If we step back and approach the Bible in broad strokes, we see God creating everything in the opening pages. He puts people, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden.
The Garden of Eden contains two trees.
The Tree of Life and The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil both grow in the Garden of Eden. God warns Adam and Eve not to eat of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If Adam and Eve only ate the Fruit of the Tree of Life they could go on living in the Garden of Eden forever.
But if they eat of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they will experience suffering and death.
We would have a very different story from Genesis 3 onward if only Adam and Eve did not eat of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. That single event becomes the turning point from which the rest of the Biblical story develops.
The enslavement of the Tribes of Abraham by the Egyptians, the Laws of Moses and the journey to the Promised Land all result from eating of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The ascent of the Jewish state to the pinnacle reached by King Solomon and its subsequent fall to subservience under Rome results from eating of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
That single event in Genesis 3 produces all the suffering and death of the Old Testament. To set things right requires the Coming of the Messiah. This becomes the story of the New Testament.
In the New Testament people again must choose. Paul goes through great pains to make this choice very clear in his letters to the Galatians. Only here Paul becomes explicit on the use of the Bible as allegory.
This becomes the only place you can find the word allegory in the Bible.
Galatians 4:24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
This lesson from the New Testament holds the same moral as the story from Genesis 3. We can live as “children of the bondwoman” or as “children of promise.”
We can choose to know of Good and Evil and live under Law or choose the Fruits of the Tree of Life and live in Grace.
We have a choice.
We may eat of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and know Law, Sacrifice and Division leading inevitably to suffering and death.
Or we may eat of the Tree of Life and know Grace, Mercy and Peace to live life everlasting walking in the Garden of Eden with God.
How many times in the New Testament are we implored to “cast not the first stone”, “to judge not least we be judged” and to forego picking out “the mote” from another’s eye until we remove “the beam” from our own?
No one wishes to be judged, to be held to an arbitrary standard or to be a slave under oppressive rules.
With this being the case then what lesson do we take from the Golden Rule, the Ethic of reciprocity, and the essential basis for the modern concept of human rights as written in Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31 and in 20 other world religions?
We know that our arguments against violence and exploitation are both valid and moral.
But the arguments themselves will never change the world.
Only our passionate commitment to those arguments can save the world.
We must find the strength within ourselves to live our values.
That will save the world in peace.