Thursday, February 15, 2007

You Are, Therefore I Am

I was reading the Bible the other day, and noticed something I had not noticed before: until the birth of Eve, Adam is mute. God creates Adam, gives him mastery over almost all of nature, puts him in a Garden where all his needs are taken care of, and gives him the sole commandment not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and through it all Adam says not a word. Then God puts him to sleep and extracts Eve from his side and—voila!—the man speaks. He looks at Eve and says, “Now this is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh…” (Genesis 2:23).

Adam’s first words are neither to God nor to Eve but to himself. His speech is self-reflexive, the emergence of the other, Eve, gives rise to self-awareness and speech.

Why? Because self and other go together like front and back. The creation of Eve is the creation of Adam. Adam was unaware of himself before Eve. Self and Other arise together, and together they create speech.

Of course Eve remains silent. It is not until she meets the serpent that she begins to speak. Is the serpent is her other? No. The serpent speaks to Eve first. She is his other, just as she was Adam’s other. Her speech is in response to the serpent, and a bit latter in response to God who wants to know why she ate from the Tree. Eve doesn’t initiate self-reflexive speech until she births Cain (Genesis 4:1). She sees what has come forth from her and this other creates her sense of self. She is for the first time a fully realized “I.”

What does this mean? The Torah can never be reduced to one meaning, but it may suggest that the self is a by-product of the creative act. It is not the self that creates another, but the act of creating another that creates the self.

I experience this all the time. When I am in a creative mode I cannot say “I” am creating something, rather something is being created and “I” enter into the picture only to evaluate what was created. In fact, if “I” appear on the scene too early, the creative act ceases and whatever was in the process of emerging is gone. This is why I find the creative process essentially spiritual.

Is this what the Genesis author intended us to see in her story of Adam, Eve, and Cain? I can’t say for sure, but it is certainly there to find. Which is what makes the Bible worth reading in the first place.


rebecca st. claire said...
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rebecca st. claire said...

Oprah is running a follow up show on the Secret on Friday, Feb 16th. I was a guest on the show because after I watched the first one, I emailed a question to the show about where God is in this Secret. They invited me to come on the show and ask my question. I had not seen the movie. I thought it would be exciting to go there, so I agreed. I wanted to prepare myself for what may lie ahead. I'm sure the panel which now consisted of Michael Beckwith and James Ray, had read my question and were more than prepared with their answers. So I watched the movie, (downloaded it off the internet for 4.95). I was amazed that anyone would fall for this idea. I also researched Michael Beckwith who is the founder of the Agape international spirit center in L.A. On the center's website they are fast to state they are not a church. So I go on the show, very nervous, not only because I'm about to talk in front of a whole nation, but because I know the panel is going to give me a hard time. So I'm the 2nd person they call on and I stand and say this: My husband and I are Christians and so are our children and I was thinking about getting this movie to watch with my family. We teach our children to put their faith in God, but it seems like the secret teaches people to put their faith in themselves. Where is God in all this? Is God in all this? If you watch the show you'll see what happened, unless they cut that out. In short they say that God is the universe and the universe is God. Not God is the Creator of the universe. So they say that yes God is in the secret, and you can be a believer in God, in anything I guess and still use the secret. Oprah was trying to convince me since she saw that I wasn't falling for it. I also asked about a part in the movie where Neale Donald Walsch states that we can go out and do whatever we want and no one will stand in judgement now or ever. They didn't seem to have much of an answer to that. It's hard to even remember what went on there. It sure seems like a lot of brainwashing and cult like activity. I'm interested to see if they don't cut any of the tape.