What is the goal of mankind? What are we meant to become? Genesis clues us in right from the beginning:
There is a strange twist in the Eden legend that bears examination. Eve speaks of the tree in the midst of the garden, but earlier in the legend this plant is described as two trees: the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Not until after Adam and Eve had partaken of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is man driven from the garden, lest he also partake of the tree of life and live forever.
This always struck me as a point we can tend to slide right past. The reason for expulsion from the garden wasn’t merely because the fruit of knowledge had been eaten, ie Adam and Eve sinned, but rather that the fruit from the tree of life may not be partaken of. Not only does the expulsion happen, but a Cherubim with a “turning, flaming sword” is stationed to guard not the way back into the garden, but rather “the way to the tree of life.” One must also wonder what life process this “turning, flaming sword” represents.
Why was deathlessness then a danger? For life to express itself eternally in sentient flesh that could feel the extremes of pain and want, and in consciousness that could suffer intolerable boredom as want is surfeited, is a curse beyond the imagination of man. But had man partaken first of the tree of life, life must express itself eternally in a form that could not know love or a reason for being. Thus, the “fruit to be desired” was the fruit of knowing, so that this fruit was forbidden, thereby making it attractive.
Here Preston Harold tells us that our reason for existing, our task, is “to know love; a reason for being.” It is this thought we will continue exploring in our next post. Until then, peace.