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The Tree of "Good and Evil"

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  • phillipetaylor
    One of the central contemplations in most Gnostic traditions is the Tree in the Garden of Eden. What is that tree, and what does it mean that Adam and Eve ate
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 15, 2006
      One of the central contemplations in most Gnostic traditions is the
      Tree in the Garden of Eden. What is that tree, and what does it mean
      that Adam and Eve ate of it.

      Several Gnostic stories seem to propose a different reading of this
      myth, implying that this was not a "sin" but was given by Pistis
      Sophia, Faith Wisdom, as a means by which man might evolve beyond the
      archons. It is proposed in such a view that it was the archons who
      called this a "sin" and that they were the ones who told Adam and Eve
      not to eat of this fruit in the first place, knowing they would
      evolve beyond the archons if they did.

      The mystics in the Zohar propose that it was only a sin to eat of
      this fruit because they ate of this fruit prematurely, perhaps
      proposing that by eating of this "immature" mystical fruit that they
      became a part of the fruit's ripening process.

      Of course the traditional, Christian view proposes the sin of Adam
      deriving from disobedience, which is the most direct reading of
      Genesis. I don't think we can simply throw this view out because
      we're Gnostics, calling all occurances of the Tetragramaton as the
      Demiurge, as some schools propose, since Christ speaks of
      his "father", which is attributed to the same Sephirot in Kabbalah as
      that Divine Name. But if we really contemplate the philisophical
      implications of this reading in connection to the text, I think we'll
      find a deep metaphysical truth within and behind it.

      First of all, The Lord God gives instructions NOT to eat of the tree
      BEFORE he eats of the tree. This is important, because in a dialogue
      on the KNOWLEDGE of "good and evil" is the knowledge of right and
      wrong, what is good for us and bad for us as well as "yes" and "no".
      Consider the implications of this; The Lord God gives
      instruction, "DON'T..." before the human one is capable of
      understanding the concept of "DON'T." This is a profound paradox!

      But consider the nature of such a tree. It seems that the tree, the
      serpent who tempts and the one who instructs all must be branches of
      this tree, imparting such a knowledge, for would it be possible to
      comprehend "DON'T" without having received the instuction, received
      the energy and inclination to comprehend it (the food & the serpent)
      and then the consequence of the action to comprehend it? What is
      spoken of here isn't a simple knowledge such as rote memory or of a
      skill, but an increased awarness. We cannot possibly think of
      attaining such an awareness from the mind of one who is born with
      such an awareness, but imagine an awareness of a dimension of reality
      that we do not concieve, that is within and all around us, yet beyond
      our capacity to comprehend, so we do not see it in order to
      comprehend what this shift in consciousness entailed. Like the
      Kingdom of Heaven.

      But Adam and Eve already lived in Eden! Yes, but perhaps in a state
      of unconsciousness. What is it to be in this state consciously, with
      full recognition?

      In Hindu mythology, it is said that the Cosmos are the dream of the
      Great Brahman, dreaming himself. I think this is a beautiful image
      of Adam as well, not Adam and Eve, Adam before they were split, Adam
      the Androgynous one. What is Eve? The dream? What is The Kingdom
      of Heaven? Adam awakened from the dream, realizing what the dream

      It is hard not to read the story of the Garden of Eden because it
      seems so unfair, especially when we throw in the paradox. It is like
      Job, or Oedipus Rex. So unfair! But personality may only be a means
      to an end. What we view as a personal affront, viewed from another
      angle could become something else entirely!

      Look a Christ's personal affront. He was crucified! Yet his
      response, it was all the Will of his Father. But the archons did
      it! But it was all the Will of his Father. How does Christ come to
      the resurrection?
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