The Truth of the Tree

The Truth of the Tree

This excerpt from Anne Rice‘s book, Queen of the Damned, paints a rich and layered picture of the carnal and the spiritual.  In this scene, the mother of all vampires (Akasha) is having a discussion with a handful of very powerful vampires regarding the future of humanity.  She, posing as a goddess to mortals, has already begun implementing her plan to do away with 90% of the male population in order to rid the world of violence and oppression.  The other vampires are trying to reason with her.

“Akasha, for two thousand years I have watched,” he said.  “Call me the Roman in the arena if you will and tell me tales of the ages that went before.  When I knelt at your feet I begged you for your knowledge.  But what I have witnessed in this short span has filled me with awe and love for all things mortal; I have seen revolutions in thought and philosophy which I believed impossible.  Is not the human race moving towards the very age of peace you describe?”

Her face was a picture of disdain.

“Marius,” she said, “this will go down as one of the bloodiest centuries in the history of the human race.  What revolutions do you speak of, when millions have been exterminated by one small European nation on the whim of a madman, when entire cities were melted into oblivion by bombs?  When children in the desert countries of East war on other children in the name of an ancient and despotic God?  Marius, women the world over wash the fruits of their wombs down public drains.  The screams of the hungry are deafening, yet unheard by the rich who cavort in technological citadels; disease runs rampant among the starving of whole continents while the sick in palatial hospitals spend the wealth of the world on cosmetic refinements and the promise of eternal life through pills and vials.”  She laughed softly.  “Did ever the cries of the dying ring so thickly in the ears of those of us who can hear them?  Has ever more blood been shed!”

I could feel Marius’s frustration.  I could feel the passion that made him clench his fist now and search his soul for the proper words.

“There’s something you cannot see,” he said finally.  “There is something that you fail to understand.”

“No, my dear one.  There is nothing wrong with my vision.  There never was.  It is you who fail to see.  You always have.”

“Look out there at the forest!” he said, gesturing to the glass walls around us, “Pick one tree; describe if, if you will, in terms of what it destroys, what it defies, and what it does not accomplish, and you have a monster of greedy roots and irresistible momentum that eats the light of other plants, their nutrients, their air.  But that is not the truth of the tree.  That is not the whole truth when the thing is seen as part of nature, and by nature I mean nothing sacred, I mean only the full tapestry, Akasha.  I mean only the larger thing which embraces all.”

I don’t believe that Rice intended to create the specific spiritual symbolism I see; nevertheless, there it is.

Jesus said explained that Moses did not give “the bread out of heaven,” but that the Father gave “the true bread” out of heaven, that is Jesus Christ, himself.  Jesus said,

“The spirit it is that is giving life; the flesh doth not profit anything; the sayings that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life; but there are certain of you who do not believe;” for Jesus had known from the beginning who they are who are not believing, and who is he who will deliver him up, and he said, “Because of this I have said to you – No one is able to come unto me, if it may not have been given him from my Father.”

A forest is a beautiful living thing.  Yet, some trees never make it beyond the sapling stage, choked out by bigger, stronger trees.  Still others fail for lack of sunlight.  The ones that make it eventually fall and decay.  The forest is a graveyard.  Humanity is like the forest in that we need bread from heaven to really live.  Without the bread from heaven, we fall and decay. The earth is a graveyard.  The way of the law of Moses is the way of the forest.  Even with the law, the best we can do is to temporarily thrive, but in the end, we are no better of than trees in a forest of death.  We are no more able to reach God than the trees are able to reach the sky.  God must come to us.  God must show us a new and better way.  Furthermore, God must actually BE the new and better way on our behalf – a brand new kind of forest in which every sapling grows to full and glorious maturity and permanence.

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Update 2/18/14: I’ve since quit my teaching job and found a job as a professional writer for website content.  That’s two steps in the right direction!

Comments
  • Mary Vanderplas November 27, 2013 at 5:32 am

    I like what you say and what you see in this excerpt, and agree totally that the only hope for the forest, for the world, is that God has come to us and God is making all things new. Here and there, we catch glimpses of what God is doing, glimpses that anticipate the final victory of God over the powers of darkness and evil. The final victory is yet to come; and it is a victory that can never be achieved by human efforts. I like what you say, too, about the inadequacy of the law to bring life. And I love, love, love your picture of “a brand new kind of forest in which every sapling grows to full and glorious maturity and permanence” – a powerful picture of the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1) – i.e., humanity and creation ultimately and finally transformed.

    Thanks for sharing. What a powerful, beautiful image with which to begin the season of Advent. Come, Lord Jesus!

    • Mary Vanderplas November 28, 2013 at 5:35 am

      Akasha is right: even a cursory review of recent history should be enough to dissuade us from optimism about human progress or potential, from the delusion that humanity is capable of fixing what’s wrong with us. “Revolutions in thought and philosophy,” however promising they might appear, have done nothing – indeed, are powerless to do anything – to change the human heart or to subvert the powers that distort God’s purposes for creation. Trust in God’s power to free us from sin, to defeat the powers, and to remake the world according to God’s purposes is the only basis for hope for the future of the race and the world.

  • Stephen Helbig November 27, 2013 at 10:04 am

    …where the LORD drives you. (28)”There you will serve gods, the work of man’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. (29)”But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.…

    I was reminded of the above passage found in Deuteronomy chapter 4 ~ And in this excerpt from Anne Rice’s book, “Queen of the Damned”, (note; having myself not read her books). ~ I find I can see and relate to the words of Marius in regards to a mind born from above, ~

    ” But what I have witnessed in this short span has filled me with awe and love for all things mortal; I have seen revolutions in thought and philosophy which I believed impossible. Is not the human race moving towards the very age of peace you describe?”

    “Look out there at the forest!” ~ (I see men as trees, said the blind man)(Mark 8:24)

    “Pick one tree; describe if, if you will, in terms of what it destroys, what it defies, and what it does not accomplish, and you have a monster of greedy roots and irresistible momentum that eats the light of other plants, their nutrients, their air. ~ (Sounds to me like this is a tree in our garden ~ Thou shall NOT EAT)

    “But that is not the truth of the tree. That is not the whole truth when the thing is seen as part of nature, and by nature I mean nothing sacred, I mean only the full tapestry, Akasha. I mean only the larger thing which embraces all.” (God truly embraces ALL)

    I totally agree Alice we must begin to nourish ourselves with the tree of LIFE ~ The TRUE manna and bread from Heaven above ~ The Spirit of God which Gives LIFE

    ________________________________________________________________________

    p.s. ~ Alice, ~ Love your last sentences ~
    “God must show us a new and better way. Furthermore, God must actually BE the new and better way on our behalf – a brand new kind of forest in which every sapling grows to full and glorious maturity and permanence.”

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