East of Eden by John Steinbeck Essay

The religious demographic that John Steinbeck’s literary classic, “East of Eden”, conveys is that of an understanding and appreciation of the concepts regarding human nature and its morality, freedom, and timshel – or ability to choose between right and wrong. Pelagius, Augustine, and Luther treat the topic of man’s “endless struggle between good and evil” with their own educated opinions, although they are all related in the same essence. Furthermore, provided sources link human nature and morality in regard to the Christian Moral Vision and Creationist Morality in present-day society, and show how individual morality is similar and different in terms of nature, purpose, and happiness.In reference to “East of Eden”, the concept of timshel manifests itself in the biblical illustration offered by Genesis, “Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out in the field.’ When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him” (Gen. 1:1-10). This particular verse correlates with the general concept regarding timshel in that Cain had the ability, the option, the freedom to kill Abel as well as not to kill Abel. Timshel is the specific Hebrew-theological understanding that “Thou mayest [perform such an action]”, and the reasoning that supports the acute representation of timshel in Genesis can be seen conveyed in the definition of timshel itself, “Thou mayest [kill Abel] … Thou mayest [not kill Abel]”.In personal and public opinion, Cain had the free will to choose between right and wrong, to kill or not to kill. Was not his mind flooded with jealously, anger, and possibly hatred? Would not those possibilities then serve as a pall of judgment? The desire is yes, but the answer is no: being human, one attains a c…

…nce.Quite frankly, my morality keenly parallels to the Creationist Morality, Christian Moral Vision, and the moral concepts brought up in both the passages about Augustine and his viewpoint on Original Sin, and John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden”. My whole life has been following those words from the Baltimore Catechism, “God made us to know Him, love Him, and serve Him so as to be happy with Him in this life and the next”. My personal down to earth opinion on the concept of morality is that we as humans are fully capable and fully responsible to learn about our faith and of the differences between good and evil; how to distinguish between the icing and the cake. Hebrew-theology had it right from the start: timshel – choose the right, or choose the wrong; choose heaven, or hell. It’ll always be up to you to make the decision, the question is, which one will you make?

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