Inspiring stories from the Bible meant for all people, not just for Christians.
A God with a Wider Heart
Stories shape civilizations. We live our lives in the present style because of the way we understand the stories we have inherited. Mankind has gathered a wealth of stories from those who lived in the past around the globe, though told in diverse languages. How we understand those stories often serves as the basis of the lives we build for ourselves. If we understand those stories differently, our lives will also change radically.
Born and brought up in the Christian religious tradition, I have heard many stories of the Bible from my childhood, and most of them have become part of my subconscious mind. I also received an understanding of those stories from older people as I grew up, and this understanding shaped my life. Later I realized that it is possible to have a better and nontraditional interpretation of each of those stories, since they helped me in laying a stronger foundation for my life.
A better understanding of these stories can transform the lives of human communities as well. Take for example, the story of Adam and Eve. The life of almost half of all the people on Earth is built upon this one story, for it is basic to the belief systems of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. A slight change in the way this story is understood can make tremendous changes in the life of half of humanity.
The Story of Adam and Eve
The Lord made a beautiful garden in Eden. It was filled with a variety of trees with delicious fruits in addition to countless plants with colorful flowers. It also had several different kinds of lovely animals living peacefully. The garden had four streams to give water to all the plants and animals in the garden.
The Lord appointed two human beingsóa coupleóto take care of the garden. They were called Adam and Eve. They named all the plants and animals and took care of their well-being. In return for doing their job, they could stay in the garden and eat from there. They had the freedom to eat from any fruit tree in the garden except one Ė a special one at the center of the garden. It was called The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Lord reserved it for himself. The fruit of this special tree had a magical power to provide extraordinary knowledge and vision to those who ate it. The Lord enjoyed such knowledge and vision, and did not intend the human beings to obtain it.
There was also another kind of magical tree in the garden called The Tree of Life, which had fruit that imparted immortality to those who ate it. The Lord, having eaten them, was immortal. However, unlike the other tree, there was no restriction about this one. But the human beings didnít know about it, and so they didnít bother to eat from it.
Adam and Eve did not worry much about the forbidden fruit because they were not aware of the magical power of this tree. They had already got enough fruit in the garden, and they didnít think that this one fruit would make any difference in their lives. They continued in good terms with the Lord, and they waited eagerly to receive the Lord daily when he visited them in the evenings.
As time passed, Eve got friendly with a snake in the garden. From the snake, Eve learned that it was a very special tree, and its fruit would give them extraordinary knowledge and vision. Eventually, Eve shared the information with Adam. They pondered over the advantages of eating the fruit, and they forgot all about their agreement with the Lord.
One day they ate the fruit, and immediately they saw its effects. They realized that they obtained the power to see what they couldnít see before. They also miraculously acquired the knowledge of what was good and what was evil. Because of this knowledge, right away they felt ashamed of their nakedness, and they tried to cover their body with leaves.
In the evening, as usual, the Lord came to the garden. When they heard the Lordís footsteps, they hid themselves behind the bush. The Lord had to call aloud to get them out into the open. The Lord rightly guessed the reason for such behavior from them.
The Lord asked, ďDid you eat the fruit?Ē Adam had the option to take the responsibility for his action and to say sorry. However, he didnít have such knowledge. Although they gained the knowledge of good and evil, they didnít know how to mend the broken relationship with the Lord. Lacking that essential knowledge, their newfound knowledge turned out to be a curse rather than a blessing to them. Adam placed the blame on Eve, and thereby on the Lord for letting her be in the garden as his mate. Following Adamís example, Eve also placed the blame on the snake.
Adam and Eve proved irresponsible. They were unfit for the job. How could they be trusted with bigger things if they couldnít be trusted with such a little thing? Thus they had to learn the basic lessons of life in the hard way.
Adam and Eve and their descendents have been out of the garden since then, suffering the consequences of their actions. They have the ability to distinguish between good and evil, but still they havenít learned how to maintain healthy relationships. They havenít learned the importance of being responsible either. Will they ever learn those lessons?