God’s creative work is so evident in human life, in our origins, our abilities, our artistry and achievements. God, who can do such big things, and his epic work, is seen in us. Sunday we look at another Epic story in creation, the beginning of human life in Adam and Eve and the introduction of evil into the world. The story is powerful and also tragic. The story reminds us that here we have the best God has to offer, a life truly lived in Paradise, where God provides all that is needed but unfortunately, it is a short stay. It doesn’t take Adam and Eve long to get into trouble and be forced to live east of Eden.

Explaining the origins of evil is complex. Social scientists and socio-biologists have their hands full trying to explain origins of altruism and helping behavior. Figuring out what makes us tick is tricky business for scientists and theologians. We see in this early story a very human tendency towards disobedience, perhaps fueled by a curiosity and hubris that says the rules do not apply to us. There are many ways to think of sin and its principal consequences of guilt and shame. Sin can be our tendency to disobey God. It can be our willful and unconscious behavior that estranges us from the source of life. This story has been viewed by the Church over the years as “the Fall” wherein we left the place of grace and paradise and were sent into a sinful world where life was much harder. The reality is that sin is everywhere. We see it in selfishness, greed, warfare, the damage we do to the planet and to each other. And yet even in the ejection from Eden, God goes with Adam and Eve. The painful consequences of their disobedience do not leave them or us on our own. God helps them and us to find a way in this difficult world.

Here in the story we are reminded that even when we do the worst, God does not abandon or forsake us. God’s heart is truly grieved (this will happen many times in the biblical story). This story holds a powerful mirror up to us all. How we see ourselves in moments of trouble and sin? How do we respond to God’s initiative to restore us back to a loving relationship when we have wandered or rejected God’s ways?

We’re not that different from Adam and Eve. They are us and we are them. Sunday, we worship God who has never given up on us. We worship to meet and receive the grace God offers to bring us back to a relationship of love, forgiveness and wholeness. We meet God who knows our longing to be in that place of Paradise and rediscover that God always provides what we need.

 

Pastor Dave Summers

Paradise Valley United Methodist Church
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