Paradise Retained (1)

Michael Peach

(the Monotheistic myth that might have been)

   When God by means of "word" created flesh
From Holy Self or Spirit (cosmic Love),
Saw One – for God’s divine identity
Transcends in equal scale both masculine
And female selves – that all One’s work was Good.
   On Earth the last and best to be conceived
Was humankind, or Homo sapiens.
The man and woman, equal but not the same,
Contained within the Soul an "image" of God
Whereby they sensed One’s will: namely they join,
Be fruitful, and maintain the wholesome garden
Wherein they found themselves on being formed.
Though of different sex they surely seemed to be,
In the genes and psyche each possessed a share
Of that which made the other something else:
For "wholeness" was in fact their natural state –
A wholeness doubly felt when making love,
Through empathy no less than full embrace.
   This human integrity, therefore, comprised
Not a Divine indivisibility
But rather a dualism, expressed in the spirit
(Where Conscience served as judge) as good and evil.
For Man’s well-being rested on morality,
Whose laws enabled him to survive intact
While exercising tangible free choice:
Not just for the sake of temporary gain,
But so the Soul may at death return to God.
   Born with a shared "image" of the Lord,
A conscience discriminating good from evil,
And Imagination (the weaver of thoughts and dreams),
The man and woman owned all they required
To understand and overcome temptation.
In short, by knowing the evil in their own minds
They prevented it from doing grievous harm
To themselves, each other, or indeed to Eden
Whose ecosystem God had designed with care.
Thus, concerning the single tree inside the garden
Which represented the forbidden sphere,
The woman said one day to her beloved:
"It takes no morbid, selfless sacrifice
To shun this Tree of Amorality.
For we have both dreamt that to eat the fruit
Would mean falling into a trap we can’t break out of,
Since our minds – not created for the realm
Transcending the synthesis of good and evil
Whereby we can achieve our own transcendence –
Would lose their light and hence become corrupt."
"The only antidote," responded the man,
Recalling a different dream, "would be remorse,
Due to the action of God-given Conscience,
Which – despite the fearful darkness – would endure.
The question is whether we would choose to heed it.
This I know: no one can save another’s Soul
Or rightly take upon himself another’s guilt."
   Such deep, intuitive wisdom permitted them
To keep the garden, intended to cover the earth.
Seldom, though, was it a bed of thornless roses.
Just as in time the man and woman would die,
So Eden itself was bound by nature’s laws:
With bounteous spring and summer duly balanced
By mordant autumn, winter, flood or drought;
Nutritious plants consumed by rampant blight,
And animals by stronger or cleverer kinds.
Yet the man and woman never lost their faith.
They scorned the potential pandemonium,
Revealed at night, where evil thoughts "gained flesh"
And fantasies "became" historic facts;
Where, rather than remaining cyclical,
Terrestrial "time" ahead of time was "brought"
To apocalyptic "end" –
Not by God, but by satanic men with fire.
O, better to serve in Eden than reign in hell!


30 August 1995

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