Saturday, April 2, 2011

What Is The Story Of The Garden Of Eden About?

As with all literature, the Book of Genesis is open to interpretation. Literature that has stood the test of time (e.g., the Bible) must speak to people across generations at a very core level. Genesis, especially the parts about Adam and Eve speak of Man's alienation from God. And if you look at God (at least in part) as your inner most, true self, then the story of Adam is a story about how man has alienated himself from himself. This alienation comes chiefly from shame. Shame is the feeling that the self must hide because it is deserving of punishment or ridicule. It is the belief that there is something wrong with the self and therefore the self must either hide literally, or hide figuratively by pretending to be something other than itself. Over time, this pretended self begins to feel like the real self and the real self is forgotten. In Genesis, Adam ate of the tree of Knowledge. When he did this his eyes were opened and he was ashamed. He then sewed fig leaves together to hide his nakedness (i.e., his true self). God (his true self) came to look for him and Adam hid.

Note: some of the ideas in this passage are taken from a fantastic book called "Healing the Shame that Binds You" by John Bradshaw. Anyone who feels that too much shame is a problem in their lives should absolutely read this book. Here is a link:

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