One Little Bite …
One of my favorite movies ever seems rather silly at first: its The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. This specific post requires a small amount of “homework” that is really necessary in order to truly “get” the point we will be trying to make. Please watch this clip from the beginning of the movie (or read it below … though I must say, the song is much more enchanting if you have listened to the clip).
Just in case you can’t listen to the clip right now, here are the lyrics (I highlighted a very important part):
In Thneedvile, it's a brand new da-a-a-awn.
With brand-new cars and houses and lawns,
Here in Got-All-That-We-Need-Ville!
In Thneedville, we manufacture our tre-e-e-es.
Each one is made in factories, and uses ninety-six batteries.
In Thneedville, the air's not so clean.
So we buy it fresh; it comes out this machine!
In Thneedville, we don't want to know,
Where smog and trash and chemicals go-o-o-o,
I just went swimming, and now I glow!
In Thneedville, we have fun year-round,
We surf and snowboard right in town!
We thank the lord for all we've got,
Including this brand-new parking lot!
PARKING LOT! PA-A-A-A-ARKING LOT!
Oh look, it's Aloisious O'Hare! "Aloisious Oha-a-a-are!"
The man who found a way to sell air! "Ha-ha, and became a zilliona-a-a-aire!" (Hip-hooray! Hip-hooray! Hip-hip-hooray!)
In Thneedville, we love living this wa-a-a-ay.
"It's like living in paradise!"
It's perfect! And that's how it will stay!
Here in Got-All-That-We-Need-Ville,
Destined-To-Succeed-Ville, We are all agreed-ville, "Ah-la-a-a-ah!"
We love it here in... Th-h-h-h-h-hneedville!
In the garden of Eden, God planted two trees at the center of the garden. The first tree was the tree of life, and as we have already mentioned, this tree provides everything needed for life on this planet to exist and to thrive (in case you missed it, do go back and read that article now!). But what about the second tree? What did it provide?
mo·ral·i·ty noun: principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. (google)
God called the other tree the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In modern terms he would have likely called it the "tree of morality". He commanded the man and woman he had made to never eat from that tree, because if they ate from that tree, they would surely die. But why would we want or need knowledge of good or evil? And what would be the effect if we did accept the fruit of this tree? Today if you tell someone they can't have something they tend to want it even more ... and it seems like that was the case with our ancient ancestors as well!
About the first tree ...
It is Good! (God)
But then he commanded mankind to never eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But man disobeyed and ate anyway.
So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. (Moses)
Many within our culture preach morality, and some preach freedom from morality. Christians everywhere agree we should live by a strong moral or Christian ethic or code. We should keep the law, we should not sin against God ... we should ... we shouldn't ... we should!
Who will decide what the definition is for "right" and "wrong"? Who will be the judge? We ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and since that point morality has become the gauge by which we measure reality. The real problem with morality lies in the question, "who will define morality?" So its not really about morality after all ... if I can control the cultural definition of morality, I can control the culture.
In Thneedville, we manufacture our tre-e-e-es. Each one is made in factories, and uses ninety-six batteries.
And so we end up with a different tree that seems to supply everything that we need: water, food, life ... but it is a fake, standing in for reality. It has been "manufactured" in a factory of ideas, rather than growing from the substance and essence of our planet. But if that wasn't disturbing enough, we discover that this tree alone would cause those who ate its fruit to die.
Imagine for a moment that a young man meets a young woman. They both have dreams, fears, and begin to fall in love with one another. And then disaster strikes. The young man becomes upset with something she said, and he strikes her, he leaves a bruise on her face with his fist. It is an act of violence. Now imagine he returns the next day and says he is sorry, and he promises to never do it again. He returns to his fun loving nature upon which their relationship had originally been built. With one very small exception, their relationship is the exact same it was the day before. Except it is not. No, their relationship has been broken. It has been poisoned. This one act has brought death into that relationship and it is unlikely to ever go back to what it was before.
Perhaps you can begin to see the dilemma: you can eat healthy nutritious food every day. Every cell in your body will pulse with life and exuberance. But eat just one bite of poison and everything changes. It hardly matters that you ate healthy food for your entire life up to that point ... your body will begin to die! In fact you could proceed to eat healthy food AFTER you take that bite ... but that one little bite will destroy you. You can never go back, you cannot undo what has been done.
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. (Paul)
When mankind begun to define morality, Eden was lost to never be found again. Today we think Eden was all about personal sin, the place where we rebelled. But we are mistaken because we don't know who God is. Eden isn't just a place. As soon as one person feels they can begin to define morality for another, perfect unity and oneness is lost. Hierarchy and then conflict emerges in that relationship, one becoming greater than the others, one winning and another losing. The relationship begins to die.