Friday, December 03, 2004

Spirituality and Geography

When I was an "Old Testament" (correctly, "Hebrew Scriptures") student, we studied many maps of the region of Mesopotamia and environs of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. There seems to be little doubt that it is the cradle of civilization.

Is this the location of the Biblical "Garden of Eden"? Mystics, and now, most scholars, believe that the "Genesis" story is allegory. In other words, it is seen as a symbolic tale regarding our "fall from grace," and indicating the Way back. And allegories are not relevant to geography. If it is an allegory, and it seems that it might well be, for "Eden" means "pleasure," then the "Garden of Eden" has no geographic location.

Since much if not all the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures are also
allegorical, the same principle applies. And Revelation is recognized by almost every Christian, and all others, as an allegory. My new book, The Apocalypse of Love: Mystical Symbolism in Revelation, is a verse-by-verse study of the Revelation, the final book of the Bible.

The geography of this tiny dustmote, this nanosphere called "earth" is not relevant to true spirituality. Just as deepest spirituality is completely independent of history, so it is also of geography. So, despite the predictable panic and excitement of worldenders, which occurs every couple of years, the Bible's multiple mentions of Iraq have nothing to do with healthy spirituality.

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