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Monday, September 17, 2007
..the last enemy to be destroyed
So many assume that disobedience was the first sin, and representative of every bad choice that we might do thereafter.

Adam/Eve didn't know that to disobey was bad though, remember? They didn't make any knowing choice and by all standards were therefore unaccountable.

After they ate the fruit, they lost love for themselves (evidenced by shame) and lost faith in God's unconditional love (evidenced by fear). They became aware of the commandment in a new light and concluded that they were bad. They couldn't love themselves through their mistake, so they didn't expect God to either. That doesn't make any of it true!

What it did make true, was that they were disconnected from God because they were disconnected from love. "God is love" (1 John 4:8). That means that they were dead! (Just like God warned - imagine that.)

God, who is represented as a loving father biblically, then is strolling through the garden and doesn't see his children anywhere. Concerned (NOT enraged imo), he inquires (NOT booms imo), "Where are you?" If your own children were hiding because they had just painted their rooms with ketchup, you would still wonder where they were. If you were accustomed to their little voices and laughter, you might grow concerned by their silence.

They were disabled and did not reveal their true selves to God, they did not stop believing the lies that they were telling themselves. They didn't truly come clean and open up.

Rather than shouting "What have you done!!", God will have immediately known the consequences for their actions. If our children drank poison, we wouldn't flare our nostrils and shout. We would sound concerned and plugged in, "Oh no! What have you done?!" Why wouldn't God who paints himself as a parent sound loving and soft in his concern as well?

Are the struggles found in our own childhood interfering with our hearing God in a functional way?

God then tells them what was going to happen because of what they had done. Always concerned for them, and knowing the fig leaves not to be such a great covering for his shame ridden and fear filled children, he dressed them in animal skins.

They will have passed their own dysfunctional thinking on to their children. In 1 John 3:11-14 the people were compelled by the author to love one another, and not to be as Cain, who killed his brother because his own works were evil. Hebrews 11:4-6 says that Abel's sacrifice was offered by faith.. BY faith. It was his faith that made his offering righteous. Cain lacked faith, and so his offering was a lesser sacrifice. In Jude 1:11, the "way of Cain" was to err in the likeness of Balaam for gain.

Remember Balaam? His "ass" spoke to him, after he beat it. He was willing to be hired to curse Israel, though through him God would declare otherwise. He would find himself reciting words that very closely resembled that which God said to Cain, "God is not a man that He should lie, or a son of man that He should repent. Has He said, and shall He not do it? And has He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19).

("If you do well, is there not exaltation? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is toward you; but you should rule over it." Genesis 4:7)

Balaam was originally interested in lying for Balak's wages. God's will superceded his own, not allowing him to do so. Rather, Balaam knew that God was not a man that he would lie.

This lie about Israel's curse, will have had many more implications. Israel was enlisted as mediators (Priesthood) and rulers (Kingship) if they kept the covenant made with God.

One of the first reminders to Israel by Jesus was that the law could be summed up in loving God and (the one "like" it), loving your neighbor. How could humanity, having been disconnected from love ever have kept the law?

Cain, lacking in faith, would take the life of his brother similarly to Balaam's desire, so that he could have God for himself. Yet, what was this lacking in faith which drove the people of the bible to wish to obtain God for themselves? Is this not defined in the garden? Is this not the lack of faith in love itself?

There was a grave need for reconnection and the good news was that Jesus was going to do it. A universal resurrection was to take place - just as death entered the world through one man, life would enter through another (Romans 5:12). Just as "all died" in the work of Adam, so "all" would be given life through and by Jesus (1 Cor 15:22).

The world would not be disconnected from love eternally, a Savior had come. Death would be destroyed in that any validation that could be found in the law to believe the lie, was removed. Love actually fulfilled that law in demonstrating righteousness in contrast to it.

The law condemned. Humanity was bound to sin and death through it. The entire point of that law was to make sin known, so that love might be known in comparison to it. It served its' purpose, so we are freed from it, and even by it.

The law was understood as right living. It was the measuring stick for which humanity determined itself "good" or "bad". Love transcends "good" or "bad" in the very same way that we love our own children through their mistakes.

Did God not demonstrate the same?

The sin of believing the lie still abounds. The good news, is that since we were unable to go to God, God has come to us. We are unable to disconnect from God's warm embrace. If only for a fleeting moment, we might all feel that.
posted by Anonymous at 12:26 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 9/17/2007 02:33:00 PM, Blogger Rick

    Just trying to get my mind around this opening statement - "Adam/Eve didn't know that to disobey was bad though, remember? They didn't make any knowing choice and by all standards were therefore unaccountable." Didn't they know that to disobey was "bad", or at least to do something different than bidden might be wrong?

    I think I can track. I'm of the mind that sin is more about finding another standard than God, or reality outside of relationship with Him. So if He said don't do that, but they went beyond that relationship to some other notion, then that was the sin. But I don't know if I need to or have to reconcile that with this opening here - do I?

    Don't like thinking on a Monday :) - thanks alot.

  • At 9/17/2007 04:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anna

    love this. my mind is on fire.

  • At 9/17/2007 04:53:00 PM, Blogger deep_well

    Yes, I hear your concern with the opening statement. This "right/wrong" and "good/bad" mindset is something I have been wrestling with for quite some time. What I am now beginning to realize is that every action results in consequences most of which result in either a healthy or unhealthy impact on ourselves, others, and our relationships.
    All that to say, Adam/Eve's decision to disobey was not so much "bad" but their action resulted in unhealthy consequences due to the impact that it had on them (resulting in shame and fear) and their relationship with God (separation due to their inability to connect with God since they could not overcome their feelings of shame and fear).
    I think it is totally plausible that humans were the ones to attach the qualifiers of "good/bad" and "right/wrong" to actions, when in reality, God is simply desiring a love connection which can only occur when we love ourselves (which is very difficult to do when we are constantly judging our actions by these self imposed standards, and believing the lie).
    This leads into my most recent question concerning the atonement itself. Was it really about forgiving sin, or was it a greater demonstration of God’s perfect love, which in turn should be powerful enough to override humanity’s belief in the lie?

  • At 9/18/2007 08:37:00 AM, Blogger soldiermom

    I think I missed the point here, probably just over my head. But I can't stop thinking....So, if I don't know that I am sinning, somehow the consequences should be different or my actions don't count?

    And what is the "lie"?

  • At 9/18/2007 10:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous


    I think that deep_well said it even better than I.. and deep_well, perhaps that demonstration of love does pardon sin?


    The "lie" that Adam/Eve believed was that they were unworthy of love because they disobeyed and that God would agree. Immediately humanity began to work to be "good" - another deception.

    St. Augustine said, "Love God, then do what you will." If "God is love", then embracing love would naturally result in love's amplification. The old saying is true imo, that you must first love yourself to enable yourself to love others.

    It is impossible to work to prove that you are worthy of love. If it were possible, it would have worked under Moses. The realization that you are loved by God himself, removes the need for that work anyhow.

    Hoping that makes sense..


  • At 9/18/2007 01:11:00 PM, Blogger deep_well

    Could it be that we have distorted the heart of the gospel, and that in reality it can be summed up in "Love covers all transgressions" (Prov. 10:12)
    Amie- The more I think and wrestle with this issue, the more I think you are right. It was the demonstration of love that pardons our sins, and it is our faith in this love that allows us to experience the fullness of life in God's love, free of condemnation.

  • At 9/18/2007 01:38:00 PM, Blogger soldiermom

    Thanks for explaining the lie. I guess I bought into that one! yikes...lots to learn.

    Another question: How do we know if we are acting in love? There have been somethings done to me recently, by faithful followers, who claim it is in "love". Well it does not feel like love to me. So who gets to decide? What does God's love look and feel like?

  • At 9/18/2007 01:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    deep_well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7e3FX2EkOkI


    I think that it's easy to define love and then create a new law out of that defintion. Under the Old Covenant, there was a written law. Israel and Judah have inherited the New Covenant on our behalves as prophesied, so the law is no longer in the form of a letter.

    Heb 10:16 "This is the covenant which I will covenant to them after those days, says the Lord: Giving My Laws on their hearts, and I will write them on their minds;"
    Heb 10:17 also He adds, "I will not at all still remember their sins" and their lawlessnesses. MT-Jer. 31:33, 34

    I say, love has a voice and the heart must be its' podium. Listen to your heart. If it didn't feel like love, it wasn't.


  • At 9/18/2007 02:50:00 PM, Blogger soldiermom


    But it feels like love to them! ;0)

  • At 9/18/2007 06:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous


    It sounds as if the experience wasn't positive for you. Whether or not they think that it is loving, you felt how you felt. From that point, is it loving to continue?

    To minimize your feelings, or to justify their behavior, etc is invalidation.

    There's some really good information on that here http://eqi.org/invalid.htm as well as an extensive list of examples if you scroll down a bit.


  • At 9/18/2007 07:14:00 PM, Blogger Heather W. Reichgott

    Good stuff!

    Do you think there's a positive role for that feeling of being "busted" when we know we've done something wrong, esp. if we've been hiding it?

    The "busted" feeling could be associated with overly punitive parenting, but it doesn't have to be. A good parent (as you're imagining God) won't bust you by hitting you. But she probably won't pat you on the head and say "Oh, poor baby," either.

    It seems like the "busted" feeling is part of shame (which we usually think of as a bad thing)--but also, that's the moment at which we become capable of repentance (a good thing).

  • At 9/19/2007 09:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous


    I agree that a healthy parent would not have sympathy for their child though I see a great deal of room for empathy - "Wow, that's a bummer.."

    I have read about "healthy shame" but I question it. Can we be motivated to change course when we mess up by other factors or even emotions? Can we feel sorrow for some errs without feeling shame?

    That one is still something I'm thinking about. If there is a healthy shame, that will have been a positive gain for humanity from the garden.

    I think that mistakes are important to the learning and growing process. I think it's interesting to explore just how that process takes place.


  • At 9/19/2007 11:44:00 AM, Blogger Janice

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 9/19/2007 01:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    I hear ya Janice,

    I have to wonder how much our reservations have to do with the demonization of our emotions historically. We women being "emotional" was used as a form of invalidation of our input, as well as the denial of emotional male connection.

    We might be driven to do things out of love, that doesn't always mean that they are received as we intended. We are then confronted with another choice.

    Do we invalidate the feelings of another human being? Minimize, rationalize, or factualize away how they felt? Or do we plug in, empathize, and choose a different route?

    (Is soldiermom your daughter?)


  • At 9/19/2007 03:01:00 PM, Blogger Janice

    Sorry - wrong Amie!! (Amy...lol)

    My post won't make sense to you then, I apologize, wich I could go back and edit it but don't think I can. Maybe I will just delete it and say -

    Great OP! I printed it to read for later. And will comment more completely after I've had some time to digest it.

    (and no soldiermom is not my dd...again, REALLY sorry for the confusion)

    Janice *color me red*

  • At 9/19/2007 03:05:00 PM, Blogger Janice

    oh, but will say -- sometimes plugging in and empathizing still can't come across as 'loving' to one who is on the other end. It will come across as something else. And perhaps there is no other route than the one being taken. . . . its not terribly important, just a thought about how things are received. I guess I believe that we can't control how someone receives our words, we can do our best to clarify and 'plug-in' as you say, but with free will and all the baggage others have, we can only do so much in how someone else will receive our words, actions, etc.

    (which is a bit divergent from your original post...I don't want to throw this off on a side tangent)

  • At 9/19/2007 06:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous


    I think that this is relative (and fair) in considering the implications of what I shared originally. I agree with you completely, we cannot control how others receive us. We can control how we present ourselves and how we respond to their feelings.

    Empathizing and plugging in were just suggestions for responses other than invalidation. In hindsight, better wording will have been, "Or do we plug in, empathize, and/or choose a different route?"

    soldiermom brought up what seemed to be a negative experience (I could be misunderstanding). The person or persons were intending their action in love. However, it was not a good experience for her. If she communicated that to them, for them to then continue the same route is to knowingly continue to cause her the same negative experience.

    Another option I guess could even be in discontinuing the interaction?

    I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the original post also.


  • At 9/19/2007 06:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous


    I had another thought. If you were doing something out of love (your motive being loving), and you didn't acheive your goal, why would you continue anyway?

    Just a thought..


  • At 9/20/2007 11:14:00 AM, Blogger Janice

    Hi Amie - in regards your last post -- why would you continue (if goal was not achieved)? I guess sometimes there is a process over time to achieving a goal.

    I appreciate your other post too -- about continuing and it causing a negative experience.

    I wonder, can creating a negative experience for someone be the loving thing to do? Is it really loving to simply disengage or walk away? How does that relate to God and God's interaction with us...?

    (food for thought for myslef....not critiquing your thoughts...ya know?)

  • At 9/20/2007 04:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous


    "I guess sometimes there is a process over time to achieving a goal."

    If you haven't achieved love in that way, I wouldn't think it productive to continue. Einstein said insanity is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." This is not to say that I've never been "insane" and that I'm perfect in my ventures at all times, heh.

    I do not think perpetuating a negative experience for someone is loving them - they could testify to that. I think that it would be unrealistic to think that initial creating those experiences can be avoided for ever and ever amen. We all mess up, we hurt one another unintentionally - we're fallable.

    Walking away isn't always disengaging. Sometimes for example, it's acknowledging the other person's freedom, allowing for growth, and/or sometimes it's taking a moment to reflect.

    I'm not sure what you're asking per it relating to God's interaction with us?

    I'm not taking the conversation as your critiquing my thoughts. I presented a thought of mine for the purpose of conversation, not as a declaration of absolute truth :-).

  • At 9/21/2007 07:45:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    In Christian communities, often judging someone is done, "in love" but it is really wanting someone to conform to an ideal model of behavior or belief [because it is thought to be God's plan/what's best.] There might be an element of genuine love hear, but perhaps more fear-based concern...

  • At 9/21/2007 01:21:00 PM, Blogger Janice

    Hi Amie - thanks. :)

    I understand what you are saying. Just not sure how much I buy into it right at the moment (the idea of perpetuating a negative experience or not)...maybe my difference lies in specific situations (which I can't go into on here)...and I'm sure more reflection on the topic may help too. :)

    Do you believe there is any place for a sort of negative reinforcement (love) ?

    And yes, 'disengaging'can mean 'allowing for another's growth' or any of those other things, reflection, etc. ...taking time apart, away from...to the other person that may be a negative experience too, likened to abandonment...

    I think that loving is sometimes viewed as a negative experience no matter what. on occassion perhaps we're just damned if we do and damned if we don't - all in the name of 'love'. :) I don't know.

    In terms of God, I guess I meant, do you think there are times when God 'disengages' -- walks away, allows for personal growth, takes time to 'reflect'? or Does God ever love us in ways that feel like a negative experience?

    (and thanks for your dialogue, I appreciate it)

    Hugs to you Amie.

  • At 9/21/2007 02:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous


    As parents we give our children negative reinforcement. IE the removal of a priviledge. This readys them for the world in that they are learning "cause and effect".

    If God is the creator of "cause and effect", then there are plenty of learning situations that don't feel loving.

    We grown ups are neither God or one another's parents, we're peers.

    If I were to tell a person, "I feel minimized when you try to force your views on me" (drawing from Jemilla's post), are they loving me by continuing to do it? What need would be being met by the continued effort?

    {{Hugs back}}


  • At 10/01/2007 11:07:00 AM, Blogger Janice

    Amie, I'm just back from a week out of town.....can't comment much other than to say I wasn't really viewing this topic in terms of "pushing views" on someone, but rather in a broader sense.

    Must run - hope to chat more with you another time!

  • At 6/09/2008 06:39:00 PM, Blogger HisGloryFillsTheEarth

    You know your post has me considering, what really separated Adam and Eve from God? Was it the fact that they "disobeyed" or was it something in the actual fruit itself? Or did both aspects have their own long-lasting ramifications? Just wondering aloud.


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