RE: Genesis and inspiration

From: Debbie Mann (
Date: Mon Jun 23 2003 - 12:26:28 EDT

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    My mention of the Tree of Life was not intended to have anything to do =
    with original sin. I was thinking mostly of Gen. 3:22, where God =
    mentions that Adam must not eat of the tree of life lest he live forever =
    after sinning--as though the tree had big magic that God himself could =
    not override. Such language flashes "MYTH!" in neon. But suppose Adam =
    never sinned and partook of the tree's fruits. While this supposition =
    is theologically useless--as you've pointed out, a literal-minded =
    interpreter I think would need to consider the possibility and its =
    implications. One who is not literal-minded can ignore it. =20

    I initially found this offensive. However, I decided to look up 'myth' in a
    couple of sources. The one in my mind matched this one from Yahoo reference:

    1a. A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings,
    ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a
    people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the
    psychology, customs, or ideals of society: the myth of Eros and Psyche; a
    creation myth.

    However, the one from my 1975 Miriam Websters is quite different:

    1. a usu traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to
    unfold part of the world view of a people to explain a practice, belief or
    natural phenomenon.
    2. Parable; Allegory

    That seems so precisely appropriate that I have to send it on.

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