“Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever…”
I find it fascinating that in the bible’s story of the fall of man, the reason god gives for banishing humanity from their original home in the Garden of Eden is that they could become immortal by eating from the tree of life. This tree is first mentioned in the previous chapter, where it’s said to be in the midst of the garden with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, there is no prohibition against eating from it. Adam and Eve were prohibited from obtaining knowledge of good and evil, and told that doing so would kill them. Yet even after breaking this command the possibility still existed for them to become immortal, so god had to kick them out and guard his special trees with a flaming sword in order to make his threat of death come true.
The bible’s tree of life is just an ancient story, almost certainly borrowed from some earlier mythology like most of the bible is. What I’ll be talking about this time is the real tree of life…the family tree of all life on earth. Continue reading
I was involved with several groups of predominantly Christian young writers throughout my teens, and we used to lament how difficult it was to put a Christian message into a novel without making it cheesy or annoying. Now I know why: it’s simply difficult to present a silly claim in a serious way without coming across as either a con artist or an oblivious simpleton. It’s hard to create the illusion of reality when you’re in denial about what reality even is.
Religion began long ago as a way for humans to explain the reality they observed. At the time, the idea of gods was more reasonable because nobody had the tools to learn the truth about many aspects of reality. That changed when the development of science repeatedly found verifiable answers to our questions. Now, scientific explanations have displaced religious ones thoroughly in most areas, and given us both the tools and knowledge we need to probe deeper into reality than any religion has ever reached. No religion has replaced an amputated limb, but science has. No religion has eradicated a disease, but science has. No religion has developed ways to keep younger and younger premature babies alive, but science has. No religion has accurately explained matter, energy, gravity, light, or anything else with fundamentally counter-intuitive traits…but science has.