The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sarah's Destiny

After half a century, she should've been used to it! Still, though, this time when it happened, Sarah felt the same thing she had when it first occurred to her. She'd felt a sense of destiny when she became aware & even though she'd felt it many times before, when the celebration of her twenty-fifth year in this incarnation came around, the same feeling came over her, a feeling of complete & utter peace, with just the slightest bit of apprehension.

Jim & Sharon were still her housemates, because, unlike some parents, Sarah's were not the sort that would push their child out the door on or before their 18th birthday. Plus, as we all know, Sarah was special. No, not 'special ed'! From day one, Sarah had proved to the world that she was special, first, by how alert & aware she was, then soon after, manifesting an unusually fast adaption to this brave new world, vocalizing with an impressively large vocabulary, well before she learned to walk ( that followed soon thereafter )! For all that most people knew, Sarah was a Weatherbey, but for those who had known her mother, she was Destiny all over again!

The Weatherbeys were pretty used to having Sarah around now, with her 'special' abilities. The fact that she had never been a 'normal' child had followed Sarah into the normally rebellious teens & then, into adulthood. Of course, most observers would probably note that she was a functioning adult way before she even hit puberty! Then again, Jim & Sharon weren't your 'normal' parents, either; they believed that, rather than acting out, Sarah was just voicing her frustration, so instead of cracking the whip; laying down the law, so to speak, they treated her, not as a petulant child that needed strict discipline, but as a fellow human being who just wanted to be heard. And listen they did!

When, on the 18th celebration of her current life, Sarah had decided to get a tattoo, instead of blowing up at her because she didn't get their permission, Jim & Sharon simply accepted the fact that Sarah was expressing herself in an artistic manner. When she told them that she made sure the inks were all natural & that no chemicals had been used, they were all the more accepting, relieved & proud of this niece who had become their precious daughter. Asked why she didn't say anything to them before taking the leap, Sarah simply replied, 'I knew you'd be okay with it!'

Another time that Sarah's sometimes precocious bent had surfaced was a bit earlier when she had decided to try to find her father's parents. Christopher's parents had barely known about their granddaughter before she disappeared from their lives, so when Sarah voiced her intention to travel across the country to find them, even though she was barely in the 8th year of this life, Jim & Sharon listened to their young daughter. Plans immediately began to manifest, plans which involved Sharon taking a short vacation, during which she & Sarah would endeavor to locate Christopher's parents.

Finding them was no easy task, for, as far as that went, he & Destiny had borne similar stories. Sarah & Sharon eventually found them on their last day before they were to fly back. Although the reunion went well, Chris' parents were unsure quite what to think of this little adult in a child's body, although they couldn't help but love her at first sight. After they had gotten to know her, however, they felt like they had been given a second chance to get to know their son's wife. Bill & Donna had never been very happy about their son marrying this tattooed 'wild-child' from back East & when Chris had announced his intentions to them, they were very quick to voice that unhappiness. One might say indeed that they forced Chris & Destiny to elope!

Sarah was not what might be called 'the perfect child'; she did her own thing, even when it flew in the face of convention & tradition! She was precocious & honestly, how could you say 'no' to that sweet face with the ever-smiling eyes? Jim sure had his hands full when Sarah hit puberty! No, not in trying to protect his daughter from the proposed ravages of every young boy or man she might encounter; he found himself in almost full-time employment protecting them from her! Although Sarah knew how to protect her physical body well enough, it was her astounding mental capacity & ability that flummoxed any erstwhile suitor.

So when Bill & Donna showed up on their doorstep on the eve of Sarah's 25th celebration, Jim & Sharon were pleasantly surprised & extremely happy for their daughter. Sarah's grandparents were actually quite nice, having recovered quite nicely from the shock of meeting their 'special' granddaughter all those years ago. Sarah was ecstatic to greet them, they being the only grandparents she had ever known, so though they hiccuped for a split second when they saw this 'wild-child' with her tattoos ( you can't stop at just one! ), they embraced heartily & gladly.

Being the kind of parents they were, Jim & Sharon offered up their spare bedroom to Bill & Donna, who though they had already set themselves up in a motel, gladly accepted the opportunity to get to know their precious granddaughter better. Sarah ended up doing most of the talking, which was fine with her, because she had plenty to say. For much of their late-night sessions, which often spilled into the wee hours of the morning, Bill & Donna were content to sit back, listening & watching in pure astonishment at the exploits of their amazing granddaughter.

Sarah had never felt more sure of anything in her life! When Bill & Donna finally made ready for their departure, they, as well as Jim & Sharon were floored as Sarah announced her plans to join them on their journey. 'You knew this day was coming!' Sarah told them through her own tears. 'Yes', her parents said, almost in unison, 'but not so soon, or so far away!' 'It'll be a new vacation spot', she laughingly threw behind her as she bounded up the stairs to gather her own, already-prepared luggage.


Do we have but one life to live, or might we have numerous chances? Some might say that this is it & when this biology perishes, we'll spend Eternity in some far off Bliss, but what if we can have that Bliss right now? We all make choices & while it may often seem that those choices are irrevocable, there's always a second chance, if only we're willing to take it. Second chances are always there for the taking, as long as others are willing to give them, but even when it seems there's not a ghost of a chance, one seems to come shining through!

Destiny's Saga will go on, as does all life, though it will most certainly be a different path than 'normal'!

Charles Haddon Shank

Sunday, August 27, 2017

'O My Goddess!' : The Divine Feminine

Azna-Mother Goddess

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. 
The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, 
“Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”[c]
Luke 1:26-29

According to the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 127:3, 'children [ are ] a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb [ is ] a reward
'. While this is abundantly clear, the glaring fact of the matter is that, without women, there would be no children! For that matter, the same could be said of men, as well, but this blogpost is about 'the divine feminine', not 'the divine masculine'. As important as are the roles of both in the formation of children in the womb, the Mother bears the greater glory, perhaps, for though without the Seed there would be no conception & thus no birth, the woman alone has a Womb to carry the Child, which is essential in its formation.

Before we progress any further, we should clarify that this biology only serves to house humanity! This is not to say, as some have accused, that, as the Gnostics said, 'the body is a prison for the soul'., for though we know that the Divine Spark, which is present in each one of the Creator's 'children', is our true nature, this biology serves as the Creator's Hands & Feet, so to speak. When children, male or female, are born into this world, therefore, it should be clear that those physical bodies are only the manifestation of the Spirit Within.

The most famous & glorified Mother, Scripturally speaking, which is accepted by most, if not all Christians, is Mary the Mother of Jesus. As the Story goes ( read the first chapters of Matthew & Luke here ), Mary conceived as a virgin, without being intimate with a man. The Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary, as the Story goes & She conceived within Her Womb the Christ-Child. Having written on this subject before, we will go no further here than to say that it is entirely possible for a Spirit being to impregnate a human female. That being said; Mary is henceforth venerated for Her role in bringing to bear Jesus, whom we acknowledge was the God-man, the Word made flesh.

Since ancient times & even in some cultures today, Goddesses are worshiped in their various roles 
( anything from the Goddess of Fertility to the Goddess of War ): every ancient culture, even Western ( Pagan ) ones, had their varied Gods & Goddesses. These Deities, while based in fact, were simply different aspects of what these cultures perceived. We may liken it to the story of four blind ( East ) Indians describing an elephant. Each felt a different part of the animal, so thus, each one had a different perception of what an elephant is. This Story resonates with ours, for though our perceptions may differ, yet there is One Creator God & it is Him ( or Her ) that we worship with our bodies.

It was said by Jesus Himself, quoting the Psalmist ( Psalm 82:6 ), 'You [ are ] gods,[b] and all of you [ are ] children of the Most High': this has been a matter of some contention, with most Christians simply saying things like, 'well, we may be gods, but we are not Gods ( like the capitol letter is reserved for the Creator God alone ), but for some reason, the Hebrew word transliterated ''elohiym' is used in both cases, for mere men & for the Creator God.  In context, these men that the Psalmist declared 'gods' were the judges of Israel, but are we not all judges? Do we not all judge for ourselves, whether we lean upon some book or not, what is right & what is wrong? As Jesus said next, in response to the Pharisees' charge, 'If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?' ( John 10:35 & 36 ) In much the same way, we, as Spirit beings, of One Essence with the Creator God, are sent into this world to inhabit this biology, to be His Hands & Feet!

The Gnostics, whatever may be said for or against them, were not all right, but neither were they all wrong! That we are Spirit Beings, of One Essence with the Spirit who is the Creator God, they had right, but that those Spirits, or that Spirit, maybe more correctly, is trapped, against its will, in this biology does not resonate very well with what we know, or at least, think we know. One aspect of Gnosticism that resonates well is the old maxim, 'know thyself'. It is in knowing ourselves that we are able to evolve, or adapt to pretty much any given situation!

The many different aspects of the Creator God were well-observed by the ancient Pagans, though they were attributed, for the most part, to individual Gods & Goddesses. In the Ancient Near East, as well as in the Far East, the case was pretty much the same, with tribal gods ruling the day. The Creator God, according to the History of Israel, which we read in our modern Bibles, was revealed to His Creation through the unfolding of said history, yet there are Stories told & written more ancient then Israel. All these Stories, though they differ in the telling because of the various cultures, yet venerate the women, usually one woman in particular, as the Goddess who brought the Savior into the world of men!

The Sacred Womb, though not the only necessity in child-bearing, is perhaps the most basic. Not being a scientist by any means, I cannot say with any real authority what all transpires in a woman's body as she bears the child for those 9 months, but safe to say that with the Womb, or the Divine Feminine, the Seed would not get very far!

Children surely are a blessing from the Lord of Heaven! It is through them our name is perpetuated; they carry on the work that we've begun, much as we ourselves carry on the work that Jesus the Christ began. Through the same Spirit that enabled Him, along with the Divine Feminine, these mortal bodies are enabled to greater works than He did!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dis-Ease & the Breakdown of Society

Right now, in this nation of ours, arguably the biggest news story is one coming from my home-state of Virginia. Very near to the heart of Virginia, Charlottesville has been rocked of late by the proposed removal of a statue or statures commemorating the venerable but horrifying history of these United States, but the South in particular. I will freely acknowledge that I have not done my research. I do not know the extent of the damage that has been done ( maybe still going on ), nor do I know any particulars. Nor do I really care to know! This is not to say that the deaths ( on either side ) does not concern me, or that the wanton violence does not disturb me in the least. As far as I'm concerned & I will say no more ( about Charlottesville ), it only goes to prove that violence, no matter how 'righteous' the cause, only breeds more violence!

In any society where human beings are involved, 'we're gonna have a problem'; it's inescapable! this one wants that & the other wants this. Recent events bare ample witness to this fact, but it's not only in recent history that we have noted this. Ever since the inception of our beloved nation, there have been battles waged, whether actually or metaphorically, in the bedrooms, boardrooms & on the battlefields of this great country. Some will say that all this fighting & warring was necessary, 'for the greater good', one might say, but was it really? If, rather than armed rebellion against England, the men & women who birthed this nation had decided to peacefully protest, even though they lost their livelihoods, even their lives, in the process, maybe we would not be experiencing the levels of violence we are currently bearing witness to & have witnessed in the past 200+ years!

Fear Factor is the biggest business in this nation of ours! Whether it's politics or religion, it just makes sense; if you want to control a populace, Fear is your greatest weapon. How do you think Hitler was able to trample all over those touted six million Jews with only a ( relatively ) few soldiers? Fear is the root cause of much hatred, anxiety & indecision. In our minds, we might, when faced with a decision, a judgment call, in other words, immediately rehearse all the possible scenarios our decision might engender & so we may end up doing the wrong thing or nothing at all, simply out of fear of the unknown.

Fear controls the masses! Medically speaking, the pharmaceutical industry is one of the biggest in the world. Much dis-ease is caused by this industry; for example, when the doctor says that one has a certain disease/problem, most people, especially when the so-called 'cure' costs more than they have or can afford, will immediately begin stressing about their situation, which only makes it worse ( 'stress is a killer') & their dis-ease actually becomes worse than it was before.

Along with this problem is the food that we eat. It's almost impossible to truly eat healthy anymore, or at least that's what 'they' want you to think! Either ( again ) there's not enough money to eat healthy all the time, or because 'we just don't have the time or resources'. Because many people don't eat as healthily as they should, this problem intermingles with that of the medical industry, which ultimately rests in the lap of the federal government. The federal government, which is in bed with the pharmaceutical industry, through the USDA & related agencies has, by law ( 'fear', again ) dictated what foods are & aren't healthy, or safe, for the general population to consume.

The government of this nation, which is supposed to be 'of the people, by the people, for the people', seems to have become 'of the weak ( poor ), by the strong ( rich ), for the few ( elite )'! Fear of what might happen if we don't follow the letter of the law has caused much dis-ease as well, among the general populace. This dis-ease, on top of what has already been mentioned, makes this a truly dis-ease-ridden society!

One might wonder at this point, whether there is any way out from under this burden: well, as they say, 'there is a balm in Gilead'! Depending on ones background, maybe, this iconic statement might be taken literally, as in the golden oil produced by the pineal & pituatary glands, or metaphorically, as speaking of the help that comes from Above, from the Christian God, from Enlightenment through Buddha or some other Spiritual Guide.

'Know thyself', a Delphic maxim from ancient times, speaks well to this situation. If more people truly knew themselves, we would not be in the predicament in which we find ourselves! However, because people are taught to fear ( death, taxes, 'fear itself' ) from birth, most have not come to the realization of who they truly are. Our dis-eases largely result, first, from the fact that most are ignorant of what is & is not good for their biological body. The second reason there is so much dis-ease in the world is that many have not yet awakened to the fact that we are not our biology, but merely residents of it. Dis-ease ultimately comes from, is manifested by, our innermost being, our True Self, our Spirit. It is almost incomprehensible to think that simply by healing our innermost being, we could manifest a perfectly healthy biological body, but did not Jesus tell many of His patients, 'your faith has made you well' & 'whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive'?

Fear of the unknown ( ourselves ) causes much unnecessary distress. If more men & women truly knew themselves & thus others, there would be much less war & oppression throughout the world! We can only complete this process within ourselves, for, as another well-known maxim states, 'you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him ( or her ) drink'. Self-awareness is something we can only do for ourselves; as Morpheus said in the late 90s movie 'The Matrix', 'I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it'. All we can do is be ourselves, educate as we can & BE the Change we wish to see in this world!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The Fall as the Story of Israel

And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:9

This is not, or at least, should not be, unfamiliar territory. The Story of the Fall of Adam, repeated throughout Scripture, in one way or another, is very recognizable as one of the themes of the Story of Israel. The History of Israel is plagued with spots, like leprosy, that became a blot, rather than a blessing to the nations. A blot, I say, though it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, for through it, through Israel's several captivities ( Exile ) the Gospel, the Good News of the Creator's Love for His Creation, was spread throughout the known world. 

Why did the Creator God even plant the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the midst of the Garden, when He should have known, in His omniscience, that Adam & Eve wouldn't be able to keep their hands off of it?' Questions like this have engendered Calvinist & Hyper-Calvinist notions that the Creator God was testing His Creation by placing such a temptation before them. 'Knowing they would disobey Him, the argument might be presented, 'He did this so that He could send His Son to save them from their sin'. This might engender other questions though; questions like, 'why go through all that? Why not just make them perfect in the first place so Jesus didn't have to die? In fact, why not just send Jesus in the first place?'

The fact is, the idea of a talking snake has never set quite right. Sure, there are other stories of animals becoming verbose in Scripture ( well, one other, anyway-Balaam's donkey-Numbers 22 ), but this is not something that is easy for us, especially with our Western mindset, to visualize. With the advent of the Saturday morning cartoon, animals talking with human voices has become a more or less familiar concept, though & so the notion of a snake or donkey talking does not seem so much of a stretch, especially when combined with the constructs that they were, for that time, possessed by a different spirit, whether good or evil. 

The Nature of the Story of Israel, especially when approached from its Ancient Near Eastern context, should be noted as that of literature; a literal history, maybe, relating actual events, but in a way that reveals a deeper spiritual meaning. Take, for instance, the notion that many Christians still cling to; that of a global flood: was the Great Flood of Noah's Day one that covered every square inch of planet earth as a casual reading of certain Scriptures seems to indicate, or was the Author telling the Story in such a way, along with the unbelievable Story of the Ark, to cast forth a Revelation of the Son of God, He who would save the world ( John 3:16 ) from their sin ( ignorance ). The internal & external evidence, when approached with a ready mind, point rather to a localized flood ( if indeed it happened at all, at least as we understand it ), though, at that time, global in its scope!

'If the Great Flood never occurred, to say nothing of Adam's Fall ( complete with the talking snake ), then how can we be sure that the Story of Jesus' Humble Birth was an actual event?' The Virgin Birth might well be subjected to the same kind of scrutiny, for even though we can imagine the mere possibility of a Spirit Being impregnating a human being ( Genesis 6 ), we also know that it usually takes sperm to fertilize an egg. This is not to say that the Story, as we understand it, is complete bunk, but it is safe to say that it is, at least, indicative of something greater.

The Fall of Adam, when viewed with the vision that hindsight affords, is an obvious metaphor for the larger Story of Israel! Though rife with dissonance, the arguments against Adam as the first Israelite have convinced many of their validity. As with the Great Flood & other Scriptural accounts, the notion that these events were anything but literal occurrences seems ridiculous to most Christians. Covenant Creation, along with its forbear, Covenant Eschatology, has been gaining ascendancy in the past few years. The relatively new idea has surfaced within the past decade or so that Adam was not the first human being to inhabit planet earth, but that he was simply the first covenant man, the first Son of God, representative of Israel.

Whether or not the mythical serpent that tempted our first 'parents' in the Garden was possessed by 'Satan',another mythical creature, or whether the Story of the Fall was imagined to put the greater Story of Israel in terms they could better understand, it should be obvious that its not as simple as a talking snake & a forbidden fruit! We may simply understand it as an apocalypse, a revelation if you will, of the Story of Israel. Is it only that? Is it simply a metaphorical re-telling ( or is that 'pre-telling'? ) of a much greater spiritual truth? To focus overmuch on such questions is to miss the point & sadly, wars, both real & metaphorical, have been fought over less!

If only the Creator God had not planted that damn tree ( the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil ) alongside the Tree of Life! What was He thinking?! If Adam had not sinned, Jesus wouldn't have had to die, right!? The idea of our Heavenly Father as a vindictive, petty sort of God is most likely due in part to ancient pagan myths & thus are the Hebrew Scriptures so colored, but the notion of the Creator God sacrificing His Son, like Abraham almost did-Genesis 22:1-19, has always rankled. 

Like the metaphor of the Shepherd & the Sheep, though, the Ancient Near Eastern Culture with which Scripture is interwoven was a culture ( still is ) of bloodshed. We are all familiar with the apostle's words in Hebrews 9:22, 'without shedding of blood there is no remission': why cannot sin be forgiven WITHOUT taking life? In our culture, especially the modern Western mindset, this may seem strange, but in the culture from which the Scriptures came, there was nothing strange about it; it was a way of life! Long before Israel came on the scene, in fact, sacrificing human beings even, not just animals, was not unheard of, as a way in which to appease the gods.

Israel was the Creator God's Son, His Lamb, who was fattened ( in the beginning ) to serve as a sacrificial offering, for a pleasing aroma ( Genesis 8:21 ). This was a metaphorical sacrifice, but it had & has real-world consequences: look at the apostle's words recorded in Romans 12:1; 'I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [ which is ] your reasonable service'. The Greater Spiritual Truth to which all the blood-sacrifices of that first covenant pointed was the metaphorical sacrifice of our lives to the Cause of the Christ!

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Garden as Metaphor

 The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.
Genesis 2:8

I will plant them in their land,
And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them,”
Says the Lord your God.

 Amos 9:15 

It is well-known, or should be, anyway, that from Genesis to Revelation, the Bible tells the Story of Israel, along with the downfall of many as well as the exaltation of a few, but what if the creation stories, including the Beginning of what is known as the Garden of Eden, were not so much literal as literary? In other words, they weren't actually places or occurrences, but were simply literary devices, common to that place & time, to convey a certain Story, the Story of Israel!

You may have heard that a better interpretation of the Hebrew phrase 'בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָֽרֶץ׃', or, 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth', goes something like this, 'in the summit, Elohim fattened the heavens and the earth'. Why the translators didn't use this translation rather than saying 'created', probably has something to do with historical & or religious bias, but really, the answer is neither here nor there. The Hebrew word translated 'created', according to Gesenius' Hebrew Lexicon, means literally 'to cut, to carve out, to form by cutting'. This fact, in itself, would be enough to point to these words as more of the creation of a covenant rather than the formation of material things.

'If we can't read the Garden Story as actual, literal history, then who's to say that the rest of the Bible Stories are?' Among others, this is one question that might be offered up when someone puts forth the idea that maybe we're not looking at the text from the right angle. Maybe if we read this Ancient Near Eastern text from the point of view of the Ancient Near Eastern culture instead of from our Western point of view & Western culture, we would gain a better understanding of this text & others like it.

The Story of the Great Flood is another narrative that plays tricks with our Western minds! When we read the Story of Noah's Ark from a purely Western perspective, we tend to see the Flood as literally having covered the tallest mountains on earth-a good 30,000 feet-which doesn't really match up with the biblical narrative. One could get into some major disagreements ( arguments ) here, but that's not what this is all about; what it's all about is, as the apostle Peter made clear ( I Peter 3:18-22, II Peter 2:5 ), that the Ark of Noah's day was a picture of the Salvation that the Christ brought.

Geologists & historians, for centuries, have toyed with the notion of an actual, literal place, the location of the fabled Garden of Eden.  The Garden has been placed anywhere from the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley to the Persian Gulf Delta. Answers in Genesis, among others in the same boat, seem to have settled the issue by claiming that we might never know because of Flood Geology, which posits a global flood that changed the course of history. All this is quite interesting, but again, beside the point! Whether the Flood was global or local, it pictured the destruction of the enemies of God & through the Ark, the Salvation of the Israel of God.

Since the Story of Scripture is the Story of Israel, it only makes sense that all the stories in the Scriptures are ultimately about Israel, both their salvation & destruction. Even the Story of Daniel in the Lion's Den is about Israel & their salvation from the enemies of God. The same could be said of Sampson's interesting encounter with a lion-obvious metaphor there. The Flood Account is simply a metaphor for the destruction of the enemies of God & through the Ark, the salvation of the Israel of God.

The apostle Peter again makes clear in his second letter ( II Peter 3:5-7 ) that the same creation ( 'heavens and earth' ) which perished by a flood in Noah's Day would again be decimated in the New Noah's Day, this time by fire! By 'the New Noah', I of course mean Jesus, who was the Great Antitype of all those Old Covenant types. Jesus, in His Olivet Discourse ( Matthew 24, Luke 21, Mark 13 ) makes some obvious allusions as well, to the Flood. In verse 37 of Matthew 24, we read 'But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be'. Luke 21:35 records Jesus as saying that, like the Flood, 'it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth'. These words of Jesus, when read from our Western point of view, seem to point to both a global flood as well as a global destruction by fire, but it should be noted that, just as the first Moses wrote of the Creation & Weeding-out of Israel in the first book of the Bible, so the New Moses ( the Last Moses ) referred to the Recreation & Final Weeding-out of Israel in His Final Revelation.

The Story of the Fall is echoed numerous times throughout the sordid history of Israel, leading up to the Assyrian Captivity & the final one, under the Romans, the one Jesus was born into. Exile from the Garden, for Adam & Eve, was simply a foreboding of the Exile that Israel found herself in throughout her history. Is this to say that there never was a Garden of God, a Great Flood, that Daniel never spent the night in a lion's den & that Sampson never had that fabled encounter with a lion? No; the Garden, the Flood & these incidents with lions could have all taken place, but it is just as likely that they are literary devices used to tell the tale of Israel in pictures, so to speak!

The location of the Garden of Eden is really a moot point then, as it merely points to the Story of Israel who, from four camps in the wilderness, then into the Promised Land ( also metaphorical, though literal as well ), were to become a River of Living Water to liven all of God's Creation. The Garden of Eden is a metaphor for what the Israel of God would become in the Latter Days, as witnessed by John in the Revelation ( 21:1 & 2 ).

Much time & money has been spent in trying to prove that the Garden actually existed, money that could better have been spent elsewhere, such as doing what Jesus did, in caring for the poor & needy! If they had spent all that time & money in spreading/sharing the True Gospel of Jesus the Christ, maybe we would be living in a more Edenic world! However, since they thought better to 'prove' themselves right, we have warring factions among those who claim to be followers of the Christ! If only people would take note that it IS all about the Christ & not about some fabled Garden with a talking snake; it's not about whether the Cataclysm of Noah's day was local or global & it sure isn't about lions who had just eaten.

What if all those Bible Stories that we loved to hear in Sunday School never really happened ( at least, not like our Western ears hear them )? Would that necessarily make a difference when it comes to the Christ? If the Garden of Eden never really existed, per se, does that mean that Jesus Himself was simply a metaphor? Since it all pointed to Jesus & ultimately, to the Christ Within, we can safely say that Jesus was not 'simply' a metaphor!

If indeed the word 'bara'' might just as well, or better, be translated 'fattened', the picture of Israel as the Christ makes good sense, for was not Jesus 'an offering and a sacrifice' ( Ephesians 5:2 )? As followers of the Christ, in fact, as little Christs ourselves, did not the apostle Paul say we should offer our bodies as a 'living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God' ( Romans 12:1 ). We are, whether one follows the biblical Story or not, on this good earth, not to pursue the American Dream, nor to make as much money for our children's inheritance before this biology fails, even; we are here to live in symbiosis, not as an island unto ourselves, but in covenant, in community with each other, sharing the Life & Love that we have been given, that we in fact ARE!

Again, does it really matter all that much if the Garden really existed, especially as the biblical witness attests to? No, not really! The fact that it's merely metaphor does not detract at all from the Story of Scripture & in actuality, strengthens it, if anything. The Garden is really a metaphor for the human heart, the innermost being, with the choice between two trees. Will we continue to eat of the Tree of Life & live forever, or will we partake of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil & die? It's your choice; choose wisely!

Charles Haddon Shank