Tale of Two Trees
E: “E” stands for Elohist, the name given to the author(s) who referred to God as “Elohim.” In addition to a fair bit of Exodus and a little bit of Numbers, the “E” author(s) are believed to be the ones who wrote the Bible’s first creation account in Genesis chapter one. This is the oldest source tradition.
First creation account:
Genesis 1:26-31 And Elohim said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So Elohim created man in his own image, in the image of Elohim created he him; male and female created he them. And Elohim blessed them, and Elohim said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And Elohim said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And Elohim saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
J: “J” is believed to be the second author(s) of the first five books (much of Genesis and some of Exodus), including the creation account in Genesis chapter two (the detailed one where Adam is created first and there’s a serpent). This name comes from “Jahwe,” the German translation of “YHWH” or “Yahweh,” the name this author used for God. Some of the literary devices and turns of phrase that J uses could only have been picked up sometime after 600 B.C., during the Jewish captivity in Babylon.
Second creation account:
Genesis 2:8-9 And Yahweh Elohim planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made Yahweh Elohim to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:15-25 And Yahweh Elohim took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And Yahweh Elohim commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And Yahweh Elohim said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for himAnd out of the ground Yahweh Elohim formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And Yahweh Elohim caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which Yahweh Elohim had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Genesis 3:1-24 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which Yahweh Elohim had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath Elohim said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, Elohim hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For Elohim doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Elohim, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of Yahweh Elohim walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh Elohim amongst the trees of the garden. And Yahweh Elohim called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And Yahweh Elohim said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And Yahweh Elohim said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Unto Adam also and to his wife did Yahweh Elohim make coats of skins, and clothed them. And Yahweh Elohim said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore Yahweh Elohim sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
End of Creation Accounts
For example, “Eve” first appears in J’s text when she is made from the rib of Adam. “Rib” is “ti” in Babylonian, and it’s associated with the goddess Tiamat, the mother deity. A lot of Babylonian mythology and astrology (including the stuff about Lucifer, the Morning Star) snuck into the Bible in this way via the captivity.
The “rotten-to-the-core” dogma of original sin; Christianity’s version of the Tale of Two Trees on steroids. Take notice the woman was never given the command directly by Yahweh Elohim; “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, this is what Jesus called “flesh”.
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance…Confucius
The tree of life, this is what Jesus called “spirit”.
See the fall of man is really a fall from living the duality of flesh and spirit. He chose to live only in the flesh; choosing to be separate from all other sentient beings and being cut off from spirit.
To choose between good and evil requires judgment. Judge not, otherwise you will never become one with the universe. With fragments you will jump to conclusions. Once you judge you will stop growing. Judgment means a stagnant state of mind.
Since man was “driven” from the garden and the the tree of life (spirit); the burning question is “How do I find my way back to God?” Conveniently religions have arisen and say they can help us find our way back to God. The real secret is we don’t need religion to find God. God never left us; we left God. Elohim said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”; this essence is still inside of us waiting for us to return to spirit.
Judaism like many other old religions has deep roots in shamanism. The Priestly class considered being Jewish and being a shaman as not compatible and that shamanism is part of Avodah Zarah (Idol worship and therefore forbidden). So after temple worship was instituted shamanism was “driven” out of official Judaism.
Take notice of christian missionaries coming to america and trying to “save” the savages; driving the shamanism out is more like it. Take notice the white Europeans coming to the new world with a gun in the right hand and a bible in the left hand bent on total conquest; body and soul of the American Indian. Take notice of the US government tearing children out of families, telling the parents that they no longer can practice shamanism, and sending the children to schools where they would be taught a superior way of worship (christian).
There has not been a freedom of worship for each person in the United States. Indigenous persons have been systematically “driven” from their shamanic way of worship.
I hear some evangelical Christians talk about their religious persecution in this country; cut me a break.
Study history and you will find American Indians finally got religious freedom August 11, 1978 with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Public Law No. 95-341, 92 Stat. 469 (Aug. 11, 1978) (commonly abbreviated to AIRFA), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1996, is a United States federal law, enacted by joint resolution of the Congress in 1978.
Follow the link if you are willing to learn:
Look at all the other places in the world where indigenous persons have been systematically “driven” from their shamanic way of worship by people who had a superior way of worship.
See the common theme; Humanity never seems to learn it’s lesson until it’s almost too late.
Martin Seligman Professor and Director, Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania; Author, Authentic Happiness
The “rotten-to-the-core” assumption about human nature espoused so widely in the social sciences and the humanities is wrong. This premise has its origins in the religious dogma of original sin and was dragged into the secular twentieth century by Freud, reinforced by two world wars, the Great Depression, the cold war, and genocides too numerous to list. The premise holds that virtue, nobility, meaning, and positive human motivation generally are reducible to, parasitic upon, and compensations for what is really authentic about human nature: selfishness, greed, indifference, corruption and savagery. The only reason that I am sitting in front of this computer typing away rather than running out to rape and kill is that I am “compensated,” zipped up, and successfully defending myself against these fundamental underlying impulses.
In spite of its widespread acceptance in the religious and academic world, there is not a shred of evidence, not an iota of data, which compels us to believe that nobility and virtue are somehow derived from negative motivation. On the contrary, I believe that evolution has favored both positive and negative traits, and many niches have selected for morality, co-operation, altruism, and goodness, just as many have also selected for murder, theft, self-seeking, and terrorism.
More plausible than the rotten-to-the-core theory of human nature is the dual aspect theory that the strengths and the virtues are just as basic to human nature as the negative traits: that negative motivation and emotion have been selected for by zero-sum-game survival struggles, while virtue and positive emotion have been selected for by positive sum game sexual selection. These two overarching systems sit side by side in our central nervous system ready to be activated by privation and thwarting, on the one hand, or by abundance and the prospect of success, on the other.