Two Trees

Genesis 1 is thought of as a “triad” where the first three days are metaphors for things which are separated. It stands to say we are ontologically not God. We’re also told we’re “like” God, and for me, the enitre pursuit of God is not in knowing God (impossible, given that God transcends; nothing we can say or think could ever be about God). Instead, the function of the question of God and the function of religion is about us discovering what this “likeness” is. The final three days are all metaphors for God not caring about the separateness at all; all of the examples are about the great care he took in adorning our world, even to the wonders we keep discovering no matter how microscopically we look or how deeply we peer into the universe itself. (see Anderson, “In His Light”)

This implies the message is that we’re separate from God, and, God cares all the same.

Sin is only metaphor for ontological separation. It has nothing to do with morality. God is not a moral being; for morality only arises in contingency … and from our perspective, no thought arises in a vacuum; morality arises only in our existential circumstances. God has no “circumstances”, which is to say that God is not contingent. (see Hume on “An Enquiry Concerning The Principles Of Morality”)

There are two metaphoric trees in a “garden” right in the middle of it, in Genesis II. The garden is our existence, our physical life. Each tree is really about how we can view ourselves in it. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is about our capacity to judge how to “be”; we are our only judges. The tree of life is God’s view of us. God doesn’t judge us at all. Judgment was left to Christ. Christ did not come to judge the world. We judge ourselves. Were we free from judging others, we’d be free from judgment itself. (see John, Romans, 1 Corinthians)

Original sin can only be said that we all “sin”, as I just described; we exist, we don’t exist as God does.

Our purpose for existing is to experience life. It’s important to know things, but this is secondary to experiencing things. In the Islamic tradition, it is experience, the totality of existing, which leads us to notions about God and ourselves in relation to God. In Judaism, the same is true. Islam calls this idea “fitrah”. Judaism has the most redemptive view of humanity; that we’re not fallen or reprobate and that God won’t punish us for what we’ve done as much as for what we’ve chosen not to do (in step with the metaphoric message that experience is paramount, self-discovery being key). Christianity itself did not hold any notion of original sin until the 4th century with Augustine. None of the first three theories of atonement had anything to do with the nature of man or cosmic offenses with a God that, by implication, can neither genuinely love nor forgive.

In the garden, God wasn’t pissed off that we ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil because of disobedience. His concern was that as a result, we now think we’re insufficient in relation to Himself and we have to do things to cover our inadequacies (abhorrently in Christianity, ironically, requiring professional belief statements about literary devices being literal, whether virgin births or resurrections et. al.). “WHO told you you were NAKED” (meaning metaphorically, “inadequate”). John 9:39 and John 10:10 seem consistent with Jesus’ purpose.

In that “old-time religion” of Christianity, nothing has changed. Christ is the final garment we put on in order to cover our inadequacy Christians call “sin”, but God instead deemed “very good”. We’ve yet to understand this nearly, much less fully as Christians. And as we move from retributive sensibilities of justice to reformative, as the shift happened in the early 1900s, we can only hope the idea evolves such that we understand the point of it all, which is changing how we “are”. It must be that if God is just, then He can by his nature in relation to us, be the cause of our transformation. There is no sense to judgment and God in that case. We have been transformed in the presense of God, and it seems the task of what justice is, is done. Complete.

This brief interpretation from Genesis can be found in fractal form in nearly every story in both the Old Testament and New Testament; even in the few sentences that talk about the fate of Judas. The two trees in that form are best represented in the parable of the talents (the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) and the prodigal son (the Tree of Life). Jesus died on one tree because of our judgment (John 9:39). I don’t suspect what we have in mind is anything like what Christ had on his, or something that crosses the mind of God.

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