The myth of creation in Bible contains a very powerful motif. Unfortunately, it is stated in a manner that is blatantly unfair to man. The story appears as told from God’s own point of view, which we ordinary mortals cannot straitjacket into our limited power of reasoning. Any attempt to do so would result in unanswerable puzzles. For example, how could serpents speak? Or who was Cain’s wife? Isn’t it unfair that believers are expected to defend a story with such gaping holes?
If we look at the story of Eden from another angle, more from a human point of view, it is all about biological evolution. Specifically, about the emergence of human beings as a separate species from the rest of nature. The garden is nothing but our beautiful earth and forbidden fruit represents objective knowledge. God did not expel man from the garden, but man threw God out. And the serpent part was obviously made up by God to cover his own cunning!
I believe this is true for all myths. Either accept without questioning or re-interpret and translate into a language that human reason can make sense of. The mythmaker’s logic bears no resemblance to our own. But a beautiful pattern emerges if we could identify the rules of translation.
‘God’ is a troublesome word. Let us begin by using a less intimidating term – Mind. Almost equally vague but at least gives the impression of being more approachable! After all each one of us claim to have a mind of our own, where as any mention of God can be extremely sensitive.
There is another problem in dealing with myths. We are so used to cause-effect relationships. There has to be a reason, a ‘mechanism’ for everything. If a mango falls from a tree we conclude that it must be a mango tree and the fruit fell due to the force of gravity. God or Mind does not qualify as an acceptable reason because we cannot think of a mechanism involving such entities. God is believed to have created man. Isn’t it pure fiction? I have heard it mentioned that ‘faith can move mountains’. How many of us have seen mountains moving around even with so many ardent believers in our midst? It is difficult for us think outside the cause-effect relationship. Faith or blind acceptance is useless from a purely human point of view.
Whether mind played a role or not, one thing is certain. Man evolved from monkeys. Some of us may find this objectionable, but really, no choice here. Like it or not, you will find a monkey if you trace your lineage few hundred thousand years back. There is enough evidence to prove this beyond doubt.
So there had been a gradual change in some species of monkeys, ending up with man. The change occurred over hundreds of thousand years. A very slow, step-by-step process, but the results are obvious for everyone to see. Once that is clear, the next question is – what caused this gradual change?
There are many people who believe an intelligent designer did this. There are even more people who believe random genetic changes together with natural selection of favorable variations caused it. I think there is another possible explanation – creative Mindfulness is a property of nature and this is the driving force of evolution. If you are curious why I think so, you must read my other posts! But never mind, just come along and see how the Garden of Eden makes complete sense now.
Postulating Mind as a property of nature leads to many interesting possibilities. First of all, the thing that we claim as our individual mind is something that developed out of this universal Mind. This development happened over many thousand years, during early stages of human evolution, when our species emerged out of simian ancestors. In fact it would be much more simple to consider this development as the appearance of a new organ, organ for knowing or the de-mystifier. It is crucial to see that there was no knowledge before this organ appeared on the scene. It is apt to call this organ de-mystifier because its task is to de-mystify nature. Objective knowledge is the result of such de-mystification.
That would straightaway (ah! with a bit of imagination) lead to the conclusion that the universal Mind is un-knowable. It is a consequence of the ‘Knower’ being a minor protrusion on the surface of universal Mind. A meter rod cannot be used to measure its own length. Man, ‘the measure of all things’ cannot measure his own proto-form. This is the limitation of self-referencing. One need to move away from measurements to direct experience to know oneself.
The ‘I’ in our thought and speech represents the de-mystifier. It is the expressive fragment of our wholeness. We are in fact a conglomeration of many parts, much more than this ‘I’ that takes center stage most of the time. My wholeness also includes the physical body and vestiges of a billion year old universal Mind. I am almost like a herd of sheep led by a cunning fox, which alone can see and howl.
And there lies the contradiction. A herd of sheep led by a cunning fox that alone can see and howl is an unstable set – but that is exactly how human condition can be described. A co-existence of potentially explosive forces. A balancing act that would need great amounts of skill and assimilation to go through unscathed.
How else can we describe the relationship between the de-mystifier and its source? Rational mind is an offshoot the unknowable universal Mind. That means we are children of God. Unfortunately we cannot sit back and enjoy the love and affection of our parent, because we are born with the mission of conquering the unknown. De-mystifier fears God as the eye fears absolute darkness or the ear fears absolute silence. Man has no choice but fear and distrust God. At the same time, man cannot cut himself off from his source because he has no independent existence. This is the root cause of our insecurity neurosis. We must fight God all day long but go back to sleep on his lap at nightfall.
Life flourished in the Garden of Eden for millions of years, until one-day man woke up from a long dream and picked up the forbidden apple. Fruits of the tree of knowledge were forbidden because knowing is an act of ‘sin’, a violation of the unspeakable relationship we share with our source. At a more fundamental level, God himself scripted this act of disobedience. Human mind is the only instance where universal Mind becomes self-aware. Man is the realization of God’s quest for knowing him-self. Self-awareness marks the culmination of a creative process that began with swarming molecular life in primeval mud ponds, or even earlier with the big bang, or even before that…
Man and God could not co-exist once the apple was eaten. So they threw God out of the garden. God left after a brief struggle, retiring to write the story in his own terms, for those who cared to believe in Him.