Archive for October, 2012

Endlessly Tethered to Divine Origin…


Your authentic personal path, the deep driving desires you manifest, and your mission during this incarnation, originate from the soul of the universe for which you are always tethered.

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The Snake Made Me Do It! (“Inconsistencies in the ideas of “The Original Sin,” and story of “Creation.”)

The Snake Made Me Do It!

(“Inconsistencies in the ideas of “The Original Sin,” and story of “Creation.”)

Whenever I hear the mention of “sin,” “The Original Sin” (TOS) in particular, or the story of Adam and Eve, my curiosity flares. These concepts have long ignited a desire for my understanding of how other people feel, believe and think about creation and TOS. Yet with all the positions and interpretations I have researched and heard, more questions surface than answers. I have yet to feel satisfied with any particular interpretation, most of which have been altered and evolved since the earliest writings.

Many of my questions relate to the story of creation portraying god as a punishing entity. Also regarding the validity and importance held in the idea of “sin” as written in the bible and other sacred writings. Some queries posed here with no intended disrespect, point to irregularities and inconsistencies between interpretations. These disparities raise questions regarding the source of the story being that of god versus the words and ideas of man. Understanding that a large number of verbal and non-verbal expressions exist for the Divine Source of Everything, in order to simplify, be consistent and ease of reading for this article I will refer to this presence as god, he, and him.

My greatest misunderstanding of the TOS and story of Adam and Eve, is my failure to believe or consider god a punishing entity. This idea has me wondering why god would design situations to entrap physical beings he created in his own image on this earth. Also, why would god render severe punishment not only to them but to include all mankind for eternity?

What is “Sin?” From where did the idea of sin arise? Is TOS a story from god? Did Buddha, Jesus, Mohamed, Moses, or other messengers of god use the word sin? In an attempt to gain a better understanding for the origin of “sin” and TOS, an initial look to the “The First Couple” of Religion, Adam and Eve might be a worthy starting point. I have researched dozens of versions of creation and the Adam and Eve story beginning with the original of the Old Testament and up through the most contemporary interpretations. I don’t profess to have any answers. Instead, I pose questions to contemplate. These questions I hope might arouse deeper contemplation for ideas often taken for granted. As a result, you may find or solidify your personal meanings and feelings about TOS and concepts of sin.

While a term not adopted by most religions, according to many religious texts and contemporary dictionaries, “sin” could be defined as an act that violates god’s will. Other definitions include a misdeed, moral wrong doing, guilty, criminal, a transgression of divine law, willful or deliberate violation of a religious law or principle and the absence of holiness. The most likely origin of the word “sin” comes from the Latin term “synn,” a non-religious meaning for a temporal crime. In its original use translated from Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, sin literally referred to “missing an archery target.” The earliest and contemporary use of the word arose during the development of the Christian church sometime between the 1st and 4th centuries CE.

My understanding is that TOS refers to an event occurring in the book of Genesis where Adam and Eve disobeyed god. As a result of this disobedience, god rendered a general condition of sinfulness into which “every” human is born into as restitution. This type of sin is differentiated from someone “committing a sin.” The story of creation was originally said to have been revealed to Moses by god and recorded in Torah’s Book of Genesis.

The story of Adam and Eve takes place in the Book of Genesis (1:1-4) where Adam is created. Depending on the book or interpretation, Adam is molded from mud or made from the dust of the ground. Again depending on the version, Eve was then fabricated from one of Adam’s ribs, his flesh, a bone, or more generally from “his side.” She was created so that Adam could have more companionship than just plants and animals. Following the creation of Eve, god says “On account of this, a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his woman.” And so begin my questions;

Why would there be reference to “a man leaving his father and his mother” when there are none? This seems to be a very human notion as Adam and Eve had no parents. Were they not the first people created by god and in his own image? By the nature of the story, Adam and Eve would be considered the first parents.

    A note is in order regarding some of the numerous versions for the creation of Adam and Eve;

Predating the New Testament interpretation of Creation and Adam and Eve, several constructs of the story from the Old Testament existed. They varied significantly up through the 2nd century CE and were modified further into the 18th century. It is important to note in Genesis 1:26 of the Old Testament god says, “Let us make man.” The word used for man in Hebrew is “adam.” The word “adam” in Hebrew directly translates to “mankind as well as man” lacking any gender specificity. In fact, the first two versions of “Creation” in the Old Testament all references to the creation man were non-gendered.

The first representation of man and woman as separate entities or of the Garden of Eden were not written until Genesis 2:4, in about 500 BCE. This places the idea of Eden and gendered man and woman approximately 800 years after the original writing of the Old Testament. In a later version of creation, rather than Adam being formed first, it reads “…male and female he [god] created them.” The implication is that Adam and Eve were created simultaneously. In the second and most popular Old Testament version, god created Eve after having formed Adam. A 3rd century interpretation describes “..male and female he created them” as Adam being formed androgynous, or a hermaphrodite, in essence referring to one being as man and woman. There even exists an interpretation for the possibility of Adam and Eve being Siamese twins prior separation into a man and woman.

Another point of interest in the story of Adam and Eve is the time span between creation and banishment from the Garden of Eden. The original rendition in the Old Testament offers no indication for a length of time. Later statements vary in within holy books written around the 2nd century CE, that illustrate the range of time lasting anywhere from less than one day to as long as a span of 8 years.

Additionally, one passage reads; “Unto woman he (god) said….; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Eve is established here as a subordinate of Adam/man.

In the creation of man (man and woman) and in his own image, why wouldn’t god create them equally? Again this raises the question of origin for me, pointing to the more humanly propositions of man versus the words of god.

According to holy texts, the creation of Adam and Eve was in god’s image. This sounds as though god created man and woman as a physical presence of himself. It would make sense that this man and woman created in his own image would also equally have his knowledge, abilities and presence.

In manifesting physical images of himself, maybe god equally divided himself and thereby becoming dilute by a component of three between god, Adam and Eve. This would make them all god together and separately god.

So the new first couple in god’s image had everything they could want or need, eternally. Immortality with all knowledge and every need met.

But then, god tells them not to do one thing.

Why would god create rules for physical almighty versions of himself in the place?

God then warns, “do not eat an apple from the Tree of Knowledge of tov wa-ra.” He tells Adam that if he eats the forbidden fruit the consequence will be “moth tamuth.” This means to “die a death” definitively and literally, not metaphorically.

    A pause is in order here to understand the origin of the concept for “the tree of knowledge” in the Old Testament transforming into “The tree of knowledge, good and evil.”

The terms “Good and Evil” are absent in Genesis of the Old Testament. The original writing reads, “The tree imparts knowledge of tov wa-ra.” In Hebrew, the word tov wa-ra translates to “everything,” without connotation of morality in any manner. In its original and literal form it reads, “The tree imparts knowledge of everything.” The words “Good and Bad” were probably later conceived from the idea of “everything” being categorized and specified as either good or bad. Eventually “good and bad” transformed into a re-interpretation as “good and evil.”

From where did these translations arise? Neither god nor his messengers created these altered interpretations of Old Testament passages. Here again appear biblical modifications by man and probably with the specific intention of manipulating the beliefs members.

After god imparts the rule for not eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Everything, a serpent appears persuading Eve (apparently the weaker minded of the two) to eat an apple from the tree. The snake coaxes Eve into eating the fruit by telling her she will be like god and live forever.

Why would god deny Adam and Eve eating fruit and having the knowledge of everything? They were created as physical versions of himself. And why would they not already have everything and possess all knowledge.

Why would (pesticide free) fruit be called forbidden and unhealthy? If the apple was a symbol of fruit so forbidden, why are they still being eaten by man?

Why would knowledge be anything but a positive attribute?

Were Adam and Eve “set-up” to fail? Though perhaps an odd analogy, the concept reminds me of “entrapment;” inducing a person to commit an offense that the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit. Like manufacturing cars capable of driving speeds of 200mph, roads accommodating those speeds, then hiding police behind freeway overpasses to trap drivers travelling faster than 65mph.

Why would god create a devious snake acting maliciously towards Eve?

Why would the snake want to them to eat the fruit? He was yet to be cursed as an enemy to man. What was the snake’s intention?

Why would Eve have listened to the snake? Created in god’s image, it would seem that Eve and Adam having wisdom, knowledge, immortality and good sense would make them beyond reproach.

Eve at the urging of the serpent, eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Everything and gives it to Adam who also eats the fruit.

Adam and Eve lacked any need to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Why would they eat the fruit knowing that they would die?

Was it even possible for them to have a concept of death?

Why didn’t they die immediately as they were told?

Now after eating the fruit, Adam and Eve feel immediate shame and remorse out of behaving against god’s mandate. Additionally, for the first time they become aware and further ashamed that they are naked. In order to hide this newly realized nakedness, they sewed themselves loincloths out of fig leafs to cover what must have all of a sudden been determined as private parts.

Why should Adam and Eve be ashamed of their nakedness? They were created naked. Ralph Lauren, Target, and Gap stores were yet to be created. There was no clothes. Nakedness was the order of the day? Why would Adam and Eve feel any more ashamed of being naked than of having a nose on their face? You would think it might have felt sillier strapping on a fig leaf! They were supposed to be naked.

God then arrives in the garden to discover their disobedience. Adam and Eve are sure to have themselves covered by fig leaves. They even hide from god behind a tree out of shame for being naked as if god can’t see through a fig leaf.

With less than civil behavior, Adam first blames “the woman,” then he blames god for having made the woman, and the woman blames the snake.

This appears to be the first record for demonstrating the irresponsible behavior of blaming others for one’s own actions. Adam not only denied responsibility, but he even blamed god.

As the story continues, God curses “The First Sinner” (according to some early clergy, referring to women as “the devils gateway.”), Eve, the serpent, and Adam. His curse for the serpent is to loose his legs, crawl on the ground, and to be the enemy of man forever. While no reference is present in the Old Testament, the serpent in later Christian interpretations was referred to as being Satan or a disciple of Satan. God then continues to curse Eve and every woman thereafter to suffer pain during childbirth and to be ruled by her husband. He cursed Adam and all men after him to hard labor toiling food until he returned to earth from where he was taken (until death..). Then god fashioned skin garments to clothe them.

Why would god curse anyone or make enemies toward man? This is something man does just fine on his own.

Adam and Eve were innovative and capable of covering themselves with local flora. Would god really be skinning animals to cover these disobedient images of himself?

Why would god punish all mankind for eternity based on the behavior of one or two creations in his own image?

Is god not forgiving? Would god not offer productive guidance or even a second chance?

In Islam, the concept of The Original Sin is absent and god forgives Adam and Eve for eating of the tree. The concept of creation is also absent through a god entity in Buddhism.

I’m not of the understanding that god is an entity who curses or punishes anyone or anything.

Adam and Eve were threatened with death if they ate the fruit of the tree. They were not informed they would also become mortal, banished from Eden and that all man would suffer eternal consequences. Additionally, in order to prevent Adam and Eve from eating of The Tree of Life and once again becoming immortal, god places angry cherubs with fiery swords guarding the gates of Eden.

The threat of death if they even knew what that meant, should have been enough to deter Adam and Eve from disobeying god. But Adam and Eve were never warned that eating the fruit would also embody the consequences of becoming mortal and being banished from the Garden of Eden. Also why were they not informed that their actions would result in eternal suffering of all men and women as well. Maybe that would have prevented their eating of the tree? And would god really need to manufacture and utilize angry cherubs? This theme of entrapment continues to establish a tone of humanly devised concepts rather than commands or instructions of god.

“The Original Sin” (TOS) comes from the Christian doctrine through the story of Adam and Eve. Arising as a Western concept; a metaphor for “sin,” is absent in the Old Testament book of Genesis or the original story of Adam and Eve. The word “sin” was created by men of the church long after the passing of most recognized and recorded messengers of god. The earliest reference I found for the word sin lies somewhere between the 4th (Augustine of Hippo) and 12th centuries. Some references date TOS concept arising almost 1,000 years after the death of Christ. TOS is said to be attributed to Bishop of Lyon Irenaeus in his struggle to bring non-believers or misguided worshipers into the fold of “proper” Christianity. It was part of an effort seemingly to create fear, in order to consolidate the many different competing factions of Christianity. While TOS is a cornerstone of Western Christian theological tradition, the belief is not shared by Judaism, Islam, or the Orthodox churches. Some post-Reformation churches such as the Congregationalists and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dropped the idea of TOS from their holy texts.

The term “sin” was not a word uttered by Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, or other messengers of god predating organized Christianity.

During the early days in the formalization of Christianity there were many different sects vying to be the one and only organization for the Christian Church. The story of TOS appears to have been an effort by a Catholic Bishop to create another reason to follow its religious version of Christian doctrine. His effort was intended to cause more people to better conform to the rules, rituals and interpretations of the Catholic Church.

Where are the words of god in the story of TOS versus the words and ideas of man?

There is one last point that needs to be made. My lack of understanding biblical interpretations for TOS and the Adam and Eve story does not signify I lack a belief in consequences for offensive actions and negative behaviors. Based on my research in religion and spiritual study, I know there are always consequences for behaving out of alignment with one’s truth, honesty, integrity, and love. That is the nature of balance in the universe.

Some Eastern religions call this idea of balance and consequences in nature, “karma.” When a person behaves out of integrity there is always a price to pay. The reparation may be as simple as an apology, ritualistic restitution or something more drastic. While karma is a subject in itself too large to address in closing this article, I do believe in consequences. No one gets away with anything including life lessons.

Rather than an angry, cursing punishing entity, I see god as:

that omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, divine energy acting in concert with every particle in the universe, our greater spiritual selves included. God is a guiding light, the energy that always reveals in every situation if we are attuned, the best choice, the true path of honesty, integrity, kindness, love, compassion and empathy.

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Photography by:
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Healing Mankind Project