You know, when I thought of the title for this post [part 1], I had no idea I was gonna have so much to say about one book. If you’re new here and wondering what I’m talking about with this post, part 2 of my thoughts about “The Story We Find Ourselves In,” is here.
Just so you know, thanks do my beloved eighties-hair-band-metal-head husband, every time my brain hears ‘where do we go’ it starts playing Sweet Child of Mine by Guns-n-Roses. Ugh. Not my favorite song, in fact, I can’t stand GnR at all. Axl Rose just bugs me. His voice, and the way he does that freaky microphone dance thing. Just makes me want to hurt somebody.
But I digress. We were talking about the book “The Story We Find Ourselves In” by Brian D. McLaren. One if the main characters, Neo, is telling his friend the story of God’s relationship with humans throughout history [as it is in the Bible]. Episode one is Creation, and episode two is Crisis, or what we Christians commonly refer to as the Fall. The book brings up the fact that a lot of ‘post-modern’ people laugh at the whole ‘Adam & Eve and the Apple’ scenario, and then puts forth an interesting take on the story.
Which got me to thinking [which I do too much, but I can’t help myself]. What if the writer of Genesis condensed the story down to one event [Adam and Eve eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, see their nakedness, hide from God and then refuse to take responsibility for their actions by blaming each other] when it was really a much more gradual process?
What if Adam and Eve and their children… You ever notice how we always think of A&E being alone in the garden with no children until after they get kicked out? What if they did have children, lots of them, before death came? God walked around with them in the garden. What if childbirth was painless because in the garden there were special foods/herbs/etc. That prevented pain, or that being in the Presence of God did? I wonder if He attended all the births before A&E got too big for their britches. I don’t know, of course, it’s just a thought.
Humans started out as hunter-gatherers, they wandered around and got what everything they needed from the earth [in the beginning, I imagine that food was abundant and plentiful, and it wasn’t hard to stay well-fed]. The early humans were peaceful, and lived in harmony with the earth.
Then, they learned more, developed language, and began domesticating animals. With herds of animals, they let them eat whatever they wanted and when the food was gone, they moved on. You can’t let animals feed on a certain spot too long, or they will destroy all the plants, bushes, and trees in the area, making that spot barren. Maybe some of the early people didn’t know that or didn’t’ t care, thus destroying vital plant life. It got harder for those still hunting and gathering to find food.
The next step was farming. Now, instead of depending on foraging/hunting expeditions for food, they could grow their own food [and not have to depend on God to provide?]. With farming, came trouble, I imagine. The farmers wouldn’t appreciate the herders coming onto their land and letting their animals feed on the crops. Can you guess what happened? Yup. Cain killed Abel. The world’s first murder probably happened over a land dispute. How many wars in our history have started the same way? History really does repeat itself, doesn’t it?
This is how McLaren’s character Neo explains the Fall:
“When I read Genesis… I don’t see just one crisis. I see an avalanche of crises. And they all relate to a disintegration of the primal harmony and innocence of creation. In a sense, they all involve human beings gaining levels of intellectual and technological development that surpass their moral development– people becoming too smart, too powerful for their own good.”
“So what do Adam and Eve do? They say, ‘We don’t want to have to answer to anybody. We want to be at the top of the food chain. We want to be like gods ourselves.’ And they go beyond the limits they know they should keep. That’s what taking the fruit is about. It’s about experiencing evil, tasting evil… And as soon as they do, they lose trust in one another. They feel shame, fear, because human trust is based on respect for limits.” [The Story We Find Ourselves In pp 54-55]
We became independent in that we could grow our own food, settle down and live in one place. Is it possible that when we became independent, we lost our connection to God? When Adam and Eve gained knowledge, they turned their backs on God, and without God, there can be no life. But God, being the good and merciful being that He is, didn’t destroy the stupid humans. Instead, He limited their lifespan, and separated Himself from them. He went into the heavens, and the garden went with Him.
Okay, that’s episode two of human history. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about episode three: Calling.
[by the way, all the Cs came from McLaren, who borrowed them from a pastor friend of his.]
See you tomorrow.