It is amazing how the teachings of the Old Testament are used to justify the wrong actions of people. By taking a biblical text out of its context, a person can prove anything.
Now, people are using archaeology to justify the use of marijuana. Take for example, the case of Dan and Mary Quaintance, members of the Church of Cognizance in Pima, New Mexico. The Quaintances were arrested recently by New Mexico police because they were caught with 172 pounds of marijuana in their possession.
In their own defense, they said marijuana was necessary for them to practice their Zoroastrian faith. In defending their use of marijuana, Mr. Quaintance said:
“Archaeology has shown a correlation between cannabis and the Tree of Life in the Bible.”
In denying that Dan and Mary Quaintance were members of the Zoroastrian faith, Mr. Rustom Kevala, president of the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America, said marijuana has never been a part of the religious practices of Zoroastrianism.
In addition, Mr. Parizad Patel-Pascuicco, secretary of the Zoroastrian Association of Arizona, said: “One of the crucial aspects of the Zoroastrian religion is that members are fire-worshippers and are forbidden to even light a cigarette, much less use drugs.”
This issue of marijuana in the Garden of Eden has great relevance for society today. If the Tree of Life in Genesis was marijuana, then we must ask ourselves this important question: Did Adam get to smoke a joint while he was in the Garden of Eden?
Again, if the Tree of Life was marijuana, then the answer to the question above is obvious. In Genesis 3:22-23 we read:
Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden.
This verse clearly teaches that Adam never ate from the tree of life. So, contrary to Mr. Quaintance’s theology, Adam never had the opportunity to touch any tree belonging to genus Canna (Cannabis).
Again, if the Tree of Life was marijuana, then, people who smoke marijuana should notice this important lesson from Genesis: God banished Adam from the Garden of Eden so that he should not touch marijuana (the Tree of Life). Do you think people will learn this lesson? Probably not!
I have another question: Who was the archaeologist that came to the conclusion that the Tree of Life was Cannabis? Maybe that archaeologist saw Paradise while he was smoking the Tree of Life.
Read the article, Church of Cognizance out of line with zoroastrian religion, written by Adam Gaub and learn more about Zoroastrianism by clicking here.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary