Incarnation and Crucifixion

Interesting discussion in the previous post.  Much of it is over my head.  I’m not really looking to push beyond the bounds of orthodoxy – whatever that means – not saying that any of you are, but you could be.  ;)

As I said in my post on The Future of the Church, I believe that we will begin to see more and more discussions about redefining the gospel, eschatology, and the approach to Scripture.  There is currently an interesting discussion about the gospel at Scot McKnight’s blog.

I prefer to emphasize the simplicity of God’s story.  Yet in many ways the Christian message has not included the essence of God’s intention for creation.  My quest isn’t for knowledge as much as it is for understanding, and of course that being limited by my ability to understand.

Thanks to Paul for his contribution in the comments of the previous post.  At his blog, he is writing an interesting series about Dr. Baxter Kruger’s book, Jesus and the Undoing of Adam.  From Paul’s blog…

“If Adam and Eve had not ‘disobeyed’ would Jesus have come and died for human redemption?”

The Incarnation and death of Jesus was not a response to the failure of Adam and Eve, but an expression of something else much bigger and reflective of the whole purpose of creation.

In Jesus and the Undoing of Adam, Kruger makes the point that the birth, life, death, resurrection was not first a response to sin – a kind of Plan B or Plan C – this way:

The death of Christ is part of a seamless movement that began in eternity with the Father, Son and Spirit and reached fulfillment with the exaltation of the human race in the ascension of Jesus …. If we are to understand why Jesus died, what happened in his death and what it means for us today, we have to go back to eternity, to the astonishing decision of the Father, Son and Spirit to include us in their circle of shared life.  For the reality that drives the coming of Jesus Christ and pushes him to the cross is the restless and determined passion of the Father to have us as His beloved children. The first thing to be said about the death of Jesus Christ is that he died because God the Father almighty loves us with an implacable and undaunted and everlasting love, a love that absolutely refuses to allow us to perish. (p.15)

The Christian God is interested in relationship with us, and not just relationship but union, but such a union that everything he is and has – all glory and fullness, all joy and beauty and unbridled life – is to be shared with us to become as much ours as it is His. The plan from the beginning, in the Christian vision, is that God would give Himself to us, and nothing less, so we could be filled to overflowing with the divine life. (p.17)

Part of what John means when he tells us that Jesus Christ is the Word of God is that there has never been a moment in all eternity when God wanted to be without us. The man Jesus, the incarnate Son, is not an afterthought or afterword. Jesus, the incarnate Son, the humanity of God, is the eternal foreword. The relationship between God and humanity that was hammered out in Jesus Christ was not a second plan. This relationship, this union between God and humanity in Christ, is the plan of God which precedes creation itself. God has always purposed to become flesh. (p.17)

Behind creation, figuring as the driving force of all activity, as the one thought at the forefront of the divine mind and the preoccupation of the heart of God, was the decision to give human beings a place in the circle of the Trinity. Before the blueprints for creation were drawn up, the Father, Son and Spirit set their heart and abounding philanthropy upon us. In sheer grace, the Triune God decided not to hoard the Trinitarian life and glory, but to share it with us, to lavish it upon us. (p.19)

Another, not necessarily contradictory, perspective on substitutionary atonement from Bob Hyatt, What Does It Matter Why Jesus Died?

But without the substitutionary death, there’s certainly no substitutionary life, that is if Jesus didn’t die for me, He most certainly didn’t live for me either, and I’m left to cobble together my own righteousness, rather than understanding that I live in His; that His perfect life, his holiness and righteousness is what I get in the bargain of the cross.

All through the OT, God had promised a Messiah, someone who would come and bring peace, healing, wholeness, and restore justice and fairness. From Genesis, all the way up to the early chapters of Isaiah, this anointed one is talked about. Then you get to the middle part of Is. ch. 40 and on, and he appears- it begins to describe Him, bringing what was promised, bringing salvation to the nations.

But when we hit ch. 53 something tragic, something appalling happens. The one who was supposed to bring an end to violence becomes the victim of violence- the one who was supposed to end injustice becomes its victim. “Pierced” for us.

And the question is- How could this be the Messiah? It contradicts everything else that’s been said about Him to this point! How could the Messiah bring an end to injustice and violence and the brokenness of the world… by being broken Himself?

But… the whole thing begins to make sense when we get our Trinitarian thinking straight… If this is Immanuel, God With Us, then… God in human flesh is the only one who can say- My life is My own and I willingly lay it down- no one takes it from Me. And He laid it down- for us? This isn’t God crushing His unwilling Son- this is the Judge Himself voluntarily taking the place of the guilty condemned.

If God wasn’t going to pay us back for the wrongs we do to each other and to Him, then He was going to have to pay. He would suffer. And the cross, as gruesome as it was, showed that in stark reality. There- for all the world to see, our hatred, our violence, God’s love, God’s forgiveness… God suffering on our behalf.

What do you think?

  • If the incarnation is God’s intention for reconciling creation in Christ, where do evil, sin, and the crucifixion fit in God’s eternal plan?
  • Was sin inevitable or perhaps inherent to humankind?
  • Was redemption ultimately necessary so that our relationship with God would never be based on our own merit?
  • Is redemption about something beyond recovery from the Fall?

18 thoughts on “Incarnation and Crucifixion

  1. Cool … I get to be first ;-)

    Not that I have anything worthy of adding to this. But I think a lot of discussions about “the Fall” and redemption neglect the necessary debate about why it happened.

    I’m not necessarily jumping into predestination; Calvinism or Arminianism or any of that … mostly because I tend towards Pelagian myself.

    Here’s the thing. God made humans with free will; able to make their own choices about whether or not to obey. But the story goes, He created angels with only the capability of worship and obedience. They did not have the ability to choose. So my question has always been … what happened to Lucifer? How did he overcome that created disability? How was it that he was suddenly able to be disobedient and lead other angels to make that same choice? This was a choice they are apparently not able to make … so what’s up with that?

    That’s where the real plot twist is … we’ve spent centuries debating about this and that and the nature of man. But relatively little time wondering about the roots of it … and where that temptation came from. That’s what I spend a lot of time wondering about … what happened to those angels.

  2. Grace, for someone who feels they may be “over my head” you are asking important questions that has taken me too long to ask. In fact, my experience is that typically the more “theologically trained” we are in Western theology the more we are blind to even asking the questions. Let me compliment you!

    That blindness extends the the significance of internalized-shame as a core issue in finding healthy spirituality and relationships. The Western paradigm that “it’s all about legal guilt, forgiveness and justification” makes the wounds of shame transparent or insignificant. The issue of shame is a dominant theme in Scripture but I was blind to it until I saw it. Shame is so paradoxical in that healthy shame is good (helps set moral boundaries), shamelessness is bad (sociopaths) and Internalized-shame is a dis-ease about one’s self that creates hiding, managing impressions, fear of intimacy, self put-downs, rage, etc. The core message of internalized shame is “I (you) are not enough.” The response can range from the extreme of self-sabotaging rejection of love to being driven to the heights of success – but it is never enough.

    There-in lies a key to understanding the dynamics of the story we call the Fall and the source of our actions that are sinful/unloving/evil. If I am “not enough” and want to be enough then I will make “I win-you lose” choices to either be enough or to keep what little I have that makes me feel somewhat enough. Internalized-shame is “the lie” that blinds me to seeing that in the Incarnation we have all been “made enough” in Christ as the Second Adam. Now, it is not about “being enough” but it is about believing I am enough. If I don’t believe “I am loved” then my life goes in one direction; if I believe I am loved” then it can go in another. The “truth” of our adoption – reconciliation does not change but my story must change if I am to step out of the hell I create by believing “I am not enough.”

    One more clarification, as a Trinitarian I do hold to a “substitutionary atonement” but not the “penal substitutionary” theory. That is, as the Second Adam walking through the fear of death in a non-adamic way was part of the Incarnation and representation for all humanity. The penal view suggests that it was to suffer enough punishment for all of humanity’s sin to satisfy God the Father’s need for justification – the cross was to change God’s mind about humanity if they ever have enough faith/trust/acceptance. From my new view point I see the cross as awful, horrible process that the Romans designed primarily as a maximum shame/humiliation-in-public death and that the purpose was not about changing God’s mind about us but to change our mind about the Trinity. It was a demonstration of their extreme love and the extent they would go to not live with us.

    Choose you story.

  3. Good topic during Lent as we approach Easter…

    Okay, let’s get down to the jist of the topic then…

    According to the Genesis account: Adam & Eve disobeyed. Resulted in curses & banishment & death of their physical bodies & maybe their spirits…

    Before they had Cain & Abel that resulted in the first murder, did Jesus, the spotless Lamb, have to die to restore Adam & Eve?

    Let’s just narrow it down to the first 2 people fresh out of the garden. God gives them animal skins to cover their nakedness. Their eyes were opened to know good & evil. They were what is termed ‘fallen’. Degenerate. Hopelessly lost. Sinful. Corrupted. Carnal. Sick. Twisted. Whatever or however it is you ‘see’ their condition theologically…

    Okay, are they in need of a Savior? One that would have to die a cruel death to restore whatever it is that is understood as being lost or aborted or never achieved? Did Adam & Eve need Jesus to die for them?

    Conversely then, what was it that Jesus could offer them if He was indeed the Lamb sacrificed from the creation of the world?

    Does Abel & Cain’s offerings later in the story apply here? But just for Adam & Eve now, would Jesus have to die to restore or buy back or mitigate divine wrath or heal the rift that took place once they ‘sinned’?

    Was Adam+Eve’s sin/fall sufficient to warrant Jesus’ suffering+death+resurrection?

    Was it necessary at that very moment? Or did ‘sinfulness’ have to reach a saturation point sometime later in history for this to be the plan of salvation?

    Were humans hopelessly lost at that moment? I have heard it said by well-meaning evangelical types that Jesus would have been willing to die just for you if you were the only person that needed to be ‘saved’…

    Is that a true statement? I think it rather overinflated IMHO, but that is a commonly heard explanation of the love of God…

    Did Jesus have to die for Adam & Eve at that very moment in history? Ready, willing & fully committed to such a scenario to restore or buy back or pay the penalty for their sin so reconciliation could be offered?

  4. “Was redemption ultimately necessary so that our relationship with God would never be based on our own merit? ”

    Revelation 5 speaks of when “they sang a new song….by your blood you ransomed people for God….”. I think this is an infinitely joyful song. I have tasted the joyful song very little down here but the little has been immensely joyful. Redemption should transform our songs! I wouldn’t want it any other way – and I believe when we get to heaven we’ll be very happy!!!!!!!!

  5. Paul
    I agree with all of what you say.The death of Jesus was not to placate a judicial God but a demonstration of God’s nature and an undoing of the violent/religious mechanisms that demand blood sacrifice.We in our ‘evangelical’ belief system have the whole thing the wrong way round.We are screwed and disfunctional but already forgiven.That is the nature of God.My thoughts anyway.

  6. By the way Grace in my experience orthadoxy is what the controllers use to keep the seekers in line.There was no orthadoxy for the first 300 years of Christianity until Constantine knocked the theologians heads together to form an orthadoxy that suited his political ends.The Greeks would have none of it and went off and did their own thing even to today they have a completely different slant on what Christ has done – victory over death rather than our Roman originated hang up with sin and its punishment.Keep the discussion going!

  7. [additional musings…]

    The book of Hebrews used to explain that blood is necessary to satisfy God’s righteous judgment of sin. By blood, it means death—either death of the sinner, or death of a substitute. In the OT, the substitutes were bulls & goats sacrificed on the Day of Atonement. But these sacrifices merely looked forward to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Jesus’ death seen as necessary to atone for our sins as our substitute, because we, being sinners, could not do it ourselves. If Jesus had not died, we would still be dead in our sins (lost?). Suffering was not the point. Jesus did not mean to impress us with His suffering & it is not our own suffering that saves us. We are saved by the pure Grace of God, who provided everything we needed & even provides the faith it takes for us to repent and believe in Him.

    For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.

    …because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, “You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.”

    But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat. Leviticus

    Without developing an extensive systematic look at how blood is viewed from God’s perspective, let me refer to these passages which life & blood are connected. This association can be viewed this way: offering a sacrifice results in the ‘life’ being released from the creature that is subsequently offered to God. This is what is pleasing, not the death of the victim. So, the sacrificial aspect of atonement not dependent upon a creature dying in place of the worshiper but rather on the life being set free from the body which is offered to God. Could it be it is not the suffering & dying of Jesus that is the atonement, but his life poured out for us?

    All OT offerings an act of worship, not simply penance. Restitution/Punishment directives not the same as offerings. Blood also used to cleanse as the author of Hebrews states: In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.


    How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

    Jesus’ blood then cleansing & rejuvenating our minds. Cleansing us from acts that lead to death, not taking away death already assigned as a sentence…

    Just a point here that takes something we usually perceive as negative; sin, death, punishment, etc. & viewing it instead from the positive; Life released, offered, poured out which results in a right spirit restored within us. A right way of thinking. It restored to us the character Adam forfeited that allows us to serve, obey & please the Father just like Jesus did…

    I’m not convinced that Jesus’ death, per se, was necessary to atone for our sins, individual, collective or original. God had already decided that He wanted to bridge the gulf between us. He invested a portion of His Being in a human body, Jesus, but maybe for reasons other than to be a “substitutionary sacrifice”.

    I do not believe that Jesus was ‘required’ to die in order to appease God’s wrath or pay for some penalty we were incapable of paying ourselves. From my perspective, Jesus did not take my place on a cruel cross.

    He came so that we may have life; life to the full! God’s eternal quality of life, not the limited existence type we had from our earthly father Adam. A life of frustration subject to a futile cycle of extreme self-centeredness & self-preservation.

    Now it just so happens that to offer Himself as the source of a more perfect sacrifice, He did have to die. His blood needed to be ‘poured out’. But in all the references to Jesus being crucified, it is people that are the named conspirators, not God. ‘We’, collectively as Adam’s progeny, murdered the Heir. The Spotless Lamb. The exact representation of the Father. God in human flesh…Immanuel…

    We expressed the worst we could represent. All of our sinfulness heaped upon Him that knew no sin. We did it. We were culpable. And He forgave us while the mob’s earlier words were fulfilled: “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”

    Jesus’ death was certainly foreseeable, as His ministry was a threat to the powerful of the region. And maybe it was “necessary” for Him to be executed, to put an exclamation point at the end of His incarnation—would the story of His death & resurrection have been as compelling to the world if He had died years later from cancer or cholera?

    I suppose I could rephrase grace’s original question: was it necessary for ‘us’ to kill the One from heaven?

    Well, in order for sin to be shown as utterly sinful, it had to perform the most heinous act of conspiracy, betrayal & miscarriage of justice. And Jesus absorbed it all. We meant it for harm. He offered His blood as the divine transfusion for the world. What was meant for evil, God accepted as the best. And so He forgave all mankind for something we didn’t know we were doing. And that was the joy that was set before Him…

    I think Jesus dying of cancer or cholera or AIDS would have made a statement. But not sufficient enough to bestow life to the ones in desperate need of it. And we had to take it in the manner which we did to make us all complicit in that act. In so doing we heaped upon our heads & that of our children life giving blood of divine quality…

  8. Some interesting thoughts Joseph.A lot of them are based on the book of Hebrews which seems to take the ‘sacrificial’ theology of Judaism and overlays it on Christ’s death.Many of the other New Testament writings do not go as far as this.The writer pushes the once and for all angle and declares the end of future sacrifices,I believe the death of Christ can be seen as a sacrifice but not on the ‘substitutionary atonement’ model of conservative evangelicalism.Political and religious power put Christ on the cross.They still do today to many of God’s children.We buy into the idea of redemptive violence and our just wars.God used the fruit of our violence to expose this holy looking mechanism that beats at the heart of society.Kill the scapegoat and all will be well again.That is what Pilate and Caiaphas believed.The shock is we have made God Himself our scapegoat.Jesus has exposed this mechanism which hides under the veneer of respectability and is the essence of our ‘sin’.By the way you should read some of British Theologian Margaret Barker works.She believes Jesus saw Himself as the true High Priest of Israel and the one to bring restoration and wholenesss to God’s broken world.She is the world’s leading expert on the Book of Enoch that was common at the time of Christ and which tapped into the Solomon Temple tradition a mystical form of Judaism which wa more concerned with experience of God rather than Torah based faith.She believes Jesus came out of this tradition hence the conlict with the Torah based Pharisees etc.
    Sorry about that little diversion.

  9. Joseph,

    Kind of a central though in your post is: “I do not believe that Jesus was ‘required’ to die in order to appease God’s wrath or pay for some penalty we were incapable of paying ourselves. From my perspective, Jesus did not take my place on a cruel cross. ”

    Your position is quite well thought and written out, but it shades what I condiser to be the brightness of other texts that seem to contradict this thought:

    Isaiah 53:4-6 – “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

    Romans 8:3, 4 – “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature,God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”

    2 Corinthians 5:21 – “God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

    These are just a few passages that came immediately to my mind. Even by attempting to shuck my ‘Western paradigm’ – the message seems very clear; Jesus bore the record of our (my) sin when He bore our (my) punishment and shed His blood on the cross.

    How do you account for these texts?

  10. Ken:

    We can’t ignore those scriptures. We can’t ignore any of the seemingly contrary or 2-sided references that are used to either support or refute certain theological conclusions. We can’t do it & remain intellectually honest. I will not make lite of their importance or how they are presented by the writers we believe were penning God’s thoughts/words.

    Not sure how learned theologians would diagram it out, but my understanding of Jesus ‘absorbing’ all of sin’s poison is what I would envision these verses trying to communicate more than God’s making Jesus ‘sin’ in the literal sense. Not sure that Jesus could become sin according to Paul’s statement. He did indeed carry it all according to Isaiah’s poetic verses: all the result of our sinful condition.

    I see Jesus ‘entering’ into our humanity. The human condition. Our sinful condition. Became for us the antidote for our mortality. He took it upon Himself. Seems the only way to do so was to experience the cruelty of rejection, betrayal, conspiracy & brutal capital punishment as a guiltless victim. A spotless Lamb. But since He gave His life so that His blood was shed, it was this offering that become life for us. We received His blood poured out upon us all. It was absorbed into the earth just like Abel’s was. Was it God’s orchestration of the details of Jesus’ suffering & death? God is somehow culpable? I think the Godhead knew what it was getting into & Jesus came willingly knowing the end result of His sojourn here on earth. Not sure it was God the Father ordering the event to mitigate His own wrath though.

    I will add more thoughts later if the convo keeps going…

  11. Thanks, that gives a litle clarity and honestly relates the remaining mystery of God’s ways. If God is indeed The Sovereign, then it is impossible for Him to be culpable in any matter.

    I would like to say this about Grace’s choices of texts from Dr. Kruger’s book; I am absolutley facinated with the additional depth he gives to the gospel. I never deeply contemplated the fact that post-Calvary humanity would have such a deeper, much more intimate relationship with God than did pre-Fall Adam. That Adam’s created condition wasn’t the highest purpose God had for humanity – even though God saw that it was very good. I am deeply spiritually stimulated to know that God’s plan of restoration went much deeper than restoring us to our original condition. We will forever be “in Christ” – God sharing “the Trinitarian life and glory” with us – something Adam never experienced before the Fall. For me it throws light on Paul’s gospel – passages like Romans 6:3-8, 2 Cor. 5:1-5, Gal. 2:20, Eph. 1: 19-23, Col 3:1-4, etc. and makes it very congruent with Jesus’ gospel – particularly John 14. Good news indeed!

  12. sonja,
    I don’t know. I guess I always believed there was choice. A related question would be about the pre-existence of evil in creation. Perhaps that factored into the need and plan for crucifixion before the occurance of the fall.

    Yes, it always boils down to exchanging the Truth for a lie, the truth about God, the truth about ourselves, and the truth about ourselves in relation to Him.

    The cross is a beautiful expression of Jesus entering into the depths of our sin, darkness, and pain. It is an incredible act of sacrifice to reconcile us to Himself.

    Thank you for the introduction to Kruger. I am sadly surprised that I never heard of him before.

    If Jesus was slain before the foundation of the world, then His death includes restoration for Adam and Eve and all mankind.

    I would say that at the point of the fall (actually before because He apparently already knew), God was willing to do what was needed to restore relationship with man.

    Also, however this happened, it would seem that the failure of Adam opened the door for all of the evil and fallenness on the earth.

    I agree with you that people were culpable, the conspirators in Jesus’ crucifixion, and out of that evil, God brilliantly provided for our reconciliation.

    Well, hopefully everyone can fend for themselves as far as not falling into a heretical ditch. ;)

    Good thoughts. The Kruger quotes are from Paul’s blog. I never heard of him before, but plan to check into his books. I agree that it is congruent with Jesus’ and Paul’s gospel and also resolves some areas where their gospels have been said to conflict.

    Everyone, thanks for following me on this rabbit trail. I think the question I was driving at was, if Adam had not sinned, would Jesus have died? My conclusion at the moment…

    I believe He would have lived and that adoption would be fulfilled in His ascension.

    Without the Fall, perhaps his death would not have been needed, I don’t know.

    However, after the fact, it’s a bit of a ridiculous question.

    What if it’s 2009, and everyone has lived perfectly until now, and it’s up to you to live a blameless life? :)

    Thanks for the conversation. Feel free to continue it if you’d like. I’ll be posting more Kruger quotes later this week and maybe next week.

  13. Grace, glad you found Kruger. I am attending his April 17 – 19 weekend that includes Paul Young (The Shack), Malcolm Smith (Unconditional Love Ministries) and Ken Blue (Healing Spiritual Abuse) and Kruger.

    The discussion reaffirms that “Point of view makes all the difference.” If we do not read Paul’s gospel (earlier than the Gospels) and use it to interpret the Gospels we wind up making the penal satisfaction atonement theory seem so reasonable – but we have to make Paul’s “all” into “not all” (Rom 5:18). Reading from Paul’s emphasis on “adoption” as the purpose of creation makes the Gospel story very different.

    Alas, no one reads without interpretation. It’s like the arrow in the FedEx logo – if you see it you do and if you don’t you just don’t . Truth can be hiding in plain sight so there is little room for arrogance about “being right.”

  14. Not to add any more of the already theoretical ponderings, but really, if Jesus were indeed the “Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” it seems all bases were covered no matter what the outcome of Eden’s 2-tree test…

    Seems in the High Heavenly Holy Temple Jesus did offer His blood as the spotless Lamb before it was needed. The Tabernacle & Temple of the Israelites just a pattern after the original in heaven, so it seems Jesus however it can be understood already slain regardless of Adam+Eve’s choices or the choices of their progeny…

    Regarding the Genesis account of creation: I don’t think the earth was ‘perfect’. Good doesn’t necessarily mean without flux or instability. It was raw & wild. The only divine ecological order was in the Garden. And man was to manage it as God would have wanted.

    I do not believe man was perfect either. I do believe he was spiritually naive. Character had to be forged in him. He had to learn; he did not possess all wisdom & knowledge. He had to obey. He had to reflect the characteristics of his Creator who came to fellowship with him in the cool of the day.

    And a few considerations regardless if you believe the Genesis account literal or proverbial: a sinless state/condition is a reference point we cannot compare with. And what about the Adam+Eve parentage? Seems all of humanity was ‘contained’ in these 2 progenitors of our race. All potential humans wrapped in Adam+Eve’s primordial DNA? Why have Adam+Eve’s response to the don’t-eat-of-the-tree edict only apply to them? Have them kicked out of the Gareden but let in their children to be tested? And even if Adam+Eve passed the original test does that mean other tests would have followed?

    Were Adam+Eve naïve? I believe so. Seems they had much to learn. And the ‘constant’ presence of God is not implied in the story. Seems He was not a permanent Visitor to Eden. And then we have talking serpents! What’s up with that? Having conversations limited to either God or another creature seems to indicate a built-in desire to communicate. Somehow a talking serpent was just another new discovery in their Garden home. God wasn’t there providing discernment. Eve was on her own. She had to assess the situation according to the information at her disposal. She may have felt secure within the dominion role she had. Interacting with a fellow creature serpent simply a lord-to-creature exchange that may have been out-of-the-ordinary but part of the newness factor. Maybe Adam+Eve actually spoke to the animals as they directed them to certain tasks within the Garden. You know, like Narnia. Anyway, not knowing anything but the existence they experienced, theoretical “what-ifs” may not have had the same weight they have with us. After all, we now know only too well “good & evil”—Eve only knew good up until that fateful bite…

    So, on the one hand Adam+Eve enjoyed divine fellowship in the cool of the day & we get to have constant fellowship now that we have the indwelling Holy Spirit. Unlike the children of the first Adam, the children of the Last Adam benefit in a manner Adam & Eve did not…

  15. I liked this question Grace:

    “Is redemption about something beyond recovery from the Fall?”

    Maybe redemption is not so much about sin.. maybe it is about God reclaiming ownership of a people and about that people proclaiming that belonging?

  16. Yes Bob, that’s similar to what I’ve been thinking. It is about everything God does to restore relationship with the people He sees as His own and about our ability to realize and recognize our belonging to Him. Selah. ;)

  17. I personally am attracted to the C.S. Lewis interpretation that says that Jesus died as a ransom paid to Satan, not to appease an angry Father. The fact that scripture uses the word “ransom” is interesting, because evangelical teaching seems to make it all a good cop/bad cop situation with the Father being the bad cop, and Jesus being the good cop. Jesus protects us from an angry Father.

    I just can’t buy that anymore. How can I have a relationship with a Father who had to be calmed down before He could even talk to me or look at me? That sounds less than ideal.

    However, if we look at the notion of a loving Father who was willing to give his own son to rescue us from the death to which we had given ourselves, then a relationship with him starts to make sense.

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