Let’s give Adam & Eve another chance

18 May

Sub-titled: “What really happened in the Garden of Eden”

I (Steve) recently read two interesting books. Chesterton’s ORTHODOXY notes that sin is the only aspect of the Christian faith that can be proven (as quoted in an earlier post.) One of my favorite comments on the topic is, ‘If you don’t believe in original sin, just watch a two-year-old for about ten minutes.  You’ll be convinced.’

The second book is CALVIN & C. S. LEWIS — SOLVING THE RIDDLE OF THE REFORMATION, by Jordan Ferrier. I mention this only to point out that, theologically, so many things in Scripture have been explained in so many ways. Too many times I find myself bleary-eyed from the effort, and usually not much better off.  **PLEASE NOTE: I’m not saying that about this book.  It was a nice ‘read’, and quite informative.  More later.

I’m a pretty simple person, and I think God is pretty simple and direct about many   things.  His purpose is not to confuse, frustrate and consternate us!See Jeremiah 33:1-3.

Personally, I think the Garden of Eden account is, also, a pretty easy ‘read’.

Ground rules:

First, I don’t really care about the assumed, or imagined, historicity of the Creation accounts, or the Garden of Eden.  They were not intended to be a ‘history’ as we would adjudge based on our current definition of a historical work.  A pretty good indicator of this is that the two Genesis Creation stories are different.  I don’t think God–through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration for Scripture authorship–is that sloppy.Can you imagine two people reading Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”, and then arguing about which two ‘streets’ somewhere inspired it, and/or that Frost had in mind?

‘This is a narrative; it is not doctrine… but rather it tells a story’, says Old  Testament scholar Von Rad.  [The OT Library: Genesis; Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1976; 75]

Second, I don’t subscribe to the ‘God said it, and that settles it’ garbage. God gave us brains for a reason– we should not ‘check them at the door’.

Third, I am proud to be a Presbyterian, and a Presbyterian pastor.  I value our tradition that we are willing to take a tough look at Scripture and theology and wrestle without fear.  If memory serves, Princeton University (the University, not the Seminary) began as a Presbyterian log cabin seminary.  Beauty & I both appreciate participating in a two year (at least) Presbytery study group on a particularly sensitive topic. I can’t imagine we could have gone more deeply into the core of the concern.  The kind and respectful tone and tenor of the  discussions between people of vastly divergent views and beliefs was refreshing.

Fourth, I believe there is evil in the world, and a battle is being waged.  For a lighter–albeit poignant–look, see C. S. Lewis’ THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS.

Fifth, I believe that in the Garden, Adam & Eve–literal or figurative–were living in a “Garden of Eden” (sorry, couldn’t resist), and God  provided for all their needs.  I believe we share with them the physical capacities to experience hunger and thirst, being hot or being cold, that were original with Creation.

What is indisputable is that, with Creation, they had free will.  This would be a good time for you to read Ferrier’s Calvin & C. S. Lewis book (see above).  The author considers this ‘free will’ from a variety of directions and aspects.

What is also indisputable is who had ultimate responsibility.  It doesn’t matter whether ‘it was the serpent’s fault’, or ‘it was Eve’s fault’, or ‘it was Adam’s fault’.  In either allegory or traditional Hebrew story, the buck stopped with the humans.  From their cathedral of freedom–free thought, free opinion, free discernment, free analysis, free coin-flipping–it was their decision to freely make.  I believe the point is that any and every man or woman would have done the same.  We all have our unique opportunities and choices as to whether or not to take a bite.

I’ve always wondered whether Eve took a bite and thought, ‘Oh, yuck!  This tastes like…’   “Here, Adam, you’ll love this!”

It was Gary Puckett & the Union Gap who voiced their encouragement for a pardon for the Garden Two through the Kerry Chater / Gary Withem song: “Let’s Give Adam and Eve Another Chance”.

Through Jesus, we all have another chance.  
And thankfully so!

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One Response to “Let’s give Adam & Eve another chance”

  1. Mark V May 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this and your point of view.

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