Please refer to A God Whose Name is 'Jealous' for an updated commentary on these questions in the chapter.
As body is to mind,
so the immortal Garden is to the eternal Kingdom.
In Eden we were deprived of the Garden.
Through the Passion we were offered the Kingdom.
The Kingdom without the Garden is a violation of the Tao.
Now the time has come to get our feet on the ground
and give thanks to Eve for the immortal Garden of life.
Preface: This is a long chapter covering a wide sweep of ground including Old Testament, Christian, Islamic, Aztec, and 20th century ideas. Here is a brief contents so you don't get lost:
The world has come to an apocalyptic transition this century of all centuries, not just over the last four millennia, but over at least the 62 million years since the demise of the dinosaurs, for this is the century in which we have gained the knowledge and powers of ultimate destruction and inhertied by our very impact permanent responsibility for the survival and future evolution of our planet.
Although much environmental damage was already wrought by primitive man, including catastrophic losses of great land animals such as the mastodon, the long transition from hunter-gatherer society to industrial civilization has seen an inexorable retreat from unity with nature. Although this was achieved through envronmental skills, particularly the development of agriculture and animal husbandry, the increased resources and the higher sustainable populations resulted in the development of cities and commercial economies. Although many ancient agrarian societies worshipped and respected the maintenance of fertility in the garden as the founding principle of cultural survival, the development of the great patriarchial civilizations has carried us ever further from natural harmony and ever closer to the domination and degradation of nature to fuel the needs of mankind. In some sense for all of us we know that we have fallen from unity with paradise in real terms both social and environmental.
The fall from the garden has become an ever more apparent reality as the environmental crisis with its pollution and the threat of a devastating species extinction culminates millennia of development of civilization. To quote Karen Armstrong: "The curse of Adam and Eve has a relevance for us today. ... In our day when our greed for a fuller and more productive life has led to the selfish rape of the planet, childbearing and fertility have become a potential danger as we face a population explosion of fearful proportions. Like Adam, we are threatened with a new desert, a new sterility, a world in which human beings cannot easily live. Like Eve we have reached out eagerly for blessing refusing to accept the limitation of the environment and in the nature of things. Hence we have become a curse to the world" (Armstrong 1996 32).
There have always been times of tumult and war and times of disaster and famine, but this century stands as the pivotal one in all our three billion year history, the one humanity came of scientific and technological age in the cosmos, gained the power to alter the face of the planet and wilfully brought us right to the brink of nuclear Armageddon.
We are now entering into a phase of cumulative destruction of the biosphere, upon which we and our offspring, and all the other species depend for their future and their evolutionary becoming. We are causing enough damage to destroy at least half the species which have taken up to 500 million years to evolve. We are causing a great extinction - a genetic holocaust - which is not the result of an astronomical accident or volcanic eruption, but the consequence of our own actions. Such a tragic passion has not occurred since the dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago and is unlikely to be repeated on the same scale ever again, for the Earth has been, until recently at its richest diversity of all time.
In one century, we are removing most of the mineral resources which have accrued in up to 300 million years. We are destabilizing atmospheric cycles, felling the great tropical forests, and penetrating and disrupting just about every ecosystem. We are genetically altering the food plants replacing the free endowment of natural diversity with patented genetically-engineered varieties, reducing the natural diversity of the plants we depend on to near zero on a population basis, something which could leave future generations bereft of the means to survive under even a mild change of environment. We are causing infectious antibiotic resistance, cross-transferring invasive species and infectious genetic agents, and by and large reducing the fecund versatility of the biosphere to a fragile mechanistic shadow. While we now have all the keys of knowledge to a paradisiacal sustainable society, without a much greater degree of foresight, given our rapidly developing skills of genetic manipulation, we may even become the genetic monsters of our own materialistic fantasies.
Individually, we are rational, but collectively we are driven by irrational biological, economic and developmental forces. Science has the analytic information, but humanity doesn't have the balancing wisdom to know what to do in the best interests of human society, the future of our descendents and the preservation of the biosphere. Armageddon is yet lurking in the shadows. The purpose of this account is to turn this tsunami of Armageddon.
While I applaud Karen Armstrong's Eden metaphor of the Fall, she is in fact being too kind to Adam and too hard on Eve. It is the male evolutionary prerogative which has caused us to refuse to accept the limitation of the environment. Women have always had to seek a sustainable world to bring up their small number of offspring, while the men have created any impact possible through spreading wild oats as gigolos, travelling musicians and great kings and despots and even rape. The use of controlled violence combined with reproductive competition has likewise led to war, atrocity and genocide as well as the development of industrial civilization.
Despite being a male, I have to lay at Adam's feet, in the spermatogenic evolutionary strategy, responsibility for the population explosion, infinitely exacerbated by patriarchal religious leaders who insist on the male right to reproduce as well as man's dominion over nature, the endlessly exponentiating gross national product and its relentless industrializtion, environmental impacts which are never addressed until the damage is conclusive and possibly irreversible, and the devastation of a billion years of evolutionary diversity. For this reason it is necessary to abrogate and exorcise the doctrine of original sin which has cursed Eve throughout the history of patriarchal monotheism.
The following is a mystery answerphone message under investigation by US Police 12 Apr 1997, but it could equally apply to mankind's treatment of Eve's genetic endowment:
A feel for the difference between the reproductive strategies of the genders can be gleaned by comparing the Eves and Adams (the first common ancestor) of a given group with well-established geneaologies. Generally Adam is only about half as many generations back, because the much greater diversity of reproductive frequency among males quickly floods the population with a few successful genotypes. The mitochondrial Eve has been traced to Africa, with 80% of human diversity still present in African races, but the Y-chromosomes in Africa is particularly invariable, for similar reasons (Jones 94).
The Evocative Power of Archetypal Myth.
While some may still believe the Biblical Creation and the Fall to have been an historical event, most now accept it as a Yahwist myth originating some ten or nine centuries before Christ, to explain the causes of the world, human separation from divine unity and social gender inequality. For nearly two thousand years, our founding cultural myth of man's origins was taken at face value. It was not until Charles Darwin, in the middle of the nineteenth century, that the theory of evolution acted inexorably to burst the bubble.
However, although the seven days of the sabbatical creation is merely a beautiful poetic allegory without any literal scientific credibility, the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent is of a different character altogether. This is an archetypal account of spiritual conflict, which is historical in an important sense, as it is a mythical account of changing social attitudes and interpretations of morality, mortality, which continues unresolved to this very day in our modern patriarchal industrial-technological society.
In reality it is both a Fall and a divorce, a fall from nature promoted by a fundamental schism between the genders as devastating as the that between mind and body, between the heavenly paradise of a male god and a flawed and sinful world of death instigated by the female, for in its very foundation, the myth describes the origin of human death through original sin, the carnal sin of sexuality itself, or as more ethereally put, the sin of disobedience, in eating the apple of knowledge of good and evil.
The Fall from Eden thus stands as the founding and continuing archetypal myth of human culture, not just because it is the continuing allegory of our Fall, which far from ending is still building to a crescendo, but because it represents at its very core the existential dilemma of our meaning and existence. It is in this context, that I wish to examine closely the myth of Eden as the most powerful and far-reaching archetypal allegory ever to be told, which runs down human history like thunder, with a tumult of emotion and bloodshed. I will spin for you a visionary prophetic tale which, far from being inconsistent with the scientific reality may prove to be a very manifestation of the creative fertility principle in space-time.
The Book of Genesis as a Redemptive Scenario
Our purpose in discussing Genesis as discussed in the first chapter was to discover its archetypal significance to our current situation in terms of the Fall from unity with nature and to see in Genesis and its ultimate consummation in Requital a prophetic expression of nuclear and bio-apocalypse and the holocaust of nature.
Isaac Hayutman with whom I am cooperating in conceiving the millenial climacteric has had a remarkably convergent vision with this, which gives expression to this very forward thinking for the scripture as a whole: "Our claim is that the same Torah which is with us for many generations will be discovered in our times as a new Torah which our forefathers have never imagined, and that this new understanding will be to a new creation, for which Man will be a full partner."
"And since we are now at the stage of the Creation of Adam, we must consider the case of the Trees of Knowledge and of Life, and the punishment which they may entail, not as a past event, but as a contemporary and real threat. In the following we shall discuss this very momentous possibility."
In describing the different versions of the Biblical Genesis, Isaac notes their division into one 'comedy' and three 'tragedies', a theme common to the tradition of Dionysian theatre, followed by a natural apocalypse (the flood).
The ending of the first story is idyllic - "Thus the heavens and earth were finished, and all their host..... and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done".
The second story - which contains three sub-narratives - also has three endings, all of which tragical. Adam and Eve are expelled from the garden of Eden, Ebel-Hevel is killed Cain is sentenced to wanderings, but in his end there is also hope: he builds the first city.
The third story ends with the birth of Noah - the one who will survive while all his generation will be exterminated in the Flood.
This future-directed vision leads to a reinterpretation of these phases as millennial epochs leading to the millennial messianic consummation. However this consummation is actually the reintegration or regeneration of the soul of humanity.
"For indeed, even the story of our generation is inseparable from the story of the Creation. We are now within the third story of the creation, after the two thousand years of Tohu and two thousand years of Torah (the second half of which was the days of the two temples and the editing of the Torah), we are now within the two thousand years of the Messiah. The Fifth Day was the time of the formation of the Talmud and the Midrashim, and now - on the Sixth Day - 'Lets make Adam'."
"The Bible heralds, no less that Nitzsche's Zaratustra, the appearance of a new human being, and that is the one called "Adam". This Adam is, in one aspect, all of humankind connected together as a single superorganism."
"The mystery of Yahadut entailed in the word "Adam", which is both a primary cosmic principle and the human individual in utter uniquness, can perhaps be demonstrated visually in a mathematical pattern developed recently. This is the mathematics of fractals as pioneered by Benoit Mandelbrot."
Of course, in biological terms, it is both a truth and a falsehood that sex was the origin of death. In the collecitve sense of our immortal germ-line, we can each say something more than Jesus said of Abraham, "Before Adam was, I am", because our living germ-line runs in an unbroken web of individual ancestors for 3500 million years all the way back to the earliest life forms on earth and in this sense we should all pay heed; true reverence and respect to our continuing immortality and cherish and guard its continued unfolding.
However, in sex we do not transmit our genome intact but only half each in a merging. As a separate incarnated being, inevitably by degrees, with the optimization of the organism for complexity, a trade-off has resulted in the death of the organism and the loss of parthenogenetic capacity in all but the simpler multi-celled animals. However sex is not to blame for this. The truth is rather the reverse. It is through the vastly increased opportunities of novel recombination that sex has enabled the complexity of the organism to evolve, so that, while we experience a limited life-span, we owe our very existence as sentient humans, primarily, over all other factors, to sexuality itself. This comes despite its supposedly carnivorous origins (Margulis and Sagan ).
The Evolutionary Foundations of Original Sin
The concept of original sin and its relation to free-will leads to major questions of the origin of good and evil and social responsibility, which have wracked Christianity throught the centuries.
With the advent of our understanding of genetics and the recent flowering of evolutionary anthropology, fundamental questions can also be asked about the impact of Darwinian ideas on our human heritage. Are we genetically endowed with the sins of competitive greed and the lust for domination and power?
Steve Jones (207) notes the so-called 'Agamemnon defense' after the character of the Iliad who excuses stealing the wife of Archilles, blaming "Zeus and the Fury that walks in darkness that blinded my judgement that day". A common defense of violent crimes, that one's judgement has been overcome by emotional factors, has recently been exteded to a whole new dimension with the allegation that some people, by their inheritance of so-called 'criminal genes', have become pathologically predisposed to commit crimes for which they cannot be held personally accountable, as it is part of their inheritance, something over which they had no control in their birth.
Such arguments raise fundamental issues about human accountability, morality, free-will and any capacity to build a better world through human vision, social conscience and, although I hesitate to say it, the rule of law. The fundamental principles of justice and morality become unhinged and in a sense the very foundations of civilized society itself degenerate into a behaviourist and possibly a eugenic nightmare if we begin to compromise our own personal accountability to our genetic endowment. Although it is true that high testosterone may correlate with increased violence, with adequate education and understanding such variations can generally be accomodated.
Jones (214) notes: "The law's basic assumption is that of autonomy: that everyone is liable for their deeds and is obliged to pay the price if they misbehave", based on the philosophy of the Greek Stoics of 300 BC who saw everyone as equally imbued with virtue and equally accountable for their misdemeanours. However the balance between nature and nurture is sensitive. This view must have exceptions when the culprit's soundness of mind is compromised. More recently a variety of other factors such as pre-menstrual tension have been invoked in some legislatures. An acid test is the ability to distinguish good from evil - to "know right from wrong".
The rise of an understanding of the genetic impact on mental disease and the finding of genes for such conditions marks the final demise of the ancient idea that madness is due to possession by devils, who must be driven out by torture, or metaphorically by psychoanalysis. The question for the law is not whether to accept the idea for an inborn propensity, but how far it will go. "Is it a matter only of admitting the side-effects of some inherited disorders, most of whose carriers never transgress, or will the law allow as evidence genes that condemn all their carriers to offend?" (Jones 220).
Such a mitigation has already been granted in law for a person suffering Huntington's disease. "By doing so it approached a question central not only to law, but to religion and philosophy. Why should there be evil? If man is born sinful, how should he be forgiven? How can he be blamed or judged? The issue strikes at the core of belief and of society." (Jones 221).
"Many of the thousands arrested for one crime or another carry genes that might alter their behaviour, giving them all a potential prospect of mitigation of the genetic defence is accepted. There is plenty of evidence for such a genetic impact. An identical twin of a criminal has a 50% higher risk of offending. A sibling twin only 20%. A similar statistic occurs for schizophrenia. A good example is the X-linked deficiency in monoamine oxidase, a gene effecting nerve transmitters, which causes some but not all carriers to become offenders. A similar case is a successful defense against fraud on account of genetic predisposition to alcoholism.(Jones 230-237).
The genetic argument raises the question, "What is normal?", as everyone is genetically unique. There is in the general population a hundred-fold variation in the level of monoamine oxidase resulting in individuals who may vary from natural visionaries to depressive alcoholics. Thus to say real spiritual insight can only be gained without drugs may simply doom such vision to the select genetic few, the rest having to live by faith alone. The A1 variant of the dopamine D2 gene associated with alcoholism is carried by a fifth of the population. "Some hope to ... read the bookof life at birth, not after death. To do so is to risk the process of justice and to deny free will to everyone, good or evil. ... Society is not a product of genes, but of people, and what they do must be judged by the law and not by science (Jones 237, 242).
"Evolutionary psychology can provide an explanation for negative social traits in terms of natural selection. "Maybe people who faced [early social] rejection saw their chances of survival and reproduction plummet unless they became more socially vigilant neurotically attentive to nourishing their social ties. Thus genes that responded to rejection by instilling this neurotic vigilance, this insecurity, would have flourished. And eventually those genes could have spread through the species, becoming part of human nature. These two themes - universal human nature and the power of environment are related. It is belief in the power of environment of family milieu, cultural milieu, social happenstance that allows evolutionary psychologists to see great variation in human behavior, from person to person or from group to group, without reflexively concluding that the explanation lies in genetic variation" (Wright 1995).
Even violence is eminently functional - something that people are designed to do. Especially men. From an evolutionary point of view, the leading cause of violence is maleness. "Men have evolved the morphological, physiological and psychological means to be effective users of violence" - Daly and Wilson. Females are the scarcer sexual resource. During evolution, males have competed over this resource ... as always with natural selection, we're left with the genes of the winners-in this case, genes inclining males toward fierce combat. The male yearning for status represents a legitimate expression of such evolutionary competition (Wright 1995).
Evolutionary psychology depicts all kinds of things often thought to be "pathological" as "natural": unyielding hatred, mild depression, a tendency of men to treat women as their personal property. Some Darwinians even think that rape may in some sense be a 'natural' response to certain circumstances. Of course, to call these things "natural" isn't to call them beyond self-control, or beyond the influence of punishment. And it certainly isn't to call them good. If anything, evolutionary psychology might be invoked on behalf of the doctrine of Original Sin: we are in some respects born bad, and redemption entails struggle against our nature (Wright 1995).
However this idea of original sin is not one founded on theological doom, but rather an impetus to better understand our evolutionary biological heritage. It is only by men understanding the biological roots of their violence and tendency to dominion over nature that society can become whole and the environment can survive. The key to undoing the negative endowment of the Fall is thus understanding ourselves and adopting an ethical vision which induces the unity of purpose required to coexist in a closing circle of life.
By Darwinian lights, the classic sins, such as gluttony, lust, greed and envy, are the unchecked expression of impulses that arose by natural selection. More than a century ago, Thomas Huxley, Darwin's popularizer, lamented the fact that evolution has given all children "the instinct of unlimited self-assertion - their dose of original sin." However evolutionary psychologists say our "moral sentiments" likewise have an innate basis. Such impulses as compassion, empathy, generosity, gratitude and remorse are genetically based. Strange as it may sound, these impulses, with their checks on raw selfishness, helped our ancestors survive and pass their genes to future generations (Wright 1996).
However these impulses did not give this boost to genetic proliferation by furthering the overall welfare of society nor the species. Humans don't naturally deploy our "moral" impulses diffusely - showering love and compassion on any needy Homo sapiens in the vicinity. We tend to reserve major doses of kindness either for close kin (the result of "kin selection") or for non-kin who show signs of someday retuming the favor ("reciprocal altruism'). Beneath familial love, for example, is malice toward our relatives' rivals. According to some evolutionary psychologists, we are "designed" by natural selection to conceal selfish motives from ourselves - indeed, to unconsciously build elaborate moral rationales for our selfish behavior (Wright 1996).
Again the message is clear. When starving people are shown on television, the public do respond and are often moved with great emotion by their empathy with situations of human plight. Slavery became abolished. Throughout the world organizations like Amnesty International and Greenpeace receive their grass roots vitality from an emotional force to altruism which underlies the very will to survive in a world of light and life. It is clearly within the power of human communication to give a common sense of purpose to the human family, so that in reaching to the desire of humanity to live "creatively, intensively and successfully in the world" we all gain the blessing of fulfillment. It is within this framework that I say again "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you", but not to the extent that you hang accursed on a tree!
George Williams, whose 1966 book Adaptation and Natural Selection laid the theoretical foundations of the Darwinian world view blanches at the view of human nature and of natural selection that he helped usher in: "Mother Nature," he says, "is a wicked old witch." (Wright 1996). However I do not eschew this primitive view which echoes the Christian delusion of the evil of primitive nature the rule of the jungle in a tooth and claw existence of fleeting life and shedding blood.
Underlying the competitive nature of evolution are other factors which link the populations of predators and prey, of plants and animals in a delicate and chaotic population dynamic, in which it is never the fittest, but the survivors in a surviving biosphere who are ultimately selected. The loss of the penis in birds is a stunning example. Such delicate population dynamics ensure that the predators cannot commit the genocide on their prey that we frequently witness in human warfare, because they would sign their own death warrant. Instances abound of symbiosis. Every cell in our bodies are symbionts. We could not breathe if it were not for the mitochondira we long ago inherited from respiring bacteria. Green plants could not exist without their chloroplasts. Lichen are fungi and algae in one, and the delicate dance of fertilization has produced flowers which copulate with insects and the entire biosphere depends on the cooperation between species to maintain plant diversity.
Although the foundation of evolutionary diversity would appear to be opportunistic variation, certain themes emerge which hint at a deeper universality. The evolution of the mammalian brain provides a common set of structures from the limbic system to the cortex, which generate an emotional link between interacting mammals of many species, allowing for empathy, such as a hippo rescuing a gazelle from a crocodile, and even a responsiveness between predator and prey which can reduce the suffering of the victim. Virtually all animals share the same set of neurotransmitters and even insects and mammals share paralytic and deep phases of sleep. The biological basis of consciousness may lie more deeply in universal properties of quantum physics. The evolutionary development of humanity has optimized for central nervous plasticity to a such degree that one species alone, Homo sapiens has become in a sense a universal species and society has in turn become a second ecosystem, just as Teilard de Chardin (1951) has intuitively described, so that we stand wondering in awe at our place in the cosmic scheme of things. "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" (John 10:34).
One can fairly say that nature, far from rife with violence and seeting with competition, has been compassionate to humankind. We have been blessed with a life expectancy throughout our evolutionary period of 35-40 years and a life-style of diverse nutrition, with abundant time for leisure and social interaction. The concealed estrus likewise indicates a continuing significant evolutionary effect of female reproductive choice, consistent with a relatively egalitarian complementation between female gatherers and male hunter-scavengers.
To understand the true meaning of deity, it is essential to understand the true meaning of nature, for it is in nature and in its crucible of the conscious mind that deity finds its most eloquent and enduring realization of the transcendant in the manifest. While it is essential that we see Eden "on the future horizon rather than in the rear-view mirror", we should not conclude that the evolutionary view is one in which "the evil in nature lies at its very roots." (Wright 1996).
Science and the Numinous
In another sense, the analytic knowledge of "good and evil", Occam's razor, in the very form of the objective scientific model of reality has cut its way through the visionary unity and purpose of human existence, reducing us to the image of chemical machines or cybernetic automata and the universe to Bertrand Russell's nightmare vision of oblivion
"Such in outline, but even more purposeless, more devoid of meaning is the world which science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. That man is the product of causes that had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave, that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspirations, all the noon-day brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins - all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy that rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built. ... Brief and powerless is man's life, on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark ... " (Russel 45)
This pessimism sums up the schizophrenia that science presents to us. By describing us reductionistically as a chemical machine, science reduces us to players in a mechanistic nightmare. The second law of thermodynamics is similarly pessimistic. All order will eventually disintegrate in increasing entropy. However the logic is missing the essential ingredients, life and consciousness. Life exists as an island of negative entropy in an increasing entropy universe. This is the way things have to be for life to exist. It is not a tragic error that entropy is increasing, it is a trade-off in which the existence of life becomes possible. Sex is another tradeoff in which parthenogenic immortality is traded away. Individual mortality results but the evolutionary scheme becomes grander in scope and is shared between the genders.
Our life consists of a stream of consciousness from birth to death. This subjective level of experience is our only contact with reality. The physical world is a description of reality tying together our conscious experiences. Once consciousness enters into the description the picture changes enourmously. The ghost of free-will renters the machine in the form of uncertainty. The nature of subjective consciousness confounds the objective domain of conventional science - the so called 'hard problem' in consciousness research, because the subjective state is existentially distinct from any objective description of itself. The objective is a stability aspect of the subjective but not vice versa.
Throughout the overwhelming time-span of human culture, probably the entire phase of our "primitive" origins, and still today over much of the planet, people believe in a transcendent meaning and reality to human conscious existence. Even with the advent of modern scientific discovery and analytic thought, a very substantial portion of the world population remain firm believers in this view, some believing in creator gods such as Yahweh and Allah, or diverse deities from Papa and Rangi the Maori Sky Father and Earth Mother through to more abstract representations of the cosmic mind through Buddha and the Tao and great abyss of shamanism.
How is it possible to accomodate this visionary perspective with the scientific description of reality? The likely solution is as follows: In relation to the conscious realm, these descriptions are correctly capturing some real level of conscious experience which has something direct to do with human free-will, meaning, purpose and destiny, which is not inconsistent with the physical model, but is not recognised within the confines of its objective, reductionist framework. A Hermetic view of the universe.
The central fundamental enigma remaining in science is the apparently unfathomable mystery of subjective consciousness, which by its very nature stands outside the very frame of reference of objective enquiry, yet is the foundation of all our experience of existence. This is the so-called hard problem in consciousness research. Despite ever more elaborate studies of the parallels between brain scan images of the thinking brain and subjective mental states, no explanation is forthcoming. Moreover any explanation consistent with free-will must provide for indeterminacies in brain function, consistent with a description based on dynamical chaos and quantum uncertainty, suggesting the problem involves fundamental physics of a potentially cosmological sort.
Conscious experience may in turn have a subtle and far-reaching effect on the affairs of the world and the unpredictability of circumstance, and which, when many people become aligned with a like intent, may effect the course of human history in unforeseen ways. Jung would have called this the relation between the collective subconscious and synchronicity, or as I would call it quantum non-locality. Although it is the stuff of "miracles", it does not contradict known physical laws. Because it works unpredictably on all scales of time and space, its effects, although never to be depended on for a demonstration, can nevertheless be devastating.
It is in this sense of alignment of intent, that the great myths and the varied gods and goddesses of history have been effective guardians of human cultures, regardless of their beneficent or hideous forms and their bizarre practices or destructive sacrifices. Whatever moves the subterranean roots of human intent, can in some subtle way "move mountains". In this sense, many and possibly all entities which have been empowered with human alignment and intent throughout history have become a manifestation of the supernatural.
The Position of Carlos the Coyote
"Warriors know that the story of the Garden of Eden is an allegory for man's loss of silent knowledge, his knowledge of intent; at one time ancient man was close to the abstract, but then something happened that pulled him away from it and now he can't get back to it; the warrior's path represents a going back to the beginning, a return to paradise, a return to silent knowledge, a return to the abstract" (The Power of Silence).
The Garden of Nanna and the Descent of Inanna
In the above cylinder seal we are seeing the very sexual plot of the Garden of Eden that is going to have such impact on Jewish mythology from Genesis to the Crucifixion played out in front of our eyes. It is difficult to distinguish the genders of the two figures, but as things stand it is probably as described as above. However history records a reversal of ascendance in which the Queen becomes supreme and her consort a sacrificial king, Dumuzzi representing renewal of vegetation. On the right is now Inanna, the resurgent daughter of the Moon God Nannar, or Sin with the moon horns. The Tree of Life has distinctive seven branches - the menorah of nature. On the far right is an ascending snake. We thus inherit the two symbols of eternal life, the tree of life and the snake of wisdom who sheds his skin.
The consort Dumuzzi becomes sacrificed seasonally as the mortal Adam for the sake of renewed life, but it could equally be Gilgamesh, who rejects the association to avoid the sacrifice in Babylonian myth. Subsequently, fired by a Zoroastrian prophetic eschatology, Jesus accepts the sacrifice but rejects the marriage, to perform the cosmic renovation of the sacrifical cycle in undoing the mortal sins of Eve.
The original healing version of this story was celebrated in the times of Abraham, by Inanna's own father Nannar with his consort Ningal by remaining in love and nutruring the tree of life through their loving care, as portrayed in the Stele of Ur-Nammu 2300 BC. It is also characteristic of all societies which actively worshiped fertility, such as Egypt and Canaan.
Despite our growing suspicions concerning the decline and fall of the patriarchal age, we should recognise at the outset that the male gender as such is not wholly responsible for the downfall from nature, because it was the Goddess Inanna who cut down the Huluppu with the help of Gilgamesh. Although this tree was saved from the floodwaters of the Euphrates by Inanna, this was the single and only tree.
Lilith, who is also the second mythical wife who would not lie under the Biblical Adam, plays a similar wilderness role in this myth. She is portrayed in various near Eastern cultures as the child-slayer and re-emerges in later Jewish lore as the Queen of Sheba.
Part 1: Archetypal Myth and Human
Part 2: The Eden of Genesis - Adam and Eve in the Garden
Part 3: The Crucifixion, Gnosticism, and the Millennium
Part4: The Follow-through
Return to Genesis of Eden?