of Eden Parable
story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is the greatest parable
in the Bible. It is supremely important
because it explains the real nature of our life here on earth.
It tells us about ourselves and how we bring about the conditions
in which we live. When you thoroughly understand the Garden of
Eden story you will understand human nature, and when you understand
human nature, you will have dominion over it.
parable is placed almost at the beginning of the Bible because
it is the foundation upon which the whole of the Bible is built;
and all the rest of the Bible, to the end of Revelation, assumes
an understanding of the Garden of Eden parable.
Bible is not primarily intended to teach history, or biography,
or natural science. It is intended to teach psychology and metaphysics.
It deals primarily with states of mind and the laws of mental
activity; and anything else is only incidental.
of the principal characters in the Bible represents a state of
mind that any of us may experience; and the events that happen
to the various characters illustrate the consequences to us of
entertaining such states of mind, either good or bad.
of the Bible characters, such as Moses, Elijah, and Paul, are
historical figures. They were real men who lived on earth and
did the deeds attributed to them; nonetheless they represent states
of mind also, and, of course, they outpictured different states
of mind at different times as their lives unfolded.
Bible characters, such as Adam and Eve, the Prodigal
Son, the Good Samaritan are, of course, fictional and never
had an actual existence; but they express states of mind too,
and always in a remarkably simple and graphic manner.
a state of mind cannot be viewed or pictured directly as can a
material object. It can only be described indirectly, by a figure
of speech, an allegory, or a parable, but, unfortunately, thoughtless
people have always tended to take the figure of speech or the
allegory literally, at its face value, thus missing the real meaning,
because it lies hidden beneath.
problem that follows from this course is that, since many parables
obviously cannot be literally true, such people, unable to accept
the authenticity of the story, proceed to reject the Bible altogether
as a collection of falsehoods. The fundamentalist, on the other
hand, does violence to his common sense in trying to make himself
believe that these parables are literally true.
cannot take a pencil and draw a picture of fear for instance;
but you can draw a picture of a human being, and depict terror
on his countenance. You cannot take a brush and paint remorse,
or envy, or sensuality as such; but you can take a pen and write
about a great fire, and about a soul suffering torment in the
flames, and then you will have an excellent description of suffering.
So the Bible uses this method to impart its teaching. It uses
outer concrete things to express inner, subjective or abstract
ideas. As Paul says, these things are an allegory.
the Garden of Eden story many people seem to think that Eve symbolizes
woman as a sex and that Adam somehow stands for man as a sex,
but this is absurd. Adam and Eve represent one person. They represent
you and me and every other man and woman on the globe. They stand
for the human being as we know him. Adam means the body, and Eve
means the soul or human mind, which consists of the intellect
and the feeling nature.
the Bible, woman always means the soul. The story says that Eve
ate a certain fruit, and that as a result of eating it she and
Adam were turned out of Paradise, and incurred all the pains and
sorrows that human nature knows. This is the great parable because
it lays down the Great Law at one stroke.
fact is that the body cannot experience anything that does not
first appear in the mind; and the mind cannot entertain
any conviction without its effect appearing upon the body or embodiment.
it is not by chance that the fatal fruit was first eaten by Eve
(mind) and not by Adam (body). The body cannot do anything to
the soul because the body is effect and not cause. The body is
a shadow cast by the mind, and the shadow cannot do anything to
affect the object by which it is cast.
this point you should note carefully that the word body means
the complete embodiment of the subject, and includes not only
his physical body but all his material surroundings of every kind.
Great Law of human nature is that one's surroundings at any time
are but the outer expression or outpicturing of his conscious
(and subconscious) mind at the moment. States of mind never result
from outer conditions (although, of course, they seem to do so
until we analyze the situation thoroughly), but it is always the
outer picture which is produced by the mental state. Eve (mind)
can bring trouble upon Adam (body) or she can present him with
harmony; but Adam cannot do anything to Eve. Unless the soul (mind)
first eats the forbidden fruit of fear, anger, greed, etc., the
embodiment will be harmonious and free; but anything that the
soul (mind) does consume or entertain must and will appear on
seems to be a popular belief that it was an apple that Eve
ate, but the Bible knows nothing about this.
is the essential significance of the Garden of Eden parable, and
we will now consider the details in logical order, at some length.
Every one of these details is extremely important and instructive.
Each one of them gives us an important clue to our own nature,
but they are still secondary to the great central theme that:
This is a mental universe, and that it is the mind that produces
course, Eve (mind) tempts Adam (body), and Adam blames Eve because,
as we have seen, nothing can happen to the body that does not
first find itself in the soul (mind).
may say that something has happened to your body that you knew
nothing about previously, but there must have been a corresponding
thought or mental equivalent in your mind or the thing itself
could not have happened to you. The explanation is that it was
in the unconscious part of your mind and so you knew nothing about
it, but nevertheless it was there.
the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till
the ground from whence he was taken." Genesis
belief in the reality of evil and limitation is the cause of all
our troubles. It is the cause of sickness. It is the cause of
quarrels and inharmony. It is the cause of poverty. For when we
know the Truth of Being instead of only believing
it, we shall not have to toil and drudge for a living, but our
thought will be creative, and we shall demonstrate what we need.
the meantime, because Eve has eaten the forbidden fruit—because
the race believes in limitation—we have to toil for a living.
the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy
conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy
desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."
a result of the fall—the belief in limitation—the
soul (human mind) produces new ideas with much labor and trouble.
Artistic creations and new inventions come to the race slowly
and with difficulty. The real, spiritual man, can have anything
he needs at any moment by speaking the creative Word.
he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the Garden
of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way,
to keep the way of the tree of life." Genesis
the forbidden fruit—believing in limitation or separation
from God—is the fall of man, and by it we are driven out
of Paradise and must remain outside until the false belief
is relinquished. The law of harmony prevents the holder of a false
belief from getting into Paradise, no matter from what direction
he may try.
first point that we have to note is the nature of the fruit
that Eve ate. It is the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil. Note this very carefully.
kind of tree is specified?
is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and so the meaning
is obviously allegorical. No such tree grows literally on the
earth. This point proves beyond question that the story is an
allegory and is meant to be taken as such.
seems to be a popular belief that it was an apple that Eve ate,
but the Bible knows nothing about this. What she ate was the
fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
people could ever have taken this wonderful allegory for historical
fact it is hard to see, but such has happened, and all the
orthodox theologies are founded upon a supposed "fall
of man" caused by literally eating the fruit of
an actual tree.
the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the
garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that
thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Genesis
clearly means that if we indulge in the knowledge of both good
and evil we will suffer; that is to say, if we entertain both
good and evil thoughts, trouble will come to us.
trouble lies in the mixed fruit. It is the mixture of good and
evil (negative) in our thinking that brings about our downfall.
people think evil, the carnal (ego) mind always furnishes what
seems to be a good reason for it.
people criticize others, when they entertain thoughts of resentment
and condemnation, when they fill their minds with thoughts of
sickness, lack, and so forth, they are very apt to invent seemingly
good reasons for so doing thereby deceive themselves, thus eating
law is that we must not think evil or wrongly under any circumstances
or we will suffer the consequences.
has free will to think good or evil and he constantly chooses
to think evil, and it is this evil thinking that is the "fall
the fall of man is going on all the time, whenever we allow
ourselves to think wrongly. It is not an event in the past but
constant occurrence, and it is to be overcome by training
ourselves to think rightly at all times.
the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which
the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath
God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of
the trees of the garden:
of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden,
God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch
it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall
not surely die." Genesis
serpent represents the lower nature. It stands for the carnal
(ego) mind. The carnal mind, an expression which we owe to Paul,
is the belief that we are separate from God, whereas in reality
we are one with Him.
(ego mind) is the belief that inner things are subservient to
outer things, instead of the reverse, or that there is power
in matter. This mistaken belief is well called the "fall
of man," for it is the cause of all our problems and
belief is an extremely subtle one. We all know only too well
how easily it creeps into our thinking, without our being aware
accept the Jesus Christ teaching; we think we understand it;
and yet we constantly catch ourselves forgetting it at important
times. Such error is therefore very well depicted as a serpent
or snake, which, with its silent, subtle movements, strikes
its victim without warning.
world thinks that by analyzing evil, studying it, filling our
minds with it, we shall obtain power over it.
God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall
be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
course, the opposite is the truth. The only way to overcome evil
is to refuse to touch it mentally—or, if we have already
done so, to un-know it.
great parable goes on to say that when the couple had eaten this
fruit they realized that they were naked and they were afraid.
As soon as we allow evil or negative thoughts to obtain a hold
on our minds, fear grips us and we feel unprotected or "naked"
in that sense, and we look about for some material thing to save
us—whereas our only salvation is to know that evil is not
eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were not conscious of
being unprotected or naked. The parable goes on to explain that
in the cool of the day they heard the voice of God challenging
them. This means that after the harm has been done, when we have
entertained negative thoughts and begun to suffer the consequences
we have time to reflect, and then we turn to God and wonder what
He will think or do about it.
Is Your Ego Personality?
and Eve represent the human being as we know him. This is not
the real spiritual man who is perfect and eternal, but the person
that we know here on this plane.
what is the human being? What is your human personality, for
is your sincere opinion of yourself, or, to put it philosophically,
it is your concept of yourself, that and nothing more.You are
what you really believe yourself to be.
experience what you really believe in. All there is to
any phenomenon is our belief in it.
is no difference between the thing and the thought of the thing.
We often hear it said that thoughts are things, but the actual
truth is that things are thoughts. From this follows that when
you un-think a thing it disappears.
world you live in is the world of your own beliefs. You created
it by thinking it, and you can destroy it at any moment by un-thinking
it. This is the meaning of the startling statement,
thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return." Genesis
I would impress upon the reader not to forget the subconscious
mind. The subconscious mind is that part of your mentality of
which you are not aware.
may be unaware that you have been holding a certain thought or
a certain belief, and yet it may be in your subconscious, and
if so it will affect your life, in spite of the fact that you
did not consciously know of its existence. You probably picked
it up in childhood.
importance of prayer lies in the fact that prayer, and prayer
alone, can and does redeem and re-educate the subconscious. Human
belief is a temporary thing, always changing, falling into dust.
real spiritual Self understands; your temporary human self only
is of Truth and is therefore permanent. It is the "firmament"
of Geneis 1:6. The first chapter of Genesis deals with the spiritual
man and eternal Truth. This section, the second and third chapters,
deals with man as we know him, or think we know him, for the time
I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy
seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt
bruise his heel." Genesis
enmity between the human soul and the serpent is easily understood,
and here is a prophecy that mankind will ultimately overcome limitation
and fear; that it shall bruise the head of the serpent.
until this happens, the serpent will continue to give man a good
deal of trouble. The "heel" refers to whatever is the
most vulnerable spot—this may be a love of money, a tendency
to criticism and condemnation, it may be sensuality, or anything
else. The heel has always been a symbol of man's weak spot, for
it is the place where he contacts the ground.
the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept:
and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead
thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man,
made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said,
'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall
be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.'" Genesis
Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother
of all living." Genesis
deep sleep fell
upon Adam and there is no mention in the Bible of his having reawakened,
and indeed, our material lives are very little more than a dream
of limitation, fear, and separation from God.
thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall
give thee light." Ephesians
is very interesting and significant to note that the word woman
really means "one with" or "a part of" man,
and emphasizes the fact that body and mind are one—that
in fact the body is only the embodiment or outpicturing of the
philosophers have spoken of the body as a garment which the soul
assumes, or a vehicle in which it travels, or as a vassel which
contains it as a vase may contain water; but these similes are
body is no garment or independent vessel. It is the true picture
of the soul or mentality. The body, if you like, is a shadow cast
by the mind, copying it in every detail.
feels intuitively that he and the woman are one, and he calls
her Eve because she is the mother of all that is—the mind
is the sole creator.
shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave
unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis
the Bible, one's parents usually mean one's own past, because
it is the common belief that our conditions today are caused by
past events and that in this sense yesterday is the parent of
Jesus told the man not to go back to bury his father he was not,
of course, suggesting that the duties and decencies of life should
meant that the man was to stop thinking that he was limited by
past mistakes. The man in question was probably burdened by some
remorse or resentment concerning his past and was keeping himself
out of the Kingdom in consequence.
lesson here is that the only thought we have to deal with is the
present one, and that if we heal that we shall experience harmony;
for yesterday has no power over today, unless we think it has.
experience is caused only by today's thoughts and beliefs, and
not by the thoughts or by the events or conditions of yesterday,
appearances notwithstanding. You are positively not in bondage
to yesterday. Any bondage can only come from today's bondage thoughts.
today's thought and today's conditions must change to correspond,
for Adam (body) and Eve (mind) are one. Just as Adam represents
the human being who is deceived by the serpent, so Jesus represents
the Christ power which is the understanding of truth that ultimately
sets Adam free. When we suffer from a false belief it is the recognition
of the Truth that liberates us.