Paradise and The Fall

Thomas

So it goes ...
Veteran Member
Messages
14,296
Reaction score
4,204
Points
108
Location
London UK
Part of the obscurity of Scripture is that we no longer read the language of symbology, for symbology (like geometry) is a sacred art in that it is, at every level, a means by which the Divine communicates with the mundane world. The tree, understandably, is a symbol common to tradition, and the 'Tree in the Midst' occurs in many, including Qabbalistic and Moslem esotericism. Here, however, we are primarily concerned with not so much the tree as the location.

The Garden of Eden
"... the tree of life also in the midst of paradise: and the tree of knowledge of good and evil ..." (2:9)

In the midst, quite simply, means the tree stands at the centre, the axial point, of paradise. It is important to realise that we are now talking of the second chapter of Genesis, so whereas the first concerned creation as such, the second concerns a specific domain within creation, and this is the world of man, not as he is today, but as he was intended and created, in his primordial purity. We can, using the tree as an analogy, say that Genesis 1 is concerned with the trunk, thus the verticality of creation in its entirety from top to bottom, whilst Genesis 2 deals with the branches, or rather a specific branch, and thus the horizontal axis and a given dimension or mode of being.

Genesis tells us 'And the Lord God had planted a paradise of pleasure from the beginning:' (2.8) by which we can understand that this paradise was created in Genesis 1, which in turn means it transcends the human state, or rather the mode of man, in all his states of being, which are the subject of Genesis 2.

Thus the tree, in the midst, is axial; it reaches up above, and its roots descend below, the paradise of Eden, the specific garden in which the primordial couple find themselves. This is further reinforced, if such was necessary, by the four rivers which flow from the centre, the four directions being forward and back, left and right, whilst the tree comprises the remaining two, up and down. One might add, lastly on this, that the fact that the rivers flow from this point, rather than through the midst, implies that the tree represents the axial point, the centre not only physically in time and space, but the centre and origin of time and space as such.

There can only ever be one centre, but there are two trees. How is it possible that two trees occupy the same central point? Because they are the same tree, but viewed from different dimensions, or rather, that is how the one tree manifests in a different and particular mode of being. The first tree therefore, the hierarchic principal tree, is the tree of life, signifying the action of the First Cause in every mode of manifestation, and this tree grows, like the beanstalk, through every level of creation, top to bottom. The second tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, is the manifestation of that tree in a given domain. In another paradise, it will be known by a different name.

+++

In Greek myth, it was golden apples that grew on a golden tree in The Garden of the Hesperides, and the flesh of a golden apples was said to grant immortality. This golden tree was located on a mythical isle in the west, and without going into detail here, one can easily see the correspondence between this and other mythologies, and the Scriptural Eden. The perspective is different, however, in that in the Greek myth man has to find (and in Hercules' case, steal) the fruit to regain his lost immortality, his true and primordial state.

The notion of a mythical isle replicates the primordial Eden but now it is hidden, that is to say its location is uncharted, the seeker has to find it by himself, or one might say, within himself. The only clue, that it lies to the west, signifies the end times, as the west signifies the setting sun, and at the end of the cosmic cycle, the island will be revealed. Until then, only the courageous few will make the perilous journey. Another obvious correspondence here is with the Pure Land of the West of Amida Buddhism.

In Hindu tradition the World Tree is represented by the fig, and the Gautama Buddha achieved enlightenment after meditating beneath the branches of a fig tree. We introduce this point because later, in the next chapter, Adam and Eve make clothing from the leaves of the fig after realising their nakedness, after eating the fruit. It is not too great a stretch, therefore, to suggest that the tree in the midst might well, and more accurately, be represented by the fig tree.

The Golden Fleece of the Argonauts was likewise hung from a tree, and protected by a serpent. As well as links to the Argonauts, there is a connection to the Grail Quest of Avalon, and the Isle of Avalon itself, the Lake being synonymous with the sea.

+++

Taken from some essays written for The Veil, so somewhat pedagogical, for which I beg your indulgence.

Thomas
 
In dealing with Primordial Man, we have his establishment in Scripture, and his fall, but tantalisingly little is said about his life prior to that tragic event. We can pick up broad details from Scripture:

Gen 1:26
And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness...
The Divine Image in man is not of the body, but in the soul; not so much in the form of man, but the idea – a spiritual being, imbued with understanding and free will.

Gen 2:15
"And the Lord God took man, and put him into the paradise of pleasure, to dress it, and to keep it."
Here we note that God 'put' man in the paradise. This refers back to the first chapter, the principial chapter, and so we can read that man was created 'in God' (along with every other creature) ... that being, all modes of being, exist in God because God is All Possibility (one of the triune, along with Absolute and Infinite).

We can see further that man is 'put' into a given domain, the material realm, with a duty and an obligation – 'to dress it and keep it.'

+++

In Chapter 2 we are dealing, as said before, with subsidiarty principles, albeit at the level of metaphysics. Now man, who exists 'in' God as an idea, a possibility, now exists 'outside' of God as a reality, in a spatiotemporal realm in which things are said to have 'being' in that they are distinct from other things (which also have being), and that their being comprises their essence or esse, their 'is-ness', and they also have 'act', the first mode of which is their sensible and suprasensible presence.

Gen 2:19
"And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: for whatsoever Adam called any living creature the same is its name."

Two things:
Firstly, this is the first use of "Adam" as a name, in Scripture, and not simply as a reference 'man' or 'the man' (from Hebr. adamah of the earth).

Secondly, God has given man a personal name, but allows man to name all other living creatures. This signifies man's priority and ascendancy, as a creature, over the Kosmos.

2:22-25
And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam. And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh. And they were both naked: to wit, Adam and his wife: and were not
ashamed.

I would rather not get involved in the man woman issue, as it is not central to the debate (at this stage) and because it is too often distorted by gener politics. Suffice to say man and woman are equal in repect of the fact that they are both 'present' in the world; man and woman are not equal in respect of the fact of function or dynamic principle.

This latter aspect can be addressed in two ways, one reading man as first, the other reading woman as first, without contradiction. hence the saying, 'behind every great man is a greater woman'.

+++

What I did want to stress, and what is important to understand before we proceed, is why Genesis tells us relatively little of the life of the Primordial Couple prior to the fall. And it is this:

Their lives were hidden in God.

Colossians 3:2
"Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. For you are dead: and your life is hid with Christ in God."

The meaning is simple: when one fulfills the Father's will, then there is no distinction in the will between what the father wills and what the person wills – there are two wills, but both will the same thing, and so the lesser (human) will is lost from sight, being seen by all as the Father's (greater) will.

It is upon this very aspect, the fulfillment of the Divine Will, and the Divine Plan of creation, that encompasses its beginning and its end (and only with the end in view can a 'good' be known), that the Fall turns.


Thomas
 
Namaste Thomas excellent stuff. Can I inquire as to where you are headed?

I'm wondering before it moves on where your thoughts are on the nature of the rivers and their names metaphysically...

And also the why G-d created woman....this seems to be overlooked.

18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

The stories surrounding this get pretty dicey and racey and are often avoided.
 
Well, consider this ...

God says:
"It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself" (2:18) and later "... a man ... shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh. ... " (2:24)
Two in one flesh, as God and man are two in one spirit ...

... a companion is the greatest gift born of God's love for His creature ... that the creature as creature might not be alone ... that in them, with them, by them and through them, His Love might be realised in the world for all to see.

Thomas
 

The meaning is simple: when one fulfills the Father's will, then there is no distinction in the will between what the father wills and what the person wills – there are two wills, but both will the same thing, and so the lesser (human) will is lost from sight, being seen by all as the Father's (greater) will.

It is upon this very aspect, the fulfillment of the Divine Will, and the Divine Plan of creation, that encompasses its beginning and its end (and only with the end in view can a 'good' be known), that the Fall turns.


Thomas

Does this mean that the Fall was a necessary coincident with self-consciousness and free will (and free will is necessary for love)? And that the Fall was permitted only with the Rescue (the Incarnation) already planned/completed?

To me this again gets back to the issue that we are limited in time, but God (presumably) is not. From a perspective outside of time, our creation, the fall, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, and the Return are all a 'done deal.'
 
Quick reply to Wil –

I've never given the names of the four rivers much consideration, rather stayed with the idea of the four directions...

If I were to look, the first place I'd go is a Hebrew source, to find their commentary, then take it from there ... but the topic should be considered, at least.

Thomas
 
Hi Lunamoth –

Does this mean that the Fall was a necessary coincident with self-consciousness and free will (and free will is necessary for love)?
No, I don't think so, not from the Creator's point of view, anyway. Man might reason it to himself as such, that the only way he can 'prove' he has free will is to defy God ... in the end it boils down to a 'lack of' ... be it faith, or love, or trust ...

The Fall certainly could not happen without free will, for if we are not free, then we are being punished for something over which we have no choice ... but the counterpart to that is just because we are free to be wrong, we are not obliged to be wrong, to prove we are free ...

Free will is necessary for love, but the fall was brought on not by an act of love, but by a supreme act of selfishness.

I wrote of man 'being hidden in God', the sepent would have phrased it 'obscured by God's shadow' ... man wanted not only to stand in the spotlight, he wanted to be the source of that light of which St John speaks 'that is the life of men' ... only by obscuring that Divine Light can the human light shine out, and only then is it revealed in all its tragic inadequacy ...

And that the Fall was permitted only with the Rescue (the Incarnation) already planned/completed?
Oh yes.

To me this again gets back to the issue that we are limited in time, but God (presumably) is not. From a perspective outside of time, our creation, the fall, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, and the Return are all a 'done deal.'
Yes ... but another term for 'deal' is 'covenant' ... and man's foundation in the Garden of Paradise was a Covenant, a contract, which man broke, and has been breaking continuously, ever since.

Now, more than ever before, man claims the right to determine the means of his own salvation, never has ther idea of selff loomed so large and so important in human affairs ... this age will be the 'Age of the Ego' and the 'Cult of Self' ... everything turns, is judged, according to the idea of 'me' being all-important, beig sacrosanct ... the New Age loves the idea of God, but it loves the idea of 'me' more ... it assumes a Covenant with no small print, no conditions, other than those it finds acceptable ... so whilst there is much about the NA to be admired, and I admire, fundamentally, it says 'on my terms' ...

Fundamentally, man insists he knows what's best for himself.
In reality, this is absolutely not the case.

Thomas
 
Wonderful thread Thomas. I for some reason focused upon the possible reasons as to why the universal tree myths seems to point towards fig trees across cultures.

There has been a fair amount of research done over the years that shows the fig tree to have be the very first agricultural plant to be consciously cultivated as a sustaining human food after the last ice age.This means that people would have eventually taken to staying in the vicinity of their fig trees ( at least in the east where most of these stories are found), while venturing out ocassionally to hunt and forage. Is it any wonder that is the central symbol ? And do not forget Jesus' parable about the spoiled fruit on the ground around the fig tree.

I liken what we are all going into now as comparable to that phase 10,000-12,000 years ago. We are manipulating nature more and more to produce our food sources for us, and that will only get to be a more predominant feature of urbanized global society as we exhaust the more natural systems that were originally created for us. I don't know which NGO is doing it, but a world seed bank is being deposited inside of a mountain on a frozen island North of Norway so that there will always be a new natural beginning available should we become too foolish as a species and destroy too much of the natural world's food sources with what we may engineer.

Organic farming and growing of human foods are increasingly being sought out as alternatives by more people, but as this also becomes more industrialized, we may experience other unforseen problems such as an alarming rise in allergic reactions, not to mention the alterations in growing climates because of warming and more erratic weather patterns. And to think... we grow food now to burn as fuel.

Just my thoughts as well.

flow....:)
 

The meaning is simple: when one fulfills the Father's will, then there is no distinction in the will between what the father wills and what the person wills – there are two wills, but both will the same thing, and so the lesser (human) will is lost from sight, being seen by all as the Father's (greater) will.

Thomas


Another interesting thing about this. Wed in Bible study we discussed Matt 17:

14When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15"Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him."

17"O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." 18Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.

19Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"

20He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."[a]

22When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. 23They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life." And the disciples were filled with grief.
It was pointed out by our priest that this passage is about aligning our will with God's. It's easy to read this as if it's our faith that moves the mountain, when really it is our participation by faith in God's will that moves mountains. The mountain only moves if God wills it...not because we will it.


OK Thomas, when shall we get to the Fall? :D Are you going to talk in this thread about the doctrine of original sin? Shall I try to find out what I can about the Eastern Orthodox view of the Fall?
 
Luna,

I am waiting to hear about the Eastern Orthodox view of the Fall. Do not ask for permission, but feel free to post as you like. (I thought this thread was your idea.)
 
I hope no one minds if I C & P some bits I find about the EO view of the fall, sin, and redemption. :)

from: Religion Facts

In the Western churches, both Catholic and Protestant, sin, grace, and salvation are seen primarily in legal terms. God gave humans freedom, they misused it and broke God's commandments, and now deserve punishment. God's grace results in forgiveness of the transgression and freedom from bondage and punishment.

The Eastern churches see the matter in a different way. For Orthodox theologians, humans were created in the image of God and made to participate fully in the divine life. The full communion with God that Adam and Eve enjoyed meant complete freedom and true humanity, for humans are most human when they are completely united with God.

The result of sin, then, was a blurring of the image of God and a barrier between God and man. The situation in which mankind has been ever since is an unnatural, less human state, which ends in the most unnatural aspect: death. Salvation, then, is a process not of justification or legal pardon, but of reestablishing man's communion with God. This process of repairing the unity of human and divine is sometimes called "deification." This term does not mean that humans become gods but that humans join fully with God's divine life.
 
Luna,

I am waiting to hear about the Eastern Orthodox view of the Fall. Do not ask for permission, but feel free to post as you like. (I thought this thread was your idea.)

Well, I'm hoping to proceed in some kind of organized way...lol!

But as you can see I've started to post some of my research into this. I am not Eastern Orthodox, but I have found that when I read some of the EO theology it resonates with me, much more so than Protestant theology.
 
From Wiki

Orthodox Christians hold that man was originally created in communion with God, but through acting in a manner contrary to his own nature (which is intrinsically ordered to communion with God), he disrupted that communion. Because of man's refusal to fulfill the "image and likeness of God" within him, corruption and the sickness of sin whose consequence is death entered man's mode of existence. But when Jesus came into the world He Himself was Perfect Man and Perfect God united in the divine Hypostasis of the Logos, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Through his assumption of human nature, human existence was restored, enabling human beings, and the fulfilment of creation, through participation in divinity by incorporation into Jesus Christ.

"The Word of God came in His own Person, because it was He alone, the Image of the Father, Who could recreate man made after the Image. In order to effect this re-creation, however, He had first to do away with death and corruption. Therefore He assumed a human body, in order that in it death might once and for all be destroyed, and that men might be renewed according to the Image [of God]." St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation

Salvation, or "being saved," therefore, refers to this process of being saved from death and corruption and the fate of hell [the condition of experiencing Gods love as fire]. The Orthodox Church believes that its teachings and practices represent the true path to participation in the gifts of God. Yet, it should be understood that the Orthodox do not believe that you must be Orthodox to participate in salvation. God is merciful to all. The Orthodox believe that there is nothing that a person (Orthodox or non-Orthodox) can do to earn salvation. It is rather a gift from God. However, this gift of relationship has to be accepted by the believer, since God will not force salvation on humanity. Man is free to reject the gift of salvation continually offered by God. To be saved, man must work together with God in a synergeia whereby his entire being, including his will, effort and actions, are perfectly conformed with, and united to, the divine.

"God becomes powerless before human freedom; He cannot violate it since it flows from His own omnipotence. Certainly man was created by the will of God alone; but he cannot be deified [made Holy] by it alone. A single will for creation, but two for deification. A single will to raise up the image, but two to make the image into a likeness. The love of God for man is so great that it cannot constrain; for there is no love without respect. Divine will always will submit itself to gropings, to detours, even to revolts of human will to bring it to a free consent." Vladimir Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction

The ultimate goal of the Orthodox Christian is to achieve theosis, or Union with God. This is sometimes expressed thus: "God became Man so that Man might become God." Some of the greatest saints have achieved, in this life, a measure of this process. The individual who achieves theosis never realizes his accomplishment, as his perfect humility keeps him blind to pride. Salvation therefore is not merely an escape from the eternal bondage of death, but an entrance to life in Christ here and now.
 
Luna,

You said,

"Well, I'm hoping to proceed in some kind of organized way..."

--> Just tell us your view.

"Salvation, then, is a process not of justification or legal pardon, but of reestablishing man's communion with God."

--> Now I understand your viewpoint.

"I have found that when I read some of the EO theology it resonates with me, much more so than Protestant theology."

--> I can tell what you were doing in your previous lifetime.
 
Hi Lunamoth

+++

I'm actually a few posts behind you (and Nick) now, I was composing a response to your post to me ... but Grrr! I'm trying to finish my essay on the Synoptic Problem ... I'm wandering around here in 'a wilderness of mirrors' (sources and hypotheses) and a little window keeps popping up with posts at CR!

So forgive me if I pick up on your exchanges at another time. Meanwhile, here is what I was writing ...

+++

But, of course, you are right.

I have hoped to set out some of the metaphysical groundwork, the axioms on which the argument stands, that there is no evil in God, because God is what He wills (He wills only what He is), and He wills only the good, and the true (because sin is, by definition, neither ontologically Truth nor Goodness) whereas man, because he is (ontologically) free, can will that which is neither true nor good (ontologically) even though that is the way it appears to him (because he is not omniscient).

It is precisely because God is omniscient, God knows the final end of all things, that he appears to allow suffering, because it is an unavoidable and inescapable fact of the journey to our perfection, suffering is the measure of the experience of the distance from goodness as such, it is the manifestation first spiritually, then psychically, and finally physically, of a distance so great it appears as separation, as privation ... and the final, dreadful, trajectory of the arc of the fall is death ... the privation of being, of existence.

The only logical way, ontologically and metaphysically, that God can circumvent fate, or karma, of this freedom of action is to remove the possibility of karmic action by taking away man's free will. This would involve a fundamental change of his nature – man would cease to be human, he would become animal.

The only other way is utterly illogical ... that God does not circumvent fate, he takes the burden of it upon Himself, He dies that we might live ... and the only logical motivation for such an act is ... love.

...

Oh good grief ... I've started, haven't I? ... But listen ...

He becomes humanity to repair it from within, and in so doing gives us the means, that by our own free will, we might return to Him. He does not overlay His goodness on our fallen nature (fallen, wounded, but not changed) from without, but by the radiant light of his Presence, His solidarity with our suffering, He purifies it in the fierce Ardour of His love, which we in our blindness can only experience as a sifting.

Justice is the removal of ignorance, the illumination of truth, but even the light of truth, the illumined intellect, cannot fathom the depths of His Mercy. Only in faith can we know that ... we know it not of Him, but in Him.

The Love with which He loves us is the love with which we love; love is a movement, a flow, a dynamic ... how can one define love? ... Love is not a thing, it is the way a thing relates, it is the ontology, objectively and subjectively, of the relationship between things ... Love is a pure void in which the other is allowed to be, absolutely.

Sin is the love of self-as-self, that occludes the reality of self-as-relation ... self-as-other.

Luke 22:31
"And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not..."

And He knew that faith will falter ... in the next breath He said:
"I say to thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, till thou thrice deniest that thou knowest me." (22:34).

And here's a thing, to bring us back on course:

"And Peter going out, wept bitterly." (Luke 22:62).
... out of the Garden, perhaps?

and this:

John 18:25-27
"And Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore to him: Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it and said: I am not. One of the servants of the high priest (a kinsman to him whose ear Peter cut off) saith to him: Did not I see thee in the garden with him? Again therefore Peter denied: and immediately the cock crew."

Was that Peter talking to a servant, or the adversary goading a son of Adam?

Scripture ... spooky stuff ...

Anyway. Yes. We must look at the Fall.

Thomas
(Still desperately trying to finish his essay...)
 
Luna,

Since your original idea was to compare ideas on Original Sin, here is a summary of the Theosophical view of the Christine doctrine.

The Absolute is limitless, unknowable, and undefineable. The limitless part is key. The Absolute allows part of itself to be limited (to be "trapped inside of matter") for the purpose of gaining experience. The "limited section" of the Absolute (called the Son, or the universe) takes on layers of materiality. When the final veil of materiality is taken on, the physical world appears. The Son has now traveled from the super-spiritual down to the mundane.

This Fall into matter is seen as a sin in Christianity. However, Theosophy views it as a positive event, a normal progress of the evolving of the universe.

Humanity has completed the first half — the phase from spiritual down into matter — of a complete cycle. We are now in the upward phase of the cycle, on our return back to the spiritual.
 
Hi Lunamoth

+++

I'm actually a few posts behind you (and Nick) now, I was composing a response to your post to me ... but Grrr! I'm trying to finish my essay on the Synoptic Problem ... I'm wandering around here in 'a wilderness of mirrors' (sources and hypotheses) and a little window keeps popping up with posts at CR!

So forgive me if I pick up on your exchanges at another time. Meanwhile, here is what I was writing ...

+++

But, of course, you are right.

I have hoped to set out some of the metaphysical groundwork, the axioms on which the argument stands, that there is no evil in God, because God is what He wills (He wills only what He is), and He wills only the good, and the true (because sin is, by definition, neither ontologically Truth nor Goodness) whereas man, because he is (ontologically) free, can will that which is neither true nor good (ontologically) even though that is the way it appears to him (because he is not omniscient).

It is precisely because God is omniscient, God knows the final end of all things, that he appears to allow suffering, because it is an unavoidable and inescapable fact of the journey to our perfection, suffering is the measure of the experience of the distance from goodness as such, it is the manifestation first spiritually, then psychically, and finally physically, of a distance so great it appears as separation, as privation ... and the final, dreadful, trajectory of the arc of the fall is death ... the privation of being, of existence.

The only logical way, ontologically and metaphysically, that God can circumvent fate, or karma, of this freedom of action is to remove the possibility of karmic action by taking away man's free will. This would involve a fundamental change of his nature – man would cease to be human, he would become animal.

The only other way is utterly illogical ... that God does not circumvent fate, he takes the burden of it upon Himself, He dies that we might live ... and the only logical motivation for such an act is ... love.

...

Oh good grief ... I've started, haven't I? ... But listen ...

He becomes humanity to repair it from within, and in so doing gives us the means, that by our own free will, we might return to Him. He does not overlay His goodness on our fallen nature (fallen, wounded, but not changed) from without, but by the radiant light of his Presence, His solidarity with our suffering, He purifies it in the fierce Ardour of His love, which we in our blindness can only experience as a sifting.

Justice is the removal of ignorance, the illumination of truth, but even the light of truth, the illumined intellect, cannot fathom the depths of His Mercy. Only in faith can we know that ... we know it not of Him, but in Him.

The Love with which He loves us is the love with which we love; love is a movement, a flow, a dynamic ... how can one define love? ... Love is not a thing, it is the way a thing relates, it is the ontology, objectively and subjectively, of the relationship between things ... Love is a pure void in which the other is allowed to be, absolutely.

Sin is the love of self-as-self, that occludes the reality of self-as-relation ... self-as-other.

Luke 22:31
"And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not..."

And He knew that faith will falter ... in the next breath He said:
"I say to thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, till thou thrice deniest that thou knowest me." (22:34).

And here's a thing, to bring us back on course:

"And Peter going out, wept bitterly." (Luke 22:62).
... out of the Garden, perhaps?

and this:

John 18:25-27
"And Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore to him: Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it and said: I am not. One of the servants of the high priest (a kinsman to him whose ear Peter cut off) saith to him: Did not I see thee in the garden with him? Again therefore Peter denied: and immediately the cock crew."

Was that Peter talking to a servant, or the adversary goading a son of Adam?

Scripture ... spooky stuff ...

Anyway. Yes. We must look at the Fall.

Thomas
(Still desperately trying to finish his essay...)

Thomas! Don't be distressed. Finish your essay and come back to this when you can. Sorry you are swamped with work...at least you are not having a bad hair day.

Bad-Hair.gif


Oh we need more selections of smilies on this forum. :D

And now a little appreciation:


He becomes humanity to repair it from within, and in so doing gives us the means, that by our own free will, we might return to Him. He does not overlay His goodness on our fallen nature (fallen, wounded, but not changed) from without, but by the radiant light of his Presence, His solidarity with our suffering, He purifies it in the fierce Ardour of His love, which we in our blindness can only experience as a sifting.


The Love with which He loves us is the love with which we love; love is a movement, a flow, a dynamic ... how can one define love? ... Love is not a thing, it is the way a thing relates, it is the ontology, objectively and subjectively, of the relationship between things ... Love is a pure void in which the other is allowed to be, absolutely.

Very nice Thomas, excellent. I think we will be returning to these ideas...God with us in our suffering, love is relationship...:)

luna
 
That is very interesting Nick and yes, the point is to get other interpretations of the Fall.

Luna,

Since your original idea was to compare ideas on Original Sin, here is a summary of the Theosophical view of the Christine doctrine.

The Absolute is limitless, unknowable, and undefineable. The limitless part is key. The Absolute allows part of itself to be limited (to be "trapped inside of matter") for the purpose of gaining experience. The "limited section" of the Absolute (called the Son, or the universe) takes on layers of materiality. When the final veil of materiality is taken on, the physical world appears. The Son has now traveled from the super-spiritual down to the mundane.
This sounds familiar to something I've heard before...need to rack brain...something about the trinity as Father (unity?), the Son (fallen world), and Spirit (reunion via love)...thinking...

Haha, it also reminds me of someting I wrote on this forum a couple of years ago. http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/12775-post9.html


This Fall into matter is seen as a sin in Christianity. However, Theosophy views it as a positive event, a normal progress of the evolving of the universe.
The only thing is, to my understanding Christianity does not see the fall as the fall into matter, but it is about, as Thomas said about, our relationship with God. When we start talking about matter vs. spirit, and good vs. evil, we are getting into a different theology, a Gnostic theology (and I'm not slamming Gnosticism...just comparing).

I have heard of the Fall used as a metaphor for our 'fall' into self-consciousness, the 'moment' when humanity could comprehend that the only way we could be "I" is if there is also "other," and thus the illusion of duality started for all time.

My own view of the Fall is that is not something that happened in the past, but something that is part of our own experience now. We feel alienated, from God, each other, creation, ourselves...we are hungry and ill...we are in exile...we know something is not right. We can't help but to do things we know are harmful, that damage our relationship with God and each other. To me it is self-evident that we live in a fallen state.

Humanity has completed the first half — the phase from spiritual down into matter — of a complete cycle. We are now in the upward phase of the cycle, on our return back to the spiritual.

Interesting. Please go on. :)
 
Luna,

You said,

"The only thing is, to my understanding Christianity does not see the fall as the fall into matter, but it is about ... our relationship with God."

--> This is our difference in a nutshell. The value of our discussion for a monotheist (you) and a non-monothiest (me) is to compare ideas.

"When we start talking about matter vs. spirit, and good vs. evil, we are getting into a different theology, a Gnostic theology...."

--> I am open to hearing about Gnostic ideas. Are you saying Gnostic ideas do not resonate with you?

"I have heard of the Fall used as a metaphor for our 'fall' into self-consciousness, the 'moment' when humanity could comprehend that the only way we could be "I" is if there is also "other," and thus the illusion of duality started for all time."

--> This is similar to my belief system, so I would remove the word "metaphor". The concept of duality (a duality that eventually disappears) is basic to many eastern philosophies.

"My own view of the Fall is that is not something that happened in the past, but something that is part of our own experience now."

--> I agree. This is why I described the entire experience as a cycle. The cycle continues even today. (I suppose Christianity sees it as only two stages — Heaven and earth. I see it as a seemingly endless ladder of ascending (and descending) of levels of consciousness.

"We feel alienated...."

--> This is the duality that you mentioned before.

"Interesting. Please go on."

--> Oh, I could give a lot more detail, but I do not know how much you want. Have you heard of the ideas of various levels of consciousness?

~~~

Luna, I want to thank you for our discussion so far. It is rare, indeed, for a Christian and a non-Christian to have a meaningful discussion. Keep up the good work.
 
Back
Top