Thursday, December 17, 2009


torchie sent me an email recently

I’m sitting here, enjoying some good conversation with my youngest son, some internet reading on incarnation, and a glass of Captain Morgan. I had a good day at work and I know that God and my wife still love me.

How can life get any better?

So, I began thinking, “Would we be celebrating Christmas, or, would Jesus have come even if me and humankind would not have sinned?”

Don’t feel obligated to respond, or, if you do to respond at great length, but whattaya’ think?

i suppose we're safe in that this has a built-in shock absorber in there:
the question is simply 'whattaya think?'

think? whew- pressure's off.

so many things seem to be separated in the curse of genesis 3. it causes me to wonder whether the word 'curse' simply means separation when used in scripture.

it reads in genesis 3.14-19 as the antithesis of blessing.

here's the thing, though.
there is something sanctificatory about both:
with either blessing or curse, something or someone is set apart

i would even argue that a case could be made (and has been by a few speakers and writers under whose teaching i've sat) that this setting apart- whether circumstantially delightful or tragic- is in accordance with God's greater purposes for his universal creation; part of God's exaltation of it.

3.14: the serpent is separate from all livestock and animals of the wild. 'above all' it reads. typically when we use a phrase like 'above all', we are not talking about something or someone that we see as the lowest of the low. perhaps this a simple reinforcement of the idea that our perspective is pretty limited and pretty linear.

3.15: there is higher level separation (enmity) between the woman/ the offspring of the woman and the crafty antagonist. the context is set for the messianic promise to be announced for the first time.

3.16: there is greater understanding of this human experience, for we have this whole paradox and sexual conflict that seems to open up for the woman: desire for the man and yet 'increased pain' in childbirth. whatever the case, this life experience just went from black and white to colour for the woman.

3.17-19: for the man, there is work and toil and sweat and ultimately death. however, these things have become the essence of our cultural identity. whether it is in our fallenness or simply as the result of a life steeped in it as we continue to strive here, just east of eden, most conversations with strangers move into the realm of chosen occupation relatively early on. i know that i typically remember this about a person quite easily, but his or her name takes a bit more work. there is something functional here that fits into our understanding of the way things work quite naturally, affording us a relatively uncomplicated, safe causeway to further relationship.

(interesting- i believe in some recent comments on an earlier blogpost here we delved briefly into the whole trouble with equating 'being' with 'doing', yet it seems to be ingrained as part of our perspective.)

one writer observes that
'Meeting the needs of a self in a world of other selves is an anxious enterprise. Even short of death, there is much to be anxious about in life.'
(robert gerzon, in his book Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety )

gerzon contends that humankind chose natural anxiety over existential anxiety (he calls it 'sacred anxiety' in his book) because reporting solely to God was a burden too great for mortals to bear. in any event, life seems to take on new meaning and significance now that there is something precious to be lost. it is no longer a given and so an exaltation of sorts- a lifting up 'above all' similar to 3.14- takes place.

so if curse means separation and separation means curse, then is God somehow cursed by the changes that go down in the garden? have we, in our disobedience, cursed God as well as ourselves?

well, there does seem to be a separation of the personalities of God that takes place here- is required as a result of all of this action in the garden. it appears that free will and technicolour living will require even God to undergo a radical change in how the trinity interacts within itself as well as within the world created. somehow the son needs to be torn from that place of perfect relational balance and compliment in order to address the great challenges imposed by God's decision to abide by the free will of everyday people who have no clue who they are or what they're doing most of the time. happens again when the Holy Spirit is given at pentecost. it appears that somehow the triune God is affected by the gift of free will as described in genesis 3.

so would Jesus have had to come?
no. not in my view.

i can't see any need for God the son to have been separated from God the father and God the spirit apart from the need that is ushered in as a direct result of humankind's swiping of the freewill card for the first time.

the question that eats away at me is
would we even be able to notice
living in the cozy, pre-fall balance, would we value the stasis-
in God or in ourselves?

what if our ultimate failure as the God's very-goods in a world of goods was simply a rite of passage into the coloured and contrasted existence that God actually desired for us? what if this fall of man was actually a lifting up by God to a deeper experience of life and relationship, with each other as well as with God? what might this suggest about God's love for his crowned of creation?

as messy as all of this is most days, i think i love God more when i think of God's activation and honouring of my free will like this- especially considering the cost to God.

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