Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Paradise? Lost?

I hate decision making. I hate it in the same way I  dislike most things I'm not good at, I suppose. Thinking about the decision-making leads me to think about the original decision: to eat or not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The original decision, in my opinion, was a trap. It is one of those things that leads me to question God's motives.

The phrase "Persian flaw" refers to the practice rug makers in Persia to intentionally weave an imperfection into the pattern of each rug. This flaw signified the truth that only God can create perfection. The forbidden tree in the center of the Garden seems to be Eden's Persian flaw.

Granted, God never called Eden "perfect" or "paradise". That is a human attribution. My question to the people who call Eden paradise would be how can you have paradise when sitting right in the middle of it is what amounts to a self-destruct button.

The only thing special about Eden was the overwhelming sense of order and God's bodily presence. Regardless, I have to ask why He bothered to put the Tree in the Garden, at all? And, why in the center of the Garden?

It wasn't to tempt Adam and Eve. The Bible says that God doesn't tempt us. But he definitely forced a choice - a nearly constant choice - just the same. God's challenge in planting the tree was, as Pastor Bob Purdue put it, for them to walk past that tree everyday "and choose life." Purdue also noted that there's no telling how many times they walked past that tree and chose not to eat from it.

I also question the notion that Eden was "lost." With the reconciliation of the Cross, we return to Eden at least symbolically. We again have the choice to live in a state of God-ordained order with constant access to God's presence. We can have healthy relationships with the people around us. We can subdue the Earth and every natural force that exists on it, including life and death by the power vested in us through the Holy Spirit.

But, just like in the real Eden, we can throw it all away with a decision to step outside of God's will. Unlike the real Eden, we can always come back. There are no angels blocking the entrance to God's will or blocking our access to eternal life. We have a grace that Adam and Eve didn't have, through forgiveness and redemption in Jesus. But that makes it seem almost more arbitrary.


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