After a week in the Holy Land: Why the tree?

I have officially been here a week, as of about an hour ago. It seems nuts that this whole adventure just began then. I feel like I know the people I’m with so much better than I actually do, yet somehow when we talk it still feels a bit awkward because I barely know them. That is not particularly the topic of this update, but rather just a few thoughts I felt I’d mention before moving on.

So today I started a class about parables. It looks as if it is going to be a pretty interesting class. Today we were reading a classical rabbinic parable about adam and the garden of eden. Long story short, it made me begin thinking about the tree of knowledge of good and evil that God placed in the center of the garden and instructed His creations not to eat. The parable went something like this (this is definitely a paraphrase so don’t judge it too harshly). There was a man who took a basket and put a whole bunch of stuff in it, then put a scorpion in it, sealed it and stuck it in the corner of his house. He then took a wife and said, all of this is yours and is free for your hands to touch except that basket over there. When he left the house the woman opened it, reached it, and got bitten by the scorpion and got very ill. When the man came home he asked what was wrong. The woman told him that she was now dying because of the scorpion poison because she opened the basket. He then threw her out.

As we read that we tend to side with the woman, thinking about how ridiculous it is that the man told her she couldn’t touch it and etcetera. We would never want to be married to a man like that because, after all, we want total transparency right (which, in and of itself, is another topic)? But when you realize that this parable is talking about God and creation you realize that God is the husband. And that, at least in light of this parable, He is the one to be angry with over creation…because he set us up for failure. Now I am not siding with the parable at all, but it most definitely causes my brain a bit more stress than I would like. After all, why did God put the tree there and specifically command them not to eat of it? Why put a tree there that would cause so much temptation? We know, as humans, that you can’t tell a kid to not do something that he would love to do and walk off expecting him not to do it. So does that not apply so much more to God? He knows us. Why the tree? Why let us fall? Why tempt us with it, test us with it? Was the fall part of the plan? If it was, why then?

I’m not expecting answers at all, rather it’s just a series of questions that went through my mind that I thought I would share. God does what is good, and that we should trust, but still, is it not interesting to contemplate why He put the tree there in the first place and if the fall was indeed part of His plan?

Thanks for tuning in.

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