I woke up early where I am (there’s a three hour difference) and ended up thinking about His Dark Materials. I think it’s an okay trilogy, but there are three aspects of it I don’t like. One is the thematic conclusion about what sin is, which while interesting, never felt entirely original to me. So I thought to myself: what would you do, that would feel more unique?
Simple: sin would just be an invention of the church to explain why a certain man’s death was important. This man would have had some pretty awesome teachings and while those might be promoted by the church, the important thing would be that this man died and why he died. Thus, sin would only exist to explain why a savior figure’s death gave merit. For if there is no sin, then no one can die to absolve them.
This would depend heavily on the etymology of paradise. Adam and Eve would be created by a god to live and tend to a perfect garden. They’d be more like servants or creatures in a cage. Eventually they’d leave or escape, but God wouldn’t punish them for any transgressions. Sin wouldn’t be a stage of growing up or sexual awakening (since not everyone has that anyway).
God might bestow new states of existence on them, but those would have already come from eating a fruit or gaining knowledge in some other way. And this knowledge would be two pointed. While they’d be more aware of their situation, they would also learn to have self-internalized shame, guilt, grief, despair, and regret. So the struggle would become do I except the world as a cruel, terrible, hopeless place, or do I try to make a home with all the beauty and contentment of paradise where I am free?
As Over the Garden Wall sums up nicely, one cannot bear the burdens of others, and even if you don’t think well of yourself that’s no reason to wander aimlessly.
“Take on the task of lantern bearer…or watch your brother perish. Come here.”
“Okay… Wait. That’s dumb.”
“That’s dumb. I’m just not gonna just wander around in these woods for the rest of my life.”
– ch. 10 The Unknown
I should re-read His Dark Materials.