The Fall and the Fall

Happy Autumn Equinox Everybody!!

And Happy Fall. The "Fall" of Adam and Eve, that is. I would like to take time today to celebrate what Milton called "the blessed Fall."

In standard Christian theology, the Fall is seen as a tragic event. Humanity entered into sinfulness and were tossed out of Eden as punishment. I believe that the Fall was not only a blessed event, but inevitable, in "God's plan." The "Fall," the conscious decision to choose something different from "God's will" was necessary for humanity to grow up - to take moral responsibility, and thus be able to co-create (as partners with God) our own "destiny." Not something "pre-ordained" by another but chosen by us.

The loss of Eden was not a punishment; it too was inevitable. A&E learned the difference between good and evil and were no longer innocent. With their new-found knowledge they simply could not stay in that state of blissful ignorance. Before A&E ate from the tree/disobeyed, they theoretically could have been torturing baby animals and it would not have been a "sin" because God did not say they couldn't, and they were incapable of knowing why it was wrong. That was the "paradise" in which they lived. But after gaining the knowledge between good and evil, then they did not need commandments to tell them what was right and wrong. They knew it for themselves and could not help knowing it even if they didn't want to.

We leave Eden when we separate from God, or from Ultimate reality if you prefer. And yes, it is painful and yes, we want to return. Many would like to return to that exact same state of innocence/ignorance and lack of responsibility. It is the wrong kind of innocence to be pursuing. The only true option is to go forward. The Paradise/Heaven/Nirvana ahead of us is not the same as the one we left. The paradise ahead of us is the one that is without guilt because we do not do those things that would make us guilty. It is the Beloved Community.

As a questioning Christian teen one of the things that I never understood was why it wouldn't start all over again. Ok, so Adam and Eve ate the fruit and now we're all cursed with original sin. Then Jesus died for us so that our sins washed away and we can get into heaven. But then.... what's to prevent the whole thing from happening over again? The only way it wouldn't all happen over again is if there is an internal transformation, not just external "salvation." Christ may show us the way but we are our own "saviors." Ain't that both awesome and an awesome responsibility?

Celebrate the Fall. Celebrate your moral agency. And work towards our Paradise. Happy Fall.

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Acknowledgments

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