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If Eden is metaphorical, why are we all damned?

Postby Newbie » Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:07 am

The literal interpretation of Eden damns us for daring to disobey (by seeking knowledge forbidden to us), but more and more "sophisticated" interpretations say that a metaphorical interpretation is appropriate. However, doesn't this mean that we were created disobedient? Damned by our nature?
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Re: If Eden is metaphorical, why are we all damned?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:22 am

To me, the Eden story is archetypal (neither metaphorical nor literal). While Adam and Eve were historical beings (real people in a real past, though not necessarily the first hominids), the reason the story is told in Gn. 2-3 is to show us how Adam & Eve are archetypes of the human race. The text is not addressing their material formation, but the forming of all humanity: we are all mortal (formed from "dust") and we are all gendered halves. They are not prototypes or metaphors, but representatives of all other members of the group.

Adam & Eve (and therefore all humanity) were not dared to disobey. They were invited to be priests and priestesses in God's temple (the earth) and to have a personal relationship with him. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (though literal), was a symbol of their choice to relate to God on His own terms, or to choose to operate according to self. The choice presented by the tree is not "Are you going to be a person who thinks for himself, or an empty-headed slave of God", but rather "Are you going to act as if you made yourself and you know how best to govern yourself, or are you going to act as if God made you and you refer to him as the one who knows you and loves you." It was not a matter of seeking knowledge forbidden to us. "The knowledge of good and evil" is a judicial idiom; humankind was being presented with a choice to judge the legitimacy of God's claim upon him as his creator and moral ground. To decide against that was to cut his ties to God and stand alone as his own Master of the Universe.

We were certainly not created to be disobedient. Eden was an invitation to life, truth, morality, and godlikeness through the proper means to a desirable end.
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