Saturday, October 11, 2008

Genesis 3: In search of wisdom

In the garden, waiting for the King and his bride to fill the world, to extend the garden into a global temple in which God lives with his people.

And then one of the animals speaks to the women and questions what God has said. At first it might sound like an honest question. Did God actually say? But soon we see that this is a stunning overthrowing of divine authority. God's word is distorted. The doctrine of the authority of scripture is cast aside, and with it the inconvenient doctrine of divine judgement. And the woman plays along.

She is caught up by the appearance of a tree that looks good to eat from, that delights the eyes (a blessing from God!) and is good for obtaining wisdom. Wisdom is a good pursuit. God says that it comes from fear of the Lord, he says that it's found in the person of Christ. She reaches out and takes wisdom for herself. The ultimate Man would have given it to her, she casts that aside. And the man follows along.

She is deceived. He sins. Both are accountable for their actions. Their eyes open and rather than being helped by this wisdom they are full of shame. They begin to love darkness. They thought they'd be wise but they have become fools. They hide from each other. They hide from God. The bliss of Eden is interupted by the consequences of sin.

And then God acts further. Not to kill them immediately, but to bring curse upon sinners that will lead to death. The serpent is cursed. The woman is cursed in childbearing - more pain than before. The man is cursed in work - as he goes out to extend Eden it's going to hurt. Moreover dust, from which he came, will overcome him.

“Adam would never have dared oppose God’s authority unless he had disbelieved in God’s Word… Adam, carried away by the devil’s blasphemies, as far as he was able extinguished the whole glory of God” Institutes, Calvin II. i 4

Yet the curse is laced with hope. There will be a serpent crushing seed. There will be a seed! They might yet fill the earth! There will progress. And Adam has faith in God even in his curse, naming his bride Mother of All. And God kills animals to clothe them properly - blood is shed to remove shame. That points somewhere!

But, they're driven out of the garden into the wilderness. They're kept from the tree of life from which they could have eaten. God will not let these rebels live. They will die. But, they will work and they will have offspring. Hope remains.

Yet still how will they live? Angels bar the way - just like the temple curtains (Exodus 26v31) - this great temple where God and man are meant to dwell is inaccessible until the seed will come. The serpent-crusher. The garden-enterer. The one who can take his people back in to eat from the tree of life.

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