Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Apocryphote of the Day: 3-4-08

Jesus said, "Adam was given the power that he might choose what he wanted from the two. And he chose the light and stretched out his hand and took it. He left the darkness and withdrew from it. Likewise every man is given the ability to believe in the light. This is the life of the Father who sent me. And whoever has believed in me will live, if he has done the work of light."

Epistula Apostolorum 39 (Ethiopic version) ca. late second century

Commentary: This is considered an early "catholic" or "orthodox" text. Yet look at the reference to Adam. His action (taking the apple in his hand) is the right decision. This is usually considered a gnostic reading of the Genesis story. So much for such categories in the second century!

4 comments:

JMS Providence said...

Yes, I see (re: commentary), but could it not also mean (or mean instead) taking from the tree of life? Or perhaps that's what you mean, and I simply associated the "apple" with the tree of knowledge which would make "Jesus'" statement rather ironic.

lightseeker said...

Gnosis/inner knowledge = Life.

Rebecca said...

The apple? The Hebrew text doesn't mention what the fruit is - that's a later interpretation (and would it have been understood that way in the 2nd century?)

lightseeker said...

Yes, it is a rather Gnostic interpretation! (Why I don't like the broad category of Gnosticism - there was an element of gnosis in all early Christianity, i.e., asking, seeking to find.)

Isn't there also a Jewish mystical interpretation of Genesis that the fruit (light, knowledge, etc.) Adam chose was that of self-awareness? That Adam (man) suddenly was aware that he was a separate creation from God (the onset of dualism)? Can you shed some "light" on this April?

My take on this is that we always have a choice/free will. Loss of innocence, the loss of Eden was man's choice, not God's punishment. In other words, it was man - through guilt of self-awareness, perceiving he had separated himself from God - who chose to leave the Garden (the Light), it was not God who expelled man (into darkness). Man, feeling guilty and fearing some kind of punishment from God, chose to run from the Garden in shame.

As we chose then, we can choose now. Therefore, when we let go of our self-judged sense of sin/error and come to know our true, internal, ideal Adam-self (that spiritual part of us made in God's image-essence) we are leaving the darkness and *consciously* reaching for the Light, returning to the Garden to be reconciled with God. We make a conscious choice to enter the Light - our birthright as God's children - or to remain in darkness out of a misplaced sense of guilt or sin. In my mind, it's similar to the Prodigal Son's return (tho slightly in reverse) - he returned home in shame, but his father (God) rejoiced and threw a party; he had never wished his son ill, never thought to punish him for all the mistakes he'd made while far away from home.

No matter where we are on our journey or how many mistakes we believe we've made, we can always choose the Light.