I'm not a Biblical scholar, and thus I have no idea if my thoughts on this topic have any merit. I'm just going to share the thoughts that popped into my head this morning, as I lay in bed, hoping that James would go back to sleep... :-)
Note: It may be difficult to tell from the post, but I do not take the story of Adam and Eve as a literal story, nor endorse young-Earth creationism... The story of Adam and Eve is a teaching story, with many meanings, but it is not literal.
Traditional Christianity (or at least the Christianity that I am familiar with) usually teaches the story of Adam and Eve as the story of the Fall, the Original Sin. It is the story of Adam and Eve's deliberate betrayal of God's command and the punishment for that disobedience. But, with my recent pondering of my own insecurities, I suddenly thought, what if that isn't the point of Adam and Eve? Perhaps the story is about insecurity. After all, God would have created Adam and Eve to be perfect, right? Why would he have created them with flaws? And why would God command them not to eat from the tree of knowledge? What was really so bad about this tree? What does it represent?
So, these are just my thoughts on what possibly happened in the garden. Of course, everything starts out just great. Adam and Eve are enjoying the garden and being in communion with God. But somehow, an idea creeps in and takes hold. Perhaps, one of them began to think "I'm not good enough. I'm not good enough to be in God's presence. I don't deserve to be living in this beautiful garden."
So, they begin to think about how they might bolster themselves up. They figure that if they just have more knowledge, they will be good enough. They will be like God, and thus deserve to be in his presence. And so, they seek out the tree of knowledge.
This insecurity is bad for 2 reasons. First, it rejects that God made us perfect in the first place, and we feel we have to fix God's work. We no longer trust God. This does not bode well for the relationship.
Secondly, as I mentioned in my last post, insecurity makes us self centered. It gets us thinking about ourselves, and how we can bolster our own self, rather than caring for and helping other people.
When God discovers what Adam and Eve have done, he banishes them from the garden. But does God really do the banishing, or is it a direct result of insecurity? God tells the man and woman how they will now suffer. Traditional Christianity usually says that this is a punishment from God. But, perhaps God is telling Adam and Eve what the natural consequences of insecurity are?
So, what are the consequences?
Well, I suppose the obvious one is feeling separated from God, but we also feel separate from each other. Why else do people lie, gossip, and judge others? Because we are insecure, we feel we must prove we are better than others. Or maybe we shrink away from relationships that might benefit us. Or seek out relationships that actually are very bad for us, because we feel that is what we deserve... Also, the desire to accumulate money and other material goods, perhaps even the obtaining of higher education, in order to prove your worth, and then using those things against other people, instead of to help. Think about wars. Don't most of them result from wanting to expand territory or show how much power we have, thus proving that we are better than our opponents? What if all evil acts are a result (directly or indirectly) of insecurity?
We don't need to be like God or like anyone else. If someone doesn't like us for who we are, that is their issue. We don't need to be smarter, more successful, or have more money. This, of course, doesn't mean we shouldn't try to improve upon ourselves, but it should come from a desire within ourselves (and perhaps in conjunction with prayer) that is not dependent upon how we look to the world.