Two Trees in Eden

EarthQuaker Issue 97

The following has also appeared in The Friend and been shared as a Living Witness Friday morning ministry.

The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden would originally have been told as a wisdom story, explaining humans' place in Creation and warning about the dualism of good and evil. I see the way the story has been written down and interpreted as the fall as unhelpful and possibly harmful, and see Jesus' ministry as challenging this.

In the oral tradition, stories evolve and are adapted for their audience. In this spirit, I've re-imagined how the story might be told today to provide the wisdom we need.

God said, “There are two trees in the Garden that hold powerful medicine: the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. You may taste the fruit of these trees but you will be sick if you consume them.”

Adam and Eve went to the Tree of Life and tasted its fruit and immediately fell into a dream. They saw themselves, a woman and a man, formed from the clay of the Earth. They looked around themselves in the Garden and saw that all manner of trees, plants, and animals grew and multiplied in the Garden and that they died and returned to the dust from which they were made.  New life was created from the dust. They saw that they also multiplied. New people were created who would die and return to dust. They saw that all of Creation was connected in the eternal Web of Life. The air was filled with laughter and birdsong.

Later, they went to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and tasted its fruit. They saw that the Garden and all of Creation that had been revealed when they tasted the fruit of the Tree of Life was a precious gift. They saw that it was good! They looked upon each other and the Garden with love and were filled with joy.

Then they forgot God's warning and greedily ate the fruit of the Tree of Life. Again, they fell into a dream and saw themselves under the Tree. The plants, animals, and trees grew and multiplied and then died and returned to dust. They saw that they also multiplied and that new humans were created. These humans grew old and sick but refused to die as they wanted to be immortal, like God. These people ate the animals and plants in the Garden in such quantities that many of them perished. The Web of Life was damaged and the air was filled with groans and wailing.

They forgot God's warning, again, and greedily ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They saw that they were created in God's image and that the rest of Creation was theirs to use as they wished. In telling them to only taste this fruit, God had sought to keep the riches of Creation from them. So they plundered Creation and still wanted more. They noticed thistles and biting insects, thought them evil, and sought to destroy them all. They looked upon each other and each saw that the other was greedy and ungrateful. And, reflected in their mutual loathing, they saw that they were naked and alone, and they were ashamed.

And God said, “Now you have learned of your place within Creation as the loving, caring, conscious part of the Web of Life. You are made in my image so can choose to fulfil your caring role, or you can choose to do otherwise. You can be creators or destroyers. Choose well.”

“Now go forth into the world.”

Wendy Pattinson
Clitheroe Meeting