A long, long time ago there lived a gardener named Hank. He cultivated a special garden. It wasn’t an earthly garden of tomatoes and rutabagas. Rather, it represented the abundance and fruitfulness cultivated in his heart and mind.
The beauty of this inner garden came from the fact that it allowed room for God’s Tree of Life to grow and take a center position. God’s tenets of life were the central focus of Hank’s rich inner landscape.
But one day Hank started to change his focus. He began to feel lonely and that he was missing something important. Hank soon recognized that he needed to start forming his own ideas about reality. So he complained to God that what he now most wished for seemed impossible under the current setup.
Not long after Hank’s complaint, he noticed that a new type of tree appeared at the center of his inner garden. The more that Hank embraced and focused on his own power of discernment, the further God’s Tree of Life was moved out to the edges.
But Hank also wanted a partner who could offer constant confirmation to his new worldview and be his enabler. So he asked God for a “suitable helper.”
Meanwhile two angels were watching intently at all this. One angel turned to the other and said, “Good grief, what Hank is asking God for is the ability to imagine what reality is rather than to know from heaven what is real.”
The other angel replied, “Yeah, Hank is asking for the ability to imagine and dream up reality, even if it means deceiving himself. I wonder what God will do next?”
God then spoke to Hank in a monotone voice, saying, “Your eyelids are getting very heavy. You are starting to feel sleepy.”
“Holy Cow!” said the first angel. “God is putting Hank into a deep trance!”
“Well, how else is God going to give Hank his wish, unless He puts him in a state of diminished cognitive capacity?” remarked the second angel.
God then said to Hank, “I am going to count to ten. When I snap my fingers you will see a beautiful woman before you.” Then God snapped His fingers. When Hank opened his eyes he saw his true love.
“What is Hank looking at so fondly?” asked the first angel.
“I think Hank is seeing his fantasy come true,” answered the other angel. “It is now the object of his affection. It is something he wants to be married to—the seduction of his own self-importance. “
Hank had a hypnotic look in his eyes, and as if seeing something beautiful in his head, blurted out, “Eve—my beautiful wife, Eve!”
Hank was now very pleased with himself that he had found his one and only true love. Together, Hank and Eve went off to visit that new tree that was now growing in the center of Hank’s inner garden. Together they would eat of the fruit of a new worldview. This was a belief system whose ideas they would swallow whole.
“Gee,” said the first angel, “why would God allow a man to deceive himself so?”
The second angel replied, “God merely gave Hank what he wanted. Free will is a gift of God’s love. Without free will a person cannot choose between right and wrong and could not ultimately be saved. So, God protects free will more than anything else, even if it means some bad things will inevitably result.”
“Yeah, but this makes our job much more difficult,” said the first angel. “Before we can begin to tell people to choose to be good, we will now have to convince them of their diminished cognitive capacity, which keeps them living in a trance state. As science and technological advances are made in the future, who the heck will believe us?”
With a shrug of the shoulders, the other angel replied, “Well in the future, if the world continues to suck, perhaps that will help us to snap people out of their unflattering predicament of being asleep at the wheel.”