The adversary

May.9. 2017

By adversary, I don’t mean to imply that there’s a real physical horned creature somewhere creating mischief and making life difficult for us.

Like many other things, this mythical creature is a metaphor toofor evil.

Because like heaven, evil exists only in our minds.

(This does not make it any less real. In fact, you don’t have to look far these days to see its handiwork.)

As the teacher taught in the Gospel of Thomas:

When the disciples asked him if heaven is in the sky or in the sea, he said, neither in the sky nor in the sea, but within us.

The disciples were simple peasant folk. They thought that the teacher was referring to a physical place when he talked about the kingdom of heaven.

But he was really referring to our spirit, to what’s inside us.

It reminds me of what my mother used to teach me when I was a child about the devil sitting on my left side and my guardian angel on my right.

As a child, the two metaphors were useful in teaching me about good and evil.

But like the Santa story, I soon outgrew those stories and began to understand them at a deeper level.

Yet there are many adults these days who still believe that the horned creature exists. They might not believe in Santa but they believe in this creature.

(It can be useful to believe in these old children stories. Because it takes the pressure off you. You can always blame it on the devil.)

It’s an interesting disconnect but it does beg the question.

How do you decide what is metaphor and what is meant to be taken literally?

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