November 8, 2021

Can Passages from the Bible Be Metaphors of Human Nature and Existence?

William Foyle

Watercolour on PaperThe Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, 20218 x 7 cm

In today’s western world we often see the Bible as something traditional and perhaps even archaic, and sometimes we overlook it as something that it’s teachings can only apply to Christians. But the Bible can be viewed not only from a theistic perspective but also from an atheistic or philosophical point of view as well. Many passages in the bible can help inform us of our nature and what it is to be human. What I have painted here is the Expulsion of Adam and Eve, and I believe this story can be viewed as a metaphor for not only adolescence, consciousness and evolution, but also human’s separateness from nature, while still being a part of it. As quoted from Erich Fromm: ‘This is why they felt “naked” and “ashamed”: they had evolved into human beings, conscious of themselves, their own mortality, and their powerlessness before the forces of nature and society, and no longer united with the universe as they were in their instinctive, pre-human existence as animals.’ This is what compelled me to paint this image, working from the image by the renaissance painter Massaccio, it has a timelessness and a story not to be ignored but acknowledged.