Alternative Interpretation: The Garden of Eden as a counterfeit

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Beefster
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Alternative Interpretation: The Garden of Eden as a counterfeit

Post by Beefster » 28 Jan 2018, 22:05

To start off, I believe that the Adam and Eve story is purely metaphorical. I'm approaching this from where I stand now where I'm seriously considering leaving the church (under the belief that the modern church is a departure from the church that Joseph Smith restored), while still retaining the truth it teaches and the goodness it exemplifies. If that is problematic to you and the title wasn't enough of a hint, this is your warning to click away. (There's my TBM trigger warning :P)

God places them in the Garden of Eden and gives them two conflicting commandments: multiply and replenish the earth and don't eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Now, two things about that situation have always bothered me: 1. Why would God give conflicting commandments? 2. Why would God want to keep us away from knowledge? (of good and evil, no less)

Here is where I get a little heretical: what if one of the commandments didn't actually come from God? What if Adam just believed that those commandments were from God when they actually weren't? This counterfeit "God" over the Garden of Eden wanted to trap Adam and Eve by convincing them that life was great and that they had all they needed. With them knowing nothing else, it was easy to maintain this position. But first and foremost, he wanted to keep them from the truth (tree of knowledge). Yet the truth was right there in the middle of everything. Mr. Counterfeit did not have the power to remove the tree and so the only way he could keep them from it was with threats.

The Godliness within them and the gentle enticements of the serpent (which is a symbol of Christ later on when Moses puts the serpent on the rod to heal the poisoned Israelites) eventually led them to eat the fruit of knowledge. All that Mr. Counterfeit could do was to kick them out. But it does no good. He has lost. They know truth. In a last ditch effort to garner allegiance, he blocks off the counterfeit tree of life, knowing that he has no real power to save, and makes them take on a (rather sexist) covenant and gives them a meaningless sacrificial ordinance to observe.

:crazy:

At this point, you're probably confused about my swapping the roles of God and Satan in the story. Put yourself in my perspective. I have come to believe that Brigham Young's succession was not legitimate and, by extension, the modern church has no legitimate claim to authority. It says that all is well in Zion, but the reality of it is that the crops never quite grew as advertised. In my dissatisfaction, I turned to seeking truth outside the approved means. I ate the forbidden fruit and, in doing so, will be cast out. But just as in classical LDS theology, eating the fruit was God's plan all along. The next step is to brave the wilderness of the lone and dreary world, which hopefully has something for me to learn.

I guess I relate more to Eve than Adam in this case. Adam was the TBM in the scenario with Eve being the nuanced believer. She, of course, was punished harder than Adam and given the insidious covenant to treat Adam as an intermediary between her and God.

I'm not completely writing off the straight interpretation by the way. Just trying to find parallels. I might be justifying something really bad, but I guess that's just part of the process of redpilling. I'm just trying to make sense of everything that has been whizzing through my mind over the week.
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Re: Alternative Interpretation: The Garden of Eden as a counterfeit

Post by Curt Sunshine » 29 Jan 2018, 06:31

Search for "Eden" in our archives. There are some good threads.

Also, fwiw, issues and all, I personally am glad we have moved past the church of Joseph's time. Rose colored glasses can be helpful, but they still distort.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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nibbler
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Re: Alternative Interpretation: The Garden of Eden as a counterfeit

Post by nibbler » 29 Jan 2018, 06:38

Once it's metaphorical you can take the story in any direction you'd like.

Why does the commandment to not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil conflict with the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth? Because someone says it does? Or because "eating the fruit" had less to do with eating actual fruit and more to do with coitus?

There are all kinds of interpretations. Another is that in general women hit puberty before men and also mature at an earlier age. In that light our creation narrative is really a story about how people grow up. Eve arriving before Adam. You don't really eat a fruit, you just age. After a while the world loses its innocence, the floor is no longer lava, you've got to take on responsibilities, and you start wanting to "eat fruit," which multiplies and replenishes the earth. Under that interpretation the "commandments" aren't really commandments and they aren't contradictory, it becomes a story about aging out of innocence.
Beefster wrote:
28 Jan 2018, 22:05
1. Why would God give conflicting commandments? 2. Why would God want to keep us away from knowledge?
Conflicting things prompt us to evaluate and make choices. Making choices helps us to build experience. If you take away all conflict, what is the driving force behind gaining knowledge? Maybe giving conflicting commandments was god's way of giving us knowledge.

There's certainly a parallel to be drawn between the story of the fall and experiencing a faith crisis. Maybe instead of a commandment to multiply and replenish the earth and not to eat of the fruit you have a "perfect" church with glaring and obvious flaws that provide the contradictions that serve as a catalyst to a more awakened state.

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Re: Alternative Interpretation: The Garden of Eden as a counterfeit

Post by nibbler » 29 Jan 2018, 06:41

Curt Sunshine wrote:
29 Jan 2018, 06:31
Rose colored glasses can be helpful, but they still distort.
I chanced upon this quote recently.
Wanda Pierce (Bojack Horseman) wrote:You know, it's funny. When you look at someone through rose colored glasses all the red flags just look like flags.

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Re: Alternative Interpretation: The Garden of Eden as a counterfeit

Post by Roy » 29 Jan 2018, 09:44

I love storytelling. I believe that there is much to be gained by looking at the stories differently and even updating them for a modern audience.

I enjoyed Maleficent (twist on the sleeping beauty story).

I loved The Red Tent. Though historical fiction, I found it to be thought provoking about possible other perspectives in the biblical narrative.

Another church where I participate reads the Genesis account as Adam being present when the serpent was temping Eve and he "stood by and watched it happen." In their telling, his failure to step up and protect his wife from nefarious influences was his true failing. His later eating of the fruit and following eve into the lone and dreary world was his attempt to take responsibility and make amends.
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SamBee
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Re: Alternative Interpretation: The Garden of Eden as a counterfeit

Post by SamBee » 29 Jan 2018, 14:50

I see the story as being about childhood.

Odd thing.

In our theology there is the whole council of Heaven thing.

But in Eden, it is HF who forbids choice and Lucifer who offers it - interesting switcheroo.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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SamBee
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Re: Alternative Interpretation: The Garden of Eden as a counterfeit

Post by SamBee » 29 Jan 2018, 14:53

Here's my esoteric interpretation of the temple film

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6935&p=96833
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Alternative Interpretation: The Garden of Eden as a counterfeit

Post by Curt Sunshine » 29 Jan 2018, 18:22

I personally like the interpretation that it is about our premortal situation - choosing to leave ease in the presence of God and "follow" Lucifer into a fallen world of toil and sin - and, to help balance that, sex.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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dande48
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Re: Alternative Interpretation: The Garden of Eden as a counterfeit

Post by dande48 » 29 Jan 2018, 21:11

Another "interpretation" I really like, is the story of Pandora's Box. There are so many similarities between Pandora and Eve, Epimetheus/Prometheus and Adam. I wonder which story came first, or if they are deeply related farther back.
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JAC
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Re: Alternative Interpretation: The Garden of Eden as a counterfeit

Post by JAC » 07 Feb 2018, 09:44

I'm in favor of the idea that the story represent the choice all of us had to make in the pre-mortal realm.

Here's my take:

God informed us that he wanted (commanded) us to become intelligent animals in a mortal world (where we'd multiply and replenish), but that it was our choice to go. That choice would give us knowledge of good and evil but would certainly cause us to make mistakes and sin against God's eternal laws, which is why it appeared to be a catch 22.

To truly understand good and evil we had to experience it, but to experience it would cause us to be exposed to forbidden things. Thus, it was forbidden.

Adam represents a way of thinking that would have halted our progress indefinitely. By not partaking of the fruit, we were assured that we would never fall. Oddly, this almost sounds like what us Mormons call Satan's plan.

Eve represents a way of thinking that saw the big picture. She recognized that we could only progress by falling and making mistakes even though those mistakes would violate God's laws (The forbidden aspect of this choice).

Lucifer, in this story, is just there as the representative of evil. We ultimately had to be tempted by good AND evil in order to actually have a choice. His presence in the story shows that the necessary components of free will (enticed by good and evil) were there when we made the choice.

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