Re-interpretation of the Story of Genesis


(Oliver van der Togt) #1

I have always been fascinated by the story of Genesis. In the beginning, as an Atheist, I did not understand why people took seriously what appeared to me to be not much more than a folkloric myth.
It was only years later, travelling through Africa that I had the opportunity to contemplate more deeply this story and these are the ideas I developed at the time whilst under the influence of Cannabis.
My fascination with this story resulted in me analysing these symbolisms and it seemed as though their true meaning revealed itself to me.

One of the interpretations of the Adam and Eve story being ejected from the Garden of Eden _I would like to place the story within the context of Child Development _

Children grow up from a position of being utterly dependent on their parents for protection, love and sustenance through puberty into adulthood and independence.
The garden of Eden represents the home they grow up in and their parents are like God to them. I know mine were up to the age of 13.
Children at a certain point go through puberty, they discover their sexual attraction to the opposite sex. Represented by the Apple.
"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; "
This is the point at which they leave home, separate from their parents and start an independent life together.
"By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken"
As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it

The metaphorical meaning of these stories is however only revealed to me under the influence of Cannabis. This might be the reason many believe religion and drugs might have a very strong connection.

As you may have noticed I take it completely out of its religious context.
I also have other interpretations of this story. But then placed in an Cultural Historical context.
You may also notice I am not very scholarly. My ideas do not come from books but contemplation.


(Laura) #2

Yep, the story of the Garden of Eden can be viewed as a metaphor for adolescence. Many Christians believe it’s possible to view it as a true story while also acknowledging its different thematic and metaphorical possibilities.


(Randy) #3

I think it was C S Lewis who said that a myth is a story that we already knew. So, Genesis has lots of meaning–was doubtless very meaningful in another way for the ANE Hebrews as well. Lewis said that it was so deep in connotations, he may not have really understood them–though he didn’t believe in a literal Adam and Eve. Good illustration. Thanks.


(Oliver van der Togt) #4

Many Atheists are very contemptible about the creation story and I think that is because they feel they are forced to view it through a religious lens. We don’t have this problem with other very insightful ‘fairy tales’ such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Snow White, 3 little pigs, Pinocchio. We are not to take these stories as literal and can indeed consider them metaphors for the human condition. Unfortunately their metaphorical meaning is only revealed to me under the influence of Cannabis. When I am ‘straight’ only the literal meaning comes through.


(Mitchell W McKain) #5

Your choice of tales for comparison is skewed. A better comparison would be stories like King Arthur and Robin Hood, for these are all myths about the past in our own world. To be sure we do not know how much and what parts of these tales have a basis in history. But an important difference is that there are many different ways of seeing metaphor and symbolism in the story. On the one hand we can treat the tales as pure entertainment for children with talking animals and magic in a Walt Disney animation, on the other hand we can also look for a way to fit elements of the story into a place in history as will make sense.


(Oliver van der Togt) #6

I don’t find these stories have much of a metaphorical meaning at all. At best they are political. In contrast these ‘Fairy Tales’ have been endlessly interpreted by Freud and Jung and others.And with Genesis they would have a field day.


(Keith) #7

I find this conversation fascinating to say the least. I too have spend a great deal of time contemplating the book of Genesis. I have known people who while under canibas influence felt like a “special” understanding was given to them concerning scripture. I’m not altogether convinced altered mental conditions is the pathway to truth, but nevertheless, to each his own. Having said that, my views of Genesis may appear to be a mind altered view also. Yet, the view I find to be of most value to me is one that allows for the writings of Genesis to be linked by common threads to other writings of the Bible. For example, the garden in Genesis 3 could be well connected to a similar garden written about in Isaiah 5. The garden in Isaiah 5 is going to be inhabited by Israel yet their sins will drive them out. Matthew 24 is then going to record a future time for Israel when they will be driven out and their city left desolate. So in short, Adam is Israel in prophecy, the tree of knowledge of good and evil is the law, and the Messiah is the tree of life. Adam is driven out because he took of the forbidden tree.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #8

Well, God often moves in mysterious ways … so who really knows?! I must say, though, given that drug use doesn’t appear to be of [long-term] value to employers, drivers, or most professionals generally in regard to giving a worker/driver accurate insights in the moment, it would be a seriously embarrassing blow theologians if theirs was the only profession that would prove to be an exception to this. :slightly_smiling_face: :smoking:


(Oliver van der Togt) #9

I really like linking the biblical scriptures to psychological development (child to adult) and human evolution: from apes to modern humans and from hunter-gatherers to farmers etc.


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