Garden Part Two: Concerning man and beast, God and man


I used to go to this unused farm up in Allen, TX with Kalli. It took about fifteen minutes to drive there from my home, and when we’d arrive I’d let her out of the car and we’d walk down the tree-lined dirt road towards those untended fields. I never did find out the story about how a farm fell into being just a dog park, but a golf course and suburban neighborhood had grown up around it, which always made me suspect that the farmer was waiting for some development company to offer him a price perhaps a little better than fair. While he waited, the fields grew stiff yellow grass and wild flowers and weeds, and trees stood blocking out the houses and the golf course and the roads. Other off-leash dogs and their walkers gave the only evidence that I hadn’t actually left civilization behind.

I wonder whether walking in Allen with Kalli would be like walking with God in the garden. Out in nature, commands nearly cease to exist. Kalli chases field mice and jack rabbits, and I do not worry for her. I take pleasure in the puppy-like qualities she hasn’t outgrown, the smile that so plainly lights up her face when she looks back at me: she’s always fifty feet ahead, just fifty, and she occasionally looks back to make sure that I’m following her or that she’s preemptively following me. If I change directions, she’ll run past me fifty feet, look back, and smile.

Sign of the times

Sign of the times

How different would life be if  Charismatics and other emotive religions could actually fulfill the promises of spiritual awareness with God, if I could know that God was looking after me like so many claim to know it? But I can’t prove that he is; that’s the great trial of faith, to believe that he’s looking even in the absence of proof. But their universal and bland rhetoric states that you can feel it, that you can know for sure beyond the trials of faith; how different would life be if that were the case?

Therefore, how can I help but be happy that she feels so thrilled at these little and simple joys? The best days for her are those when we go out into the field together, and I can tell just by her acknowledgment and constant awareness of my presence that the experience wouldn’t be the same without me. The field wouldn’t bring her so much pleasure if I weren’t there to share it with her.

I have thoughts about leaving civilization, and they’re so tempting since—to an extent—civilization can actually be left behind. Would I more actively pursue happiness if I were to leave my thoughts and the thoughts of men behind in order to participate in this daily happiness with Kalli, or would her elation wear off or my happiness at her elation? I took her out to Allen often enough when I lived nearby, and the pleasure of it never wore off. I can’t imagine it ever waning.

Or am I talking more about hermitude than of abandonment? Could I forget Socrates? Assuming so, would I want to leave my doubt behind? Would I abandon my spiritual resignation?

What would it be like to walk in the garden with God, to always know he’s there, to turn my head every few feet just to make sure that he’s with me, that he hasn’t turned in a different direction, to give chase once I found he had? If my relation to Kalli would be like God’s relation to me, could I sustain that pure, simple happiness that she has in my presence towards God and His presence? Do I really need to leave the city and go into nature to pursue God in this way? Would such simple happiness really require me to stop being me, to sacrifice my self the way in which Kalli has never had to sacrifice her dogness for me?

If the story is true and the knowledge of philosophy came into man after his nature was made, then yes, I suppose I would have to sacrifice the unnatural part in order to participate in walking with God in the garden. But Christ only talks of nullifying the curses laid on us, of freeing us from the burden and yoke of sin. What Christian would say that by becoming like Christ he has lost the knowledge of good and evil but rather gained the ability to always pick good over evil? Would even Christ have said that he knew neither good nor evil but only the will of the Father, as opposed to saying that the will of the Father is good but his actions without the will of the Father are bad, thereby admitting a knowledge of good and evil? But, of course, my phrases give away my opinion on such beliefs, If the story is true and What Christian would say.

A new way to view an rusted triumvirate

A new way to view an rusted triumvirate

I would like to participate in a relationship with God in such a way as Kalli participates in a relationship with me, but the truth denies me: man has the ability to abstract, which separates him from other animals in general and inspires doubt; I abstract, therefore I doubt. Obviously I have said that my dog is rational, a creature which can be taught and cared for, so I do not define man as a rational animal, rational being what distinguishes him from other animals. Rather, man is an abstracting animal, and I would set forth that even if the story of the fall is true, man had in him the ability to abstract before the apple, which led to doubt, which led to a distance from God, which led to the eating.

Could I sustain the happiness of walking with God in the garden as Kalli can sustain her happiness with me? Could I sustain my happiness with her the way it’s claimed, without proof, that God sustains his happiness with me? I don’t know, but in truth I don’t believe so.

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Author: Greg Freed

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4 Comments

Filed under Criticism, Philosophy/Theology

4 responses to “Garden Part Two: Concerning man and beast, God and man

  1. Ashley

    If God is the God described in the bible… yes, I believe that happiness would be sustained from both glances. The way you would look at God as Kalli does you and the way you look at her I believe God would look at you. I do, I believe that. But that’s only my small understanding knowledge of the God I hope him to be. That is all.

  2. Jennifer

    If God is God described in the Bible and humans are given the ability to abstract which is why they can never completely feel and sustain that happiness; then God has set us up to fail. What this makes me think of is a small baby looking up from a crib at the mobile giggling with glee or playing with a toy or seeing its mother’s smile. The baby’s face lighting up with sheer joy just to be in that moment. As the child grows up, the mother’s smile no longer has the same effect, the toy has long sense been discarded as boring, and the mobile only creates a sense of embarrassment. Is this the way it would be with God; I do not know but I sure hope not. I do think, so far, no one has gotten it right. In the quest for that feeling or to give people hope that death isn’t the end or to explain the explainable phenomenon; billions of people have been killed. My question to you is, given the choice to be like Kalli or to be abstract, what would you choose?

    Enjoyed the read! It really could go for pages and pages. Not much of a transition between one and two. I think it would be better if they stand on their own individually, or have something between 1 and 2. 1.5 maybe? lol

  3. Kerry Farias

    If God takes care of the rest of nature, why wouldn’t he take care of you as well? I get comfort from knowing the stars come out at night and the grass grows. Something is making all that happen everyday.

  4. Amos

    As I remember it being pointed out once, God is (capitalization aside) dog spelled backward. Their purpose was and is to teach human beings the devoted love of god. On the other hand, cats had the purpose of teaching us our insignificance in the face of God and his/her universe.

    Something like that.

    “I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.”

    That’s Abraham Lincoln.

    The movie “Wings of Desire” by Wim Wenders also comes to mind. Angels watch forever, but can’t feel and join in on the sensations of life. One gives it up to become human. It suggests how humans aren’t as abstracted as they could be, aren’t as separate from the joys of life as they could be.

    Look at the bright side, I suppose. Can we all? I don’t doubt it.

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