God: The Tree of Knowledge and the Free Will Myth

The question of the day is this: Why would a loving God introduce Sin into our world?

Why would a loving God plant a Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden?

And, at its root, “Why would a loving God fashion Hell?”

Our mythology is full of the answer to that in kings putting down rebellion. Actually, our mythology is built entirely on the Earthly understanding of kings (and remember, when the people of Israel asked God for a king, he didn’t really want them to have one).

Okay, okay, I’m going to stop you all right now. This one’s labeled “God,” not “Government,” and I’m not going to get into that right now! Basically, though, Kings are a Constructed thing, and I argue that, within this world, they’re our most viable means of authority. But, no, they’re not God’s chosen path. THAT’s all I’m saying here.

Anyway! We read about Satan and his followers being cast into the Lake of Fire as their eternal punishment for rebelling against God. We read about eternal damnation, and wonder, Why is Mankind to be punished for having free will?

In fact, why would God give Man free will at all? After all, as a direct result of Free Will, billions of people are going to burn in Hell. The answer I’ve heard most often, is that God doesn’t want to be worshiped by an army of mindless drones, he wants people to choose to follow him. Trish said, “like the difference between Hitler and the Pope,” and that’s PRECISELY what I’ve heard every time I’ve brought up this question — it’s our accepted answer.

But…that’s more of that Earthly-kings thinking. Could God be so arrogant that he would create a structure for humanity that sends billions of Infinite souls to eternal damnation just so his chorus of cheerleaders might seem more fulfilling? That doesn’t sound like Love. That doesn’t sound anything like Love.

I don’t think Free Will was something God gave to Man. I don’t think the Tree of Knowledge is a Created thing. I think it’s one of those Rules. The same kind of Rules that said blood had to be paid to redeem the Infinite soul for its Temporal actions….

It’s like this: in order to BE Infinite, a Creature must have a Soul. A Soul is (or causes) self-awareness. Sentience. There’s none of one without the other.

A sentient being must be aware of its environment, and awareness of an environment (coupled with a basic sense of cause and effect) will lead any sentient Creature to experiment with his condition. There will be a desire to improve one’s environment, is what I’m saying.

ANY self-aware Creature will eventually feel compelled to improve its environment. It’s part of what self-awareness IS. ANY Infinite Soul will be self-aware. Therefore, in the process of God creating an Infinite being, it inherently gained the capacity for rebellion. Self-determinism, it’s been called. The desire to make one’s own world.

It’s part of our mythology that humans were given Free Will (we make it sound like a gift) by God, and the angels look down on us, confused by the notion. It’s part of our mythology that the angels don’t have Free Will. I don’t buy it. I don’t buy that Free Will is a Created thing — rather, it’s an aspect of Infinity.

After all, it’s also part of our mythology that Satan is a fallen angel, no? How can a will-less Creature Fall? No, I think the gift God gave to Man was recognizing the nature of Infinite beings to seek their own way, and creating for Man a safe playground where we can work these things out. And yes, I’m including the millions of babies who die of starvation in my definition of playground. I’m including the saintly Christians who have to live with the knowledge of the brutal rape and murder of a loved one. I’m including Holocaust and genocide and Big Business and American Idol. I’m including ALL of the mistakes we make, when I say that Life is a harmless playground.

The question is, How could a loving God condemn Created Man to Hell? But it raises a much more difficult question: How could a Creator God design an Infinite being with any chance at NOT seeking after its own destiny and abandoning Heaven in the process? God found a way — Life. The gift God gave us was not Free Will — it never was — the gift was Grace, and an existence in which Grace is possible. He made us Temporal beings precisely so that we could make all the stupid, terrible mistakes that humanity makes…in an environment where, no matter HOW horrible, they are only temporary. In an environment where we can learn from them, before becoming who we TRULY are, and who we will be forever.

God gave us the opportunity to learn from failure. That is something Infinite beings don’t have. By all accounts, God has a starry host. He has a multitude of angels that, living in his presence, never chose to seek after their own dominion. But he also saw Lucifer fall, saw a host of Created beings that turned away from him, once for all, and he wanted to create an opportunity for Man to avoid that. Life is not a chance to earn condemnation — that’s what we’re taught, that if you die as a baby you’ll go straight to Heaven, but the longer you live, the more opportunities you’ll get to Sin, and by sinning earn Hell — life is not just provided as a test, and if you mess up you fail.

Life is provided as an OPPORTUNITY to fail, over and over again, and to HURT in the process (I’m not saying sin should be painless, or that we should be without guilt). Failure is failure, it’s just not condemnation. Life is an opportunity for us to try out racism, try out bigotry, try out murder and selfishness and idle gossip and see how NONE of them is worth committing our souls to. Wealth isn’t as powerful as faith in God. Magic isn’t as powerful as faith in God. Technology and medicine cannot do what a simple prayer can. Life is our chance to learn these things, so when it comes time to make our big decision, we don’t have to make it blind.