I think *judgment* works the best or *value-judgment*.
Grace is holding an opinion of what's right and wrong but not letting it get under your skin. So eating the fruit of judgment means getting offended and forgiveness is spitting that fruit back out. Mercy is getting offended, staying offended, but then handing out a suspended sentence.
I think there is more to it because greed also causes sin but it is not the same thing as getting offended, though it is born of the same sense of lack and is connected to the ego and values. Letting the ego die is what one must do too to be born a new creature.
The bigger issue though is that this process, regardless of the technical nuances, comes much closer to describing the lesson of the tree than the obedience angle does. Obedience is for children but explaining the tree lesson in this new way teaches us to grow up and take responsibility for our own emotions instead of continually handing that power over to others.
Also, once we spit the fruit out, we regain access to the tree of life.
The person with a victim mindset can never see, much less find a real solution because he is too focused on his own perceived injury to even look for it.
Forgiveness is a is a journey along a continuum between love and fear where fear places us in a state of denial and love brings us closer to acceptance. The stages along the way are silence, avoiding, ignoring, ridicule, anger, attacking, embarrassment, humility, bargaining, sorrow, compassion and then ownership of your new perspective. Notice that humility is the breaking point in the middle.
Now that I have planted the seed of this idea I'll write more about it in a separate comment. Thank you for your patients and interest.
I've heard of that theory in the past but I can't seem to line it up with scripture or reason.
I don't see how sex is produced from the knowledge of good and bad.
Please consider my second clue though if you would.
Clue II: "Grace is holding an opinion of right and wrong without letting it get under your skin."
[Remember, the tree was in the midst of the garden so they had access to it but that didn't mean they had to eat of it.]
I find it interesting that the 3 major religion of the world, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all built on the need to correct an action of a couple of people who have been dead for over 6000 years. I also find it very intriguing that no one in all that time and in all those religion has ever been able to tell us what the fruit was. They say, “No one knows what it was. What matters is that Adam and Eve learned what it meant to do something wrong when they disobeyed God”.
But what if we were to figure out what the fruit was and by doing so we were able to reveal that the lesson had nothing to do with obedience at all, but rather it had to do with something much more dynamic in teaching us about human nature and a way to manage that nature more wisely for our own benefit? That’s what I think I’ve done and this is what I propose. I think eating the fruit means feeding the ego.
As humans, we all carry some concept of what we think right and wrong is. We use that judgment all day everyday to gauge how we feel about one thing or another. Surely you have heard yourself or others say, “I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing”. But somehow we feel that we have to ask that question about practically everything we experience. And then we normally have some kind of emotional reaction to that judgment, to one degree or the other.
If that is the case, then grace is seeing the fruit but not eating it. Eating it means getting offended and forgiveness is spitting the fruit back out if you do (eat it). Another way to say it is, “Grace is holding an opinion of what you think is right or wrong but not letting it get under your skin and forgiveness is letting it go if you did let it get under your skin”.
I base this on a couple or a few things. First of all, the name of the tree is, “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”. So I asked myself, “What fruit does the knowledge of good and evil produce?”. “Judgment” is what I came up with, …or “value-judgment”. Then I put 2 and 2 together knowing that people become offended when others don’t live up to their values and expectations.
Then it dawned on me that forgiveness was the remedy to being offended and that was the one major concept that Jesus brought to humility. So if forgiveness was the remedy for eating the fruit, which was the bases for the religion originally, then abstaining had to mean not getting offended in the first place; grace being the first salvation plan (preventive maintenance) and forgiveness being the second salvation plan (repair work).
This revelation begged the question, “If eating the fruit separated us from the Tree of Life, then could those who learned how to spit the fruit back out regain access to it?” If so, then what was the tree of life and what was it about eating the fruit that caused one to lose access to it? So I took another look at the dynamics of forgiveness and this is what I found. It came to me by happenstance while working in another completely unrelated area of interest.
About 7 years ago I accidentally happened across hard scientific evidence that the Twin Towers might have actually been brought down by controlled demolition. This didn’t sit well with me and I looked for every conceivable reason to prove otherwise. I later found out that my denial was the result of an emotional coping mechanism called cognitive dissonance, where we tend to deny things that don’t match up with our worldview or are too big to deal with.
Along the way though I learned that the way out of cognitive dissonance was along a journey called “The Stages of Grieving”. The stages are: denial, avoidance, ignoring, ridicule, anger, attacking, embarrassment, humility, bargaining, sorrow, compassion, acceptance and then ownership of your new worldview. Notice that humility is the breaking point in the middle. Gandhi mirrored this journey in his quote, “First they ignore you, then they make fun of you, then they attack you, then you win". Gandhi also said, “Holding a grudge is like eating poison and expecting the other person to die from it”.
Fear brings on denial and love brings on acceptance and/but they are at opposite ends of a continuum with humility in the middle. The victim is the one experiencing all the emotions below humility and the adult is the one who can rise above it by taking responsibility for his own emotions. The victim can not see a solution because he is too focused on his own perceived injury, but the one who reaches humility will naturally begin to look for a solution from the perspective of the responsible adult or a loving parent.
That’s enough for now. It’s a lot to chew on. But there is more. When I come back I’ll write about the Tree of Life and how it reflects the Holy Trinity. I want to put this into a book that is written on a 3rd grade level and in poem form with illustrations. After a short forward the first open pages would be a poem on the left and adjacent to it would be an expanded explanation of the poem or concept on the right. I would call that one page. Traditionally though it would be two pages.
The first page would be about the tree of judgment. The next 4 pages would cover Grace, being offended, forgiveness and mercy (staying offended but handing out a suspended sentence). The next page would be about the tree of life and last 3 pages would be about the Holy Trinity (motive, thought and action).
Let me know if you are interested and thank you for reading.
Wow Tim that is a lot of interesting ideas. I don't do the writing part, but if you need a beta reader let me know. It sounds very interesting.