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Posts Tagged ‘Adam and Eve’

I know the answer to this question because I know we anthropomorphize God.

I can’t help but wonder why You care about mortals—
    sons and daughters of men—
    specks of dust floating about the cosmos.

But You placed the son of man just beneath God
    and honored him like royalty, crowning him with glory and honor.
You ordained him to govern the works of Your hands,
    to nurture the offspring of Your divine imagination; [Psalm 8:4-6a, The Voice]

paradoxWe’re fortunate, really, that God is not much like people but we’re unlucky that human is not nearly like God as God would have hoped or planned. If God were more like us, then I’m sure God would be disappointed.

After all, God gives humans everything they need to make the best of a life: the ability to reason, the ability to create, the ability to love and care and help others. We are given the opportunity to partner with the greatest power in the Universe, the Holy Spirit, and we are asked to participate in the making of heaven on earth.

Instead, we who received the most have deceived the most.

The story of us is reflected in the first story of Adam & Eve. How could they do it? Why did they choose badly? Why do we? In essence, this is our story, day after day after day.

Until we figure out the reality of living within the paradox, we will not get it. I say this, at the very least, for myself. I understand intellectually what it means to love the unlovable, to give out of little instead of plenty, to turn the other cheek, to embrace enemies, to trust God is avenge pain, to sacrifice now for another life, to live outside of my perceived wants and needs, to take up the cross of Christ. I can say all the right words. I can teach the concepts. I know in my head, but I still, like Paul, “I can will myself to do something good, but that does not help me carry it out. I can determine that I am going to do good, but I don’t do it; instead, I end up living out the evil that I decided not to do.” [Romans 7:18b – 19, The Voice]

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And what was the curse on Cain: the very ground from which he had labored all of his life would no longer yield to him, would no longer produce, would no longer be his safety. He wandered because he found no rest in the land (Nod means “wandering”). He became the first nomad.

Genesis 4:11, 15-16
Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. . . Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod,east of Eden.

And why the mark? And what was the mark? Most commentators don’t really know. Cain received the mark after complaining that he would be killed as a wanderer, that he would be outside of the clan (I’m guessing) and seen as a stranger and therefore suspect. And, perhaps a nomadic life was not the norm in that time.

What I find interesting is that everyone refers to the mark as protection. I believe the mark was equally part of the curse. Cain was destined to suffer and possibly, in the norm of that time, forever or nearly forever. After all, Adam and Eve, if counted just by generations and who was alive when, lived over 800 years. I assume this came as a result of their tastings of the Tree of Life (Creator stopped that practice when he cast them out of the garden of the two trees).

But death would have been release for Cain and I’m guessing, like Groundhog Day, when life is a drudgery, when hope is snatched away, then death seems like the best route out. The mark of Cain prevented him from dying.

What is the application for me, however? In general, I would say that I should not make assumptions about the intent of God who is ultimately sovereign. Based on subsequent laws that came down through Moses, death deserved death. But God did not destroy Cain. He had another purpose that was higher. I cannot judge why some live and some die. I cannot judge why some suffer and some do not. I cannot know who carries the Mark of Cain, for this is not a mark I can see, only God.

 

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Based on Genesis 2:1-9 and Notes from Zondervan’s Spiritual Renewal Bible (hereinafter called SRB).

My first thoughts today were all about “why.” Why is there a “second” creation story? Why do we have the big overview in chapter 1, only to rewrite the story in chapter 2 (with changes and anomalies). This is probably a huge controversy out there in Bible land or, at the least, fodder for commentators and PhD candidates.

In the SRB notes, it is noted that in 2:4, it is the first time that God is referred to as Yahweh, the Hebrew form for God, the unnameable one, and yet the One that is in relationship with human. And so it occurred to me that this part of the Bible is the relationship story between Yahweh, the creator and his created humans. And, if it’s anything like the creative process I go through (as well as thousands of other writers), the creation part is fun and almost easy, but it’s the re-write that is hard. It’s in the rewrite that the product is transformed and perfected.

We are all in the human rewrite process.

So, how did this happen? I’m guessing that God followed through on his big plan (see Creation Story & Me) and decided to replicate himself. But here’s the hinky part: God is a being of free will of choice. And as a result, created beings have the same DNA.

One of the ways we see immediately this situation is the two trees in the garden (planted together in the center of the garden) where one, from which human could freely eat, was the tree of life (yum!) and the other was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We know this story. Don’t eat from the second tree. Choose wisely.

But, here’s where we humans tend to  be perpetual teenagers: when told not to do something, it becomes the very thing we want to do. God is saying, “I made you and you can choose to be like me” by following in my path, eating from the tree of life, etc. Or you can choose to be “not like me” by eating of the other tree. (This is really interesting since we know that the “serpent/Satan” convinced human that eating of the second tree would be the “more like God” choice when, in reality, the opposite was true. Lies, lies, and more lies. But I get ahead of myself.)

As parents, aren’t we doing the same thing: be like me. Learn from my mistakes. Let me warn you about the second tree (or whatever it might be) and yet, they often choose outside of our hope for them. And as a result, a different path is trudged.

We had those choices. We still do.

Will I be a perpetual teenager and keep choosing my own way or will I finally get it?

Choose God’s way.

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