Saturday, July 6, 2019

"There Were Two Trees in the Garden of Eden" : What Was Really Wrong With Having the Knowledge of Good and Evil Anyway?

I also felt that placing that which was off limits and would cause one's eternal death for taking from them was a taunt to do so and cheating. You know, "There's a dish of candy on the coffee table kids but don't let me ever find you taking any." 

Why not put them away and out of sight so as not to risk the inevitable?

that said...

How often I sat wishing I was somewhere else than  listening to HWA start his message with "There were two trees in the garden..."  Ugh not again!  I suspected he repeated it so often, not really because "you people don't get it" but because he was aging and sticking to familiar themes was easier. HWA was no theologian as were few if any of in the ministry. Their knowing came from merely reading the Bible and commenting on what they thought it meant or needed it to mean for the Church. I suppose I did that too in the naivete of my youth and feeling of specialness  until I grew up and decided that the knowledge of Good and Evil, while originally in the story  were God Fruit Trees and not for human consumption, would really be a good thing for humans to have. 

So a little something to consider Carl Sagan who knew a bit more than Herbert W Armstrong , Garner Ted, Dave Pack, Bob Thiel, Gerald Flurry, Gerald Weston and just about every Church of God congregant on the problem of the knowledge of good and evil being withheld from us by religious need to believe rather than to experience the discomfort of actually knowing. 

A Universe Not Made for Us?

"We have not been given the lead
in the cosmic drama"


Anonymous said...

"Merely reading the bible?" Didn't God inspire the bible so that ordinary people can understand it through mere reading? But no, according to Dennis Diehl. Rather, we need city slicker scholars with their dissident books, telling us what the bible really, really means. Just like the Roman Catholic church which banned owning the bible, and demanded that their members blindly believe their priests. God allowed this, and how did it work out? Let me think. Oh, I just remembered, they called it the dark ages.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:44 AM, seemingly ignorant of world history, asks:

Didn't God inspire the bible so that ordinary people can understand it through mere reading?

As recently as 1800, fewer than 1/6 of the world's population could read or write. For most of history, reading and writing was a specialized skill practiced by no more than 5 percent of the population. As far as God inspiring what was written, there was no Hebrew alphabet (distinct from Phoenician, anyway) until sometime around 1000BC - 800 BC, so unless you are prepared to concede that God also inspired Babylonian and Phoenecian writings, there were no writings inspired by God until (according to Bishop Ussher and his supporters) mankind had already existed for more than 3,000 years. That sure doesn't sound like the work of a God who wanted to preserve His teachings in writing, does it?

Anonymous said...

it was a matter of choosing the spirit of disobedience as opposed to the spirit of obedience...knowledge was merely the temptation...

c f ben yochanan

please stop censoring me...

Ed said...

The bible tells us very little about the universe and what it is actually like. That is because it was written by men who where ignorant about the composition of the universe. The story of Joshua's "long day" indicates that the author believed that the sun orbited around the Earth and not the opposite as we clearly know now. Also there are references in the bible to the Earth being flat. It is clear that neither of the two beliefs mentioned above are true and are easily refuted by modern technology. If a book cannot give us simple facts about the universe how can we believe that book to be divinely inspired by a God that supposedly created that universe.

Anonymous said...

'Didn't God inspire the bible so that ordinary people can understand it through mere reading?'

If that were the case, you wouldn't have been in a cult, being manipulated. And those cults/splits seems to have a bit of problem understanding it themselves, 'mere' as they are.

Certainly HWA had some confusion over the D&R policy, supposedly supported by his MERE reading of the Bible. After destroying families, 85-yr old HWA marries a divorced woman in her late thirties.

Looks like the spending of 3rd tithes cause some confusion - what to do? Spend it on widows and children or drapery and furniture?

And make up? One minute you're a whore if you wear it and later people in Pasadena are joining the Playboy Club.

And don't let me get started about GCI, which started from WCG - really jaw-dropping. It is amazing to me that the very same so-called ministers, who held high positions in WCG, can transform their beliefs into something so different...and yet, they still hold positions of authority.

You can't make this stuff up.

Anonymous said...

Dennis said

Anonymous said...

c f ben yochanan said

Byker Bob said...

Many situations have changed regarding the availability of and advancement of expertise in so many fields, and just in my short lifetime, let alone since the 1800s.

Take the depth of knowledge in fighting, for example. When I was a kid, the ones you had to really watch out for were those who learned boxing. As an adult, those who had learned hand to hand combat in the military were to be feared and respected. Martial arts were just coming into play in the USA. The martial arts community was relatively small and tightly knit. Names like Ed Parker and Chuck Norris were prominent. The scene began to really expand with the popularity of the Billy Jack movies, and with Bruce Lee. In the present, there are any number of dojos and studios within a five mile radius of my home. Tae kwon do, karate, kung fu, all in their various forms are readily available to the general public. Those who hold basic black belts are relatively common.

Back in the 1960s, there were also not the sheer numbers of people who were proficient with electric guitars and bass. Prominent musicians of the day, such as John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Ed King of Strawberry Alarm Clock and the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band have commented to that effect. Electric bass before the first Fender P-Bass sometimes involved restringing a six string guitar with heavier guage strings and tuning down the lower four. Or miking or putting pickups in one of the large upright basses. Now, there are Guitar Centers in every city, and schools devoted to teaching people not only how to play, but actually how to be a rock star. There are instruction videos on youtube.

There is much greater depth available in every field of study with the passing of every generation, and this is also true in the field of religion. The really great fighters and musicians have spent many hours obtaining and tapping into that depth. They often cite the "10,000 Hour Rule". Lay people can come to a certain level of understanding of the Bible. That is a very true statement. However, the 10,000 hour rule also applies here as well. I am certain that there are those who have spent 10,000 hours studying Armstrongism, and are proficient in teaching it. However, that is just plain tunnel vision. It does not encompass the larger, greater field, the deeper fund of available knowledge. It would be like spending 10,000 hours learning to play the tambourine, versus studying all of the percussion instruments commonly used in contemporary and classical music. Armstrongism has not kept up with the depths which now set the standard for virtually every other field. This is partially why it has failed to grow as a movement. Not Satan. Not scoffers. Not persecution or enemies. Any organism which ceases to grow is in fact dying. It is as simple as that!


TLA said...
interesting youtube video about WCG - the doomsday cult - end of the world now since 1936... for over 80 years with HWA and splinters.
A better message than the 2 trees is Deut 18 v 21 - 22
21You may ask in your heart, “How can we recognize a message that the LORD has not spoken?” 22When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD and the message does not come to pass or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.

Anonymous said...

8.31 AM
Your 'spirit of disobedience' is typical ACOG minister talk. I believe Adam and Eve were motivated by a spirit of wanting something for nothing. Instead of working long and hard to the acquire their desires, they decided to cheat by simply eating a apple.
To maintain their membership, the ACOGs pander to this lust for the unearned by teaching the give way. That is, the responsible doing the giving, and the irresponsible doing the getting.

So what Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden, has become institutionalized in the HWA splinters. Yep, Herb taught grabbing the apples as Gods way. Nice!

Anonymous said...

8.10 AM
Interesting post. But since my bible tells me that God Himself wrote the ten commandments on the two tablets, I'II stick with my belief that records were kept, and miraculously preserved by God Himself. I don't think that's difficult for a being with the power to create a universe out of nothing.

Anonymous said...

I think that by now I've heard about Carl Sagan more than I've heard about the two trees.

Anonymous said...

I'II stick with my belief that records were kept, and miraculously preserved by God Himself. I don't think that's difficult for a being with the power to create a universe out of nothing.

Yes, a being with the power to create the universe out of nothing would surely have the power to keep records meticulously preserved. This is why we should look carefully at details that have varied wildly over the centuries. If God preserved meticulously His desires for how to observe the Feast of Booths, surely we wouldn't find such dramatic differences in its observance as we find between the Jews of Jesus' day and the ACOGs of today. It's all there for the mere reading, right? Well, if so, somebody got it dramatically wrong, which then calls into the question that the Bible has been preserved to be observed by mere reading. The same could be said of the tithing system, which from one Bible has spurred quite a few variations. Surely an omnipotent God wouldn't use methods that cause such confusion as we find today, unless more than mere reading is required.

TLA said...

I wonder if the 10,000 hour rule finally kicked in for me. I may have spent about 10,000 hours studying the Bible before I finally realized that the COGs were misrepresenting the Bible by only emphasi8zing the pieces that agreed with their theology.
In the world of fake news, this is what I call misleading news - only reporting the parts you like and ignoring the rest. This is why courts of law ask you to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Neglecting to tell the whole truth, allows you to skew the truth into something that is not really truthful.

Anonymous said...

12.49 PM
God delegated authority to religious leaders to decide on technical issues such as what's permissible or not on the Sabbath, and debatable holy day dates.
This is mentioned in Isaiah 20:20-22 and Matthew 16:13-20. Hence ordinary Christians can continue with their mere reading, and not have to wrestle with often difficult and time consuming technical issues. Sounds good to me.

1.16 PM
Spot on. That's why we are instructed to live by EVERY word of God.

Anonymous said...

had we pursued obedience as opposed to the self willed spirit of satan, we would have gotten the sum total of wisdom and knowledge as Given by God, and we would have become the Sons of God by the Spirit of God, never entering a place of reprobation...

instead, we chose to rebel and hence we chose to remain as flesh, and inherit the way of all flesh, ending up little better than road kill; and for what??? for knowledge; except for the knowledge of how to live forever...

and what is our greatest knowledge? it is that we know our death is inevitable...even then: we dont even know how we will die...#irony

c f ben yochanan

please stop censoring me...



It interesting you put forth the expansion of knowledge in your comment for HWA talked about that very topic in his introduction to the "Two Trees" often. He always mentioned the doubling of "worldly knowledge" as a preface to "godly" knowledge which ironically in his old age he simplified into the "two trees" scenario.

Worldly knowledge is enticing and fascinating, so much to learn. But with that, most of that knowledge when understood eventually reaches a limit. Vast great inventions in their time sit in dumps across this country. Even genres of music have lost the ability to expand because of limits. I remember one of the great blues artists was asked why the popularity of the blues went away for so many decades and he said there is only so far you can go with three basic chords.

I never had a problem with HWA always going back to the two trees as he did often. Two ways of life to focus the mind on both with the possibility for expansion. The two words evil and life in the Hebrew allow for expansion until they reach a limit. The word for evil could be interpreted as: evil, distress, bad, wicked, displeasing, injury, displeasure, non agreeable, or calamity. The word for life could be interpreted as: Alive, living, yet alive, reviving, active being, absolute, lifetime or lively.

The choice in the religious sphere is what expansion and limit will one choose. Was that what the man in his 90's was trying to get his worldwide church to focus on?

Anonymous said...

And how do you know that God delegated anything? That seems like a post-hoc explanation for the fact that it makes no sense for any deity to delegate anything in such a confusing manner.

And what does it mean Exactly to live by every word of God when said God has never actually spoken? Has anyone ever heard him, her, or it? No. How is it remotely possible that a book riddled with such inconsistencies, contradictions, and outright rottenness was written by a creator? Really, it fails basic sensibleness.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:30 wrote:

God delegated authority to religious leaders to decide on technical issues such as what's permissible or not on the Sabbath, and debatable holy day dates.

Are you Roman Catholic? You seem to have been taking lessons. Of course, the ACOG leaders claim to have the ability to decide what counts as "technical" and expect you to obey their decisions. If you claim to be able to decide a leader's scope of authority, then YOU are the real leader, and we are back to confusion as thousands of your peers may make different decisions.

Anonymous said...

7.28 PM
'Obey God rather man" means being ones real leader. Like every animal, humans are self governing. You are beginning to come across as a troll.

Anonymous said...

1:38 AM, you seem to be missing the flow of this conversation. It's about the written Bible, and whether God intended for His will to be understood by mere Bible reading. We have already established that parts of the Bible are so garbled or vague that it requires religious leaders to make various interpretations, which become binding on the ordinary believers. But, as soon as we concede that point, we must admit that the interpreters must also have the right to decide the scope of their interpretation.

Until the most recent centuries, this was a moot point, as until 1000 BC there wasn't even a written Hebrew language in which God could have recorded the Old Testament. Furthermore, most linguists and archaeologists have determined that the OT wasn't written in its present form until a few hundred years before Christ. So, for the first 3,000 years after Adam and Eve, there was no way to understand God through Bible-reading. Then, for the first 1,900 years or so after Jesus, the vast majority of human beings couldn't read the Bible for themselves; they relied on religious leaders to read it and interpret it for them. That doesn't sound like a God had planned for people to read the Bible for themselves in order to understand Him.

However, let's say that mere Bible reading is what God wanted people to do in oder to understand Him directly, without human mediators. If the Bible really does interpret the Bible and make itself clear, we would expect that as more people read the Bible for themselves, religious confusion would decrease, and there would be fewer denominations and sects of Christianity.

Instead, the reverse has happened. More Bible reading has led to MORE religious confusion, not less. There are today more denominations and sects than ever before. More Bible reading demonstrably leads to more division and confusion, not to more unity and understanding.

Anonymous said...

Like every animal, humans are self governing.

What does that statement even mean? Are humans like bees in a beehive, or lemmings in a herd? Or are they like chimpanzees in a troupe, or hyenas in a pack? And in what way does any one of these examples mirror "every animal"?

Mogen David said...

Thank God for Mr. Armstrong! Otherwise, we wouldn't know which parts of the Law to keep or even how to keep them.

What About The Truth said...

Contemplating further aspects of HWA's "two trees" doctrine it just occurred to me that at same time he was focusing on the basics of the two choices in the garden he was completing and completed The Mystery of The Ages. His book explaining the great mystery that ultimately man can become God. God had already said in Gen. 3:22 that man had become like us by virtue of partaking of the fruits of the forbidden tree. On the surface a paradox of thinking, one fruit that is at the same time good and beautiful but also evil but gives mankind the ability to expand their knowledge even doubling it in a few decades time and ultimately gives man the ability to be like God. The other fruit is life forever and according to HWA allows one to be God.

Complex on the surface and I don't think HWA ever directly walked through that aspect, but with everything else he taught I think he got there in a round about way.

So is the tree of good and evil - the god trees according to Mr. Diehl a desirable tree to eat from? The fruit that according HWA has afforded mankind the ability to create great invention to create growth and convenience but with it the ability to erase life in less than a second?

The COG's have in a world gone too far created a business/member model that keeps a person engrossed in a way of life that participates fully in the expansion of worldly knowledge. How else can a person afford the luxury of a 27%-42% monetary (tithes) commitment?

In the raw spiritual sense, the membership would attain that everlasting fruit far easier by purchasing a flock of sheep and heading out into the desert. The ministry, by grabbing a staff and heading out into the world with a message would figure out real quick that there is a big difference from being a zoo keeper and those that go and subdue lions.

The "two trees", a lot more complex than the simplicity it implies especially in this day and age.

Anonymous said...

6.46 AM
It means that all animals are autonomous.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:39 AM, again you are about as clear as the Bible. If your point is that worker bees and lemmings and chimpanzees and hyenas are all autonomous, then what exactly do you mean, as these animals each experience what you call autonomy in such different ways that the assertion is practically meaningless.

Byker Bob said...

They don’t, 6:46. The old saying about “herding cats” most closely describes humans as well.