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creation Fall

The Fall – Consequences – Part 2

In consequences – part 1 we started by saying that on one level the effects of the fall are only too obvious as we look around us. We now have experiential knowledge of evil. We then began to dig into the often stated maxim that you become what you worship focusing on the loss or rather diminishment of our spiritual senses.[1] We reminded ourselves that the human heart finds it hard to trust in the creator.

Adam and Eve are now caught up in the constant cycle of growth and decay. Adam was originally taken from the ground (‘adamah’) and now they return to the dust – (‘to the adamah’). The death promised to them if they eat the fruit includes more than just physical death. Now they experience the ‘annihilation of their fundamental essense’ and are subject to the ever changing nature of their fallen being. [2]

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creation Fall

The Fall – Consequences – Part 1

Throughout this short series of posts I have been attempting to get across the enormity of the situation that the writer of Genesis so economically presents. Once grasped, the implications are simply gigantic. The myth of Adam and Eve is embedded in our culture, and as such it can be difficult to access its power. It has become a ‘fairy story’ for children and consequently the message is largely lost as it is turned into a revenue generation tool for the corporations. It seems to me that our culture likes to minimise the ‘old myths’ and those who are open minded enough to pay attention are forced to grapple to gain anything useful beyond variations of ‘God saw that it was good’ and a sense that somehow things went belly up.

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creation Fall

The Fall – What were we doing in Eden?

The “Standard Model” of the fall raises many questions. Most important, at least for me, concerns just what it was that they fell from? If your concept of looking after the garden is limited to dead-heading the roses and keeping the ‘large mammals’ off the grass while planting out seedlings and cuddling rabbits then maybe the fall is a welcome opportunity to expand your horizons! Coupled with this there is the issue of how God is portrayed. If you think he is capricious and easily angered then you have no issue with what happened. If, however, you think that the revelation of God through Christ as love is a ‘sure foundation’ then either you enter into wrestling-mode with the narrative or you just park the issues.

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creation Fall

The Fall – The Standard Model

In the last post we looked at bringing to life of an idol and what this means to us. Now its time to begin looking into the foundational myth of the fall of Adam and Eve. Even people with no exposure to religion have a grasp on it. You can see this if you look at some of the ways business has taken the story up. It is highly parodied, and often paints Eve as a seductive temptress and Adam as a childish fool. All this is totally predictable of course, since the myths themselves have so much to teach us that it’s no wonder ‘the world, the flesh and the devil’ have conspired to belittle them.

In this post I want to begin with a telling of the “Standard” version. I am grateful to a fellow student who wrote this in an essay entitled “What did Adam and Eve do wrong?” I have only slightly altered it.

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atonement creation Devotional identity

Human identity – part 4 – godlike

In “human identity – divinity” we cemented the connection between image (tselem) in Genesis 1 and cult statues or idols. To the people of the aNE (ancient near east) an idol was the living embodiment of their god, and not just a physical thing like a statue in the local park. To them it was not only alive, and in it their god was fully present to them. If you think about it this sheds light on the way humans could worship idols them and lavish care on them. Clearly, the understanding of the writers of genesis was very different to ours.

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atonement creation Devotional identity

Human identity – part 3 – divinity

In the first post “human identity – representation” we looked at the Hebrew words used for image and likeness. In “human identity – crowned” we looked into the royal meaning behind some of the words the Hebrew bible uses to describe Adam and Eve’s role and status. Given that the same ‘image’ language is used in Gen 5 it is clear that what was true of Adam & Eve is true for all of us – they were ‘God’s Royal Representatives.’ We briefly concluded by saying that to the cultures of the aNE, royalty were seen as children of a god. We cited two examples of this, and left the implicit link to Adam & Eve unspoken. It’s time to dig into this at last.

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atonement creation identity

Human identity – part 2 – crowned

In the first post “human identity – representation” we looked at the Hebrew words used for image and likeness. We concluded that the authors of Genesis wanted us to think-in an holistic manner, which suggests that to their mind the image/ likeness was something included ideas around a statue ie physical. We also introduced the idea that we are made in such a way as to represent (think re-present or to “present again”) Yahweh God. We also saw there was a very clear, and somewhat disturbing “idol” theme to the word image (tslem). So there was lots to chew on. Back to our key passage Gen 1 for something a bit regal…

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atonement creation identity

Human identity – part 1 – representation

In the previous posts I set out something of my thinking regarding the directions this series on atonement would go. We now come to look at Genesis to get a grip on what we, as humans, were created to be. Remember, our aim here is to look at our purpose and our nature as well – what can be referred to as our ‘ontology’. There will be several installments.

Reading in Genesis 1 26 we see:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea …”