Returning to Eden

A Field Guide for the Spiritual Journey

Edith Hamilton

A Review
By Frank A. Mills
June 1, 2024

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Returning to Eden: A Field Guide for the Spiritual journey, Heather Hamilton. (2023, Quior). ISBN: 978-1-957007-43-4. 276 pages, including endnotes and bibliography.

“Do you resonate with aspects of Christianity, but struggle with the coherence of it claims?”

This is the question Heather Hamilton asks in Returning to Eden.

If your answer is yes, then Returning to Eden is for you.

And if you answer in the negative, and you think you are through with Christianity, then you definitely need to read Returning to Eden.

Returning to Eden is Hamilton’s journey from Christianity to Christianity, but a far different Christianity that she left. It is a Christianity that returns us to the Garden of Eden. Hamilton takes us through the story of her discontent with Christianity as she experienced it. And then after a series of mystical experiences, her subsequent return to Eden.

Her story however, is not the story of an outright rejection of Christianity, but a discovery of what being a follower of Jesus actually is. Hamilton takes the stories of the bible to heart – not literally – but as spiritual stories, symbolic stories that give us hope, stories that share the pure love that is God. If you grew up in an Evangelical church, Hamilton’s take on the biblical stories will open your eyes to a new way of looking at what it means to follow God.

Returning to Eden is as delightful to read as it is a scholarly work. It is not some superficial work that flows from some imagined mystical experiences. This book is the real thing. Hamilton’s words need to be seriously digested, especially by those who are struggling with what passes as Christianity today. Returning to Eden is not a book about deconstructing. It is a book about transformation-- A book that transforms how we think about the biblical stories. A book that transforms Christianity to a mystical faith that is rooted in love. A book that can transform each of us if we allow it to do so. This latter transformation is nothing less than a return to Eden—the ability to fully inherit and comprehend our blessings as children of God.

Hamilton has written, as the subtitle suggests, “A Field Guide for the Spiritual Journey.”

Returning to Eden is rich with quotes and scriptural context. Within the 42 brief and meaty chapters of the book, Hamilton explores the meaning of Adam & Eve, the Tower of Babel, Jonah and the Whale and Noah’s Ark. Not just the stories from the Hebrew Testament, but also the Virgin Birth and the Cross. Just a sampling of what Hamilton tackled during her return to Eden.

Hamilton’s chapters on “The Anatomy of a Seed” (chap. 3) and “The function of Myth” (chap. 4) set the stage for why she sees the stories of the scriptures as she does. “The Christian of the Future” (chap. 1) is the manifesto for a different kind of Christianity—a mystical one, but yet one rooted solidly to the earth.

In addition to end notes, Hamilton has provided an expansive and helpful biography, definitely suggestions for further reading.

Heather Hamilton received her B.A. in Journalism from Georgia State University. Before realizing her love of writing, Hamiliton spent several years producing videos about people from all walks of life from around the world. She is passionate about building connections – conversations – through the art of storytelling, writing and art. Hamilton lives with her husband and their three children in Atlanta.

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. © Frank A. Mills, 1997-2024

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