When one slices an apple crosswise, one finds the symbol of the new human being: a five pointed star. ‘Crosswise thinkers’ often lay the foundation for new developments. In 1998 Elaine Pagels presented, for many readers, in her book Adam, Eve and the serpent  a surprising view of the paradise story, whereby the result of the ‘fatal bite in the apple’ was completely reversed. That caused a stir in theological circles. And after that it became quiet for a long time
As always with veiled stories, there are also many layers in the Bible story of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Perhaps what looks on the surface as a punishment, is in the deepest sense a blessing. We are so used to the well-known interpretation of the story that we straighten up in shock when a different explanation is given. If our consciousness has space for another approach and we are no longer totally absorbed in the life of this nature, are no longer a pure-nature being, then the story suddenly takes a completely different turn. Then ‘we are eating the apple’.
The Bible is, from that perspective, written for people who wish to go the path of return, back to that other, original, world. If we view the Bible on the basis of the soul, we realize that all these stories point to processes that can occur in and to the human being. That means that all these tales become suddenly very current; get a very ‘now-content’.
Then we see the following: Adam and Eve were living in paradise. Happily. One with nature. Without having to worry about anything. But now we can see Adam and Eve as aspects of our being-human that in the now, in the contemporary personality, exert their influences. Adam represents the male, the creative principle, the begetting principle and Eve the female, the generating principle, the resulting, and the revealing principle. Suddenly we are now no longer dealing with some humans in the far past, but with the male and female within ourselves. So Eve is, within the personality, dependent on Adam to generate new insights. Therefore Eve needs to be impregnated by Adam; the generating principle needs to be impregnated by the creative principle. If we view the male as the head, and the female one as the heart, then the heart needs to spur the head on to start to think differently. Eve ‘seduces’ Adam to eat from the apple.
It is thus very logical that Eve took the initiative in the paradise story to get Adam to eat from the tree of good and evil, that the female aspect of the human being takes the lead, stimulating the male aspect to direct itself toward something that is hitherto unknown. That is why the emphasis is so strongly put on beginning to live out of the heart and to put a guard upon the thinking faculty.
Eve, according to the story, had in turn been urged to do so by the serpent, symbol for the consciousness. What benefit was there for the consciousness to have Adam eat from the apples? Self-aggrandizement? Unification with the Lucifer light principle? Or self-protection?
Before the human being can change his mind (Adam’s function) a change in consciousness must take place. The working spirit-spark, responsible for that change, is already at work long before the eating of the apple to establish the change in consciousness. The nature consciousness experiences that a change is happening and by law of nature will show its influence. It will try to seduce the personality to open itself up for its glorification, for the glorification of the “I”. Here we have once more a case where what seems to be wrong, turns out to be a blessing in disguise. Eating something could be compared to “absorbing something within.” When Adam ate from the apple he absorbed the symbol of the apple within. In this context the apple is the symbol for the microcosm. Adam became conscious that he was more than just a nature being, more than just flesh and blood. And that one doesn’t just live to die. That there must be something of which so far he had been completely unconscious. He (the human being, thus also: she) becomes increasingly aware of the different influences that appear within.
Hermes says that at one time unconsciousness developed between God and man. An unconsciousness of the divine. When one is unconscious of the divine one cannot mourn the lost divinity. Then one lives in a paradise-like ignorance. Then the saying: they were very unhappy but they didn’t know, sounds very plausible.
And then, by eating of the apple, everything changes. Suddenly they feel covered with cloaks of skin. Covered with a fleshy substance. Incarnation: in the flesh. To come to that understanding is a dramatic event in the life of a human. One becomes thus conscious of being a twofold human being and in this way is driven out of the earthly paradise, precisely because of becoming conscious of the state of being. To be true it was no paradise where one was always happy, but you thought that it was good, or at least that it was always going to get better. Your eyes (consciousness) weren’t open yet.
Now you suddenly see much more. It is as if a light has been turned on in the cellar and suddenly you see what is stored there. The earthly paradise suddenly is no longer a paradise, but a place that can only be inhabited at the expense of others. One can only live here, from the perspective of the natural human being, by killing. When I take a breath, the air dies!
But that is not the only consequence, for at the same time there is something within us that begs attention. Something indefinite, that responds to that new vision. And that is the start of a quest that often takes years. You may feel unhinged; feel as if you are living in a no-man’s-land.
A return to the former earthly paradise, where one was living in happy ignorance, is not possible just because of the becoming conscious of the other one. For the light within has been kindled as well. Once you know that you are on the wrong track, you must rectify the mistake or learn to live with it. You will however never be able to return to the unconsciousness, even though you can pretend that nothing is the matter. Neglect the silent call of the other one; encapsulate the silent call by being very busy with other matters, yet again and again the other one, the consciousness of that other one, will surface in quiet moments.
In the book: The castle of Peace, by Karel van Wellinghoff , it is described as follows: “He who has learned to see this world as a shadow of the spiritual world is not able to restrict his consciousness to the realm of shadows.”
The paradise story continues and tells us that a guard with a flaming sword was placed in front of paradise to hinder the return of man to paradise. That seems strange because the human being had expelled himself out of paradise, out of his unconsciousness. So as a matter of fact there was no guard necessary. So why was there a guard? Which gate did the guard protect?
Not the entrance to the earthly paradise, for the human being had just figured out that this paradise wasn’t such a paradise after all. Perhaps he was a guard at the entrance gate to another paradise?
A guard can be someone who guards an entrance, a passage, to hinder one from entering. Just think of the wedding hall from the story of Christian Rosycross, where only the ones who wore the proper clothing were permitted to enter. When one wears the correct clothing the guard takes on a different function. He becomes a representative of the host and on top of that, in this story, he presents the flaming sword to the visitor. The flaming sword is symbolic of the new spirit-soul. He who was, who is and who is to come. A gift we’ll have to wear with dignity.
What is all of this teaching us?
First of all that nothing is as it seems. That we have been more indoctrinated than we are aware of. And to remain with the core of this story: That flesh and blood cannot become part of God’s kingdom.
That the Adam and Eve within us, after the birth of the seeker, can transform into Zachary and Elisabeth and, after the birth of John, into Joseph and Mary with as a consequence the birth of Jesus and then in the final phase to transform once again into the realisation of the Christ. The seeker, the forerunner, the accomplisher and the ascendant.
But initially it is necessary that Adam, encouraged by Eve, eat from the apple in order for the personality to become aware that it is taken up in a microcosm.
And that they are naked, robbed of their brilliant light-vesture.
To be continued in part 2
 Elaine Pagels, Adam, Eve and the serpent - Sex and Politics in Early Christianity, Random House Usa Inc 1989
 Karel van Wellinghoff, De burcht van de vrede (The castle of Peace), Aspekt 2011