New Beginnings – Eden

In Eden the blessing are many, the rules are few.  Actually there’s only one rule––God is God and we are not.  If the humans just acknowledged that God is the Landlord and we are the tenant, everything would be good.  But if they had to be free to choose their own rules and decide for themselves what is “good and evil,” then they would die.  Basically, Adam and Eve are free to do anything except decide for themselves what’s good and evil.  You know the story, you know what they chose and you know about the consequences.

God’s Plan A

But what was God’s plan?  Did God want them to eat the fruit?  Many Christians and Jews would say yes.  I’m not one of them.  Just imagine God’s original intent when He created Eden:

This was Adam and Eve’s perfect world.  Not just fruit and fig leaves, but an entire race of people stretching their cognitive and creative powers to the limit to build a society of balance and justice and joy.  Here the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve would learn life at the feet of the Father, build their city in the shadow of the Almighty, create and design and expand within the protective confines of his kingdom.  The blessing of this gift?  Civilization without greed, malice or envy; progress without pollution, expansion without extinction.  Can you imagine it?  A world in which Adam and Eve’s ever-expanding family would be provided the guidance they needed to explore and develop their world such that the success of the strong did not involve the deprivation of the weak.  Here government would be wise and just and kind, resources plentiful, war unnecessary, achievement unlimited and beauty and balance everywhere.  This was God’s perfect plan:  the people of God in the place of God dwelling in the presence of God.  Yet, as with all covenants, God’s perfect plan was dependent on the choice of the (first humans).  Humanity must willingly submit to the plan of God.  The steward must choose this world; for in God’s perfect plan, the steward had been given the authority to reject it.

God’s Plan Sabotaged

God’s Plan A was sabotaged by humanity.  Their choice led not only to removal of blessing but reversal.  Blessings became a curse, benefit becomes a burden, paradise is exchanged for prison.    What’s your “plan A?”  Have you ever sabotaged your own plan or God’s plan?

Eve is created to be the mother of creation, but is cursed to experience extreme pain and many times death.   Adam is created to be a farmer, to work with the sun and the rain to bring about a great harvest to feed his family.  You might have a glimpse into his joy if you’ve grown a tomato or planted a tree and seen it thrive.  But you haven’t experienced his full joy because we live in a fallen world.  In the beginning, Adam would have true leadership over the earth.  But the sons of Adam saw their crops fail, the rain not come, livestock die.  Will they be able to feed their family?  Is their work going to be enough?  The term “sweat of your brow” actually doesn’t have anything to do with hard work.  It is a ANE saying that refers to anxiety that causes perspiration.  Have you been there when trying to make ends meet and the land just wouldn’t cooperate?  This is Adam’s curse.

Adam & Eve are commissioned together to care for creation and rule together.  They are like the king and queen of Narnia.  Then the curse comes to Eve and breaks that beautiful give and take relationship that they had in Eden.  Now, “your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.”  In Eden they had all that they needed, but now they are in competition with one another, and since Adam had the advantage of size and strength, he usually is the winner.  History shows us that “Eve’s longing for her husband will too often result in her willing participation in her own oppression and abuse. A relationship that should have been characterized by mutual self-sacrifice, productivity and joy will create instead the deepest of frustration and pain. . . and yet she will still yearn for this relationship.  There is not a marriage on this planet that hasn’t experienced the aftershock of this curse.  Yet even in the midst of all this loss, a word of hope remains.  The woman is promised that the union with her husband will produce an heir who, in the end, will slay the one who deceived her.  Even in her fallen state, it is Eve that will bring forth Christ.

But the most horrific aspect of the curse is when God said, “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  This was originally inconceivable, but now, because of their choice, humans will become fertilizer for the ground they were created to rule.

God’s Plan A is His Plan Z

But does God give up when Plan A doesn’t go as planned?  “His ways are higher than our ways” says Isaiah.  God’s plans don’t seem to flow in a straight line and neither do most of ours.  The reason is the same, because they involve humans. 

The difference between us and God is that when our plans fail we check out, seek the escape hatch.  But when we toward God’s plans, he adapts.  God may choose someone else or we may love us into right action.

“I am the Alpha & Omega, the Beginning and the End.”

Created in the image of God – fall from grace – rehabilitated into Gods image

Jesus declared king of birth – rejected and crucified – risen and exalted Lord