Blame Game

blame-game

The worse the decision is that someone makes the greater the allure of two false promises: it is not that bad or bad at all followed by it was too bad for redemption in tandem with further notion that it is not that bad to deny culpability or displace it.

We see that further as we look at the fall in Eden.  I usually like to go with brevity for a blog format.  It seems that this time the passage of scripture calls for a large portion to be unpacked at once.

Genesis 3:8 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

The evening breeze” is important when we refresh ourselves on Jewish thought about the day cycle.  In their mindset, one the night comes, the new 24-hour cycle begins.  As the new day comes in, it is a good idea to be real with God.  To do an honest examination of ones conscience is to allow God to meet us in our vulnerability in real engagement and thus real engagement.

But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

As noted in the last blog, the temptation to sin was in part based on God not having their interest at heart.  In the fallen nature mindset where sin is perpetuated in the individual what is assumed is an inevitability in how “fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4).  “Because I was naked” is an additional part of sin in not being in a state of grace where you are clothed by the esteem of ones Heavenly Father.

11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

God is not at a loss on what happened.  Confession is good for the soul and here is another, not the first, opportunity for Adam to be real.  Instead he displaces to someone else.

12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.”

He is being sneaky and also connecting to a divisiveness that causes a self-righteousness.  He is noting her different designation as a qualifier on how bad she is and to qualify himself as not responsible.  Adam’s “gift” to the world is using a scapegoat and here in misogyny.

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”

The devil made me do it excuse here is actually original but not the last time it would be used in this world.  Fallen people love to give the devil way too much credit so they don’t have to take responsibility.  We need a structured code by which we can be real now and with it the forgiveness and healing we need.

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you among all animals
and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.

15 

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

But still the devil gets his due.  “And dust you shall eat” is a way of saying that the days of him being able to partake of the spiritual things are over.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. This is a powerful statement that prefigures the great contrast between spiritual light and spiritual darkness.  We see this in John “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world [Jesus Christ], and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).  Eventually light overcomes darkness but not any from the power of mortals.  It has to take much more than that.

But the woman is not off the hook as God works backwards from the passing the buck game.

16 To the woman he said,

“I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children,
yet your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

This is not a pronouncement of inferiority of all women as much as people would like to use this verse to hit Christendom over the head with the woman-hating label.  This is introducing to the physical ecosystem that the law of sin and death they were warned about would apply. Before the fall and after the ultimate redemption when Christ comes there is no more mourning, sickness or death.  The inevitable thing to happen for the human race to continue would be for her to not be a nun but to be a mom and lots of times.  The paradox is that she is going to have a desire for her husband though the desire conceives babies and babies cause pain.

17 And to the man he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife,
and have eaten of the tree
about which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

18 

thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.

19 

By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread
until you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

Notice that God is actually harder on the man with a much longer, dire announcement.  Notice also that God is telling Adam his part of suffering pain in the fallen ecosystem.

20 The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

It is after the fall that there is an individual name for her.  Before this, they shared the common identity of the dirt that started them albeit for her indirectly.  Before, they had diversity. Now they have diversity and division with a dash of adversity.  Sin tends to do that with a community of two or a billion.

But still there are seeds of hope.  The “seed of the woman” prefigures Christ coming through what Greek speaking Christians would call the “Theotokos”—the God Carrier.  Also known as the Virgin Mary.  Or in my book, the original Warrior Princess.  Further, God gives them skins of animals in place of their fig leaves.

21 And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.

In Jeremiah we read how “All our righteousness is as filthy rags”.  The animals skins could come through the animals’ deaths.  Their deaths speak of atonement through sacrifice.  And sacrifice through God points to the redemption through Jesus who made His sacrifice once and for all.

What people miss in stories like this is that God is a grace fanatic.  Satan gives us the easy way out of God’s will and the hard scenario for the way back.  God gives us His presence that is constance before and after our sin if we will open our eyes to Him in humility.

22 Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.

he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever

But in Christ, we can through the understanding and partaking of the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist.

As a new Catholic and long-time Christian, I can’t help reflecting on what Pope John Paul called the New Evangelization that in the coming years there will be a re-presentation of the good news of Jesus as Eucharistic in that people in full communion with Jesus and His Church can indeed receive Jesus in “body, blood, soul and divinity”. Again, God is a grace fanatic.

A Sales Pitch To Us And From Us

Don-Draper-Sales-Pitch-YouTube

Everyone has a fall from grace sometime.  We are not perfect and if we are honest with ourselves we can see where we had opportunities to not fall but did anyway.  Also with that 20/20 hindsight we see opportunities to stop digging a hole for ourselves but just kept digging.  This could be an addiction or compulsion.  It could be a toxic relationship or group affiliation.  It could just be a repetitive pattern of pride where we put ourselves over those we love the most or the stranger at our door.  

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

Did God say…

The first trick of evil is to convince us that there is no objective truth and nor means of being grounded in applying that truth to our lives.  I would compare it to being lost in the woods and relying on a compass that tells us where our true north is only to lose it.  The other odd thing I would add to that is hearing a voice that tells you that it is broken and you lose faith in it because of heeding that voice.  From there you lose your bearings.  

In modern Christian application I have seen people being their own voice of doubt when objective truth is also an inconvenient.  “I will pray about it” is sometimes not used sincerely but as a cover to not obey what is clearly illuminated in sources you know you should trust. 

Eve makes a few mistakes early in this encounter.  First, she is giving the serpent the dignity of equal footing with God.  By talking with him when the agenda starts with the premise that God is not absolute opens her to compromise.  Does that mean we should not dialogue with the pluralistic culture that we live in?  No.  Just that if you dialogue amidst the world’s marketplace, a believer in Jesus being the Truth will reach out to the ground of the other side for something that is redemptive which points to Jesus.  An example is Paul talking to people in Athens and pointing to what they referred to as the Unknown God as a point of reference.  Eve talked with Satan, with who she has no common ground, and allowed him into the house of her soul to be critiqued on devotion to God. 

nor shall you touch it, or you shall die

Eve’s next mistake is in overstating the restrictions of God.  God gives us just enough no’s to provide room for a big yes.  How does a train move best?  On its tracks.  Not the same as putting it on it’s tracks and make it carry a building.  Eve gets sympathetic to how supposedly weighty is God’s command and goes along with an exaggerated condition.  If it is exaggerated restriction, maybe she can find herself a way out of it?

You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

After Eve feeds the temptation in cooperation with the sales pitch, Satan goes in for the kill.  Since there is no absolute truth then there are no absolute consequence for our moral decisions.  To enrich this even more, Satan adds that God does not have her best interests in heart and this will be her opportunity to be truly in the loop.  

and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate

So the whole time, Adam was there and silent.  He was silent when he should not have been.  In failing to speak up and not be a responsibility of this community of two, Adam was making a stand in all of the wrong directions that Eve was.  “Not to stand, is to stand”.  So said Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  He was Lutheran pastor in Hitler’s era who was surrounded by clergy who went along to get along.  He spoke out against Hitler and participated in a plot to kill him.  It cost him his life but he preferred that to losing his soul. 

and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

So before they sinned, they were naked and unashamed.  Now they are naked and self-conscious about how vulnerable they are without standing in the grace of God anymore and go into fleshly damage control that self-perpetuates the shame into a downward spiral.  This is downward both spiritually and physically when one considers that fig leaves itch.  By putting fig  leaves on Adam and Mrs. Adam they make it itch.  So they get the cover, but not the comfort.  They need to take these off but they don’t want to.  Hiding their intimate vulnerabilities is everything to them.   

But it does not have to be like that to us.  Among the 12 Steps is “taking a fearless moral inventory”.  We need that, yet we stop ourselves from doing that because it would hinder what we think is freedom.  What are our fig leaves?  And how have we missed the train tracks that are under our noses that help is to move really forward? 

Sales Pitch That Shouldn’t Happen

Don-Draper-Sales-Pitch-YouTube

Everyone has a fall from grace sometime.  We are not perfect and if we are honest with ourselves we can see where we had opportunities to not fall but did anyway.  Also with that 20/20 hindsight we see opportunities to stop digging a hole for ourselves but just kept digging.  This could be an addiction or compulsion.  It could be a toxic relationship or group affiliation.  It could just be a repetitive pattern of pride where we put ourselves over those we love the most or the stranger at our door.  

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

Did God say…

The first trick of evil is to convince us that there is no objective truth and nor means of being grounded in applying that truth to our lives.  I would compare it to being lost in the woods and relying on a compass that tells us where our true north is only to lose it.  The other odd thing I would add to that is hearing a voice that tells you that it is broken and you lose faith in it because of heeding that voice.  From there you lose your bearings.  

In modern Christian application I have seen people being their own voice of doubt when objective truth is also an inconvenient.  “I will pray about it” is sometimes not used sincerely but as a cover to not obey what is clearly illuminated in sources you know you should trust. 

Eve makes a few mistakes early in this encounter.  First, she is giving the serpent the dignity of equal footing with God.  By talking with him when the agenda starts with the premise that God is not absolute opens her to compromise.  Does that mean we should not dialogue with the pluralistic culture that we live in?  No.  Just that if you dialogue amidst the world’s marketplace, a believer in Jesus being the Truth will reach out to the ground of the other side for something that is redemptive which points to Jesus.  An example is Paul talking to people in Athens and pointing to what they referred to as the Unknown God as a point of reference.  Eve talked with Satan, with who she has no common ground, and allowed him into the house of her soul to be critiqued on devotion to God. 

nor shall you touch it, or you shall die

Eve’s next mistake is in overstating the restrictions of God.  God gives us just enough no’s to provide room for a big yes.  How does a train move best?  On its tracks.  Not the same as putting it on it’s tracks and make it carry a building.  Eve gets sympathetic to how supposedly weighty is God’s command and goes along with an exaggerated condition.  If it is exaggerated restriction, maybe she can find herself a way out of it?

You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

After Eve feeds the temptation in cooperation with the sales pitch, Satan goes in for the kill.  Since there is no absolute truth then there are no absolute consequence for our moral decisions.  To enrich this even more, Satan adds that God does not have her best interests in heart and this will be her opportunity to be truly in the loop.  

and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate

So the whole time, Adam was there and silent.  He was silent when he should not have been.  In failing to speak up and not be a responsibility of this community of two, Adam was making a stand in all of the wrong directions that Eve was.  “Not to stand, is to stand”.  So said Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  He was Lutheran pastor in Hitler’s era who was surrounded by clergy who went along to get along.  He spoke out against Hitler and participated in a plot to kill him.  It cost him his life but he preferred that to losing his soul. 

and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

So before they sinned, they were naked and unashamed.  Now they are naked and self-conscious about how vulnerable they are without standing in the grace of God anymore and go into fleshly damage control that self-perpetuates the shame into a downward spiral.  This is downward both spiritually and physically when one considers that fig leaves itch.  By putting fig  leaves on Adam and Mrs. Adam they make it itch.  So they get the cover, but not the comfort.  They need to take these off but they don’t want to.  Hiding their intimate vulnerabilities is everything to them.   

But it does not have to be like that to us.  Among the 12 Steps is “taking a fearless moral inventory”.  We need that, yet we stop ourselves from doing that because it would hinder what we think is freedom.  What are our fig leaves?  And how have we missed the train tracks that are under our noses that help is to move really forward? 

Naked and Not Ashamed

the_garden_of_eden_poster_480

I am bursting at the seams to get to the twists and turns of The Fall.  It includes copping out, mesogeny, temptation, sin, a curse.  It is intriguing, tantalizing…..but still not something I and any readers out there can appreciate if they do not know one other important factor on how things ought to be through the marriage perspective. It is through seeing the joining and ongoing purpose for Adam and Eve that we can appreciate better how marriage should be and how The Church is to understand the example of The Bridegroom laying His life down.    

And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 

Adam, and any husband should see a wife as a gift.   God did the work and brought her to you. She owes her existence to her Creator and not your good graces.  Husbands, there is a God and you are not Him.  

Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;

It is not God’s design for marriage for one of you to reject the other.  You should accept one another as gifts from God who minister the Sacrament of Marriage.  

 
this one shall be called Woman
    for out of Man this one was taken.”

There is a bit more richness that I would like to address here.  A tool of interpreting scripture is in seeing how the “new covenant is hidden in the old and the old is revealed in the new.”  With that in mind we can look to what Romans refers to as the second Adam, Jesus, when He was on the cross.  After He died the side was pierced and water and blood flowed out.  Those elements symbolized the giving of Jesus to His bride, the Church, in the sacraments of the Eucharist and Baptism.  Where this connect to Adam, and any husband, is that you especially are called to lay your life down for your wife as Christ did for the Church (Ephesians 5).  

Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.  

The next interpreting tool is to remember when you see “therefore” to look for what the therefore is there for.  If there is no understanding of grace and freely giving of yourself in marriage, then you are really just a child.  “When I was a child I thought like a child and spoke like a child”.  A side note that comes with that is that a sign for consideration of a marriage to be null could be the lack of leaving ones mother and father.  The Catholic Church is considering making this an official thing added to how they decide marriage annulment where someone is far too tied to their family of origin.  Why? Because how can you cling to each other if one is keeping a foot in the door of their family of origin?  

But if the partners if marriage step up to that which is on each side of the “therefore”, vulnerability can be attained and maintained.  And in this world we live in where there is a reality of original sin and personal sin.  But whether it is owning up to our failings to God, a spouse or even a friend we can be vulnerable if we return to that perfect love that pushes out fear (1 John 4) then we can get away from fear that feeds into the narrative of rejection and truly be intimate in the way we are designed.  In review:receive one another in grace, give in grace and respect the stage in life you are in regarding those relationships.  What is stopping us?  What is waiting for us? 

And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:21-25).