- Reflections by Bob Garbett
Jewish mythological stories that are ancient have been turned into one-dimensional text. It will not do. We cannot approach beautiful multi- layered stories with a heavy hand and then translate them into their narrowest possible interpretation, when the rule of thumb is this:
…ancient text in ancient context.
The mythical Garden of Eden is still seen as if it is a literal story about a naked woman, talking snakes and a great big accident called the “fall”. Ancient myth doesn’t mean fairy stories; yet this is how many still see scripture. The ancients sought to somehow capture the story of creation, in a non-literal perspective, but within a very limited two-tiered view of the cosmos.
They did have an advantage however, they knew it was limited and so used the broader more colourful language of myth as a way of honouring and capturing the essence of creation. Disappointingly, we have not repaid the compliment. Within the ancient text the meaning wasn’t a “fall” but:
…a ‘premeditated’ jump.
This “jump” is the transition from unconsciousness to consciousness - the evolutionary bridge to where we are now 'conscious'. How could this ever be understood within a literalised version of the text? It’s impossible.
This opens up the ancient Jewish story in a way that is almost breathtaking in its implications, but for the literalist it fills them with some anxiety ... why? If this story is not literally true, then everything else must also be untrue, and so we miss the point. The problem with one-dimensional thinking is this:
...there is literally, no room to move.