Friday, February 28, 2014

The Redemption Story Begins

Talking Animals

Animals can not talk because they have no vocal cords.  That does not stop people from writing stories about talking animals.  From glib children's stories to lessons in morality, animals are our instructors.  Every culture does it, and the Jews were not lacking in that gift either. Numbers 22.

In Genesis 3 we have another talking animal story; the very fact that the story has a talking animal in it tells us that it is a symbolic story only; the story is not to be taken at face value, but the meaning of it is very literal!

The story starts by telling us that the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that God had made.  Satan, in this story, appeared as a snake and said to Eve, that which God had said is not important or, that which He said cannot be believed.  

Normally Satan does not whack us with a piece timber to get us to follow him.  He would rather display a sweet little delicacy in front of us and make us think that the thing he is suggesting is really not a matter of importance; just like he did to Eve.  How much too often we believe his lies!  This story also tells us that Jehovah had given Adam fair warning as to what would happen if he disobeyed.

Some have argued that God was wrong when He said, in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.   Because Adam and Eve did not die that day.  In fact, the word death means separation, and the day that Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they were separated from Him. So the prediction was true and straight to the point.

Evil and Good

The Old Testament tells us that Adam (first man) was designed to be a servant. His function was to till the soil and to care for the lush gardens and crops owned by his “God.” As long as Adam and Eve accepted their servant status and obeyed their ever-present masters, all of their physical needs would be met and they would be permitted to remain in their “paradise” indefinitely. There was, however, one unpardonable sin that they must never commit. They must never attempt to seek certain types of knowledge. Those forbidden forms of knowledge are symbolized in the story as two trees: the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” and the “tree of life.” The first “tree” symbolizes an understanding of ethics and justice. The second “tree” symbolizes the knowledge of how to regain and retain one’s spiritual identity and immortality.

Eating of the tree of knowledge is tantamount to "trying to become like the gods".  The gods have knowledge; humanity did not before they disobeyed Jehovah. Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. Genesis 3:22.  

After Adam and Eve had obtained knowledge Jehovah made very sure they would not also gain eternal life.  About this, Ancient Origins writes: but one thing remains clear: immortality is meant for gods, not for men.

Or, perhaps, there is a way to gain eternal life after all.  Here in 3:15 there is an allusion as to what might happen.  Jehovah said to the serpent (in the story), Satan in real history,
And I will put enmity 
Between you and the woman, 
And between your seed and her Seed; 
He shall bruise your head, 
And you shall bruise His heel.” 

Meaning: your forces of demons and evil spirits will fight against humans, you will keep on destroying many of them, but in the end, He, someone from the human race, will bruise your head.  However, Jehovah did not enlarge on that prophecy at that time.  

Much, much later in history, Jesus Christ, God's son was born; in His lifetime He preached a moral lifestyle, He spoke of giving oneself for others.  He said I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6.  He also said, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life. John 10:27-28.  

If we are going to put any store into the validity of the Bible we must believe that those that follow Christ will (do) have eternal life.  From the human point of view Christ was wrongfully executed, but by the time He rose victorious over death, He had crushed Satan's head. 

Eternal life is possible even for humans because Christ has "opened the gates of Paradise".  He has bruised Satan's head.

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