Saturday, November 20, 2010

Love and Control, and the God of Eden

It was decades ago when I drew this picture. Pedro is a Mexican marionette, or string puppet, and like myself, Pedro saw an inherent problem with the imagery of God. It would be much later when I realized that what I struggled with really wasn't so much God, but the Abrahamic/Monotheistic image of God.

Pedro is a marionette, a string puppet. But everything and anything Pedro did was completely and absolutely according to the will of God.

On the issues of sticks and carrots - Pedro thought - I am being rewarded or punished according to actions I am not completely in control of or even guilty of. How can this be a loving God?

Pedro realized – that from a certain point of view – he was enslaved to this deity, regardless of whether he chose to “surrender” to this God or not. What attached him to God; the strings that controlled and manipulated him, put bleeding wounds that could never heal. Pedro's ambitions were to somehow regain control – to take possession of the puppeteer's central rod & control bar; to be in control of himself, and potentially from that position, choose to follow or not follow this deity; to legitimately make the choice to 'surrender' or not.

The story ends sadly for poor Pedro. For once he does finally gain possession of his central rod & control bar, he discovers that he completely and totally looses control. He can never find himself in a position to legitimately make that choice to follow this deity or not. That he was never anything more than a slave.

...poor Pedro.


Now I realize this is only one of many potential perspectives. I also realize that this would upon initial glance appear near atheistic in nature. But this is an issue of the tension between Love and Control. And I for one do not believe these two things are compatible.

A great example of this is the story (graphic novel and movie) of Coraline. It is The Other Mother, (or the Beldam) and her alternative and near identical 'Other World'. On initial look everything is better. Everything is catered to Coraline because the Other Mother loves her.

But as the story unfolds we discover that that nagging uneasiness we've felt from the very get go may very well have been justified. The Other Mother is the true power and force behind this entire other world. God-like in her power with a tiny exception; she cannot create, but only copy, twist, and manipulate.

But why? She just wants someone to love. There's a price for her love and adornment. The sacrifice of one's freedom. You must stay in her fabricated world forever. In essence, becoming her slave. (And as the story advances, we discover that it becomes worse than this for this fake God – this Demiurge – becomes easily bored of her newly acquired objects of love and affection, only to discard and abandon them, essentially, to death). (On a side note, it is also interesting that another name for the Gnostic's Demurge is Ialdabaoth, or Yaldabaoth, an imperfect god, a blind god even. What's further interesting is that Coraline's Other Mother has artificial eyes - buttons! - sewn on, for without them she is blind).


Coraline reminds me so much of a certain point of view of Gnosticism that I am somewhat surprised nobody has made the comparison before.

If we reread Genesis, but from a certain Gnostic perspective, we can clearly see this exact same pattern. The source material (the book of Genesis) itself is not altered, but its interpretation is. In this perspective it is the symbols and imagery that are switched. (If interested, you can read a more detailed analysis of this at Gnosticism, Valentinus Style).

The Garden of Eden is only a deceptive paradise created by 'The Lord God' for reasons little more than a cage, in which Adam & Eve are (unknowingly) imprisoned. Objects of this deity's love and affection (and a source of worship) but only under certain conditions. But mankind is not content and somehow innately knows it; is missing something and reaching for it. ”The Lord God” (desperately) attempts to fulfill this longing and repeatedly fails.

Enters the subtle, crafty, and shrewd serpent. (And you'll note that none of this descriptive words mean evil). In this particular interpretation the symbol and imagery of the serpent is more akin to (possibly) the Holy Spirit, giving directions to their escape from this delusional cage of Paradise. The serpent is acting of behalf of something or someone external to this Garden of Eden. Something or someone above and beyond ”The Lord God” of the Garden of Eden.

The 'secret' to exit this existence of enslavement and servitude is to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. (For which the God of Eden is concerned with, but even more concerned with, what if Adam & Eve were to eat of the Tree of Life?!

The potential, while still maintaining this alternative symbolism and imagery, is that the Son of God – not the God of Eden, but an external and alien God – a 'true' God – Yeshua is the Fruit of the Tree of Life (and must be consumed...) not so much for Salvation, but for enlightenment. Not so much the roll of Redeemer but as Revealer.

Now I am fully aware that the Conservative Christian will bolt with fear of heresy and damnation, making accusations of following Satan (or at least being duped by him). Let's add that this interpretation (either interpretation) are not literal history. I don't believe either historically happened. They are myths (and myths are not lies or fiction), but myths with meanings. The truth is not in the fact of whether these events really happened or not. I think many people fail miserably to see and recognize within this Gnostic interpretation as well as within their own bible, that it doesn't have to be literal or historic to be true.


Love and Control.

I think this may very well be the defining difference between being Religious and being Spiritual.
The stories of Pedro, and of Coraline's Other Mother, and the Great Escape from the Prison of Eden, are all lessons from parting ways with organized and institutionalized religion. These are slave masters.

The Mexican marionette Pedro made a simple mistake. What he thought was God was really little more than his religiosity.

Coraline (interestingly, with the help of a Black Cat who was not subjective to the Other Mother's powers...?) saw through the Beldam's deception and lies.

And Adam & Eve (mankind) became enlightened by the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, gaining the potential of Tree of Life.


In conclusion, I believe to the Spiritual, God loves us, while to the Religious, God controls us.
I don't believe you can have it both ways.

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