Sunday, September 4, 2016

Looking Forward to September 11, 2016 -- Creation and Fall

Source (though the Scripture story never actually mentions an apple)
This Sunday we will be celebrating the Sacrament of Communion.

For Children's Time this week we will be talking about IALAC

This Sunday marks the beginning of Year 3 in the Narrative Lectionary cycle. This means that between now and Christmas we will be looking at passages from the Older Testament.  The Scripture Reading for this week is Genesis 2:4b-10, 15-17; 3:1-13.

The sermon title is Paradise Lost?

Early Thoughts: This week we read from the second account of Creation. While the first chapter of Genesis contains the hymn of seven days and the recurrent affirmation that the Creation was Good, this second account is the story of Adam and Eve and the story of what is commonly called "The Fall".

Traditionally the story of Adam and Eve eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is described as the point where it all goes wrong. Before then we have a picture of the two humans living in harmonic relationship with God. Afterward the relationship is broken and God is constantly trying to repair it (the people's efforts at such repair work tend to ebb and wane). The question I have always had is whether the eating of the fruit changed the very nature of humanity or if the affirmation of Very Good a the end of the hymn to creation continues to stand.

I think the affirmation is never taken away. I think the fact that for the rest of the faith story (a story that has yet to end) God continues to seek to be in relationship with God's peoples tells us that the original affirmation still stands. There just happens to be some "stuff" that gets in the way of us living as if it were true.

At the heart of the story we find God and Adam and Eve. We find a couple who are tempted by pride to be like God and so become wilfully disobedient. And as a result the world is changed. Now few of us think this is history. Few of us seek the site of Eden (though over the centuries may have postulated where it might have been).. But the story still rings true.

The story rings true because there is a part of us that knows things are not what they could/should be. The story rings true because there is a lived sensation that we could be in a fuller relationship with God and so we wonder how we might get that. The story rings true because in our heart of hearts we know that we are proud, that we are headstrong, that we do not always follow the rules.

But is that all there is?

Scripture makes it clear that God seeks to be in relationship with humanity. I wonder if God could be in relationship with a humanity that remained innocent of the knowledge of good and evil. Could God have known that there would be harsh consequences to humanity gaining that knowledge and yet also wanted/needed us to have ti at the same time? Could we ever be who we were created to be by remaining innocent and naive in Eden or did we have to grow and change and move beyond that point?

So part of me wonders if in addition t pride and disobedience part of the story is impatience and lack of trust, Maybe God would eventually have said "OK, eat that one too", at a time when humanity was more ready for the knowledge. And maybe then the story would be different?

Hmm, sounds a whole lot like many parenting decisions and challenges to me....

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