Archetypes in the Books of Genesis and Exodus

The Bible is by far the book with the largest amount of archetypes. Three of the major archetypes are: the concept of paradise, the serpent, and trees. The concept of paradise represents many things. The paradise of the Christian and Jewish religion is an enclosed garden. However, in other religions paradise may be a city, underwater, or even in a cluster of pearls. No matter what or where it is paradise always encompasses the same meaning: perfect harmony. In paradise God and humans are in perfect unity.

So are humans in perfect oneness with animals and their surroundings.

In all paradises there are two trees. These two trees are the tree of life and the tree of knowledge. The tree of knowledge is not to be touched, touching it will give you the knowledge of good and evil. “God commanded the Man, “You can eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil. Don’t eat from it. The moment you eat from that tree, you’re dead.

” (Peterson 2). Adam and Eve ate from the tree and paradise was lost to them. The concept of losing paradise is present in all people.

It represents our need for knowledge; some would sacrifice everything, even paradise, for the knowledge of God. Losing paradise can also present a fear to us. We all fear losing everything that we know, to face pain. Losing paradise tosses us into the darkness and into time. However, there is another part to the concept of paradise and that is regaining paradise.

Some religions believe in a return to a physical place, others believe in the return to a state of being. Going back to paradise gives us hope and returns us to unity with God and with nature.

Whether paradise is the Garden of Eden, El Dorado, the Green Isle, or a cluster of pearls it all represents the same thing. The snake, or serpent as it is sometimes called, can represent both good and evil but in the book of Genesis it represents evil and temptation. Jung says, “The snake, like the devil of Christian theology, represents the shadow, and one which goes far beyond anything personal and could therefore best be compared with a principle, such as the principle of evil. It is the colossal shadow thrown by man” (Jung 322). The serpent is the embodiment of human instincts out of control.

They are beings that existed with dinosaurs and represent everything before there were set morals. Serpents entice and tempt others into doing evil deeds; poisoning their mind. Satan takes the form of the serpent in the Garden of Eden when he persuades Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. When most people think of humans they think of fear. The snake is inhuman and represents all that is different from us. People generally fear the unknown and since the snake represents what it is unknown, it also represents fear. Trees are symbols of wisdom.

In paradise there were two trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge; both embody the sense of wisdom. Trees are also the embodiment of life. Every year they go through a cycle of life, death, and rebirth. In the summer they are green and alive, in the fall they start to change colour, in the winter they lose their leaves and die, then in the spring they start to bud and are reborn. The only trees that do not go through this are coniferous trees. Trees such as pines and cedars are forever green. These trees represent permanence and immortality.

Trees can also symbolize the seen and unseen. Some trees such as the oak have roots that stretch as far as their sprouts. There is a whole other part to trees that are not seen with out delving further. Trees also represent shelter. They provide a shade on a hot day and shelter us from the sun. Trees can also represent connectors from earth to heaven. Trees are tall and seem to reach towards the heavens. It seems as if you can climb them and touch the sky. The Bible is the most sold book throughout the world. It is also the book with the most archetypes.