It has been a year of horrific loss. Millions have died in a global pandemic that is still raging, dividing us and exposing inequities in how we treat our brothers and sisters. The world has suffered catastrophic climate events. In the news record breaking hurricanes, droughts, floods, wild fires, heat and cold, even a plague of locusts, are now the norm. Once in a hundred year events seem to happen weekly. The phrase “Biblical proportions” has become a frequently used part of our lexicon.
Contemplating all of this, I began working on Eden Lost. The story of the Garden of Eden and Creation is foundational in Judeo-Christian religions. The story also informs Western attitudes toward our planet. One’s answer to the above question in many ways shapes one’s attitude toward the environment and our planet. But what if we have to be both? To deny one position or the other is to deny reality. As humans we are undeniably dominate on the planet. We have the knowledge and ability to destroy the earth as we know it. We hunted entire species to extinction. Unwittingly or not, we are a major influence on the climate. If we are solely caretakers, then what hope do we have of rectifying the damage that has been wrought? How can we take responsibility for that in which we deny participating?
I wonder about the Eden story. It seems so straight forward. Our archetypal mother and father sin, and a moment later are tossed from paradise. Yet where is there space for redemption for Eve, Adam or us? Who looks after the now abandoned garden? But what if our expulsion didn’t happen in a moment but is ongoing? Perhaps Eden is not lost, but being lost. Perhaps that is the space for redemption.
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