Even though the fall of man was the fault of human beings, people feel that God should be doing something about it. People sense that we cannot solve the problem ourselves because there is no one pure enough or good enough. And God has been working his providence to save his children to restore or put right the mistakes that were made. This is the history of religion. To understand it we have to understand the principles that can be uncovered in the Bible. These Principles are based on the Principles that we explored in the lecture on the Principle of Creation.
To answer such ultimate questions or to try to explain such mysteries religions use myths. To call something a myth doesn’t mean it isn’t true. On the contrary it is a way of exploring and transmitting spiritual truths. Many levels of interpretation.
The story or myth of A&E
The Bible contains many genres of writing. Some is historical, some wisdom literature, some poetry, some myth etc. To take it all literally at face value is to misunderstand it. Have to be discerning. Prayerfully interpret it, guided by reason, tradition and the Holy Spirit. So let us examine and unpick the metaphors and symbols in the story. Detective work
Also II Peter 2:4 Michael casting Lucifer out of heaven
Now God had told A&E that you must not eat the fruit. Also they would die on the SAME day as they ate of it. In other words NOT 80 years later. So physical death not a result of the fall but is natural. They didn’t die the same day so it obviously wasn’t a literal poisonous fruit. So what was it?
The fruit is symbolic – real fruit could cause stomach ache but not sin. What does ‘fruit’ symbolise in the Bible?
Song of Songs – love poetry between bride and bridegroom. Here the bride is talking about her bridegroom. Tree = man; Fruit – literal? Slang, euphamism, for love
Bridegroom speaking. Locked garden = virgin. Again fruits = love
Bride talking – what fruit is she inviting bridegroom to eat? Apple tree – giving birth
In the advice that a father gives to his son he warns him about prostitutes and their activities. In this advice eating is used as a metaphor for having sex.
Is adultery an eating disorder? Again eating a metaphor for sex
If you eat an unripe fruit it leads to stomach ache. If you wait till it is ripe it is very enjoyable to eat and life giving. God gave commandment to protect A&E God wanted Adam and Eve to eat the fruit when they had grown up and matured. Then he would have blessed them in divine marriage and they would have consummated their marriage. They would have experienced God’s love in their marriage relationship and would have experienced the deepest ecstacy and joy in their sexual relationship. The children of such a marriage would have been sinless and good.
The happiest day for God would have been seeing his children happily married and having a happy family
Rewind to see what happened
The sin of the archangel was fornication. With whom?
Offering fruit to Eve was having sexual relationship
After the fall they were ashamed of their nakedness. Little boy caught eating biscuit -> covers his mouth. Adam and Eve covered sexual organs not their mouths. After eating the fruit A&E felt dirty, guilty. No joy.
Main cause of broken homes is misuse of love. Adultery destroys marriage -> divorce and break up of family
This is what should have happened. A&E should have grown to maturity to be incarnation of the word of God. As such they would have won the respect of Lucifer who would have joyfully become their servant. He would have realised that God dwelled in A&E and by serving them he could serve God. God wanted A&E to be Lords of Creation including lord of angels. I Cor. 8:3 “Do you not know that we are to judge the angels?” God loved Lucifer very much and he basked in God’s glory. However, God loved A&E as his children. L didn’t think they deserved it. He thought God had made a mistake.
Irenaeus was the first theologian of the Catholic Church, Bishop of Lyons AD 160 and important link between east and west churches. Eastern Orthodox Churches follow Irenaeus in believing A&E created immature. Augustine in 5 th century suggested they were created perfect and fully formed – Michaelangelo depiction follows Augustine. Jesus also ‘increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God’ Luke 2:52
Lucifer very arrogant. He thought God had made a mistake. He thought he was better than Adam and Eve. He didn’t respect A& E and refused to bow to them. Instead he wanted to control them and replace God as their parent. The way to gain control of them and take the place of God was to make them break the commandment and engage is a love relationship with him. FALLEN NATURE Lucifer saw Adam from own point of view. Self centred. Couldn’t respect. Didn’t see A&E as God’s children but as rivals. Envy. Refused to bow down. 2. Left position as servant of God. Wanted to replace God Frank Tallis, the author of Love Sick, describes jealousy as ﾒ a necessary condition of love because its absence suggests indifference and impartiality: a level of detachment that we cannot reconcile with passion and desire ﾓ .
After she ate the fruit Eve realised that she had sinned and felt guilty and cut off from God. Her eyes had been opened – she had lost her innocence. She realised that Adam was supposed to be her husband and not Lucifer.
Lucifer felt that God loved Adam and Eve more than him. Even though he continued to be loved by God as much as he was before he felt jealous. Like all things created by God he wanted to be closer to God and receive more love. This is like Jesus’ parable about the labourers who worked all day and were angry that they received the same wages as people who had worked for just an hour even though they received what was promised at the start of the day. Lucifer didn’t think Adam and Eve deserved to loved more than him. At the same time he was drawn towards Eve because she was so beautiful and radiant as she was loved so much by God. Eve was attracted to Lucifer because he appeared to be so sophisticated especially compared to Adam. Lucifer, who was much older, enjoyed the attention he received from Eve and wanted to have her for himself. He envied Adam and didn’t think he deserved Eve. So he drew Eve towards himself and realised he could bring her under his influence. He then persuaded her to eat the fruit knowing that through this he would gain power and control over her. He did this by talking her into bed, confusing and undermining her conscience with clever arguments. He told her half- truths just like a modern drug pusher. Eve was persuaded that by eating the fruit she would become like God – a half truth. FALLEN NATURE. Reversal of dominion The temptation Lucider approached Eve alone. Not A&E. isolated her. Made her engage in autonomous rational discussion. Caricatured God’s commandment. You may not eat of ANY fruit. Eve responds failing to quote commandment accurately. Garbled and exagerated. May not TOUCH -> divine commandment unreasonable. Tells won’t be harmed => what can be wrong? Consenting adults etc. Gave into lust cos looked good Jesus by contrast responded with word of God Fallen nature of Lucifer. Passed on to Eve then Adam
So she offered Adam and fruit
Adam instead of saying “No” allowed himself to be tempted and seduced by Eve and also ate the fruit. As a result both of them became cut off from God. When God questioned Adam, he didn’t own up and take responsibility for what he had done. Instead he blamed Eve – i.e. said that she controlled him. When God questioned Eve, she didn’t own up and take responsibility for her actions. Instead she blamed Lucifer i.e. claimed that she was controlled by Lucifer. In other words she wasn’t a free person. FALLEN NATURE Multiplication of Sin
Blessings became curses. People born damaged, spiritually deformed. Original sin – easier to be bad than to be good
Conflict between husband and wife. Women abused and mistreated throughout history. Men also nagged and dragged down by wives. Conflict between parents and children – generation gap – child abuse etc. Familial problems expand to social and world conflict. Ultimately Satan’s lineage – Satan’s habits and way of life. “You are of your Father the devil and your will is to do your Father’s desires”. Satan’s lineage
People dominated by creation – materialism, consumerism also neglect and exploitation of environment
God foresaw the possibility of the fall and so to protect and guide his children he gave the commandment with clear explanation of consequences of breaking it. If God had prevented fall he would have been interfering in human responsibility – which would show lack of respect for them. How does a teenager feel is treated as a child? Heart of God – heart of creation, heart of fall, heart of restoration and reconciliation. If the father had not allowed the son to have his inheritance and insisted he stay at home, the father would have kept the son’s body but lost his heart. The son’s heart and mind would be in the city. God gives people the freedom to be responsible, to make mistakes and hopes we will learn from them.
Sexual sin corrupts the soul and the heart. It is an act against God who is love.
The human condition People Conscience Evil mind Goodness, joy Evil, guilt Struggle
<ul><li>“ I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is in my flesh. I can will what is right but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” </li></ul><ul><li>Romans 7:15-19 </li></ul>
The mystery of evil <ul><li>If everything God created was good, where does evil come from? </li></ul><ul><li>If God is good, almighty and knows what is going on, why does He allow people to suffer? </li></ul>
Biblical language Much of the Bible is written in metaphor and symbol. We need to understand how the people who wrote it understood it. E.g. A tree is a symbol for a person “ For the vineyard of the Lord is the House of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting . . .” Proverbs 11:30 “ I am the vine, you are the branches.” John 15:5
What was the serpent? Serpent Symbol? Literal? “ Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made.” Genesis 3:1
<ul><li>“ And that great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world; he and his angels were thrown down with him.” </li></ul><ul><li>Revelation 12:9 </li></ul>Serpent = Devil = Angel Lucifer
God’s commandment <ul><li>“ You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” </li></ul><ul><li>Genesis 2:16-17 </li></ul>
What was the fruit? Fruit Symbol? Literal? “ Here and understand: not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Matthew 15:10-11
Fruit in the Old Testament <ul><li>“ As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” Song of Solomon 2:3-5 </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a garden locked, a fountain sealed. Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits.” </li></ul><ul><li>Song of Solomon 4:12-13 </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits.” Song of Solomon 4:16 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Under the apple tree I awakened you. There your mother was in travail with you.” Song of Solomon 8:3 </li></ul>
Eating a metaphor for sex <ul><li>“ And to him who is without sense she says, ‘Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.’ But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.” </li></ul><ul><li>Proverbs 9:16-18 </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ This is the way of the adulteress, she eats, and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I have done no wrong.’” </li></ul><ul><li>Proverbs 30:20 </li></ul>
The meaning of the fruit <ul><li>Trees multiply through fruit </li></ul><ul><li>People multiply through love </li></ul><ul><li>The fruit represents sexual love </li></ul>
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil The tree could produce either good or evil fruit depending on whether love was God-centred or self-centred ‘ To know’ a woman - a Biblical metaphor for sex
When should the fruit be eaten? The fruit Mature and married Immature and unmarried Goodness Suffering God gave the commandment to protect Adam and Eve
What should have happened? <ul><li>Adam and Eve should have achieved individual maturity – the First Blessing </li></ul><ul><li>Then God would have blessed them in divine marriage – the Second Blessing </li></ul><ul><li>Then would have had children and established a happy family </li></ul>
What did happen? <ul><li>Adam and Eve had children – Cain and Abel </li></ul><ul><li>It was not a loving family – Cain murdered Abel </li></ul><ul><li>Adam and Eve did not have a happy marriage </li></ul><ul><li>Adam and Eve had a sexual relationship without being blessed by God in marriage </li></ul><ul><li>Adam and Eve did not fulfil the First Blessing before they had a sexual relationship </li></ul>
What was the sin of the angel? <ul><li>“ Remember too the angels, how some of them were not content to keep the dominion given to them but abandoned their proper home; and God has reserved them for judgement on the great Day, . . . Remember Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbouring towns; like the angels, they committed fornication and followed unnatural lusts; . . .” </li></ul><ul><li>Jude 6-7 </li></ul>
What was the sin of Lucifer? <ul><li>Lucifer committed fornication – illicit sexual relationship – with Eve </li></ul>
What was the sin of Adam and Eve? <ul><li>Before the Fall: “ And the man and his wife were both naked, and they were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:25 </li></ul><ul><li>After the Fall: “ Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.” Genesis 3:7 </li></ul> Adam and Eve had an illicit sexual relationship
Other evidence that the Fall was an illicit sexual relationship <ul><li>‘ Picking a fruit’ - euphemism for sexual love </li></ul><ul><li>God is love yet sexual love which is holy and wholesome is often thought of as shameful </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual immorality led to the downfall of great men and nations </li></ul><ul><li>Many social problems traced to broken homes </li></ul>
Rebellion in heaven <ul><li>“ How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low. You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; . . . I will make myself like the Most High.’” Isaiah 14:12-14 </li></ul>
God’s heart was broken <ul><li>God lost object of his love, the very purpose for which He had created the universe </li></ul><ul><li>Infinite love infinite grief, sorrow, hurt </li></ul><ul><li>God was betrayed by Lucifer whom He had trusted to take care of His children </li></ul><ul><li>God screaming at what happened to His children </li></ul><ul><li>God weeps at the way His world is </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ You shall say to them this word: ‘ Let my eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease , for the virgin daughter of my people is smitten with a great wound, with a very grievous blow. If I go into the field, behold, those slain by the sword! And if I enter the city, behold, the diseases of famine.’” Jeremiah 14:17-18 </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart .” Genesis 6:5-6 </li></ul>
Loss of the First Blessing Conflict between spirit and flesh People born with original sin “ You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.” John 8:44 Object Subject Addiction Greed Laziness Lust Dishonesty Contradictory nature Good inclination vs evil inclination Sinful Person Mind Body Satan
Loss of the Second Blessing “ I will greatly multiply your pain in child-bearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.” Genesis 3:16 Unfaithfulness Abuse Tyranny Violence Society Nation World Fallen Family Adam Satan Eve
Loss of the Third Blessing “ Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you.” Genesis 3:17-19 Materialism Consumerism Environmental degradation Hell Person Creation Satan
How was the fall possible? <ul><li>God wanted children not robots </li></ul><ul><li>God wanted relationships of love </li></ul><ul><li>Love has to be freely and spontaneously given </li></ul><ul><li>God gives His children freedom </li></ul><ul><li>With freedom comes the possibility of evil </li></ul>
Why didn’t God prevent the Fall? <ul><li>God gave the commandment </li></ul><ul><li>God respects us </li></ul><ul><li>The Parable of the Prodigal Son </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: ‘Sons have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its owner, and the ass its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people does not understand .’” Isaiah 1:2-3 </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to Baals, and burning incense to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of compassion, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke of their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.” Hosea 11:2-4 </li></ul>
Immorality the worst sin <ul><li>“ Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?” </li></ul><ul><li>I Corinthians 6:18-19 </li></ul>