I have enjoyed watching this mini-series about some of the stories in the Bible, or the Old Testament.
It highlights what’s already quite obvious: The Bible is written by humans, have gone through a great deal of revisions, and each one by people with a very specific agenda. And even those who say they wish to take the Bible literally, interpret and add a great deal to it. For instance, nowhere in the Bible does it say that the snake represents the devil.
It makes a good deal of sense to interpret the Bible from what we know about the culture and times when the different sections were written, and also use archaeology to inform these interpretations. This shows us how the stories may have been perceived and understood at the time they were written, and how they were changed and reinterpreted by later generations with their own agendas.
At the same time, I find it very interesting to look at the traditional (within the last few hundred years) interpretations and understandings of these stories. They too say something about us. They resonate with us, often at a quite deep level, and especially those of us who grew up and live in an Abrahamic culture. The Eden story may well be about the Temple in Jerusalem, and originally had nothing to do with the devil or the first people on Earth. It may well have gained it’s current meaning partly because it was later placed in Genesis, and then interpreted in that context. And at the same time, this later understanding of the Eden story says something about us. It’s archetypal. It resonates.
One of the many ways to explore this is in an earlier post on this blog.
Another thing that’s interesting here is how traditionalists within the Abrahamic religions sees certain things as underpinning their whole religion or faith, while for others, they don’t matter. For instance, a couple of the people interviewed in this episode mentioned that if there was no fall and no original sin, Jesus or Christ wouldn’t have any purpose or meaning. For me and many others, those two things are not related or dependent on each other at all. The Jesus story is not less significant if there isn’t a fall or original sin, and Christ is not less here as an alive presence. Some also seem to think it makes a difference whether or not the historical Jesus existed, while for others – including me – that too doesn’t matter. It doesn’t makes a difference. The Jesus story is my story, and the story of anyone seeking God. And Christ is still here and is a very real as a presence, and also points to what I am and everything is (Big Mind/Heart, Brahman).