Originally posted by twhitehead
Assuming that Adam did not exist as an actual person, what does the story of the Garden of Eden teach us?
There are a number of aspects to it, all of which raise questions for me....
All of these are very good philosophical and theological issues, no matter where you fall in the discussion.
Interesting that you bring up the question of: Assuming that Adam did not exist as an actual person, what does the story of the Garden of Eden teach us?
I would suppose that some part of the teaching is about the start of mankind's sense of spiritual awakening to a Creator, as they saw it. It's as much a story of basic ideas of God as it is the relationship between God and human and how this spiritual awakening changed that relationship. And if one is asking those kinds of questions and looking for easy answers (or perhaps answers at all) then one is treading on murky ground.
Take for example the idea of an omnipotent God, one that is all-knowing, etc. We all know the paradigm. Yet, the Garden of Eden story seems to be knocking that notion down, and saying that is not
what God is. God changes his mind. God would not tell Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit if God fully knew for sure, knew past, present, and future, that they would. When they eat of the fruit God goes looking for Adam, asking 'Where the heck are you?' Why? Because God doesn't know where Adam is!
The story remains a puzzle to me and the questions you raise are exactly why it remains so for me. As I get older and ponder the writings (and hopefully grow somewhat wiser), I think I've gotten a better sense of what the writer(s) were trying to convey and yet there is a part that will forever be elusive to me. There will never be pat answers, one way or the other. At least for me that is the case.