Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Adam and the Redeemer, Part One. (Why Stay Home)

Why stay home?

Why stay home when there are a hundred other fascinating things to do, a dozen other scintillating places to see, a generous handful of other faces to enjoy?

Why stay home when the sun is shining, and the park is beckoning, and there are other children to be played with; other mothers to laugh and chat with?

Why stay home?

Why stay home when items need to be purchased, errands could be completed, garage sales abound, and there is just one more thing to be discovered second hand?
Why stay home?
Why stay home when there are piano lessons, and memberships at the outdoor pool; riding lessons, and home school co-ops; vacation bible school, and hockey, and soccer, and T-ball?
Why stay home when there are countless papers to be filed, lives to be saved, knowledge to be amassed, ladders to climb, mortgages to be applied for, brand new vehicles to be driven?
Why stay home when there are missions to accomplish, ministries to be carried out, churches to be served, doctrines to be written?
WHY simply stay home?!

The reason we stay home is that home is our outpost. When God created Adam, and gave him a beautiful, sparkling, brand new green world, He said: It is not good that this man be out here in the earth alone. I will make him a counterpart, and I will place her in a garden.
Eve had a home. She and Adam were assigned to rule the world, to have dominion over the animals, but they did it from the central outpost of Eden. Eden was their stronghold. Their fortress.
Stronghold? Why have a stronghold in a perfect, sinless, spotless brand new world? You only need a fortress if you have an enemy!
Well, there was an enemy. Satan (Lucifer) had already been cast down from heaven and had been busy wreaking havoc on the earth. God placed man on the earth to keep it, to guard it: to clean house. To take back, and to amass God's territory.
In Genesis we see God reforming the earth, and turning it over to man (Adam). But in this story, God knows that there is an enemy force already at work, and He tells Adam- don't eat of the tree of knowing good and evil. If you do, you will die. Paraphrased: "There is an enemy on this beautiful earth Adam. An enemy of all things right and true. But I've made you a safe place, a haven. It is Eden. Your garden: your home. I've put Eve here with you, and she will help you to take care of the garden, and to guard it. But you are a creation that I have entrusted with Free Will, Adam. None of the animals you are in dominion over have this. You are unique. And because of this, I am leaving you a choice. Here, in this very garden, I am leaving the tree of knowing good as well as evil. If you eat of this tree, you will side with the enemy who is resident on this earth I have given you. Then you will not only know good, but also evil. The guaranteed result of this 'knowing of evil' is death, Adam, but the choice is yours. Today I am setting before you life, and death, good and evil. I am trusting you to do the right thing."

I guess we all know the end of the story. Adam listens silently as his counterpart (helper) Eve has a discussion with the Serpent (the enemy that God had warned Adam about, and had placed him on this earth to curtail). This "serpent" was in the garden illegally (as Eden was a specific area, set apart by God for Adam) and yet Adam and Eve do not evict the serpent, but merely listen to what he says.
(Please, let us know by now, that nothing good ever comes from listening to what the serpent says.)
The serpent chooses his words carefully, phrasing things so that Eve doesn't notice that the serpent has misquoted God. She freely misquotes Him herself, which leads to a train of thought that is contrary to what God has told Adam. God told Adam that he could eat of any tree in that garden. However, to eat of the knowing good and evil tree would result in death. Eve however discusses with the serpent that they cannot even touch that tree, or they will die. This is not so, but Adam who is sitting nearby does not correct her. He wants to hear what the serpent has to say. He is actually considering his offer.
Now God didn't tell our distant relatives that they couldn't touch the knowing good and evil tree. I believe that had they chosen God with their whole hearts, they could have easily cut down that tree once and for all. But Adam hadn't yet decided for God completely. If he had, he would not have been entertaining the serpent.
Serpent presents Eve with the idea that: God must be trying to keep something from her- something good. "God knows that if Eve eats of the tree, she will become a competition- a threat to Him, so He is trying to keep Adam and Eve from eating of that tree for His own protection. God must not be truly trustworthy, and Eve should surely take things into her own hands, and eat of that fruit. After all, it is truly beautiful. It has a flavour like none of the other trees in the garden. And besides that, it will open up an entirely new world to Eve! A world of enlightenment and power!
Eve licks her lips carefully, and handles the fruit. She doesn't die!! God must have deceived her after all- this tree does have a truly valuable fruit! Better than anything else God has given them!
Adam looks silently on.
Eve forgets the waiting, expectant, desiring serpent, and thinks only of herself. She forgets Adam, and their future together in the garden, and thinks only of what she desires most in that moment. She forgets God who made her, God who loved her, God who knew her, and has been protecting her...
She bites. Oh, Pleasure.
Overcome with ecstasy, Eve passes the fruit to Adam, who is only to glad to indulge with her.

And then,

it is over.
Suddenly, the garden God made for the two seems like a frightening place. Never before have Adam or Eve seen shadows: before they were only aware of Light. Now they are surrounded by the watching animals, and a cold breeze descends on them: awakening them to the fact that they are naked.
The voice of God's spirit that they had pushed aside during those moments by the tree is now silent, and Adam is very, very afraid.
Adam knows God- that He is an awesome and terrific God who expresses His wrath every day, and now Adam knows that he could be on the receiving end of that wrath.
He hides.
God the Father walks through the garden in the cool of the evening and knows what has happened. He sees the curse (the result of Adam breaking his covenant relationship with God) already beginning to act on His creation. He knows fully and completely the severance from Him of His son, His Adam, His man. And God too is alone (and not alone).
He approaches Adam from a distance, and pleads with him to take responsibility for his sin. Perhaps even yet, there is an opportunity for redemption, an opening to right what has gone wrong...?
But Adam blames Eve.
Eve blames the serpent.
God doesn't bother listening to the serpent. He pronounces curse over the serpent, and also his defeat by a coming Redeemer.
God cannot make things right, not right now. But One is coming....

This is why we stay home.
Because now we see that God's original plan was best. Eve stepped outside of that best plan, and invited her husband to come along. The disappointing outcome was that Eve had terrible sorrow in the bearing of her children. She had a strong and opposing desire to all that Adam valued, and Adam was given authority over her. Before, they had simply been ONE. There had been no contest while in the garden: Eve didn't even have a name until after she left the garden, signifying how truly she had severed herself (by eating the fruit) from fulfilling her calling as the God-glorifying helper that God had made her to be. Before, when the Lord had called Adam (Man), Woman would come running too. But now, she was her own, lonely woman. She was a fallen woman.
And as a result of what Adam had done in listening to (siding with, rather than correcting and protecting) his wife, rather than obeying God's word, he saw curse spread like disease over all the earth that God had given him. Now instead of beautiful fruits, the ground was producing briers, nettles, and stings. It was rebelling against the man who had been formed of it! Adam was divorced from the ground he had been made from and had been given to rule over.

But God was gracious, and thinking ahead. He knew that if Adam and Eve stayed in the garden of Eden, they would have access to the tree of LIFE. This was a tree with the fruit of Eternity, and with an irreversible result. If Adam and Eve ate of that tree (made that decision) now, in their fallen state, then the Redeemer could not come and make things right. Adam and Eve would have lived forever in sin, and in perpetual curse, as would have all of their descendants!
Loving Heavenly Father loved Adam and Eve (and you and I) too much to see this happen. He forced them out of the garden, and told them to go and increase on the earth. A Redeemer would come.

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