The Tree of "Good and Evil"
- 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
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