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good and evil: he receives the prohibition of the Deity, that he is not to eat of this tree; and, being still in intimate communion with God, who is absolute goodness, his own desires could only have been virtuous, and it becomes a question how he could have violated the divine command. An external cause is evidently requisite at this stage of the mythical narrative; and it is supplied, when the serpent persuades the woman to eat of the forbidden tree, and the woman influences the man to taste of its fruit. We have thus exhibited as outward and accidental, that which in fact must be acknowledged to be internal and necessary. Man is impelled by the desire to obtain the knowledge of good and evil, and the first fruits of this newly acquired knowledge are, the feeling of shame, which separates him at once from the condition of mere animal existence, and the sentiment of fear, in which lies the difference between himself and God. This realization of the change forms a transition into the state of consciousness and freedom, and is so far from demonstrating any going back, that on the contrary it is rather by this 'giant step' that man acquires his really manly character. In fact the myth itself recognizes this advancement in the words, frequently overlooked, “See Adam is become as one of us, so that he knows how to distinguish good and evil!!' But in opposition to this view, it may be said, that God forbids the man to taste of the tree of knowledge, and thereby to attain to a higher degree of intelligence, and that he visits the transgression of this command with a lasting punishment. How then can such a prohibition have come from God? The difficulty is thus removed :-the man, by eating of the tree of knowledge,
1 Chap. iii. ver. 22.
destroys the direct and intimate relation or communion in which he previously existed with the Deity; and, following his own will, he does that which is displeasing to God. Hence the prohibition was required in the myth; for true innocence, united with responsibility, is to be regarded as the object of all moral efforts,-a state which man ought never to have left, and corresponding with the declaration of Christ when he said, “Unless ye become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.'
“ Labours and troubles follow immediately upon the sin [of the first human pair), as the merited punishment inflicted by God; because, with the awakening of consciousness, they become liable to punishment. All fanciful subtleties on the supposed marvellous and extraordinary condition of man and nature before the fall through sin are quite untenable; but the creeping of the serpent, and its enmity to the human race, are natural ideas, as likewise are the dependence of woman upon man,—the pains of childbirth, and the irresistible impulse in woman ever to undergo a renewal of these pains,—the lot of man, obliged with toil to extract from the earth its produce,-and lastly death, the hardest trial to bear, at a time when only a few rays of the hope of a future state first began to illuminate the night of the grave. All these ideas do not involve any inversion of nature, nor are they even in contrast with it, as immortality and other similar subjects would have been in the primitive state of the human race. Man was created mortal, and was to remain mortal. Death only became the fruit of the tree of knowledge, inasmuch as man first attained through consciousness to the idea of his own finite existence, and without consciousness death has no sting. It is the same with the other punishments.
In man's primitive life in Paradise such troubles are not found, because they have no reality to the mind of man whilst he remains unconscious. Thus man advanced from his original condition to the liberty of a conscious being, and the free development of his moral nature awakened in him the slumbering power of distinguishing between good and evil. His Paradise was lost to him, and irrecoverably
but freedom and consciousness, when once attained, do not permit themselves to be fettered again. Man is not allowed by the Deity, according to the myth, to taste of the tree of life, and thus to overcome the finite nature of his existence; he is therefore expelled by the divine Being from Paradise, and the Cherubim are placed with their flaming swords to prevent his return.
“Let us now inquire who is the Adam of the primitive world. He is represented in this myth as the first father of the human race, who has bequeathed to his latest posterity the misery which he brought on the world by his transgression. A whole race could not be described as gathered under the tree of knowledge and sharing in its fruits; consequently the mythical narrative required one first father of all mankind, who had not been mentioned in the preceding myth. But although Adam appears as an historical individual, he is in reality the representative of mankind : his destiny is that eternal law of necessity, which is inseparable from humanity; his actions are ever repeated in individual instances. It is therefore absurd to revert to the cradle of the human race, and to imagine that a late posterity is doomed to suffer for the guilt of another man. The life of every one is placed in his own paradise, and every one tastes of the tree of knowledge: in his own heart are the causes of transgression and fall, but at the same time every one possesses in his own heart the spring of healing waters, the means of reconciliation with God.
“The mythologies of many nations make mention of such a Paradise and such an Adam, to whom the cause of the destiny of mankind is referred. The blissful, golden, Saturnian age is nothing else than the life of Adam in Paradise, and such also is the life free from toil and calamity which men led, according to Hesiod, before woman was given to them. All evil had been driven away and was confined in a jar, which the gods prohibited man from opening; Pandora removed the lid of this jar, and the human race then became overpowered by the misfortunes which were set at liberty'.
“In the mythology of Thibet”, the paradisiacal state is represented as perfect and spiritual; but mankind lose their spirituality from the desire to eat of a sweet plant called Shimä, and then they become conscious of the feeling of shame, as well as of the want of clothing. Necessity drives men afterwards to agriculture; virtue is lost, and in its place come murder, adultery, and all other vices. *** The Zendavesta exhibits a still more striking analogy with the account of Genesis, and it therefore merits a closer comparison with the Scriptural narrative. Immortality is bestowed by the sap of the death-dispelling tree Hom, which restores the dead to life at the resurrection. Ahriman, with his fatal gift of death, descends from heaven in the form of a serpent“, the usual self-created disguise under which the evil principle appears together with its Devs! We find also that the first parents of the human race, Meshja and Meshjané, are destined for happiness so long as they remain in unity with their Creator. But the wicked spirit penetrates into their thoughts, and causes them to acknowledge the creation of the good principle to be the work of Ahriman. The happiness of the soul, which was created pure and immortal, is lost?; then Dev presents to them fruit, of which they eat, and only one blessing out of a hundred remains to them. They next clothe themselves with the skins of beasts; they build houses, but forget to thank the Author of their existence. Thus the Devs obtain a cruel power over them, and produce among them revolts, enmities, hatred and envys. The resemblance here pointed out has long been acknowledged by commentators, and it will be seen especially that the Biblical narrative manifests the influence of Central Asiatic ideas in the primæval water, the marvellous trees, the serpent, the enmity of man with the serpent tribe, and the Cherubim 4.
| Buttmann, Mythologus, i. 48, &c.
2 Stäudlin, Archiv für Kirchengesch. i. 3. p. 15; Corrodi, Beiträge, xviii. 26 ; Bergmann, Nomadische Streifereien unter den Kalmücken, iii. 36. 3 Zendavesta, ii. 280; iii. 105, 109.
4 Ibid. iii. 62.
“We must, however, consider now the points of difference between the narratives of the Zendavesta and of Genesis; and the distinction between them will be found to consist principally in the fact, that the same fundamental features are represented in a different manner, according to the difference of the religions. In the religion of the Parsees, the first cause of all existence, Zervane Akerene, the Absolute [Being], can contain no contradic
1 Zendavesta, ii. 217, 299, 383; iii. 384. 2 Ibid., iii. 84. Compare ii. 211.
3 Ibid. iii. 85. 4 Bauer, Mythol. p. 100, &c.; Rosenmüller, A. und N. Morgenl. pp. 12, 13; Gesenius, Hall. Encyclop. i. 361 ; Hartmann, Aufkl. über Asien, i. 133; Hengstenberg, Christologie, i. 29; Von Bohlen, Nork, &c.