Reflecting on the Fall of Humanity and The Choice God Allows

Note: I am making a couple of observations as I read through the Bible. A lot of these are thoughts that began a while ago, most recently in seminary but trying to give them a place now. Feel free to disagree, reframe, push back, complain, ask for clarification or comment however you like (the only rule is to be honest and respectful).

The Adam and Eve account has always been a frustrating one for me on a number of levels.

1. The first few chapters of Genesis functions differently than rest of Genesis (and the OT for that matter).
2. When I get to heaven, I am going to ask, what ever happened to Adam and Eve? You bored me through genealogies and the book of Numbers and could not give me a little more about Adam and Eve? Was there any redemption after their exile? Did they ever see God again? Did they stay together after Cain and Abel? But Genesis gives us nothing – hmmm, suspicious.
3. Were they real people or more of a literary device to help create a point of origin and a backdrop for the story of Abraham and the eventual birth of Israel?
4. Was the consequence of their sin too severe? I mean, all they did was take a bite out of a piece of fruit. Why does God bother with even creating the tree of good and evil? And still, people have done much worse and have been not charged with being the reason for the “fall of all humanity”.

Well let’s go in reverse order as the latter are the more important questions to us today (at least to me).
Humanity is fallen, it’s corrupt, it’s depraved. And while the word carries so much baggage today, humanity is “sinful”. During my most severe and honest sessions of doubt, I cannot accept the fact that our morality has evolved this way. In some sense, society has become more civil along the millennia, but in another sense, the human heart seems just as selfish and I cannot see something like Darwinism to account for this (and I am somewhat sympathetic to Darwin for a post-conservative Christian). Frankly, it feels more that we are cursed, stained, and doomed and the Biblical narrative of creation, fall and the need for redemption works very well for me.

Why does God bother with a creating this Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?
Earlier I saw a tweet that said something like asking a toddler to play with the loud toys is like asking a fraternity to guard your daiquiri maker. In some sense, the tree is not a big deal for me. I know that sounds dangerously arrogant but my point is this, God asked Adam and Eve to not do something. He could have said, don’t cross the Line of Absolute Truth or take a ride on the Unicorn of Unity or don’t pee in the Pond of Peace. So in some sense, I’m ok with the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” but I don’t really need it to be a tree – make sense?

Here’s what I need though. A loving God that offers humanity a choice. A choice to obey or rebel. If you followed my “Everything Has a Reason” posts, you will remember that the idea of choice is essential to me because without it, you cannot have love.

Is the punishment too severe?
At first glance it seems it is. However, we need to understand several things: God’s divine intention of creation, His attributes of holiness and just how terrible humanity’s rebellion really is. I am not sure a more dramatic title could have been found than “The Fall”. It ruined everything. Sin defiled the relationship between God the Creator and Humanity His creation and also spoiled the relationship between humanity and the rest of creation.

In some sense, Adam and Eve’s rebellion demonstrates that A. They want to be their own God. 2. Worse, they don’t really need God. 3. Their pride trumps their obedience. When put like that, I am afraid that the story could have been entitled, “The Fall of Tim Ghali” and not much today would be different.

So as I sojourn through this fallen world following the risen Savior, I observe the frustrating complexity, the suffering and the beauty of it all. It’s only in this framework can you have something like The Jersey Shore be as popular as it is, yawn in the middle of Handel’s Messiah and be moved when your child with a face smeared by mac and cheese kisses you and tells you that he loves you. It’s a crazy, flawed and beautiful world.

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