Paradise and the Fall

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Thomas, Sep 29, 2003.

  1. Rev. LKKP

    Rev. LKKP New Member

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    WHKeith - your reply was wonderful - thank you :) And I found this passage very apt:

    "Many of us, sadly, have lost touch with our spiritual selves, and I suppose that could be viewed as a kind of fall from a former state of grace."

    If you think about it, the only connection we truly do have to the Divine is in our inner spirit - and that is the only thing we carry around with us permanently. And we make an even greater connection to the Divine in our connections with the inner spirit of others. Nearly all belief systems agree on that, even if they don't all agree on where we go when we are done with this plane of existence.

    Thomas - I also agree with WHKeith that some traditions are qualitative hierarchies of a type, but again, only in their boundaries - set by themselves, and for a reason. They represent different levels of readiness for branching out on one's own within that tradition primarily. At a certain point, you have shown the readiness to walk the path and lead others in learning to walk it. Are you their 'doorway to the Divine' as the standard Monotheistic priests and ministers are thought to be? No - not even close. Each individual is thought to be their own doorway - the High Priestess/Priest is merely helping them to unlock that door. Are you any more or less perfect than your student? No again - as many of the leaders of covens I know of have said (and as I have experienced myself in teaching my own students) you learn something new everytime you teach. And that often makes the teacher the student even as they act as teacher - again, not perfect, not better than anyone - just at a different level. I've had more than one person I was teaching do something to touch me in a profound way and show me a side to life and myself I would not have considered before had I not viewed through their eyes.

    And I wonder at the standard mundane thought (and I see it even in Paganism) that states that man and the world are imperfect and that only by connecting with the Divine can we be made so. Consider this; we are already connected - whether we choose to acknowledge it or no - and many religions have tried to point this fact out over the aeons.

    I honestly believe that references to the "fall from Paradise" are merely allegory pointing out that when we 'knew' ourselves in a less than perfect judgemental sense (as in eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge) and we saw ourselves 'naked' (ie vulnerable) we 'clothed' ourselves (as in with ego) and were sent from Paradise; that if we are to 'return to Paradise' we must be as we once were - innocent of the judgements and jealousies that come with donning the clothing of ego. When we forgot that not only is the I a part of the We, but that the We is within the I - we forgot we were all connected - we forgot our connection to the Divine, because that connection is manifest in Us. Not an easy concept to express - I can only hope that makes some sort of sense.

    I also believe that the fall mythos came about as man disconnected with his more esoteric side. Many myths in various paths support this; the Tower of Babel myth itself is a good example; man attempted to reach God by building a tower - the builders were separated in their language for they tried to reach Deity by material means. By building the tower of Ego high, they brought their understanding low. Where they were all able to understand one another previously, they no longer could because they had wrapped themselves in the material - they lost sight of where the true connection to the Divine lies - in ourselves and our connection to each other. No longer being able to connect, they were adrift and on their own - a feeling that many who are experiencing a spiritual crisis state they feel.

    I could go on and on all day picking apart myths and allegories, but as it states in the Bible - let those that have eyes to see and ears to hear have understanding. The deeper Mysteries were never to be taken literally - for in the literal interpretation of man's writing - whether Divinely inspired or no - is the trap; that man could possibly explain the entire Universe in all it's complexity in any one text is the height of ego's folly; all man can come up with are ways to attempt to make sense of it all - and the Fall was just one such allegory.

    I've noted that while there are those out there who follow only one text exclusively, those who I consider the most spiritual regardless of their chosen path are those that look for the Divine in all texts, in Nature, in everything - and they always seem to find the commonalities in the paths instead of the differences. And in those commonalities they find the truths they seek for themselves.

    And Man's greatest 'sin' for those that use the phrase was in denying that connection to the Divine by saying he was no longer worthy of it and only in death could reconnect; I don't believe Deity denied us, but we turned our backs. Death is merely a phase of life - not an end of it. And by turning our back on the life we are given and looking only to the life 'lost in Paradise' or the one after Death, we turn our back on the greatest gift we have been given; life to experience as we choose to and with all the wonders we've been given to enjoy.

    Many view Deity as Father/Mother to us all; if you, as a parent, gave your children such a wonderful place to live, would you enjoy it that they could only cry over why you condemned them to it and why can't they live somewhere else? That the Paradise they were given is considered evil and twisted? Would you not try to tell them - in whatever various ways you could find - that this is Paradise? Or could be if they weren't so busy trashing it thinking they weren't going to live here for long so why not?

    As a song that I often sing put it:
    "They call it Paradise/I don't know why/You call some place Paradise/And kiss it goodbye"

    Long winded aren't I? LOL
    This is a passion for me - to try to understand why anyone could think that we are separate from God or Goddess however they perceive them. I can't wake up in the morning without seeing the miracle that I woke up to. Even at my lowest moments (and I have them, trust me - I've lost count of how many times I have asked ungratefully to be taken out of this world) a part of me still can look around and see the miracle that is the world and the Universe we live in. The way light plays through the trees - even when it may be that I don't want to see it for I would rather be in darkness - I know it's there for me to enjoy. The smell of roses; have you ever thought of the miracle that is our sense of smell? Why would I turn my back from that? And why would Deity create something like this and tell you to ignore it for a better life later? That to me makes no sense at all.

    And even Paradise has rainy days; how else could the trees grow?

    We are at our healthiest if we live fully; a person who only sits and contemplates a better life elsewhere is nearly dead already, for they have forgotten how to live. If healthy and full denotes perfection, then why do so many run from it by denying life itself?

    Lin
     
  2. Baud

    Baud Seeker of Knowledge

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    Thanks to WHKeith, Rev. LKKP and Pamela, who posted the answer I had neither the time nor the talent to write myself ! :D I must confess that I'm better at developping arguments realted to politics or law than to religion.

    Baud
     
  3. CallofNature

    CallofNature New Member

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    Link to ancient history

    Peace on Earth,

    I would like to refer to an interesting site I've read lately, which sheds the light on various aspects amongst myths and realities as of concerns the origins of man and, hence, the origins of beliefs of the Golden Age and the Fall of Humanity, please take your time to read and analyse:
    http://www.atlan.org/

    With best wishes for peace and prosperity
     
  4. Phi

    Phi New Member

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    Sumerian Myth Revisited as Oracle

    Some of you may have read these who read the poetry section in the Lounge. but since they are based upon an ancient Sumerian legend of Lillith, who also appears in Rabbinic writings, I thought you might find it interesting here. In the ancient religions of Sumeria, Nammu was the primordial abyss from which all things come and was given to be female. The Anzu was a flying dragon or a dragon-like bird (pterodactyl type creature?) The serpent was a symbol of wisdom. Lillith was a female spirit, not a goddess, but not fully explained as an angel or demon in what I could find. Inanna was a goddess. In the story Inanna asked Gilgamesh to rid a tree in her garden of Lillith who had taken up residence in the tree trunk, the Anzu, who was nesting in the branches, and a serpent in the roots.
    I found some similarity with the Garden of Eden story since the tree, wise serpent and garden of the god/godess was in each, and since Lillith was included in the tale of creation in some rabbinical writings which seemed to give a fuller accounting of legends of Lillith from a Patriarchal point of view.

    The Lillith Oracles

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The First Translation, The Riddle

    Lillith in Sumaria did shelter in a tree
    Within an old and hallowed trunk a simple home to be

    And where ever went the Lillith was Old Wisdom wont to go
    And coiled herself beneath the roots and guarded Lillith so

    And high up in the branches the Anzu built her nest
    That nothing falling from the sky keep Lillith from her rest

    Old Sin, the moon, shone blessings down upon the peaceful scene
    And Lillith with her guardians grew contented and serene

    Had Inanna left the three in peace and in sweet nature's arms
    Would YWHW's man have ever asked the Lillith for her charms?

    And had he not then bullied and thought himself her king
    The world of men need not have feared the serpent's bite and sting

    And the great old dragon-bird might well have lived in peace
    Had Adam not disturbed her nest with evil lust/hubris

    And Adam's sons, the rabbis, might have better told the story
    Than to say that Sin was evil when the moon is ought but glory

    If you would know of Lillith's tale it started not with Hebrew
    Go back to old Sumeria and knowledge from the Nammu

    If you would know whence Lillith came and understand the fall
    You must go to the Nammu of the deep abyss of all

    (Oracle of the Nammu)
    The beginning of the cycle now called the "fall of man,"
    Is in truth, the fall of Womanpride when Manhubris began.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Second Translation: The Cycle

    And you may see the mystery
    of Lillith shut within the tree
    Is that the Old Ones put her there
    no food scant light and little air

    In hopes that she a spirit bright
    might die and fall to dust one night
    And closed her in with daub and wattle
    thinking her bright soul to throttle

    For in a cycle out of time
    did Lillith rage and enter mind
    Of woman angry woman strong
    the lifeblood of the Amazon

    Who slaked her lust then gelded men
    & instilled worship of her ken
    With priestesses that prophesied
    & men enslaved & woman-pride

    And took the babies that were male
    & burned them live in fires of Bel
    When men were nought but for the lust
    and women brought them to the dust

    And to the ashes of the pyres
    except poor slaves enchained as sires
    Imprisoned them and used them bitter
    and led them know the woman fitter

    To be the One and Only One
    and woman great and man anon
    Inanna who was goddess/woman
    and asked for help to rid the vermin

    From a tree in her own yard
    might well have known in her hard heart
    And using woman's wisdom subtle
    set spell on man his mind to muddle

    Gilgamesh who wished to please
    released the female god Hubris
    And following Inanna's quest
    freed Lillith serpent and bird/beast

    And Lillith angry from her trap
    and mad with anguish made a map
    Of stars that showed the cycle sad
    Of woman-all-good & man-all-bad

    But cycles must be balanc-ed
    by laws of Nammu still unread
    So cycle after Lillith's own
    Has left all womankind to moan

    Until a cycle pure & sweet
    of Equal Knowing can repeat
    The wisdom of the All & All:
    "Pride riseth high before a fall."

    (Oracle of the Nammu)
    Strive for the cycle of the Phi
    Where both the line and circle be
    For both the circle and the line
    Create life's spiral for all time.
     
  5. Phi

    Phi New Member

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    Fall of Witchcraft: Legends of a Fall

    Perhaps there are no need for "legends" yet of a fall of a golden age of wise-craft because the "legends of a fall" are recorded history instead of distant myths.

    I am frankly surprised no one made this observation. It fell with hanging, burning and torturing until persons were afraid to even mention that their grannies once knew buttercup from dandelion.

    Modern Wicca is not a total revival of the ancient wise arts, as there were not many records left after so many years of persecutions. But there are many similarities to what is still known about the old ways, some passed down verbally over time, and some bits from history, and some mystical remembrances, perhaps.

    Most wiccans, or at least wiccan women, are well able to recognize the connection even if the history plays no formal part in their ceremonies and practices.

    Even an herbalist could be hung or burned for practicing the best brand of medicine extant in those days instead of the extremely backward and bizarre treatments offered by the male physicians then. If you had a mole, it was a witches tit & you were doomed. If you looked younger than other women of your age, you could be tortured. I am sure you all know it was a period of horrible atrocity unequaled in time, and that if the evil of the witch hunts clearly resided more with the hunters than with the hunted.
     
  6. Phi

    Phi New Member

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    I am sure you all know it was a period of horrible atrocity unequaled in recorded time, and that the evil of the witch hunts clearly resided more with the hunters than with the hunted.[/QUOTE] I left out the inapporopriate "if."

    Sorry all if I sounded short and abrupt. There was a bad thunderstorm that I noticed was getting a little dangerous as I was typing, so I was hurrying more than usual.

    By the way, I am not a Wiccan myself. So if any of you who are feels a need to step in and correct me, please do so. I do have Wiccan friends and I have studied the basics, but will likely remain a solitary.
     
  7. omnizac

    omnizac New Member

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    Hello all, this is my first post on the whole forum! :cool:
    There is a kind of duality in many religions, referred to by Thomas, that sets up a tension between the perfect state and the current state. However the theory runs:..in the end something has to be done by (or to) the individual, to make the transition from imperfection to perfection.
    Even in the most philosophically rich forms of Buddhism - telling us that there is no difference between the Buddha and an unenlightened person - there is still the caveat "if only the unenlightened person could perceive this truth."

    So for me, the Fall is another way of expressing this little (yet all important) anomally between perfection and actuality. People get confused when (if) they hear a Taoist say that original nature is perfect, while they've always understood that we are stained with original sin. But hey, both the Christian and the Taoist can agree that we are all less than perfect at the moment, and that *something* has to be done to gain/regain perfection. (Even if that 'something' is as slight as a shift in perception)

    It's one of the characteristics of the biblical religions that their theories tend to be expressed in historical terms. For example: the Fall happened a long time ago, but God eventually overcame the Fall, through the Resurrection, and one day, he'll come back and straighten things out completely. However, it is vital to remember that in these religions, (or at least in Christianity) what happens in space and time also happens in eternity - so not just those of us lucky enough to be born A.D. have the option of salvation. This tends to neutralise the 'unpleasantness' of confining divinity to purely historic dimensions.

    Likewise, we can look at an Eastern religion such as Buddhism, and see that although (in some forms) there is an emphasis on the concurrence of Samsara and Nirvana or of the imperfect world and the perfect world; and although it is a vital aspect of the Buddha's realisation that he saw that the world was always perfect; we must also realise that our own journey down this (instantaneous) path is expressed through time, in the personal history of our own lives.

    thanks for reading!
    Omnizac.
     
  8. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Hi Omnizac, and welcome to CR. :)

    And good points made, too. :)
     
  9. paradisaic

    paradisaic paradisaic

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    The Bible is the only true book. Respectfully, all this about the Garden of Eden account being taken from other books is mistaken. It's the other way around. The other tales were siphoned from the word-of-mouth accounts of Abraham and his clan, no doubt to lands like Ur and Gad. Even the Canaanite people borrowed from the story and applied it to their own gods.
     
  10. harticulate

    harticulate New Member

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    Thank you for that............sums it up for me. The "who is right" debate.

    Heidi
     
  11. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    This is an old thread and I admit I have not recently read all the preceding posts, but this caught my eye.

    I'm guessing that someone (Thomas?) suggested that all religions have a myth that explaines the dissonance we feel with creation/each other and an ideal to which we strive or long for, a healing, the establishment or re-establisment of harmony and peace. I think that in a secular society we do have these myths, even if we do not regard them as so. The 'Utopian Society' exists in our minds whether or not we think it is attainable or associate it with God. Some people probably believe (perhaps not as common now as it was a century ago) that science will be the means by which we achieve Paradise. This can be seen in snippets when we use info gleaned from 'science' about, for example, how increase our lifespan (fad diets for example).

    Others look to political systems (socialism, communism, fascism?) to create the utopian society.

    I'd be interested to hear Path of One's take on the observation that not all aboriginal societies had a creation myth. I find it hard to believe.

    cheers,
    lunamoth
     
  12. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Just bumping a topic linked to from the main site. :)
     
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I find this thread wonderful reading, I find it amazing your bump had no affect.

    If I am reading it right, Thomas's conjecture is that while the bible is based on various pagan rituals, rights, myths and beliefs that those stories and understandings were through Christ...

    While on one hand that almost sounds like some reverse engineering, on the other it opens the door to Christ being a concept that New Thought and Theosophists have in common. That the Christ is not a single being, but one that develops a complete understanding of what G!d is and what s/he is. As in Jesus the Christ(ed), as opposed to a last name.
     
  14. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    There is a small problem though. There was no fall in paradise; i.e. in the Garden of Eden. One does not fall from acquiring knowledge. The opposite is rather true, according to Hosea, who said that people fall, i.e. perish for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6) Adam and Eve were banned from the Garden to prevent them from eating of the tree of life and live forever. And that was not a fall either, but a lesson about the reality that eternal life was not among the Divine attributes granted to man. Eternal life was to belong with God only. (Gen. 3;22)
    Ben
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, not quite. I'd say that the first chapters of the Bible present quite a profound metaphysic, presented in mythopoeic terms.

    Well not if Christ is God, as Christianity states. The Boble can hardly come before God.

    No, that's not it at all, on a number of counts:
    God is above being.
    God does not develop.
    Jesus and Christ are not two separate things

    The Incarnation is the personification of the Logos — I am constantly surprised to see how much of a problem people have with accepting the idea that the Logos of God, by whom all things came to be ... can manifest all things except Himself.

    Go figure ...

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  16. voice

    voice Interfaith Forums

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    The god of babylonians differ , from the god of any other nation. Each gods had uniqeness in their character , according to the peoples belief ,their moral and spiritual weight. Adam is created after Jehovah , the Jewish god. In Genesis chapter one the name of god is not Jehovah ,but Elohim ,the gods of nations around . . . Archeology confirm this . So the fall means 'particularly ' for jews not for all mankind or any other gentile nation.
     
  17. granpa

    granpa New Member

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    egyptian, greek, and aztec mythologies speak of many floods.
    one of these is the biblical flood and one is the fall.

    Ancient_Greek_flood_myths - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Five Suns - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  18. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    The Jews did not exist at the time of Creation; but only as a prophecy to rise many years later from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Gen. 1:3) Here are some more of the details:

    Let There Be Light and There Was Light



    It has been an a "tohu vavohu" among many questioners, especially Christians, even many Jews, to come up with an explanation for that kind of light in Genesis 1:3 wen the sun, which gives light by day was created only on the 4th day of creation. The embarrassment is that at both, Atheists laugh. And not because they know any better in terms of an adequate answer, but for two other reasons: First, because they look for answer only in Science; and of course it is not there but in Theology. And in Theology, they laugh at us for they think that we are all speaking about an anthropomorphic god, which, as I don't blame them: It indeed never existed.

    But what light is indeed the Torah writer referring to when he reports of God as declaring, "Let there be light?"

    Since before the creation of the universe it was already in the designs of God to provide for salvation of Mankind, a People whom salvation would come from, in the words of Jesus himself in John 4:22.

    When for good, the Assyrians removed Israel from existence by replacing the Northern population of the Galilee with Gentiles, and after the Jews or Southern pupulation was taken for an temporary exile of 70 years in Babylon, and the time had arrived for their return to the Land of Israel, Prophet Isaiah said that the people who walked in darkness, he meant the Gentiles in Galilee, had seen a great light as the Jewish People was returning to the Land of Israel. (Isa. 9:2)

    Then, later, he confirms that light of Genesis 1:3 when he explained that Israel had been assigned as light to the nations. (Isa. 42:6) But the light was to remain divided from the darkness, so that both should exist in the same world; although, in the language of the Essenes, there would always be a conflict between the children of Light and the children of darkness. Between Jews and Gentiles.

    Jesus was aware of this Light as he delivered his famous Sermon of the Mount to a crowd of Jews, when he said to them: "You are the Light of the world." (Mat. 5:14) The reason why he said "you are" and not "you have" is that what one has, it can be taken away, but what one is he is no matter what. Individually, we have the light the world needs to know God. But as a People, we are the light of Genesis 1:3, which the world needs for salvation.

    Ben
     

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