis 4:9-17) This may explain why Old Testament writers rarely allude to Adam and Eve account as literal happening.
It is not surprising that Jesus Christ does not allude to Adam and Eve account (which has, of course, many flaws) to explain the origin of sin and death. (Compare James 1:14, 15) However, Jesus’ famous story of the prodigal son is superbly flawless, presenting the prodigal son as the fitting symbol of mankind, who fell from soul-consciousness [ONE GOD-ONE WORLD FAMILY concept] to body-consciousness [I-and-my belongings attitude], and again comes back to soul-consciousness “to celebrate” the life again with their Heavenly Father.—Luke 15:11-31