The Bible as Mythology 1 – The Garden of Eden & the Fall of Man

Can we interpret the Biblical creation story as meaningful mythology?
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As some of you may know, I used to be an Evangelical Christian, but in July 2007, I left that faith and began my real spiritual journey, which has ultimately led to the production of this podcast.

If you want to hear more of my story, you can find references to it throughout my Hero’s Journey series and the first episode of my Personal Spiritual Journeys series is also my own story.

You can find that episode on the Think Spiritual dot C A website or wherever you download your podcasts from.

I was also a guest on Rich Decker’s Mindful Accord Hero’s Journey podcast at the end of 2018 and in that episode I share a lot about my life during my Christian days.

Let me specify here that in this series I will mostly be addressing claims made by Evangelical Christianity. There are other Christian traditions that do not adhere to Biblical literalism or Biblical inerrancy.

Those, by the way, are the beliefs that the Bible is literally and historically true and accurate and that the Bible is without error.

Because of my Christian upbringing and background, I have a lot of knowledge of Evangelical Christianity and of their literal interpretations of the Bible, so I feel that I have at least some qualification in refuting that stance.

As I have stated in previous episodes of this podcast, the Christian Bible is far more powerful when taken as symbolism and mythology than when it is watered down as literal history.

So, for this first episode of this series titled, The Bible as Mythology, let’s start at the very beginning with the Garden of Eden and the Fall of man.

[intro]

Hello, Spiritual Seekers, and welcome to a brand new episode and a brand new season of Think Spiritual Podcasts. As always, I’m your host, Mark, and I’m glad to be back from my summer break a little bit early because, honestly, I’ve missed this.

I would like to welcome all the new subscribers and listeners to the show. Thank you so much for your supportive energy. Hopefully the growth will continue and there will be enough comments and questions and participation to warrant a live-stream this season.

However, enough rambling about the podcast logistics, let’s get to today’s primary point and let me introduce you to the new series, The Bible as Mythology.

And right off the top I’ll let you know that I’m not sure how many episodes of this series I’ll end up producing. This one happened to be an off-the-cuff inspiration.

In this series I will be taking the commonly known Christian Bible stories – and maybe some stories that aren’t so commonly known – and I will be interpreting these stories from a non-literal stance.

My intention for this series is certainly not to become an apologist for the Christian faith. I am not a Christian and you do not have to be a Christian to listen to this series.

I spent 32 years as a Christian. Am I supposed to just invalidate and forget that entire experience? Am I supposed to just be continually traumatized by it?

No, definitely not. I need to take that experience and introduce it to the experience I have had since leaving that faith and have these experiences atone with one another. These experiences are my life. They make up a large part of who I am. They need to be at-one with each other.

So, as I said in the opening, let’s start at the very beginning with Genesis.

If you are extremely familiar with the story and don’t want to hear Bible verses read to you, please skip ahead – I’ll provide a time link in the description.

I also know it can be difficult for some former Christians to read or hear the Bible due to past traumas related to their experiences in various churches. My intention here is to bring new understanding and healing to those traumas.

I’m actually going to skip Genesis 1, because the creation of the world doesn’t concern me here. What I do want to focus on is the Garden of Eden, the Creation of Man and Woman, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Serpent and the Fall of Man.

This process begins in Genesis chapter 2 verse 8:

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.

And now I’ll skip ahead to verses 15, 16 and 17:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

And now verse 22:

Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

And verse 25:

Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

Now we’ll move on to Genesis chapter 3 verses 1 through 7:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Alright, I may read and cover a little more of chapter 3 further in this episode, but for now this covers the basics of the story.

Can you already see a bit of the problem with taking this story literally?

For one, it’s actually pretty simple. Making a wonder it’s taught in Sunday School. God creates a garden and creates man to tend the garden. He forbids man to eat one specific fruit from one specific tree. God makes woman to be man’s companion. A snake convinces the woman to eat the forbidden fruit. She does so and she shares the fruit with the man. The man and woman now have the Knowledge of Good and Evil and if you read further into Genesis chapter 3, you will see that God punishes Adam and Eve and the Serpent for disobeying him.

That’s it. That’s the story and, according to Literal Christianity, this is why there is “sin” and evil in the world. All because of this one single choice made by the first two human beings.

Honestly, can you really take this story at face value? I mean, I did during my Christian days and I still had questions about it.

My purpose today is not to delve into all those questions and the sheer ridiculous impossibility of this story having literally happened. There are more plot holes here than in the worst movie ever made.

No, my purpose today is to breath life into this story. To actually give it depth and meaning. To actually make it complicated and a mystery to be unraveled with further mysteries buried within.

There are wheels within wheels here.

Let’s begin today’s interpretation with the basic concept that I encourage you with when I delve deep into a movie:

You are the Hero.

Just as in a superhero film, you are the Hero.

In this specific instance, you are the Garden. That is what all the symbolism of the Garden of Eden myth represents.

You are born innocent and ignorant and your Ego…aka God…protects you from all that is “bad”. It doesn’t want you to know the truth, just to carry on in lala land and do as you’re told and make life easy. Don’t do that one thing that you’re not supposed to do!

However, your Feminine nature (Eve) is representative of your emotions and curiosity and she is easily drawn in by your darker nature and desires (the Serpent).

Check out my episode about the movie Legend for more on that theme.

Your Masculine (Adam) does what needs to be done. He tends the garden with his analytical and task-oriented nature. He’s quite happy lounging around sucking up to the Ego.

Your Feminine, your emotional centre, begins to see that life may not be so “simple” as our Ego would like you to believe. She bites that bitter fruit willingly because the quest for knowledge and truth compels her to.

The Feminine implores the Masculine to eat the fruit as well – one part of our Self cannot live in knowledge and truth without the other doing so as well. If that happens, eternal internal conflict and strife abounds. The Masculine and the Feminine will be “Always together; forever apart” – to quote Ladyhawke.

Once both Masculine and Feminine partake, all their shames and secrets are revealed. They hide nothing from their Self any longer.

The Ego is pissed. His perfect little world has been disrupted and there is no putting it back together.

The Feminine must face the pain of the difficulty of nourishing our soul and giving birth to our emotions due to the constant repressing of those emotions by the Masculine.

This is the significance of Genesis chapter 3 verse 16 where God says that Eve’s childbearing will be painful and that her desire will be for her husband and he will rule over her.

Our Feminine archetype wants us to open up and be vulnerable, but the Masculine has to toil so hard at keeping the body alive that it often feels as if it has no time for emotions and difficult soul-work.

This is the significance of Genesis chapter 3 verses 17 through 19 where God curses the ground and tells Adam that his life will be hard labour from now on.

This what our outwardly programmed Ego does to men and women – keeps us working so hard to survive that we don’t want to think about what is going on within our real Self.

However, if we do take the time to work out our spiritual life and if we strive to bring the Masculine and Feminine together in harmony, we can truly thrive.

 

“But, Mark! You said we are the garden and Adam and Eve get kicked out of the garden! How does that fit?”

 

That is what you’re asking at this point, isn’t it?

 

Yes, it was beautiful. Yes, it was likely a paradise. But the garden was a box. It contained you and held you back. It was too small for you.

 

Leaving the garden was never a punishment. Eating the fruit that sent you away from the garden was merely the Truth that made you free.

 

Having eaten the fruit which caused the death of your innocence, you are now able to explore a much bigger and wider world than you ever thought existed.

 

Thank you very much for listening or watching today. Please like, share, comment, criticize, subscribe. If you care to support the podcast, please visit my Reverb sales page for music gear or my Etsy sales page for vintage items sourced by my lovely Christine.

 

I’m hoping to add some podcast-related items to the Etsy shop as well, but I haven’t had the time to focus on that yet.

 

You may also choose to simply send me some cash via PayPal.

 

Goddammit. I’m starting to sound like a TV Evangelist!

 

I’ll check into a Patreon page at some point too. I’d like to hear some ideas from you as to what services or other content I could offer on that format.

 

I have been your host, Mark, and this has been the first episode of season three of Think Spiritual Podcasts.

 

This has also been the first episode of the brand new The Bible as Mythology series and I know that if you continue to tend the garden of your soul and also step out into the wide, wide world of spirituality that you will change your Self and will then cause great change in your world.

 

I will see you on the next episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.



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