Saturday, June 24, 2006

What should have been v. What should be

Two posts in the wee hours of the morning- anyone figured out that it's a slow night at work?
Anyways, after my last post I did some more thinking and decided I should do a little more posting. Specifically I wanted to post on the state of Man before the fall. The question I have been asking myself this morning is if what we see described in the garden of Eden is a model for how we should relate to God on this side of the flaming sword or if our Fall has forever changed our relationship to the Creator. On one hand you have God being the same before and after the Fall in the sense that He was, is, and always will be a triune God. We have John telling us that Christ was present since the beginning (in the beginning was the Word) and we have Genesis and Proverbs telling us that the Holy Spirit has always existed as well. This throws out any sort of modalism, but it doesn't clear up the question of how we relate to God. Since the Fall we have been looking to the coming of Christ as a redeemer and now that he has, we stand before Him as redeemed. But what would our relationship to Christ have been if the Fall never took place? Would He have become incarnate and broken bread with His people? Was it Christ who was walking in the garden and found Adam and Eve hiding because of their shame? Perhaps the most interesting question to me when it comes to this issue is, was it inevitable that Man would fall? This question has been at the back of my mind since I first took notice of Revelation 13:8 that refers to Christ as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world;" There is some disagreement about the order of the words in the Greek, but that ultimately doesn't matter for the point I am getting at. It seems to me that it may be possible that God knew before making us that by giving us free will that we would fall, not that there was a chance that we would fall, but that it was inevitable. How incredible of a love would that be if God knew that there was no way around it, that He would create this wonderful beings that would betray Him and that He would have to die for in order to redeem? Yet He still made us and called us "very good." This is all just speculation and I would even blink if I died and God said, " were way off on that one." But it's an interesting thought anyway.
Back to my main point. I think in some ways we can look to Eden as a model for the true church today. In the garden we had an intimate relationship with God on so many levels, we had a loving and respectful relationship with other people (granted there was only one at the time), and we had a dominate but respectful relationship with the earth. These things should be our goals today. We don't even have to limit ourselves to Genesis to see how important these three things were. Look at all the laws that Moses came up with (even the weird ones) and you see these relationships as the primary focus: man with God, man with man, man with earth. These relationships are eternal.
But in some ways, life before the Fall cannot be a model for Christians relationship to God and His creation. Most significantly, we cannot deny the fall. Some people will say that justification makes us as if we never sinned, but this is just not true. By taking on this mindset we rob God (and ourselves) of the most glorious display of love the world has ever seen; His atoning death and resurrection. We rob Him of the title of Redeemer, Savior, etc.
Another reason that life before the Fall cannot serve as a complete model is that our relationship to God changes. I want to be clear that I am not saying that God changes, but rather that we change. God is infinite and no period of time can reflect how one would relate to an infinite being. Both in this life and if the life to come we will plunge further and further into the depths of God; into His infinite wisdom, into His infinite love, into His infinite holiness. Perhaps that is what would have happened if Adam and Eve hadn't listened to the serpent, but we'll never know for sure.
What it comes down to is that there are far to many uncertainties about life in Eden to make a complex theology from, but there is enough in those two chapters to give a glimpse of something more, something beyond the scope of this fallen world. I personally would like to believe that that is all God intended.
Dan, 2:15 AM


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