VII. Creating versus the Self-Image, P 3
3 We have discussed the fall or separation before, but its meaning must be clearly understood. The separation is a system of thought real enough in time, though not in eternity. All beliefs are real to the believer. The fruit of only one tree was “forbidden” in the symbolic garden. But God could not have forbidden it, or it could not have been eaten. If God knows His children, and I assure you that He does, would He have put them in a position where their own destruction was possible? The “forbidden tree” was named the “tree of knowledge.” Yet God created knowledge and gave it freely to His creations. The symbolism here has been given many interpretations, but you may be sure that any interpretation that sees either God or His creations as capable of destroying Their Own purpose is in error.
I am happy to read this. Right now I have no trouble accepting that the generally accepted religious interpretation of the fall of man is a mistake, but when I first read it, I was so relieved I cried. Believing that God tempted us to sin and then punished us for our failure was a very frightening thought. It generated in my mind many false beliefs about the nature of God.
I also resented that it set up the idea that women were in some basic way, evil, and the cause of man’s fall from grace. I think that this idea seemed entirely too convenient for men in general and that alone caused me to doubt the Bible as the true source of God’s Word. At the very least, I doubted the interpretation, which was given by men. Did God create women for the sole purpose of giving men an excuse for bad behavior? I questioned that this was likely.
On the other hand, everybody seemed to accept this interpretation and it is one I was taught from a very young age so I was afraid it was true. God was manipulative and vengeful, and he had little regard for women. What a chilling vision of my Creator that was! Of course it is only the projection of our fear that we sinned when we had the thought of separation, but before I had the Course, I didn’t know about projection. At that time in my life, I took the allegory literally and very personally.
The other thing in this paragraph that stands out to me is the sentence that explains what the separation really is. It is just a thought system. It is a belief in our mind and that is all it is. It isn’t a true thought so it has no true effects, and that is a relief. A thought can be changed and if the effects are not real, then the seeming effects will disappear with the change of mind.
Even though the separation idea is not real, it seems to be real, and to those of us who are under its sway, it is real. So while I still believe in the separation thought, I still suffer its effects as if they were real, too. I want to change the mind about separation, not because it is a sin or because I have really done anything. I want to change my mind about separation because my belief in it is painful. I want to heal. I want to be at peace. I want to return the whole mind to God. I want to remember who I am.