Life Notes—November 10, 2011
“…therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:23-24
This will be the final installment of a five-week look at the implications of an alternate version of the creation story, where the original human was created both male and female. God separated that human into two beings, the male and female versions we know today. Previous Life Notes can be found at https://lifeworshipnotes.wordpress.com.
In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This act of defiance is referred to as the “original sin.” Adam and Eve are then expelled from the garden. I believe the story provides important clues to our earthly existence. First, we are not whole. We were created in the image of God, and then separated into male and female halves. We see similar splits manifested throughout creation. Electricity flows only where both positive and negative charges meet. Procreation occurs only by uniting the unique male and female contributions. So-called “opposites” are defined in relation to each other. Dark is the absence of light. Cold, the absence of warmth. Ignorance, the absence of knowledge. Evil, the absence of good. Perhaps the knowledge imparted by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is, in fact, the knowledge or experience of these opposites. However, these “opposites” are not opposite at all, but the relative absence or abundance of a single trait. And life on earth is the experience of this manifestation of parts. We, as part of the ‘whole’ inEden, desire to know more fully the various gradations of the whole. We eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil by leaving the garden to experience creation as individual parts.
Although most everything in our human experience tells us we are separate, independent beings, in reality we are still an integral part of the ‘whole’ from which we were created. And this is the origin of all sin—that we do not recognize ourselves as intimately tied to everyone else. We cannot know peace when wars rage elsewhere on the planet. We cannot be well while others starve. We cannot experience wholeness while others lack because our fates are inseparably tied. The original sin is about the illusion of separation, and it is central to our earthly experience. But Jesus reunites us with each other and with God. In the words of Paul, “…there is no longer male and female; for you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28b). And when we leave this earth, we are reunited with the whole from which we came, with the knowledge of good and evil in tow…
This creation-story exploration began with a look at how male and female humans are related. That led to a look at the “opposites” of creation. In preceding weeks I’ve noted that we are attracted to others who are complementary to us, those who help make us whole. Male and female are not opposites, but they manifest various gradations of a single trait. What is that trait? I suggest it is Godliness. We were created male and female in the image of God and that image cannot be complete without the reuniting of the parts.
Life worship is downtown at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the Sanctuary. Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:00 and 11:00.
Come home to church this Sunday. Reclaim your unity with the family of God!
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator