I’ve worked through your reply and I’ve come up with this. Hope you find the time to go over it.
In your reference towards Ps 133:1-3, Hermon is mentioned, being a group of mountains forming the southern extremity of Anti-Lebanon, and marking on the east of the Jordan the northern boundary of Israel. Some scholars think it probable that Hermon is the "high mountain" which was the scene of the Transfiguration, but this is fiercely debated.
What it could mean in terms of brotherly love, well I also have no clue but I gather it to be a poetical description of blessing coming from above.
You said: “I wonder how attached you are, however, to the idea that this order is upset consequent to "asking why a bit too much?"
If you would put a loaded gun to my head I would drop it at once, hehehe!.
On the other hand, I would like you to consider what science has brought us. To me, it brought us a lot of answers but a multitude more of questions. This is a “I am resplending in divergence” as Robert Fripp once played on his guitar, that will lead us nowhere but into the material world. Mind you, I have no right or wrong qualification attached to that. It’s only a matter of choice one has. Although largely over my head here, on the background to this one could see the decent from higher astral planes (and byond) as individuals, as well as of our entire specie. Basically it is a natural process, a mechanism.
Your reference to Job clarifies man’s individual struggle between good and bad (not right and wrong btw) as well as the value of health, wealth, family and reputation, while at the same time it points a finger towards power priests who feel uncomfortable with Job's righteousness. I agree with your reading of it although I have some difficulty with the need of “the loving perplexity of an innocent child, as opposed to the self-righteous indignation of, say, Adam.”
To me, in the end nothing actually matters. One has to play the role one has to play serving personnel as well as group goals behind that up to and including stuff totally beyond our spiritual grasp, beyond the astral planes and further away.
Your first remark over that paradise lost story was: “Or maybe the resurrection of ones long out-of-fashion.”
Spot on Mark. This is exactly what I meant all along. Out of fashion as in long forgotten true meaning could be added btw.
You said: “We're able to directly interface with matter, for a space, whereas God will not be so defiled. Or, to put it another way, His sanctity, His separateness, His holiness, is directly tied up with the order of things on this material plane. We're meant to be helping in that regard.”
The fact that we are able to meet one and another on this very planet is a wonder to great for words. I am no where near to envisage the enormity of forces out there that is making this possible. It must be one of God’s greatest achievements. Learning from each other in God’s absence is truly amazing but probably the only way forward for us.
On your analogy, well, maybe we just need to learn how to “walk”, hehehe.
You said: “ …… the garden exists within.”.
Indeed. But, again largely over my head here, higher up the spiritual food chain the difference between in and out fades, resulting in equality meaning no more in and out but only one state.
Tongues of fire?
Again Mark, as I see it, it is indeed right in front of our noses, all the time. O, to me, thinking is close to asking why a bit to much, leaving you with nothing but extra puzzling features, hehehe.
On the snake symbol.
I am aware that the snake symbol is used many times over in various way’s in different cultures. So all you suggest could very well be true. Next to the snake symbolising the material world in that paradise lost interpretation I gave, I am also aware that the snake is seen as a depiction of kundalini. I give great value to that.
You said: “I find it interesting that stars and allegories suggested as representing the zodiac don't really get going in the Bible until the writers of the books attributed to the Prophets -- until after the children of Israel really get settled in with their neighbours in Canaan. Those neighbours, as Segestan and Perseus remind us, were Phoenicians. If you look, it's remarkable how little the stars are mentioned in the Torah. As a landed, "garden" oriented people, their symbolism seems to have had to do more with critters and growing things.”
Fascinating observation Mark. But still there are some clues that early Jewish faith was, at least partially, based on AE rituals and symbols. Maybe we need to really dive into this and get all examples that prove this point open on the table. Maybe a seperate thread is needed here.
You said: “Seems to me the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil (whatever that might be) is not so much deadly to the material of which we are made as it is to the spirit with which we are infused.”
My reply: Exactly. But as with all, there has to be a reason for this distinction. Maybe it again has to do with things that can’t be done “up there”.
You said: “So then why, symbolically speaking, were Adam and Eve proscribed from the fruit while the others were not? What made them different from those others -- different from the ones "made in God's image?" If I were to guess, I'd say it was their spiritual orientation or other-worldly preoccupations (as symbolized by their having received the "breath" of God).”
It can be discussed that all in paradise but Adam/Eve, still dwelled in the inner garden, and completely tuned to the God vibration. Only Adam/Eve dropped out of warp so to speak. This, again, needed to do their (our) thing in the material world. Basically, we were destined to eat that apple.
You said: “The knowledge of good and evil strikes me as being a subtler form of instinct. Benign in those given the charge to go forth and multiply; but deadly to the whole of creation in those given the very breath of God. This offers some explanation for the Nephilim, I think.”
Please expand on the Nephilim remark. Egregores and Enoch do have some Crowley “Moonchild” stuff attached to it which is all together a bit to dark for me btw. Brrr.
Also a discussion over good and evil needs very clear definitions. I would like to start with the distinction between good and bad versus right and wrong. In this the difference between right and wrong is of a lesser value, maybe even totally insignificant, when compared to the difference between good and bad and only connected to individual and/or cultural preferences. To me, good and bad are connected to spiritual build up versus spiritual destruction and is largely beyond my control btw. Maybe we can start a separate thread on this.
The mixed bag
Your additional reply over your mixed bag remark does bring forward a difficult question about the tension between those that are primarily instinct driven and those that are primarily spirit driven. Or, beyond that, the question what came first. This is actually too far beyond me to comfortably discuss. Maybe others can start this up on this thread based on your remarks made.
To finish this post you said: “........, I suspect there are some "secret societies" less deserving of censure than others. ;)”