out of the ashes

January 10, 2017

Out of the Ashes.

In Gen 3:17-19, God decrees His judgment upon Adam:

“Because you listened to your wife and ate

from the tree about which I commanded you,

‘You must not eat of it,’

Cursed is the ground because of you;

through painful toil you will eat of it all

the days of your life.

It will produce thorns and thistles for you,

and you will eat the plants of the field.

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food

until you return to the ground,

since from it you were taken;

for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

God gives Adam up to the painful and ultimately futile attempt to eke out a living from the cursed ground. Notice four things in the text. First, work is not Adam’s punishment, just as childbearing was not Eve’s punishment. The new punitive element is his pain in working the ground and his ultimate defeat in it. After a lifetime of survival by the sweat of his brow, the ground from which he was first taken will swallow him up in death.

The second important point here is God’s rationale for this punishment. God does not say, “Because you have eaten of the tree which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it’.…” God does say, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree.…” Adam sinned at two levels. At one level, he defied the plain and simple command of 2:17. That is obvious. But God goes deeper. At another level, Adam sinned by “listening to his wife.”He abandoned his headship. According to God’s assessment, this moral failure in Adam led to his ruination.

The third interesting point is the very fact that God addresses Adam with this introductory statement, “Because you have listened.…” God does not address Eve in this way, but God does issue a formal indictment to Adam before his sentencing. Why? Because Adam was the head, the finally responsible member of the partnership. His disobedience, not Eve’s, was the pivotal factor in the fall. Notice this. God says, “It is because of you, Adam, that the ground is cursed” (verse 17). God does not say, “It is because of you both, Adam and Eve,” as if they shared equal responsibility in an unqualified sense.

The fourth point here is that God told Adam alone that he would die. But Eve died, too. Why then did God pronounce the death sentence on Adam alone? Because, as the head goes, so goes the member.

By these dreadful, and yet hopeful, oracles of destiny, God shapes for us the existence we all share today. Under these conditions, our pain alerts us to a great truth: This life is not our fulfillment. This life is not meant to be a final experience. Our pain and limitations point us to God, to the eternal, to the transcendent, where our true fulfillment lies.

Adam understood this truth, I think. Instead of turning away from the bar of God’s justice in bitterness and despair, Adam turns to his wife and says, “I believe God’s promise. He has not cast us adrift completely. He will give us the final victory over our enemy and we will again enjoy the richness and fullness of life in God. And because you are the mother of all those who will truly live, I give you a new name—Eve, Living One. I believe God, and I honor you.” In contrast to the cruel, cutting words of verse 12, Adam reaches out in love to Eve and they are reunited in faith and hope and begin to fulfill their roles of mother and father to mankind.

The only ray of hope in the statement of the curse appears in relation to the woman. In Adam all die, but Eve, as the mother of the living, shall bring forth life—and from her seed will issue redemption.

There is no necessary relation between personal role and personal worth.

 

It is the modern, ungodly twisters of scripture that would have us to believe our roles must be redefined to create worth. Thus old roles must be discarded because they are deemed antiquated and twisted by those that believe a lie,the lie being that God did not define our roles.

The gospel teaches us that our glory, our worth, is measured by our personal conformity to Christ.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

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