The ancients built great gardens in their cities. In fact, their cities were mostly built around the concept of the garden. Palaces and temples were constructed to complement the lush growth, fit for the gods. In fact, the gardens were intended to attract the gods who had not yet deigned to live on earth, exactly recreating the vision of the heavenlies the priests and prophets saw in their hallucinogenic worship. The gods would want to come to earth and bring their heavenly homes with them if man could just recreate the other-worldly scenes. In fact, until the heavenly city could be recreated in its entirety, to the last detail, the gods would not come.
Until the earthly recreation of the heavenlies, a god-like being would have to show himself on earth. In a pre-scientific, pre-democratic stage of cultural evolution, he would have to be skilled in war and, so, adept at the heart of war, the poltics of aggregation. In return for severe ruthlessness to his enemies and his allies, he would live in a palace fit for a god. He would be recognized as the earthly manifestation of the regional deity. A priestly caste would grow up around him. His legend would grow until it was rumored (no, confirmed) that he was the offspring of a human woman and a heavenly being. Somehow he would have a humanly imperfection, sure to his undoing. He would live, for a while, like a god on earth.
If art imitates life rather than guides it, the ruler-god of the ancients, with his palaces and gardens, imitated life as men hoped it could be some how, some day, some where. They were doomed to disappointment but seldom lived long enough to know the futility of their efforts. The gods did not come to earth, not really. The gardens did not entice the heaven-dwellers to bring down their city, for to layer exactly over the earthly replicas. Fear beget ruthlessness. Lamech was known for his slayings, not his mercy. Fear opened the window to anger. Anger jarred the door to depression. Men lived in fear, married to anger, never far from despair.
After centuries passed with civilizations rising and falling but no heavenly city descending on its perfect replication, men began to think about their errors. Perhaps it was not the earthly city that needed replication. Perhaps it was the inhabitants of the cities. The people of the plains perished because of their mad behaviors. Far from condescending to live with errant man the Heavenly Power despaired of finding a single person of righteousness. The Heavenly Power was seen making abortive attempts at total destruction, only to stay divine genocide because of an intercessor, who could claim little or no righteousness of his own.
Why did the Heavenly Power listen to men? Why did he accept sacrifice and then declare it unfit because of the heart who offered the sacrifice?
The ancients began to look at their own hearts. They would not know to call the seat of their emotions the “heart.” In fact, they expressed feeling, rightly, from where they felt emotions; the bowels.Only much later would they equate an unfeeling muscle, prone to blockages and replete with broken vessels, with their emotions. Then, they would learn to call it their “ego.” They would seek to repress the damage in their “heart,” done by those closest to them at their most vulnerable life stage. Before they could differentiate from the tree-dwellers, the ancients would have to learn about the dark wants created by their long, needy infancy and adolesence.
Always, they wanted more. Their gardens died, their city walls crumbled, their god-kings lost wars and lives and empires. How would the gods ever decide to live one earth, they must have wondered, if men could not build and hold their cities?
It was men who were imperfect, then. Somehow, men would have to be remade. At first, they worked to make god over in their own image. The man at the top of men, he was god, and men would have to be like him.
Men disappointed. God could not possibly have all those faces. God could not be intermittently good and evil. Men began to see men were just men.
Men began to need more than a city similar in function and design to the heavenlies. They would need a remade ego. God would have to come sit on man to restore the divine image. With a rebuilt bowel structure, human feelings would change. God would write his way of living on the heart, not on stone tablets.
When men were good enough, they thought, God would come to live with them again as He had once lived with them, in a garden teeming with life, water and food. Heaven would be available to the remade man on earth.
To remake man in the heavenly image proved to be just as unfruitful as trying to build, down to the last detail, a city they had not seen.