The True Meaning of the Story of the Garden of Eden

I suppose that most people are familiar with the Biblical story of humanity’s expulsion from the legendary Garden of Eden, the earthly paradise in which it is said that our earliest human ancestors, named Adam and Eve, once dwelled in blissful ignorance of their blessed state until, tempted by the lying snake, they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. This fruit gave them knowledge of the difference between Good and Evil, which previously they had not known. For their transgression, they were banished from the Garden of Eden, henceforth to wander the Earth while being haunted by their great sin of disobedience and the recollection of their former state of divine grace.

This story is presented in the first book of the holy works that form the basis of the Jewish and Christian religions. It is meant to explain our dual nature – that we are capable of both good and evil, of which, prior to our ancestors’ eating the forbidden fruit, they were not capable, meaning that, unaware of this distinction, they were not able to commit evil. There is, however, another interpretation of this story, one that is extremely pertinent to our modern age, and has significant implications for our future survival.

According to this interpretation, human beings lived in the Garden of Eden when they lived in harmony with Nature – the lush, abundant, and fruitful natural paradise in which all our ancestors lived not so very long ago in all the habitable places of the Earth. But then came a lying and deceitful snake that whispered seductively in their ears, promising them dominion over the Earth as their rightful inheritance, as the greatest, most intelligent, advanced, and evolved of all mortal creatures, and over that same Nature which had provided our ancestors with all the things they needed to live, in harmony with Nature and with all the other living creatures of the Great and Fertile Creation.

Once having tasted the forbidden fruit of scientific knowledge, which yielded secrets about Nature’s inner workings – secrets that, until then, had remained unfathomable mysteries that were hidden from our respectful and grateful ancestors – we, their degenerate children, intoxicated by the tremendous power and control that this illicit knowledge gave us over Nature, turned our backs on God and the Great and Wonderful Creation of the Creator of the Universe, and, scientific step by scientific step, voluntarily abandoned the lush and beauteous Garden of Eden, preferring instead to dwell in the artificial constructions and inventions of our febrile brains.

The living creatures that previously had filled us with awe at God’s Grandeur and Magnificence we now profanely killed and dissected in order to probe their inner workings and make them yield up their secrets to our insatiable thirst for ever greater stores of this illicit knowledge. There was nothing that was considered sacred, and thus beyond the bounds of our constant probings and impertinent questions – not the workings of other living organisms, nor our own bodies, nor the eternal mystery of procreation and birth, nor the birth and death of stars, nor the origin of the Universe itself. Whereas our ancestors, in their greater innocence and wisdom, had revered God as the Creator of the Universe and the source of all Life on Earth, we corrupted modern humans proposed scientific – meaning godless – explanations for everything, including the origins of the Universe and the appearance of Life, as well as its gradual development into its present forms. Confident in our newfound power and independence, we removed any mention of God the Creator from our profane accounts of how the Universe began and how Life arose.

The more we learned and discovered, the greater was our thirst for even more knowledge – for thus it is with all illicit and unhealthy desires: rather than being satisfied, they prick us on to greater and greater efforts, never satisfied, ever restless, always wanting more. This knowledge about Nature’s inner workings gave us a false sense of security and supremacy that led many people to abandon or reject God, while scorning the belief in God the Creator as a primitive superstition that was not worthy of the advanced beings that, due solely to our species’ intellectual endeavours and manifest superiority, we now believed we had become.

Whereas before, our ancestors had humbly and reverently worshipped God as the source of all Life and the Eternal Benefactor of humanity, we now began to worship the godlike human faculty of reason, along with its most prominent advocates and practitioners, such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Archimedes, Euclid, Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Lavoisier, Darwin, Maxwell, Mendeleyev, and Einstein, along with inventors like Edison, Wright, and Ford, and medical researchers such as Gilbert, Harvey, Pasteur, Fleming, and Salk. We regard these and other prominent individuals as the intellectual benefactors of humanity who liberated us from primitive superstitions like the belief in God, and set us on the course of our intellectual and technological liberation from the limitations of Nature, while bestowing on us the power to fashion and control our own destiny.

We even came to regard ourselves as the masters of our tiny domain, the Earth – which, be it remembered, we did not create – and the arbiters of life and death over all of God’s Creation. In doing so, we have completely forgotten the fundamental fact that we are mere interlopers in someone else’s domain, and that we are here only at God’s pleasure. Most foolishly, having rejected or forgotten God, we now believe that we humans, and not God, hold our destiny in our hands.

When one looks about the world, one finds a great deal of evidence in favour of this interpretation of the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden. More and more of us live in urban – that is to say, artificial, man-made – agglomerations, veritable malignant cancers that cover the fertile Earth with sterile substances like concrete, metal, glass, and dead wood that is prevented from decaying naturally and enriching the soil from which it arose, while we release into the land, water, and air all kinds of poisons that are the products of our diabolical industries. We marvel narcissistically at our intelligence, inventiveness, and creativity, while we overlook the fact that the vast majority of our creations are sterile and beget, not Life, as God’s Magnificent and Generous Creation does, but death in greater and greater quantities and in more and more places around the world. Not satisfied with merely reaping the fruits of God’s Creation, we now have the colossal impudence to tinker with that Creation, thinking that we can improve those living creatures that we had no hand in creating.

The true Fall from God’s Grace was not the discovery of our nakedness, as it is related in the Bible. Rather, it was the belief in our separateness, which resulted from our profound alienation from Nature, and later led to the doctrine of individual rights and the Cult of the Individual, according to which each human being was wrongly conceived as being separate from society and Nature, that is, separate from other human beings and from all other living creatures.

This is the true meaning of the story of the Garden of Eden and humanity’s expulsion from the earthly paradise in which our ancestors lived before they ate the forbidden fruit of scientific knowledge. For in tasting this dangerous and intoxicating fruit, we have lost our fear of God and forgotten the glorious wonders of Nature and the primordial Law of Balance that all other species of organisms, in their greater, non-human wisdom, respect and obey: that, in order for our species to survive for a long time on this fertile Earth, we must live in harmony with Nature instead of seeking to domineer over it, as we, in our godless, conceited, depraved, immoral, and increasingly evil arrogance, are doing.

Eating the forbidden fruit of scientific knowledge has transformed us into the antithesis of God. What God has created we now are destroying profligately on a vast and accelerating scale. While God is the Creator of Life, we vain, foolish, and selfish human beings have become the Destroyers of Life.[1] And if we believe, as so many of us presently do, that God – the Mighty, the All-Powerful, the Creator of Life and the Universe – will allow this state to continue indefinitely, while we wantonly desecrate, destroy, and profane Its Magnificent Creation, without at some point intervening to put an end to our collective madness, then we will have shown just how colossally stupid we truly are.

[1] This destructive power is, of course, illustrated by our development of nuclear weapons.