Sunday, September 6, 2020

Gods First Idea

           Before we leave the garden let me call your attention to a few things. First, God comes calling. Second, when God doesn’t see the couple God asks ‘where are you?’. Third, the couple responds “we are naked, afraid, hiding”. Let’s take them one at a time. 

            First, God comes walking about in the cool evening breeze. God enjoys God’s creation and invites creation to enjoy God as well. Second, God calls. God respects the couples fear (and shame), drawing them out rather than barging in. Third, ‘becoming like God’ turns out not to be like God at all. 

            God’s response may seem a little surprising-God covers their shame with animal skins. This was God’s free gift. Some sacrifice must have been involved-where else would the skins have come from-nevertheless this was a compassionate, merciful act. However, lest humankind live forever in this broken state, God banishes them from the garden (but not from God’s presence). Humanity will eventually return to the dust from which we were created. This too is an act of compassion and mercy. We will die so that we may be reborn-the perishable becoming imperishable, mortality putting on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). The whole event points ahead to the cross. 

            Which brings me to my final garden thought. Hidden in the garden story is the idea that God’s purpose all along-God’s ‘first idea’-was Jesus’ incarnation. Jesus’ coming was not a response, it was the plan from the beginning. Remember this-we will come back to it later when we consider Paul and the cross. For now, let me finish with this quote from Fr. Richard Rohr: “In other words, God’s “first idea” and priority was to make the Godself both visible and shareable.” (Richard Rohr; The Universal Christ). Next up-Abram.

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