I saw the recent Tom Hanks movie entitled Bridge of Spies. In it, he plays a lawyer advocating for an accused Russian communist spy in the 60’s. Everyone knows the man is guilty, and one night a CIA agent tries to intimidate Tom’s character into revealing information the spy may have told him. Tom refuses, citing attorney-client privilege, which the agent understands but because of the nature of the information, believes it to be in the best interest of the country to break the rule. Long story short, Tom says that he disagrees, and it’s because of the importance of the rule book.
This got me thinking about society in general and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Tom’s character is correct: basically, all society -any society- is, is a bunch of people who have agreed to the same rules. By ‘rules’, I mean the big and the small: murder is bad, green light means go, pay sales tax, don’t wear too much makeup, etc etc etc. The list is endless.
It seems that most societies are based on agreed upon rules, and while they are different and sometimes in opposition to each other, every society has deemed “these rules are good” and live from that understanding/paradigm. If this is true, then the severity of the world’s fallen-ness becomes even more apparent.
I don’t know what a society based upon the Tree of Life would look like (other than the small glimpse in Revelation 21-22), but doubtless it would be miles apart from anything we have ever known.
But wait, you might say: what about the Ten Commandments? What about the 613 laws of the Torah? Of course those were of the Lord, but lets also remember that he was dealing with humans, who ever have a bent towards lawlessness and pursuing selfish and sinful desires. Remember that “the law is [for] the lawless.”
Also, another movie that he helped me see this concept was a gangster movie with Brad Pitt entitled Killing Them Softly. It takes place during the recession of 2007/8 and parallels the operations of politicians with those of low level criminals.
In conclusion, there is more dead-ness in the world than we typically realize, and I think of Jesus’ statements about being in the world and not of it. One could say, “live in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil but not of it; live of the tree of Life.” Not real catchy though. 🙂