Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The True Meaning of The Snake in The Garden

Over the last ten years, I have been on a spiritual quest during which I have asked questions and have been rewarded with the most amazing answers.  One of my most passionate quests has been to understand the teachings of the Bible. While most people readily accept it as “the word of God”, I realize that it has been translated many times and into many languages, edited as well and most importantly was put together by a group of men called the Nicean Council. There is clear proof that many teachings were deleted because they would not have fit with what these men sought to accomplish. Add to that the fact that for years the only people able to even read the Bible were the clergy, well...you see my point.

In my searching, I am often intuitively “hit” with knowledge. Sometimes I will get some information and it just rings true to me; the following is one of these bits of truth. If you don't agree with it, fine. If you do, fine. The point is for all of us to find what we need to find as it relates to our relationship with God. I share this with you to provoke thought and discussion within your family and group.

For most of us growing up, we were told that the serpent represented our fall from grace into sin as man was given and chose free will; however, for me that never rang true. I puzzled over why God would create man/woman in his own image (which is perfection) but then create a serpent to more or less set him/her up to fail?  This just never made sense to me.

After doing some meditation and reading, I had my answer!  The snake and the decision to eat the fruit actually represents man/woman's separation from God; at that moment, man/woman began to look outside of himself/herself for answers (or for God). The kingdom in that moment, became something to seek outside of man/woman. Free will was not created in this moment but separation from God was. 

The serpent says, “if ye shall eat of this tree (the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) your eyes shall be surely opened and ye will be like God.” It is clear that as man/woman's eyes open, they begin to look outside themselves for answers and truth. From this point on, is man/woman is no longer one with God. (When man/woman were one with God, free will was a lot less dangerous.)

Jesus then came to teach us or to help us remember that “the kingdom of Heaven is within”. Jesus had, through the practice of his meditations and fasting, become one with God or Christ-consciousness. That was the crux of his teaching. We as humans could become Christ-consciousness if we allowed ourselves to remember that “the father is within me and of myself, I can do nothing.” Once we stop looking outside of ourselves for The Kingdom, we find God within and can attain more than what Christ attained: “Verily, verily I say unto you. He that believeth in me, the works that I shall do, he shall do also; and greater than these shall he do...”

We are also assured by Jesus of this: “To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” In this sense, overcometh means that we find God again within ourselves and stop looking outside for any answers. At that moment, when we become one with God again, we are allowed back into the Garden and may eat of the Tree of Life. What a wonderful blessing and something to which we may all aspire.


Anonymous said...

Lynn, I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding about Bible translations. Bible translations are in many languages, but they are translated from the copies of the original manuscripts. They are NOT a copy of a copy.

For example, translations such as NASB, NKJV, NIV, and NET are 99% pure with respect to what the originals contained. And one of the tests scholars use is called textual criticism. So in short, to claim they can't be trusted is a fallacious statement.

With respect to the council of Nicea: It had nothing to do with which books belong in the Bible, or the canonization of scripture. Its main concern was with the relationship between Father and the Son. Is Christ a creature, or true God? The council almost unanimously agreed he was true God. The main opponent and soon to be deemed a heretic was Arius of the populous of Alexandria who had been teaching that Christ was not eternal with the Father, but rather insisted that there was a time when the Son was not. This teaching eventually was overturned by the greater majority of 318 bishops present at the council. This took place around AD 318 under the edict of Emperor Constantine.

This is a brief overview, much more could be said.

If you would like to talk more about who Jesus really is and what having a relationship with him is all about, I would love to talk with you. It was Jesus who said: "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free."

Kevin R.

LynnWalker said...

What I mean about translations is not that they make something "false" but when you read different versions and translations, the words sometimes relay very different meanings and in some cases, I have noticed that certain parts of a verse are almost totally different..that has to affect how the reader interprets the scripture. Not that it makes the scripture untrue. That is certainly NOT my point.

There are many discovered gospels that are not in the Bible and I believe these are important to study as well. I use these as part of my work because I believe they offer another set of teachings that are valuable.

Lastly, the Bible itself was unavailable to the masses for years because no one but the upper clergy could read or write the languages that the Bible was written in. That allowed for years of interpretation by only an elite few of what was acceptable to teach. In addition, it allowed these few (men only) to practice and maintain a great deal of power over the majority and the royalty as well(until King Henry VIII).

I think we can all agree that in the past, the ruling elite of Christianity engaged in some pretty brutal practices in an effort to control people and maintain their power over the masses as to what the Bible and its teachings meant.

Based on all the above, this is why I must always question and study everything over and over again, then pray about it and listen so that what I offer as my own interpretation feels correct to me. I do not ask that everyone else believe me; I ask instead that everyone else do the work themselves and ask God for guidance along the way.

You are absolutely right that Jesus said "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free."

What concerns me is that people want to claim they are the only ones who know the truth and everyone else is wrong.

How does that fit in with "thou shall not judge" and "love thy neighbor as thyself"? That is why I want everyone to read, study and pray so that what they find is their truth as long as it is found in love and light.

Kevin said...

Lynn, I'm not sure where you are getting your info regarding he Bible, but you might be looking in the wrong direction. Different translations due use different words, but that does not change the context of what is being communicated. Some translations are more word for word, some are thought for thought, and there are some that are paraphrases. But a careful study of them does not change the content.

Regarding "other gospels", this is something that has been dealt with for years by biblical scholars. And one of the tests used when the canon of scripture was ratified was, were the books prophetic, did Jesus and Apostles quote from them, do they contradict the content of the old and new testament, etc.

As far as the clergy being the only ones to interpret scripture, well that would be true in the Roman Catholic church, but Christianity flourished for 300 years before that church was even founded. Jews and Christians had the old testament, and letters of the new testament were copied by the thousands and circulated throughout the churches i.e., smaller congregations of believers. And while there were egregous things committed in the name of Christ, one only needs to look at the motives and the fruit of those acts to see what really motivated them. A good study of history will answer the questions.

Jesus is the Truth, and he alone can set you free. He is the Son of God, He is the God man the second person of God's triunity. He died and rose on the third day, He ascended to Heaven and sits at right hand of the Father. He is not some sort of prophet who figured out how to become one with God in order for us to follow some ethereal new age metaphysical teaching, He is God. A cursory reading of the new testament will pretty much will ratify that. The very fact that he is always referred to as Lord is just one of the ways we know that. Not to mention the over 700 verses that show He and the Holy Spirit being equal to God. Theses are called apprehensible texts but not comprehensible.

With respect to knowing the truth, The Bible is the only source of truth when it comes to knowing God and how He wants us to live. The Bible is not an esoteric book that we pic and choose from, it is a historically accurate and irrefutable compilation of writings that has changed billions of lives. It is an anvil that has worn out many hammers. But you need to read it for all it's worth and not through the lens of some philosophy that espouses it has one of many spiritual type books or teachings that we pic and choose from.

And when that Bible speaks of judging it speaks of self righteous judging. Because no man is perfect, except Jesus, we judge based on what scripture says, that is benchmark which forms our judgment. And loving your neighbor as yourself is telling them about the forgiveness that found through Christ. Jesus is the "only" way to God, not one of many. Remember, Jesus said " The gate that leads to destruction is broad and wide and many go trough it, but the gate that leads to life is narrow and only a few find it."

In closing, Jesus asked a very important question of his disciples towards the end of 3-1/2 year ministry in Matt. chap 16. He said: "who do you say that I am?" This is the fundamental question every person will have to answer, whether in this life or the next. Something to think about.