10. What really happened in the Garden of Eden?

Ascended Master Lord Maitreya through Kim Michaels.

Let us now use these insights to take a fresh look at the Garden of Eden story. This story is one of the pivotal myths in world culture and it is a fruitful source of understanding, especially when it comes to the relationship between people and their spiritual teachers. Obviously, one can unlock this understanding only by looking beyond a literal interpretation. If one does not, one can never resolve the obvious contradictions or answer the questions raised by the story.

First of all, one needs to realize that what the Bible calls God is not God in the ultimate sense, but a spiritual teacher that represented God to the students in the schoolroom that was called Eden. The Creator is beyond all form and thus would not interact with human beings in a form they could see. The Creator leaves this to the beings who hold the appropriate position in the cosmic hierarchy. The word “God” was used differently in Old Testament times, often used to refer to any spiritual being. As I have mentioned before, I, Maitreya, was the teacher of Adam and Eve, which I think makes me more qualified than any human being or institution to explain what truly happened in the Garden. Secondly, one needs to realize that there were many students in Eden. The story focuses on Adam and Eve for the sake of simplicity, and thus Adam and Eve are symbols, archetypes if you will, for what happened to many of the students in Eden. Let us now look at one of the pivotal passages in the story:

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis, Chapter 2)

The first question we will consider is why the spiritual teacher even had to tell the students not to eat of the fruit? Why was there a forbidden fruit in the Garden, why didn’t God create the Garden without this temptation? We can now resolve this question by reaching back to our discussion of free will. If students did not have the option to go against the laws of God, they would not have the fullness of free will. Thus, the temptation to deliberately go against God’s laws is a companion of free will.

We can now see that the “fruit of the knowledge of good and evil” is a symbol for a state of consciousness, namely the frame of mind that makes it possible for a student to go against the laws of God out of willful ignorance. As we have seen, violating the laws of God is not possible from the Christ mind, for when you perceive the reality of God, you know that violating God’s laws will hurt yourself and your greater self (all life). And you would never consciously choose to hurt yourself or your Self.

It now becomes clear that violating God’s laws is only possible when you are in a frame of mind in which you do not truly know what you are doing and how it will affect you. You might have come to believe that it will not truly hurt yourself, that it will not have negative consequences or that you can somehow escape those consequences. You might be violating God’s laws without truly seeing that you are doing so, or you might be violating them deliberately but still without the full realization of how it hurts yourself.

Violating God’s laws is only possible when you suffer from an illusion so that you do not see the reality of the Christ mind. You have neutralized your connection to the reality of God and the clear vision of that reality, which is a product of the Christ mind. How can perception of reality be neutralized and replaced by an illusion? It can be done only by entering a state of consciousness that has a more limited perspective on the world than the Christ consciousness. Therefore, you do not see reality but a mental image of reality, an image that is either limited or distorted. In other words, in the Christ mind there is no room for illusions, lies, doubt or interpretation, for there is no gray zone. So you can hurt yourself only by entering into a frame of mind in which there is room for illusion and doubt, meaning that there is a gray zone in which things are not clear. There is room to create a mental image of reality instead of the direct perception of God’s reality found in the Christ mind. There seems to be a distance between you and reality because you are separated from reality—in your mind.

The frame of mind that separates you from reality is, of course, the mind of anti-christ. This frame of mind cannot see reality but sees only a mental image of “reality.” Good and evil have become relative terms and are defined in relation to each other rather than in relation to God’s absolute reality. When “truth” is relative, it becomes possible to define it in such a way that although you know you are violating God’s laws, your perspective makes it seem like this is acceptable, justified, beneficial or perhaps even your only option.

When you realize that the Garden of Eden was a spiritual school, it becomes obvious that this school had certain lessons or initiations that students had to face and successfully pass before they could move on to the next level. Facing the temptation to go against the laws of God was one such initiation. As mentioned before, a new student does not have enough awareness to know the laws of God. Although it is violating those laws, this is done out of honest ignorance, for when you do not know the laws, you simply do not have the option to willfully violate them. The protection for new students is the teacher’s instructions. If they stay connected to the teacher, he will help them develop Christ discernment until they know from within how to avoid violating God’s laws.

As a student grows in maturity, it begins to know the laws of God, and thus it now acquires the knowledge that makes it possible to deliberately go against the laws. Thus, the student must now face the temptation to violate God’s laws and to justify doing so by using the mind of anti-christ and its relative logic. Do you see the all-important point here? A new student is in a state of innocent ignorance in which it simply does not know better. Ignorance is not the same as the mind of anti-christ. Ignorance is a passive state of consciousness caused by an absence of knowledge. If you turn on the light in a dark room, the darkness immediately disappears. In other words, a person who is in ignorance does not resist receiving knowledge that will set him free from ignorance. In contrast, the mind of anti-christ is not innocently ignorant, it is willfully ignorant. It does not recognize that it is ignorant for it has created a mental image of reality and it worships this graven image as the only true God. Thus, it will resist receiving knowledge, as if there was a force hiding in the dark room, trying to prevent you from turning on the light. Or it will get people to keep their eyes closed so they cannot see what is revealed after the light is turned on. When students become blinded by this mindset, they refuse to listen to the teacher, and they justify this by using the logic of the mind of anti-christ. Because this mind defines its own world view, it can justify anything, and thus the teacher cannot help the students escape their circular logic. The students are no longer teachable.

As I have explained, the goal of the true spiritual teacher is to raise the student to become spiritually self-sufficient, which means that the student attains the Christ consciousness and becomes enlightened. Yet this is not a mechanical process that can be forced upon the student from without. It is a creative process that must come from within through the student’s own choosing. Before you can attain the mind of Christ – in which you are one with absolute truth – you must overcome the temptation to use the mind of anti-christ to define your own “truth,” using it to justify that you do not grow and self-transcend. You must overcome the temptation to separate yourself from your outer and inner teacher by using the mind of anti-christ to justify not transcending your current level of consciousness or even projecting a negative image upon the teacher which seems to justify your withdrawal from him.


We can now consider one of the pivotal questions presented by the passage quoted above, namely, “Did God lie to Adam?” I am aware that many people who honor the Bible have never considered this inescapable question and that some have seen it and pushed it aside. Yet the question is essential for understanding the student-teacher relationship.

The parameters are clear and undeniable. God – or rather the spiritual teacher – tells Adam that if he eats of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, he will “surely” die (Genesis 2:17). The Bible then describes that Adam and Eve do eat the fruit, but instead of dying, they are cast out of paradise (Genesis 3:24). Since the teacher must obviously have known this, it would seem he lied to Adam. Some people even interpret this to mean that God is trying to hold people in bondage by preventing them from having the fruit of knowledge, while the Serpent is the liberator of humankind. In other words, man did not attain true freedom until he violated God’s laws—or so they say.

In our previous discussions we have set the foundation for sorting this out, but we will need to go a bit deeper into what we have discussed earlier. As we have seen, the center of a student’s being is the conscious self. This self is an extension of the Spiritual Self that has been sent into the material universe. The purpose was to start out with a limited sense of self-awareness and then grow toward the full realization that you are an extension of God and that you are here to take dominion over the Earth and raise it to become the fullness of the kingdom of God.

In order to co-create anything in the material universe, you must do so through your sense of identity, and it is the role of the conscious self to define your material identity. As you start out in the spiritual schoolroom, you have a rudimentary sense of identity, much like an infant on Earth. However, you quickly build a sense of identity, and it is based on two main factors. One is your experience with and understanding of your environment. The other is the instructions from your spiritual teacher. The first factor is naturally limited in the beginning, and thus you build your sense of identity largely based on ignorance. Even your understanding of the teacher’s instructions is limited, for your lack of understanding limits what the teacher can tell you. This is much like small children who cannot be taught advanced knowledge. You do not teach nuclear physics to students in kindergarten.

Child psychologists have discovered that children normally go through several distinct phases as they mature. In reality, each of these phases represents a distinct sense of identity that the conscious self has built. Likewise, a new student goes through such phases, and for each of them it builds a distinct sense of identity based on a specific view of the world. What psychologists have not yet understood is that when a child goes from one phase to the next, the sense of identity built during the previous phase ideally dies.

As I have explained, the conscious self is – at least in the material realm – what it thinks it is. The conscious self is expressing itself through its sense of identity. It can expand its sense of identity gradually, but this evolutionary change can only go so far. At certain intervals, it becomes necessary to take a major leap forward by going through a revolutionary change. This is comparable to the life-cycle of a butterfly. The larvae grows gradually, but then it goes through a revolutionary change and becomes a cocoon. Inside the cocoon, the butterfly grows gradually, but then another revolutionary change breaks the cocoon and the butterfly takes flight.

On a psychological level, a student first builds a sense of identity based on a limited outlook on the world. This identity evolves, but the limitations of the original world view set parameters for how far this growth can go. In order to rise to a higher level, a revolutionary change must occur. The old sense of identity must die and its world view must be left behind as a cocoon. Yet the death of the old sense of identity happens so gradually that most people are not aware of it. They transition into the new sense of identity so smoothly that – even though they may notice a change – they do not realize that they have been psychologically or spiritually reborn.

As a student grew in the Garden of Eden, it gradually built a sense of identity through both evolutionary and revolutionary stages. As it started to reach the stage of becoming more self-sufficient, it had built a sophisticated sense of identity. This identity was based on its understanding of the world and its own individuality. The student had not attained the full Christ consciousness, but it did have an understanding – backed by intuitive experiences and the teacher’s instructions – that it was a spiritual being who originated beyond the material universe and the Garden. In other words, the student’s conscious self was beginning to realize that it was not a product of the world but an extension of a greater spiritual being. This realization was – of course – the master key to the fulfillment of the student’s reason for being. You cannot fulfill your role in this world unless you recognize the Creator with whom you are co-creating. Thus, the student had the seed of Christhood and was on its way to attaining enlightenment, in which you directly perceive – and thus accept with every part of your being – that you are a spiritual Being who is one with your source.

When I told Adam that he would die if he ate the forbidden fruit, I was not lying to him. I knew that Adam – as a symbol for a student who has started to develop the Christ consciousness but is not yet anchored in it – was at a critical stage. This stage is when a student knows enough to realize that it is possible to go against the laws of God, yet the student does not have enough Christ consciousness to perceive that it will hurt itself by doing so. In other words, the student can use its imagination to ask, “What will happen if I go against God’s laws?” But because the student does not directly perceive the oneness of all life, it has no direct perception of the consequences. It can only imagine the consequences, which makes it vulnerable to the subtle logic of the mind of anti-christ. The student does not yet have enough Christ discernment to see through the lies of anti-christ.

Take note of a crucial point. Dealing with the mind of anti-christ was an initiation that all students in the mystery school had to face. Yet as a teacher, I tried to make sure that students did not face this initiation before they were ready. You do not send a driving student into rush hour traffic until he or she has sufficient experience to avoid an accident. Only when you have a certain level of Christ consciousness can you successfully refute the temptations of the mind of anti-christ, as Jesus demonstrated when he was tempted by the devil after fasting in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1). My point is that Adam and Eve represent students who took the initiation of the knowledge of relative good and evil before they were ready for it. And that is precisely why they became lost in the mind of anti-christ, as we will see later.

For now, let us return to the question of whether the teacher lied to Adam. As a spiritual teacher, I knew that Adam was not ready for the initiation, yet – forever loyal to the Creator’s Law of Free Will – I also had no way of forcing him to stay away from the forbidden fruit. Thus, I had to give him a strong incentive for not eating the fruit. I did this by telling him that he would die if he ate the fruit, and we can now see that this was not a lie. Before Adam ate the fruit, his conscious self had a sense of identity that contained some connection to his Higher Self. Yet once he partook of the mind of anti-christ, that connection was lost. Thus, Adam’s sense of identity as a spiritual being in the material universe literally died. Instead, Adam was – without realizing what had happened – reborn into a lower sense of identity in which he saw himself as a material being who was separated from God by an impenetrable barrier. The first Adam had died and a second Adam was born, but the conscious self of the second Adam had no memory of the first Adam and thus did not understand what it had lost. It simply looked at its situation – and its relationship with the spiritual teacher – through the filter of its new identity. This is similar to a teenager who one day realizes he or she is not a child anymore and is now seeing the world through different eyes. This often causes a teenager to rebel against its parents, yet as it matures it learns to understand its parents and comes back into harmony with them (ideally speaking). My point is that Adam’s new identity was based on the mind of anti-christ in which truth had become a relative concept. This is crucial to understanding what happened next.

NOTE: The rest of this dictation is available in the book Master Keys to Spiritual Freedom.

Copyright © 2007 Kim Michaels.