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Monday, March 11, 2013

We were Made for This

In the origin story, we read about two trees being place in the garden. One tree was life, the other knowledge. The tree of knowledge was forbidden. Yet it was grasped anyway.

In some ways it seems that the church has interpreted this to mean that knowledge is evil. If it was a sin to take and eat of the tree of knowledge, then it must be wrong to pursue knowledge now. The conclusion became that knowledge itself was wrong.

What if that's not the case? What if we were made for knowledge and he problem wasn't in gaining it, but in gaining it too soon?

In the biblical stories, the life-tree never leaves. It's in the beginning and at the end. We were always meant to eat from it. We were made to eat from it.

What if we were made to eat from the knowledge-tree too? Just not yet.

Look at a child who is confronted with the knowledge of good and evil before they're ready. Children who suffer through abuse and tragedy don't have the mental power to cope with what they've learned. They gain the knowledge of good and evil but lack the ability to comprehend them. So, most often, they shut down in various ways.

What if that's what happened to humanity?

What if we became aware of good, and it was too much for us, so we feared it? We covered our nakedness and put up barriers to vulnerable relationships because the sheer goodness of them is terrifying.

What if we became aware of evil and it was too much for us, so we felt guilty? We let guilt overwhelm us and blind us so that something minor exploded into a major problem; greed gave birth to murder.

These twin demons of fear and guilt are coping mechanisms that our immature minds threw up against the onslaught of overwhelming knowledge. And since that moment in the garden we've been grasping forward trying to deal with the knowledge that was thrust on us long before we were ready for it.

Knowledge isn't bad; we were made to eat from the knowledge-tree. We just got there too soon.

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