The story about Adam, Eve and the Apple was one of the very first stories that I read as a child. I went through different phases, different religions, different perspectives and I’m still traveling. But this is one story that I keep coming back to. The story is so very important because it is the seed to what is probably the largest movement in the history of our world till date – Christianity. Therefore it is vcrucial that we have the right understanding about the story. At the end of this article I might not give you the true meaning behind the story, but I would have definitely given you enough to think about.
Most of us have this question in our minds, but we do not dare to ask. Is it all about disobedience? Is our lord a task master that he would vet out such a severe punishment for what is probably a mistake at the end of the day. Who is not curious? It is our nature to look at what we have been told not to do. My ten month old son does exactly what I tell him not to. Do I send him away from home? And moreover there was the evil serpent that quite successfully tempted poor eve. So why was god so unforgiving? And is god not all knowing? Did he not know beforehand that Adam and Eve would disobey? Then why did he create the apple in the first place? If he knew what was coming, then he might not have created Adam and Eve at all.
And this is why we need to look deeper into the story. Scriptures are very metaphorical in nature. They never tell you anything straight. To understand, we may have to look beyond Christianity.
Don’t we also call the tree as the tree of knowledge? Yes. So Adam and Eve acquired knowledge as the result of eating the fruit. But again, it is always metaphorical isn’t it. Adam and Eve refer to you and I. And the knowledge refers to the mental constructs that we build over a period of time and not necessarily wisdom. Eating the apple is just the process of how these mental constructs build over a period of time and create their own mesh.
So did God really punish Adam and Eve? No. A loving father would gently correct the children and not deliver such a harsh punishment. The sorrow and pain that they go through refers to the pains that we face in our day today lives due to our greed, which a product of our thought process.
I did mention that we might have to look beyond Christianity for answers. Let us look at two other major religions of the world – Buddhism and Hinduism – Two very different religions but very similar underneath.
Buddhists spend hours everyday in meditation. We have some many Zen stories about a Buddhist monk attaining enlightenment after years of meditation. There are also numerous storied of Indian sages, spending years in ascetic practices and achieving moksha. When you read and understand the scriptures of these religions, you will understand that these sages and monks meditate in order to understand their true nature.
I’m very much tempted to think that the very first event in the bible is an attempt to tell us that we need to rid ourselves of the acquired knowledge in order to realize our true nature – our nature as God intended for us. Bible teaches us many virtues and ways of simple living. But it definitely does not tell us that we are sinners, born with the original sin of Adam and Eve. God does not hold us accountable for what some one did thousands of years ago. He does not want us to live in guilt and fear. But he would definitely like us to handle our own wants and desires and live life responsibly.
Let is go back to the story of Adam and Eve, and look at ourlseves as Adam or Eve. Aren’t we eating the apple every day and night? Should we not stop eating the apple for once and try to live as Jesus wanted us to live – like himself ?