The Genesis narrative is paradise lost. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents the tree of “self-knowledge,” which separates us from the Creator of life. In the narrative, we become like God, knowing and experiencing life from a god-like perspective. Humanity now searches for the meaning of life through personal experience and is blind to see reconciliation and union with God as possible.
The good news is God takes the divine initiative to seek and restore us. Jesus’ death on the cross represents for the Christian the answer to being spiritually alive again. The self must die as Jesus proclaims, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”
Various faith groups acknowledge for spiritual life to occur, the self must pass away and embrace a new identity. In dying to self, by faith, we are united in life with the “resurrected” Christ. We discover this reality in our lives when we engage the risen Christ. As self-passes away, the living Christ manifests His life in ours.
Contemplation offers our lives the possibility of living moment-by-moment with the awareness of paradise found in our hearts. As we become God Conscious, we touch divine life when we walk in harmony with God and creation. Deep in our spirit, we experience peace, love, security, joy, and freedom of walking with God. Paradise is in our hearts. (Being Aware of God’s Presence in your Life)
We grasp Thomas Merton’s insight, “All eternity has become ours in one placid and breathless moment.” We are one in spirit with the creation and with God. We comprehend the glory of God as Jesus’ words in John seventeen speak eternal life in us. “My prayer is not for them alone. I also pray for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me, and I am in you. So may they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they are incomplete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Scripture: “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:17 NIV
Photo: John Martin Paradise Lost Creation of Light