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The Study of Faith and Knowledge...Boiled Down

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19 Nov 2017 17:43 #1 by ARLewis
ARLewis ► The Study of Faith and Knowledge...Boiled Down
The Study of Faith and Knowledge...Boiled Down

Growing up, as a good little Lutheran, I studied the Bible, I believed what I was supposed to believe, and did everything I was supposed to do. I went to Sunday school, I went to church, and heck, I even went to Vacation Bible School. In all that time, I never questioned my faith. Well, almost never. I haven’t given up my faith entirely, it’s just...changed.

So, in preparing for this week’s bit of knowledge, I had a problem. How do I talk about something that is at the core of a system of belief that I may not hold wholly true anymore? After a few hours, and cutting out of distractions, I came upon the answer.

Boil it.

Yes, go ahead and read that again and see if those two words will give any more insight. Believe me. If you stop and think on it, it will.

Eden. Boil it down to the core of its story. A paradise. An absolute celebration of everything that is life. A Utopian ideal that is at the heart of everything a Christian believes in. Flora, fauna, and everything that makes up the purest concept of joy. A regenerative land that is constantly refilling and reusing the life and happiness expended. No end to the green some might say.

But at the core of that paradise is knowledge. The knowledge of good and evil, and everything in-between. “And the Lord 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.” Genesis 2: 16-17.

So again, boil that down. You have not just “A” paradise but “The” paradise. The place that surpasses even the “land flowing with milk and honey”. The place of all places. And in it is knowledge. Are we supposed to garner that knowledge is bad? But why would knowledge be bad? That’s where I get stuck sometimes. How can something I work my life to hold up be evil? And therein lies the rub.

The bad tree was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Not the Tree of All Knowledge, for Adam and Eve did have useful brains. But what they also had were blinders. Before the apple, they knew only one thing. Paradise. The Love of God. Nothing of good or bad. The proverbial one track mind. But the knowledge of Good and Evil...what could be so bad? See Christians believe God gave them free will, the freedom to choose, to make decisions for themselves. But in the beginning, what did they have to choose? Sure, they could choose what to eat that day. Adam choose the names of all of the animals. It was the lack of knowledge that gave them those blinders. Without them, they would know they had true choice and the ability to see the difference. Before that apple, they didn’t truly understand the meaning of free will. How could they when they didn’t know there was anything other than paradise.

So, in the end for Adam and Eve, they were, like some of the Angels before them, banished from Paradise, for knowing the difference between good and evil. A simple bit of knowledge caused them to have to leave the lush gardens of the land God created.

A boiled down Eden is all knowledge...of life, of love, and of understanding. And it is that understanding, that knowledge that there is knowledge that caused the problem. But yet, Christians strive to return back to that Eden, to that paradise “we” once were in, where Life itself originated.

Whether you are a Darwinist, an Evolutionist, or a Believer, there is still an origin to life. Whether it was a very loud noise or the Word of God, if you take the boiled down Eden and add in the Afterlife, (oh the irony), what does one get? A resurgence of that life. Knowledge is power and to experience that knowledge, to be able to see the differences, one can feel life surge within once again.

Life and death. Dark and Light. It is all a constant struggle to get back to that one place where we knew only one thing. Nothing of good, nothing of evil. Nothing of knowledge. Just...Paradise.

ARLewis

“We all long for Eden, and we are constantly glimpsing it: our whole nature at its best and least corrupted, its gentlest and most human, is still soaked with the sense of exile.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

“They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
Waved over by that flaming brand, the gate
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms:
Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide;
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost

“Freeways flickering; cell phones chiming a tune
We're riding to Utopia; road map says we'll be arriving soon
Captains of the old order clinging to the reins
Assuring us these aches inside are only growing pains
But it's a long road out of Eden
(...)
Behold the bitten apple, the power of the tools
But all the knowledge in the world is of no use to fools
And it's a long road out of Eden”
― Eagles, Long Road Out of Eden

“It is as though we are understanding now what (William) Blake intuited, the senses were, in Eden, spread over the whole being. It might seem, then, that our bodies still live in Eden, but our minds refuse to know it.”
― Peter Redgrove, The Black Goddess and the Unseen Real: Our Uncommon Senses and Their Common Sense

“Do you, good people, believe that Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden and that they were forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge? I do. The church has always been afraid of that tree. It still is afraid of knowledge. Some of you say religion makes people happy. So does laughing gas. So does whiskey. I believe in the brain of man.”
― Clarence Darrow

“Is there an intelligent man or woman now in the world who believes in the Garden of Eden story? If you find any man who believes it, strike his forehead and you will hear an echo. Something is for rent.”
― Robert G. Ingersoll

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