Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Eden’

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.

 

Read Full Post »

What do you see?
Woman or a face?

I get a little tired of people treating Eve as though she had a “blonde moment” and impetuously grabbed the fruit from serpent (who was probably a beautiful creature and not some slimy looking snaky thing – I mean really, who would trust a talking snake?). And why is symbolized by an apple? She ate “some of it” … she ate the “fruit thereof,”; it could have been cherries or nuts for all we know.

Genesis 3:6-7a
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened . . .

But here’s my point. The interaction between serpent and Eve could have been over time. She may have even pondered what it would mean to “know good and evil” since all they knew up until then was good. They were, after all, made in the image of God who is all good. So, the draw here was the wisdom, I think, not the temptation to disobey. Personally, I’m a big fan of wisdom. We are even encouraged throughout scripture to desire wisdom and to ask for it. And for me, here’s the real loss. If Eve would have asked the Creator for wisdom to solve this conundrum, she would have received all that she needed.

There is some part of human that is still unsure of our place in the universe. Are we truly beloved of the Creator? I’ve made so many mistakes: is it too late for me. No, no one is unreachable. Even eating the fruit of the tree doesn’t kill, but there are consequences.

Adam and Eve experienced consequences. And so do we, every day.

When they ate of the fruit of the tree (whatever it was that the tree produced freely in the garden), they saw everything differently. Before, they were looking with God’s eyes; perhaps they looked within more readily and saw the beauty of all living things; perhaps they were able to communicate freely with God’s creation. But, upon seeking beyond the boundaries of God’s gifts for that time in their lives (who is to say they wouldn’t have received more and more later?), they saw something they had never seen before: Not God.

Now, as a follower of Christ, I am trying to teach myself how to see the old way, with the eyes of God, to bypass the “not God” parts of humans and focus on spirit within.

Read Full Post »

Two things: from the beginning, it was always God’s intention that humans should work. I never noticed it before, that “Adam” was put in the garden of Eden to tend it, his first real job. The last garden I tried to create showed me how much real work goes into sowing and growing. And secondly, “Adam” (or man … or human) was lonely without someone else of his kind (human) to do this work. That tells me that relationships are important to people. We do better together.

Genesis 2:15; 18a
The Lord God took the man [human] and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. . . The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man [human] to be alone. . .

Just like the Karate Kid, I’m guessing that Adam’s gardening gig held many unexpected byproducts of learning. Gardening teaches the cycle of life, patience, diligence, perceptiveness, creativity, consequences, and so forth. I know just enough about gardening to know how little I know. It’s one of those things I’ve always thought should have an apprentice program for those who really want to learn it. Oh, I suppose I could read a book about it, and over time, I’d learn by trial and error. But to have a master gardener next door who would be able to show and explain along the way, season by season, now that would be awesome.

The alternative, I suppose, would be to have a gardening buddy. Even if we were both novices, we would be tackling it together, discussing possibilities, sharing the workload, being encouraged, celebrating successes or mourning losses. In either case, two can learn, both from the experience as well as from one another.

The way of Christ is the same. Any spiritual way yields more fruit with a partner. I have neglected this aspect of walk for some time. I have tried to go it alone, thinking no one would be interested in cultivating what I wanted to cultivate. But maybe that’s the point, maybe it’s ok for me to want to plant perennials while another plants annuals. Or maybe I want to plant watermelons that spread out everywhere and my garden friend wants to plant potatoes deep in the earth. Isn’t the garden enhanced by both? As long as the dirt is good and nutrition filled, as long as there is water and sunlight, many different things can grow together.

I need to stop being a “spiritual snob.”

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: