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Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into...

And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” ….. But the serpent (or “enchanter”) said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that (1) the tree was good for food, and that (2) it was a delight to the eyes, and that (3) the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Genesis 2: 8 - 3: 7

Oliver Hardy certainly found himself in many fine messes. Stan Laurel – the other bloke – was to blame. There are many fine messes in this present world. Who – or what – has gotten us into them?

Maybe - if we knew the answer - we’d be able to avoid all the messes so well documented in the JEP, on the BBC, and on Facebook, etc.

The first book in the Christian Bible goes under the title “Genesis”. That word means “origin”. The book is at least 3000 years old. It was preserved by the people of Israel as the very first of their Scriptures and national archive. Prior to AD 0 it was translated from Hebrew into Greek (as were all of the Jewish archival Scriptures). Could that book provide helpful indications about the reasons for the mess we’ve all gotten into?

‘The itch of covetousness makes a man scratch what he can from another.’ (Thomas Watson, writer, 1620-1686)

Take a look at the words in bold above. In most Christian bibles these words are on page 3. The story is simple. The “man” and “woman” are in the Garden of Eden. They have everything (“out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food”) and they have total freedom. There are no messes there. But they are warned about one particular mess into which they might be gotten.

That does happen. The free choice of “man” and “woman” is exercised. And an awful mess ensues….But the most important thing is to know who or what persuaded them to get into the ensuing mess. They didn’t choose the mess. They didn’t want mess to occur. No way. Not at all.

But they did choose to eat of the fruit. Where’s the mess in that? Please look at the three reasons which Eve internalized – which she thought within herself as she made up her mind – as she made up her mind to take - and eat.

She thought that (1) “the tree was good for food”. She wasn’t hungry – but this fruit was good. She wanted it. She wanted to eat it. Nearly 1,000,000,000 people are hungry worldwide. The richest one per cent of the world’s population own half of the world’s wealth. It is those who take the fruit (and store it to achieve self-security) who are causing the starvation mess.

She thought (2) “it was a delight to the eyes”. Everything that was pleasant to the sight was all around “her” and “him”. It was all a delight. But as she looked at the fruit and saw its beauty she wanted it for her own. She wanted not only to eat it once but also to have authority to eat from that particular tree when she wished. The desire to possess, to own, to have undisputed authority over – anything and every created thing – is still driving wars upon earth. It’s still driving wars between neighbours, between spouses and between children of deceased parents. Messes galore.

‘If right and wrong are merely descriptions of what is best for others, and they do not happen to be what is best for me, why should I play the game?’ (Pete Lowman, author)

She thought (3) “the tree was to be desired to make one wise”. The woman wants to be intelligent (as does the man). Is she not already intelligent? Yes, but she wants more than that. What tree does the fruit come from? The tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  She wants to be the one who knows about, and makes decisions about morality, justice and ethics. Today, do we want to decide what is just and what is unjust? When we do decide that we’re “right” and the other person is wrong what happens?

Will you help me? You have seen and heard many messes of recent days. Will you tell me about them? Will you tell me which one (or more) of the three Genesis reasons is giving rise to each particular mess?

Richard Syvret

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