The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was entropy. Non-entropic conditions were barred by cherubim and a flaming sword.


Why was it knowledge of good and evil was what touched off entropic conditions? One possibility is that meaningful choice between outcomes works best in a world of limits, i.e., in a world that doesn’t have limitless amounts of energy and order and information. Entropy is time: is choice possible without time? Doubtful.

Another thought is that entropy works on gradients, areas of higher energy and lower energy, areas of higher order and lower order, areas with more information and areas with less. Differentiating good and evil creates such a gradient. Spiritually speaking, the Garden of Eden was the singularity “before” the Big Bang.

In the story, the Tree of Life was theoretically accessible in the fallen state (which is why the cherubim were called in). Apparently an endless source of energy and whatever else you need to avoid entropy is damnably horrible if you are still entropic on the inside. The bad guys in Wright’s Golden Age trilogy—they are the Silent Oecumene, if I remember—are the possessors of a technology that allows them endless energy and matter for each individual’s use. They are also rotten to the core, but the logic of it escaped me until I was thinking on the creation story recently.

Both Eve and Adam’s curse have entropic elements. Adam’s in particular, as anyone who has had a garden knows. Of course, the gardener gets more out of his garden then he puts into it (mostly), because the sun supplies an outside source of energy. Under conditions of entropy, the gardener could not get sustenance from the garden unless there was a source of energy from outside the system.

In the extended version of the creation account that we get in the temple, we see that the entropic system of mortality has just such an outside source that allows us to get more out of it than we should: a Savior, or his agents.

Which explains a feature of the temple ceremony that has always puzzled me. Although the ceremony is sacred and we do not bruit it about, it is mostly only confidential as a matter of custom or practice. We only formally commit to never divulge a few password-equivalents that we give to the guardians in our ritual ascent to heaven. Why? Passwords are so . . . prosaic. So I thought until recently.

But now I see the meaning of the password-equivalents. Giving passwords that we got from somewhere else affirms that our salvation is not our own. We are entropic. Our ascent must come from an outside source. Our formal commitment not to spread them to other people is our acknowledgement that we are not ourselves capable of being that outside source for anyone else. We can’t pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. In effect, we are covenanting that we won’t imitate the devil and try to do that which has been done in other spheres, by usurping God’s role.

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