300.23 Shorthand: Symbolism of Eden Parable (pps.86-87)
hard cover page 87
by both ends-you desire both a world and justice-but if you do not concede a little, the world cannot stand.”316
Thus, when man chose to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, he chose to accept the entire set of dynamics of the Tree of Knowledge, and he turned his back on the entire set of dynamics of the Tree of Life. It was actually man who determined his own “expulsion” from the Garden of Eden’s bliss. It was man seeking the destiny of Tree of Knowledge with all that the choice implies.317
To proceed one step further, it may be proposed that at Eden man gave his imprimatur to creation itself. For, creation is inexorably interwined with the dynamic of the Tree of Knowledge. In choosing the Tree of Knowledge, man retroactively ignited a crucial link in creation.
The Garden of Eden tale, which is fittingly placed at the commencement of the biblical narrative, is a philosophically exquisite theodicy/philosophy wrapped in an image-laden, but ultimately sophisticated, parable.
The Eden theodicy must be placed at “front and center” of the Torah, for theodicy is central to any monotheistic theology. The major thrust of our Unified Formulation stares us in the face, cloaked in a parable.
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316 Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 49, no. 20.
317 See Augustine, Confessions and Enchidion. “For God would never have created any, I do not say angel, but even man, whose future wickedness He foreknew, unless He had equally known to what uses in behalf of the good He could turn him, thus embellishing the course of the ages, as it were an exquisite poem set off with antitheses. For what are called antitheses are among the most elegant of the ornaments of speech. They might be called in Latin ‘oppositions,’ or, to speak more accurately, ‘contrapositions.’ ” As cited in Hick, Evil and the God of Love, p. 24.
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