Posts tagged ‘Adam and Eve’

ABC Extra – Knowing and Being Known

In 1754, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the preeminent Genevan philosopher of his day and pictured in this blog, wrote a book titled Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men.  In it, Rousseau opines longingly for man’s primitive state.  Contrary to the restrictions and mores modern society thrusts on us, primitive man, Rousseau declares, was carefree, without any language, any personal property, and any need to live in committed relationships.  Rousseau declares, “Males and females united fortuitously, according to chance encounters, opportunity, and desire…They parted just as readily.”[1]  In other words, primitive society was the ultimate free love society, that is, minus the love part.  Rousseau continues, “Man’s first sentiment was that of his existence, his first care that for his preservation.  The earth’s products provided him with all necessary support, instinct moved him to use them…There was one [instinct] that prompted him to perpetuate his species; and this blind inclination, devoid of any sentiment of the heart, produced only a purely animal act.”[2]  According to Rousseau’s primitive, paradisiacal world, sex was only a brute, animal act, devoid of any pesky sentiments or connections.  There was no affection, no emotional warmth – just skin against skin, flesh against flesh.

Rousseau’s vision and version of primitive man, of course, is diametrically opposed to the Bible’s account of our origins.  Sex, according to the Bible, is not the result of brute, animal instinct.  Rather, sex is a gift from God, bestowed on humans to connect husbands and wives in every human way possible: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

The Old Testament uses an interesting euphemism for sexual relations.  Rather than using the word “sex” as a verb, it will speak of people “knowing” each other.  For example, when Adam and Eve come together as husband and wife, Genesis says, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain” (Genesis 4:1).

This euphemism of “knowing” for sex gives us some insight into the depth and profundity of human sexuality.  Contrary to Rousseau’s assertion, sex is not just skin against skin and flesh against flesh devoid of any commitment or compassion.  Sex unites people – not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.  The apostle Paul explains it this way: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:15-17).  As I mentioned in ABC, the city of Corinth boasted a temple dedicated to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and sex.  At the temple, there were over one thousand prostitutes who serviced so-called “worshippers” in wild orgies celebrating Aphrodite.  Apparently, even the Corinthian Christians developed a penchant for participating the temple’s debauchery.  Like the pagans of Corinth, the Christians too began hooking up and breaking up.  It was a Rousseaurian dream.  But Paul knows that this kind of sexual looseness is not God’s dream.  “Sex,” Paul says, “unifies one person to another in body.  Thus, if you have sex with a prostitute, you are unifying yourself to her bodily.”  But sex does not stop with fleshly unification.  Paul also speaks of being “one with the Lord in spirit.”  This too is a part of sex.  This is why the Hebrew writers use the word “know” as a euphemism for sex.  For sex creates a deep, emotional bond between two people.  This is why divorces hurt so badly.  Two people are being ripped apart who have been connected at the deepest levels of their being.

The apostle Paul writes concerning eternity:  “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).  The knowing of sexual intimacy is deep and abiding.  But it will pale in comparison to the richness and depth and breadth with which we will know our Savior in heaven.  This is the true and greatest knowledge for which we hope…and for which we wait.

Want to learn more? Go to
www.ConcordiaLutheranChurch.com
and check out audio and video from Pastor Tucker’s
message or Pastor Zach’s ABC!


[1] Jean-Jacques Rousseau & Victor Gourevitch, The Disourses and Other Early Political Writings (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1997) 145.

[2] Ibid., 161.

October 10, 2011 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

ABC Extra – How Could God Allow the Fall?

This weekend, we continued our series in worship and ABC titled, “Five Family Fiascos!  Is There Hope For Us?”  This weekend’s topic was, “When You’re Caught in Blame.”  Blame, as we learned this weekend, is as old as the Fall itself.  God gives to Adam and Eve a single command: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).  But Adam and Eve transgress this commandment.  And when they do, rather than confessing their blame before God, they try to “pass the buck” of their sin:

The man said, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12-13)

Adam and Eve, though they ‘fess up to their sin, refuse to take responsibility for their sin.  They are all too ready to blame someone else for their failing.  Adam blames Eve.  Eve blames the snake.  It’s a tragic – if not even a somewhat comical – scene.

One of the perennial questions I receive concerning the story of the Fall is, “If God knew that Adam and Eve would break His command and bring sin and pain and death and despair into this world, then why would God create them – and, by extension, us – in the first place?  Why couldn’t God just not have created anything and saved us all a lot of heartache?”  Though I would certainly not presume to try to answer every facet of this question, for we are not called to “fathom the mysteries of God and probe the limits of the Almighty” (Job 11:7), there is an answer, I believe, that at least partially and appropriately answers this familiar inquiry.  Perhaps an analogy will help us understand God’s willingness to allow us – and Himself – to endure the Fall of Genesis 3.

Before a husband and wife have children, they are no doubt vaguely aware that raising a child can be a burden at times – both for them and for the child!  There will be problems which call for a heavy disciplinarian hand.  There will be times at which a child feels as though his parents do not understand him.  And yet, countless couples have chosen to become parents regardless of the future problems they know they will encounter!  Why?  Because parents have a strange, truly indescribable way of loving their children before they’re even conceived.  The prospect of having a son or daughter excites them.  And so they are willing to take on the pain of the future they know they will soon have to endure for the child they love.

So it is with our heavenly Father.  According to His omniscience, God knew all about the Fall and all the pain it would bring into our world long before the Fall ever happened.  And yet He created us anyway.  Why?  Because He loved us even before He created us and so was willing to endure the pain and suffering He knew we would cause.  As the apostle Paul writes:  “God chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:4-5).  God loved us before He made us, Paul says.  Indeed, God’s love for us was so deep that He even made arrangements for our salvation from creation.  This is reflected in Revelation, where we read of “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).  According to eternity, God was planning to send Jesus to be slain to forgive our sins from the very beginning of the world.  Thus is the depth of the love of our God.

The Fall of Adam and Eve was truly the greatest fiasco this world has ever known.  For from this Fall springs every subsequent fall into sin and fiasco from sin.  And living under the effects of the Fall is not always fun.  And yet, God’s love for us is stronger than the Fall.  And so, when you fall, rather than trying to pass the blame on to others for your sin, pass the blame on to the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.  For He willingly takes on your blame and takes away your sin.

Want to learn more on this passage? Go to
www.ConcordiaLutheranChurch.com
and check out audio and video from Pastor Tucker’s
message or Pastor Zach’s ABC!

April 12, 2010 at 4:45 am 2 comments


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