Archive for the ‘Creation’ Tag
Narrative tension is primarily about withholding information. With a fear in the story, doubt was always the center of either mystery or faith which moved THESE STORIES beyond the power of imagination. If you get the small details wrong, with all the fear in the story about land and women and suffering, you will get the big picture wrong – affecting if not your money, if not your land, then at least your kids.
“What is interesting to me is that every act that follows – light and dark, night and day, dry land and oceans, plants and animals, and finally man from dust – is described as an act of separation. What did God do when he saw that the light was ‘good’? He separated it from darkness, and then proceeded to go on separating ….The story begins with Creation which, as we have seen, is the story of the acts of distinguishing one thing from another. It ends by alluding to the most crucial distinction of all, the distinction between Good and Bad, a distinction that becomes apprehensible to humans only by eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, a tree about which the Torah tells us that it was (like light) ‘good’ ….. that it was desirable for comprehension. -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost
When the goal all along of a good translator on a dead language – a lot like at a currency exchange in a land so foreign, or maybe a lot like in the ongoing family relationships after a divorce – should be to promote quality understanding by its people reaching for some kind of union, about shared belief.
Did you feel the restlessness of a young man? Over the imposition. The anger over outside influences. Like the International Monetary Fund. How dare the IMF! How dare you tell us how to live! Or how dare the church? Or how dare the United States of America, if you lived in a Muslim nation since the Gulf War, which goes back a generation.
Facing the emerging challenge of enlightenment epistemology and the secular political order, in the method, validity and scope of western government with their money: the independent women who are so hard to relate to. As achievement alienates men, as men once alienated their stay-at-home wives. There was a disconnect between a generally PROMISING financial reality and their deep-seated financial fear. Woman, with her fears: It was not the pride in financial independence, with the matching arrogance as much as the “bag lady” fear: the fear of being destitute. To be left as a bag lady. To be left only with your bag. The fear of a woman with fertility.
The strangeness of power. Asset seizure. The insiders and the outsider in the story, with tension between individuals, families, and states over the human power to impose. A reverse side of the same human rights question, in the balance between church and state, is seen in China, in their integration project to nationalize fertility, since this fertility was all just a personal commodity, under the safety of the nation. A homeland, with migrants leaving and coming back. And the anger of those forced to stay.
In the beginning of. Did you ever think about the writer who wrote the Book of Genesis? With the male perspective, in the ordering and a concern over who came first. Dust and the significance of who came first, in the way of leadership, when there had been no man to work the soil. Dust!. Note the ordering and the way in which Adam discovered his solitude: “BUT FOR ADAM THERE WAS NOT FOUND A HELP MATE FOR HIM.” Rashi comments: “When He brought them, He brought them before him as male and female. Thereupon Adam said, ‘All of them have a mate, and I have no mate!’ Immediately, the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon him.”
And yes there was the naivete in the story of “the calling of the names” which refers to the division of the species as – male and female – they passed before Adam, and he contemplated their nature as to which of them would be a help to each other in procreation so that they should beget offspring. And so Adam contemplated his own procreation, before a sudden change of consciousness if not his perspective.
Perspective: the closer you are, the less objective you will be.
All of the strangeness in the story. When things the first time would look strange to a child, if a child had a memory. Just as little children are frightened of turbans, veils, or burqas, in all the things which we had never seen, before the first time. Like Eve, as God’s gift. And how my nation today, in trying to reach a parity, not fairness, seemed afraid of this strangeness. And even after the creation of Eve, there is the appearance in the story of so few women. Did you notice that Adam did name his wife – and he got to name his wife, and not the other way around – though there was no discussion of the wedding ceremony, concerning this “wife.” And he of course was forced to believe in monogamy as a gift from the one God, because he had no other choice. And to listen to the penalties assessed after each ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, when they got too smart for their own fig leafs: “To the woman He said, “I shall surely increase your sorrow and your pregnancy; in pain you shall bear children. And to your husband will be your desire, and he will rule over you.”
Note that the first commandment, besides KNOWING God, had been a dietary law. Somehow this God was associated with food, in the dietary law about the apple. Did you note the innocence of God at the time to expect that his one simple law would be obeyed … without reflection of the “just” part of the law? When the LAW would become, overtime, associated with this God. As God would become as complex as the people he helped created. In whose Image and Likeness was this God? Or was this the reversal of the mirror?
Behold the Naivete. In the beginning, when you were born into something, when you were only able to distinguish good from evil in a story after eating of the fruit. When Adam and Eve already were in relationship but then in need for the widest form of perspective. With a need for clarity, with all of the risk in bond markets. I believe that a woman, especially, tends to overlook the red flags once she slips between the sheet — perhaps as a involuntary reaction to prevent her from labeling herself a “slut.” I believe that a woman, especially, loses clarity about a new man in her life once she sleeps with him.
Bond markets. The search for high yields and some form of clarity. And so education and the need for a wide perspective — and maybe that apple. In the bond market, no one seemed to ever care about the soft law approach in the event of a significant event that seems quite disruptive to bond markets. Like expulsion.
“And to man He said, ‘Because you listened to your wife, and you ate from the tree from which I commanded you saying, “You shall not eat of it,” cursed be the ground for your sake; with toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life.'”
And so both the pleasure and the pain in the story of life and death: the humor in the story — the very dry humor — with the curse of the serpent to eat dust, after man had come from dust.
But what was the commentary of 11th-century French scholar Rabbi Schlomo be Itzhak who is better known as Rashi on the line: “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” In a story when neither Adam nor Eve had a father or a mother, what is this perspective about leaving a father and a mother? This author captured the story of beginning – until this rather abrupt sentence of a new command.
Narrative tension is primarily about withholding information, and the author of the Book of Genesis with a poetic style, had left so much tension, if this was the original scroll, about belonging. As the first command was focused upon knowing God, and this next command focused upon knowing Eve, beyond the power of imagination — in either bond, or in a kind of separation. So now outside the Garden, “One flesh?”
So did you ever feel the heart splitting, accompanied by grief, the day that you are asked to leave? If rending is to split apart into pieces, does the rending process involve violence? To either grieve together or to rage when you are banished? Is that the choice of Eve and Adam? To split or to REND a heart is “to divide, as a nation.”
So once again, in a command to Adam – especially after the mysterious and somehow moving symbol in the garden of a tree that represents both the pleasure and the pain, I have come to think, from knowing things – to separate something, about God, along a natural line of separation.
In the story of “A man shall leave….” in the beginning, there is now shame, after Adam joined in with Eve. Just as God did when He saw that the light was ‘good’, He separated light from darkness and then proceeded to go on separating, with now a new goal of ONE FLESH? So, like man from dust, man from woman is described as an act of separation, but with a closeness? The new command involved a True Relationship. Because the size of the problem had come from missing all the love that God had for the world, in the ‘not knowing’ by Eve? In the thoughtlessness. Over what you were born into? Now about this fear of a woman with fertility, to be left only with your bag – to be left as a bag lady, outside the Garden.
And so this next commandment … another commandment: To “cleave to,” for the new migrants, but this next commandment, through a payment of the penalty, about cleaving, with the pangs of child-bearing? All because of not pride as much as the vainglory of Eve. Or over what she never HAD? In a story dealing not so much with loss but what she never felt about God, would pain make someone think harder? When expiation means “from out of, to admit to and extinguish a guilt incurred, to put an end to guilt,” because Eve was above the law, above the one simple command? Would this “cleaving” achieve expiation? What would become of ONE FLESH?
In the sands of time, doubt always is in the center of the mystery story about dust, and fertility and growth. Did you ever note the separate belief in the story of Adam and Eve, after leaving the security of Adam’s God all behind, with both the pleasure and the pain in the story of life and death?
In the relationship with her husband, how dare He tell me how to live! So Adam shared in Eve’s sneakiness. Spiritual, not real kosher — with an anger over outside influence. Would her sons inherit their mother’s sneakiness and the quiet hostility that went with it –not outright telling your husband that you would not be worshiping the God of Adam? And then the shame. And from out of shame, to put an end to guilt, comes life. Given new life.
To extinguish the guilt incurred, to carry the future, Eve and Adam are to produce new life. “To the woman He said, ‘I shall surely increase your sorrow and your pregnancy.’”
In another act of separation, as you faced expulsion in light or darkness, to be left only with your bag. The movement in the story for all of the migrants and immigrants since the very beginning: and so Adam contemplated his own procreation, with the doubt and fears beyond the power of imagination which develops into such deep feeling … in this need to cleave comes a closeness from maybe the fear of outside influence, in a human need to just belong. And so this sin of pride — better expressed as a sin which came out of hostility — which came out of not belonging to a place but somehow knowing a Living God? Or a hostility about not knowing — in such a personal part about not knowing God. Because neither God nor mankind in partnership are going to survive long if you do not come to recognize both hostility and shame, living in the world.
“What is interesting to me is that every act that follows – light and dark, night and day, dry land and oceans, plants and animals, and finally man from dust – is described as an act of separation.” — from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost
“Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. In a long narrative tension from withholding information from later generations, which shows up in later chapters, we endow our lives with stories. And a few key words in the acts of distinguishing one thing from another kept showing up over and over in the family history: “Vexation.” The damage which is suffered, often in covert operations, as a consequence of the tricks of another. The seen and the unseen tension over rivalry, as the second person is created. And instead of some kind of death penalty for eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, Eve and Adam are punished by their cleaving, reproducing more people like themselves, but in the process discovering the depth of the love of God through each other. In consequence of the tricks of Another, in their united problem in the beginning missing the size of all the love that God had for the world, this narrative tension primarily is about information withheld. And of course CLEAVAGE.
Did you ever note the missing understanding in the Story of Firsts? What is missing in the First Creation in the Book of Genesis, beyond understanding, is any shared belief. The tension which would be passed along to Cain and then Abel would be over the failure to share a common understanding of God. And the struggle in any close relationship was over understanding, if there was no shared belief. What would come to this first family who did not share a common perspective of God? What would come of this family?
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Creation. The Tree of Life stories. After Adam met Eve.
The first Tree of Life story. Somehow, the Tree of Life was associated with the challenge to know God. At the end of the stone age. Before the nomads set forth. From the garden. “God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good.”
The apple. Adam. Eve. Adam was there first. In the story. And he DID seem to care. About God. And then about Eve. And she had wanted the apple. And so the story. About breaking the relationship with God.
And so there was this relationship. Cave men. Or men from Mars. In a relationship. Adam first with God. And then Adam with Eve. As she entered the story, the one commandment had preceded Eve. Just one commandment. The first commandment. About the apple.
In the narrative, the one commandment had never been given to Eve. But Adam seems to have passed down, to have explained, the one rule. Clearly he has explained the one simple commandment. When all humans, if actually acted upon to eat the fruit from the Tree of Life, were doomed to die.
To know God. For cave men, it is not possible to like, to love anyone, unless you first know them. The greatest gift to be passed down was knowledge. So, did Eve know God? Directly? Before she ate the apple? I see no reference that they ever really met. Face to face. What happens in a relationship when only one party knows, works at knowing, God? What was this attraction, her attraction, to God?
And so the story. About God. About creation. Giving Adam and Eve everything. And about inheritance. Not so different than what I had given my own kids. Knowledge. Money. The ability to survive in the world. Beyond the lifestyle of just stone age men. And stone age women.
And so the story. Creation. The injustice of creation. From the perspective of a writer in the Land of 10,00 Lakes. In the location of the lake. When Adam, or someone, might end up living closer to the lake. Living in the age of hysteria, there was all the injustice of creation. Or since the injustice that Adam was closer to God? Eve and the perceived to be injustice. When Eve, who had never gotten to spend time alone with God, like Adam had. What was Eve’s perspective in all of this? Apparently, Eve did not really care too much about the one simple commandment. Clearly when it came to the one commandment, her actions bespoke her beliefs. Did Eve know God? About the one commandment, she more or less said, “I don’t care.” Maybe not much different than my kids, she was born into all of this, and never inquired as to from where everything had come. So what would be Eve’s motivation, concerning the one commandment? Born in His image. Formed in His likeness. In the perspective of a woman. In a world where Eve did not have a lot of choice. It was either Adam or no one? Or the apple? Was Eve silently unhappy with Adam? When two people always argued about the important choices. But born second. The second child. The unfairness of it all. In this arranged marriage. In a role of having to bear children. Of the timing. Of not really truly knowing –even in the garden – God. Not really seeing God directly, before she approached the Tree of Life. Maybe the original agnostic. Or not too unlike how an adopted child goes in search of the birth parent, in the search for the divine. “What’s He gonna do to me? Or what will your God possibly do to us, when I eat the apple? And you do likewise.”
And then seeing this tree. So was the demand for authority, establishing a degree of order, proof of love? “Don’t eat the apple.” Or was this just a sin of pride, similar to the stories about the serpent? In days when Adam and Eve had not figured out the equation. Of God. Of each other. Of conditional love versus unconditional love.
Somehow, this Tree of Life was associated with the challenge to know God. Was the tree about Spiritual knowledge? Or simply the Truth? Or maybe the Tree of Life story was all about what was missing for Eve, and she wanted some knowledge of God, or desired to be like God.
Love and desire. Establishing the proper degree of order. What happens in a relationship over issues of sharing love? Or was it over issues of sharing authority? She only had wanted the apple? Or it was more than just an apple? Now in her desire to share in a relationship, with Adam, and with Adam’s God, there was this communal need for greater union, starting in her relationship?
In the love triangle of a man, a woman, and God, there was Eve. The text clearly states it was Eve who picked the apple. And she ate the apple first. But he did know from where the apple came, since Adam was with her at the time. He was an accomplice to picking the apple. Yes, Adam knew from where the apple had come. Poor Adam, having to decide between God’s authority, and Eve’s. Having to decide about actions out of love. Or actions out of fear. The fear of the Lord.
Eve broke the relationship with God. With the inheritance, the dowry in the Garden of Eden, lost.
Trying to understand order. Law and order. Or God, trying to figure out Eve. She must have been a lot more complicated than Adam. And if Adam wanted to help populate the earth, in his relationship with Eve….well, God and His one commandment had to play second fiddle. What could you do about it? In the perspective of Adam? If you loved this woman? Adam had already figured out not so much her mystery, but he was letting Eve decide everything. In the days before any guy ever had married. But if he was smart, and wanted to try to be happy. Because maybe the fear of the Lord was not proportionate to the fear of Eve.
Now Adam seemed honest. Real honest. And he said that he ate the apple, because the woman that he shared a relationship with had first eaten it. He seemed to have wished to have shared in all of her mistakes. In her human nature.
Cave men. In the stone age. How hard cave men had worked. With their clubs. Lovable stone men. And their women. Like the one who had picked the apple? In power struggles of knowledge. About the Tree of Life. When Eve was essentially saying, “I don’t care.” About that one commandment. Had she failed at the Tree of Life, in the challenge to know God? Cave woman with their power struggles with men, and with God. Or just their insecurities, in the days before make-up. And before matchmakers.
How hard people searched to find God after Adam and Eve. Because Eve ate the damn apple. When at that point, God had seemed pretty satisfied about His relationship with Adam and even Eve, even if Eve was not satisfied.
Maybe it was a lot like last night. Speaking of clubs. In the discussion who the Appleton minor league baseball club had been affiliated with. For the past 50 years. In Wisconsin. Adam’s noble human nature seemed greater than mine. I just offered the right answer. Never was there an affiliation with the Minnesota professional baseball club. NEVER. While the three women in the room talked to each other. And arrived at the wrong answer.
Presenting the hard work of the past. By cave men. With cave women. How hard cave men worked. For water. For cave women. In those Byzantine relationships. Before marriage. Cave men who did not even seem human. Compared to me. They did not seem real lovable. Compared to me. Until forced to choose, like I was forced to choose. In looking for union, with a woman not unlike Eve.
Such was this, the start of unconditional love. When Adam was forced to choose. Between God and Eve. And he knew enough to tell Eve she was right. On behalf of procreation. And the future of the world.
It was in January that I visited that 3,000 year old fort in the Aran Island. Amidst all the rock. And no real tillable land. How hard in the culture it had been then for the Irish. And then over time. In their hard, hard lives. How hard their lives were, compared to mine. How hard people worked for their food. My ancestors. The tour guide that day talked about Oliver Cromwell. Was he in the Aran Islands, I asked? Noel the bus driver said he had been. Then 6 weeks later, on a public television show with Rick Steves, it was stated Cromwell never was there. Last weekend, my friend with all the family in Ireland said, speaking about dealing with authority, Cromwell was never there. But Adam and Eve might have been.
Yes, how hard people worked for water. And the hard work to find food. That present day nomads took so much for granted. When man and woman had failed in the instruction to cultivate and care for the earth. And now doomed to die. God who made the heavens and the earth, now had an additional purpose for His heaven?
Afterward, the punishment. For those cave women, with their calculating stone hearts, about dealing with authority. Women who, similarly, since Eve had to carry Adam’s children within. Only now God would be intensifying the pangs of child-bearing. And Eve had in every day life an affliction of desire to be with Adam, and he was to be her master. With no mention if Adam was allowed to remind Eve of this.
So the theme of pain, along with human nature. In the beginning. It seems apparent that even Adam could never boss around his wife. Like you ever could in a true relationship, boss someone around. And when God never had much luck with Eve, either. In this chapter.
And so the story about breaking the relationship with God. Presenting all of the hard work of the past, but with this need for healing. With a need for healing, for the present day nomad doomed now to die. Somehow, the Tree of Life was associated with death. And relationships. And how hard relationships were. Especially for cave women, with their cave men. And how hard people searched to find union again with God, ever since the beginning.
So what had been changed by Eve, after sharing an apple? With the ensuing theme of pain, carrying something deep within, when it came to the kids. Eve, soon to be taking care of someone else, in those ensuing relationships, with her own kids, with their same kind of doubts over obedience and authority.
The memory of it all … with all the hard work required in relationship, did Adam ever get to ask God if relationships were harder than creation? And then dealing with loss. The irony that soon Eve was to be dealing with her kids who often, too, said, “I don’t care.” So the ongoing pangs of bearing with your sons, the one who looked a lot like Adam, physically. As the need for more commandments multiplied, until there were state legislatures.
So what else had been changed by Eve, after sharing an apple? After eating the fruit from the Tree of Life, Eve had this longing every day to be with Adam, and he was to be her master. And THAT was Adam’s punishment in all of this.
And so the theme for everybody of pain, with fertility, which, for the most part, had felt so good. At least in the beginning. And the irony of all of this apple business, which had started over the relationship. But finally, for the present day nomad doomed now to die, there was at least God, and the memory of it all. When it seems apparent that, in Adam’s view anyway, if Eve had never came around, no one believed how great it had been here. Between Adam and God. But with no real reason to write it all down. Not until there was such conflict, such pain. And women, with their viewpoints about the various degree of pain. Theirs was the worst. And to write it all down, otherwise no on would believe it, until they found out all the hard work required in relationship. Based, in different proportion, on love and authority. And the irony of all of this. That Adam never had an apple juice again. In his life.
And so the unimaginable, inconceivable, unthinkable story of creation and procreation ever since, before the editors and proof-readers were hired and got a hold of it, when, in the words of Picasso, every act of creation involves a form of destruction.
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