Re-scripting Your Life, Part 2
Fruitful and multiply...
Once the first humans were created, God bestowed on them the awesome ability and responsibility to procreate. Every human child would come into the world with its first act of life being to inhale the oxygen of the world that God created. This new child would also come into this world with the two basic soul-needs of security and significance. Since that point, our self-identity has been formulated by the way we perceive these two needs being met by the people that brought us into this world. The degree of security and significance is developed (or not) in our understanding that we are wanted and celebrated by these people and that we have a purpose for being here. This awareness is developed slowly over the formative years of every child’s life. Our parents and other significant adults in our life are tasked with developing an environment that allows us to build trust that all is well and eventually introduce us to the true source of all life - our Heavenly Father.
In a perfect world, this process would produce generation after generation of perfectly well adjusted, functional human beings who have no “issues” or “baggage” from childhood to be unpacked and resolved later on in life that have caused emotional and relational disasters. But we are not living in a perfect world. Since the Fall, security and significance have been replaced with shame and fear. In order to fully understand the ramifications of this shift we need to look more closely at what happened to humanity as recorded in the third chapter of Genesis.
The Anatomy of The Fall
Our traditional thinking of The Fall usually focuses on the issue of sin that enters into the picture. Sin is the core issue of all of our “issues.” Sin, as defined scripturally, describes the concept of “missing the mark,” as when an arrow is shot at a target and misses the bulls-eye. What does this really mean and what does it cause in the relationship between God and man? What mark did humanity miss?
After creation, Adam and Eve are presented as being naked and unashamed, which indicated that there was no awareness or concern that there was anything wrong or awkward about this. Their awareness was only focused on the way God viewed them, which was perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (see II Peter 1:3). When they looked at each other they must have had a deep sense of connection as they saw the obvious differences in their physical make up as a point of completion rather than a point of contention. Their security and significance were rooted and grounded in God’s perfect love and purpose for them so they were able to be at peace with God and with each other - a state of perfect harmony and bliss.
At some point, Satan, acting through the serpent, entered into the relationship. The first thing we notice is a seemingly casual conversation between Eve and the serpent. The serpent is said to be more crafty and cunning than any other beast of the field (the Hebrew word for serpent incorporates the meaning “the hisser” or “spell whisperer” - that about says it all!). I believe that Satan perceived that the only way to slither into this bond of trust between God and man was to cast a shadow of doubt on God’s true nature and intention. This shadow was cast by a question that contained enough elements of truth to get Eve to engage in conversation and enough element of accusation against God to cause Eve to react in defense.
This was and still is the major tactic of our enemy - to suck us into a state of doubt with questions that open the door to insecurity. When Eve continued deeper into the conversation, she had to try to defend God and defend her own choice to obey God. Here is an important observation regarding this conversation between Eve and the serpent: Whenever we feel we have to go on the defense we open the door to an offense which can lead to thinking in a self-focused way that will compare what we have with what we don’t have. This comparison is the basis for the line of questioning to continue and for the twisted-truth answers of the enemy to suck us into human logic to figure it out. The account in Genesis tells us that, when Eve allowed the thought that God was withholding things from them and that God was really wanting to control rather than care for them, she took the bait of Satan and got sucked into the trap.
The scripture account tells us that Eve looked at the fruit. Now, she had probably seen the fruit before and never had the thought that not being allowed to eat it was an issue. She trusted God. She had so much already given to her by God that she was totally fine with God’s sanction regarding eating it even if she did not fully comprehend the reasons why. But now, in light of these nagging questions, she was looking at the fruit in a different way. The scripture says that when Eve saw that the fruit was beautiful, that it was good for food, and that eating it would make her wise like God, knowing good from evil, she ate it. Satan’s twisted logic hit Eve, and will hit us, on 3 fronts - emotional/feelings, physical appetites, and intellectual/mental processes. We will be discussing more about this in a later post.
The first line of reasoning in Eve’s mind may have gone something like this… “If God really loves me, why would He withhold something beautiful from me? And if God really loved me, why wouldn’t He want me to have good things? And if God really loved me, why wouldn't He want me to be wise enough to know the difference between good and evil so I can always make the right choices and please Him?” The thought of “If God really loved me” can very easily turn into the question, “Does God really love me?”
It is not wrong to have questions but it is always wrong to question God’s nature and motives. Our entire relationship with God is based solely on our willingness to trust that He is ALWAYS good and His intentions towards us are ALWAYS good. If any contrary thought is allowed to operate in the background it will eventually come to the foreground and create enough distrust to lure us into making independent decisions based on a line of faulty logic. And that is exactly what happened in the Garden! And that is exactly what happens to us when we fall into the same trap. Once Eve (and Adam) took their eyes off of God’s perfect nature, they entertained the possibility of a God with questionable character and motives. To live in a state of doubt like this would cause them to miss the mark of TOTAL trust and obedience and fall short of the glory that God had intended for them and for His relationship with them. This fracture is what is called sin. This fracture sets a trajectory in our relationship with God that will become an infinitely wide chasm of separation that only God can span to bring us back. Let’s now look at the necessary result of missing the mark.
Adam and Eve must have been together at some point in this conversation with the serpent because both of them got sucked in and ate the fruit. The scripture says that the moment that this happened their eyes were opened and they saw things that they never saw before and it shocked them. They had always been naked so that was nothing new. What was new was the way in which they perceived what this nakedness meant. Their nakedness was now an issue that created a catastrophic void in their relationship with God and each other. In a moment, their innate security and significance turned into a desperate scramble to deal with this crushing cascade of overwhelming loneliness. They felt cut off from God and from each other. With one bite, humanity’s entire orientation was twisted off center from its created purpose. This seemingly small infraction created a cosmic separation between God and man. This is missing the mark. This is what sin is.
The shred of truth in all of this was that eating the fruit would open their eyes (their mental perceptions) to know the difference between good and evil. Knowing the difference between good and evil does not guarantee that this knowledge would cause them to always choose good, however. Satan told them that this would complete them and make them as God (or make them equal with God). The twist in this truth (the lie) was that the knowledge of good and evil would now make humanity responsible to ALWAYS make the right decisions in order to be just like God and remain in fellowship with Him, and to live in a state of perfection apart from God. This was not the design of God and therefore an impossibility for humanity to do. For the first time since God breathed the breath of life into them they felt responsible for their next breath.
Security and significance was now going to be determined and maintained by human standards rather than by God’s standards.
This separation created a shift in the way humanity would process life. This is really the basis of what we call our sin nature. Once the truth orientation is off, everything will be off. If missing the mark is the definition of sin, then being disoriented to truth will create a no-win life process that will never lead back to God. Think of it in terms of building and construction; if the foundation is off plumb, level and square, whatever comes next will be off also. If the orientation is not corrected, the error gets more and more pronounced to the point where the vectors created by this new orientation will eventually be heading in the opposite direction! This is exactly what we see as we read through the first few chapters of Genesis. Just after the expulsion from the Garden, God is still having direct communication with man. By the time of the human record in chapter 6, mankind is described as being completely opposed to God, lawlessness was the standard, and evil and murder was the common practice. The only person God is speaking with directly by this time was Noah. Apparently, the rest of humanity wanted nothing to do with a relationship with their creator.
Now that fear is the controlling belief orientation in the relationship between God and man, what do you think comes next…? We’ll take a look at this in the next post. Stay tuned, and tune in!
by Pastor Jim Anan