Have you ever wondered why Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of the Tree of Knowledge? Knowledge seems to be a great virtue, not a sin. Did God intend for us to stay ignorant? Has this ever bothered you?
If you look at much of Christianity today, you might think that the main point is to figure out who is going to Heaven and who will go to Hell. In other words, who is good and who is evil. It seems we love eating that particular fruit. We call it morality today, back in Jesus’s time it was the law. It helps us decide who is good and who is evil, which again, sounds like a good thing, but it tends to create very judgemental people, and Jesus warned us against that(see Mathew 7:1.)
If we begin with our pre-made judgements, or prejustices, love will seldom follow. How can you love someone who you have already damned? This line of thinking will always corrupt religion. It will create churches who, as my friend Dan says, “Kill their wounded, and eat their dead.”
This is a desire for control rather than for truth. It is all ego based. That part us that has to label everything so we can feel like we are in control. Overcoming the ego is one of the most important things we have to do if we want to progress spiritually.
It appears that God knew that we would take religion this way so He tells us, “No, don’t eat the Tree of Knowledge.” He is trying to keep us from needing certitude. That makes faith impossible. Faith does not need all the questions answered. Have you met those people who scream about faith, but have to almost dissect their Bibles like a scientist does a specimen? That’s not faith.
This is the heresy of most churches in the West. We have turned the meaning of faith on its head. We went from not needing to know, to having to explain everything. We call it theology. So many of our pastors and clergy think that it is their job to have all the answers. It’s all about control. Churches split about arguments that nobody honestly knows the answers to. The original sin warned us against this temptation right from the beginning.
God seems to want us to live not in ignorance, but in humility. He wants us to live with mystery, ambiguity, and paradox. We must bare the inconsistencies and the brokenness of everything and everyone, instead of dividing the world into who is wearing white hats, and who is wearing black.
You know what happens next after someone is named as evil. Persecution and violence almost always follow. Of course, we always put ourselves in a white hat, even when we are doing the persecuting, because God is on our side.
Faith is not knowing. It’s not needing to know. Not knowing is a deeper way of knowing, a deeper form of compassion. Saint John of the Cross, called faith, “luminous darkness.” Again, this is why we need contemplation. It creates a different form of knowing inside a “cloud of unknowing.” It is a refusal to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and finding peace in not knowing, which ironically opens us up to a deeper consciousness that we might call the mind of Christ, because our ego, our small self that needs control is out of the way.
So maybe this is why moral certitude is forbidden from the beginning. It opens the door to real faith, hope and love.