Do you know what it means to become self-aware? Can you remember the moment you first experienced yourself as the I and others as You?
I doubt that you can. And frankly, even the people who took care of you back then cannot remember the moment this was the case.
It was some time into learning how to speak and starting to name things, how to recognize patterns and match them with similar ones, seeing colors and using them to distinguish things.
The things that we are told Adam did in the Garden.
And one of the next things would be to make a decision.
Once we are self-aware, we can start to make conscious decisions. If decisions always are made for us by others, we cannot mature.
Thus, God placed a decision in front of Adam and Eve, and they decided. They egoistically, driven by their serpentine desires, partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Paradise then was hidden from them lest they would partake of the Tree of Life next.
What if they had to decide between the two trees?
I think that all this was not about sin or obedience but starting a maturation process. No matter how they decided, they would have taken their first decision.
This first decision changed their view of everything. The world, the universe came into existence that day.
Did the universe pre-exist at this moment? Yes, but apart from God himself, nobody had consciously looked at it. At that moment, Adam and Eve chose the way they would look at things and interpret them.
They would go about life, categorizing things dualistically. Good and evil became the pattern, the lens through which they viewed the world.
We have no idea what the other pattern would have looked like, and it is not of interest. There is no way of going back.
But there is a way forward.
As a good father, God had prepared this path before he offered it to Adam and Eve.
I am not sure whether he had prepared the other one as well. If we assume that God is all-knowing, he might not have bothered. Why would he?
But if we assume that God is not all-knowing, he might not have prepared any of them, fully trusting in his own ability and us to find a beautiful path through an adventurous journey of growth and maturation.
As comforting as the first option is with its security of God having a minute plan, the second option is more romantic and uplifting.
Remember, God is love. And the word faith could be and maybe should be translated as trust. We have degraded it to either chance or obedience.
What a sign of love and trust it is that God allowed for a path of true freedom on our side, of free will, knowing that things will work out not in an intellectual, but relational way.
At any moment, God offers us all possibilities, every potential, of which we recognize and see some. He then lures our attention toward the beneficial ones, while still giving us total free will about the decisions we take.
On this path, he provides us with the help we need.
For some time, it’s our family. They lovingly teach us the basics and provide a secure place. So secure, that we can learn to test the waters and become personalities.
Then, he gives us external guidelines to help us in our decision process. This allows us to broaden our horizons past our family.
Both these tools will stay with us for a lifetime. But they will become tools among many. We mature past depending on them and become more and more aware of our relationship with God himself and ourselves as well.
The more we depend on this relationship, the more our eyes are opened to see past the reality we created with our first decision.
And I say depend on the relationship with great intent. It is neither about depending on God nor about depending on myself. It is the relationship that counts. A relationship that always existed in the eyes of God, but we did not see it and later did not trust it. We needed crutches.
Those crutches have names like the law, circumcision, the church, the bible, prayer, fasting, sacrifice, family, other people, pastors, mentors, spiritual fathers, theology, a being-born-again experience, and many more. Or they are called money, fame, or success.
All these things are neither good nor evil. They are, as long as we see the world through the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
These things are tools. Some help us survive, others help us mature, and yet others help us influence and relate with other people.
But they cannot become a replacement for the relationship. They can help us grow into this relationship, but they cannot replace it. Some can help us sustain this relationship, but they cannot replace it. Some will even be replaced by this relationship.
We try hard to replace this relationship with money, fame, power, or success. We try to regain this relationship with spiritual exercises. But the relationship cannot be replaced and does not need to be rebuilt. It is expressed in every single moment, in every single decision we are offered. It is the love and trust God extends to us, as he always has and always will.
This relationship is an expression of love and trust, just as God himself is love and trust. And frankly, as his children, we are expressions of love and trust.
This is the second time we become conscious, conscious of this beautiful relationship. We are again offered a decision, and once more this decision changes the world, the universe. They will be recreated as a new heaven and a new earth because we look at it differently.
We will create this new heaven and this new earth, just as we did create the one we live in now.
We are God looking back at himself. And finally,
I can see clearly now the rain has gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
Can you hear it? Can you see it?