There are many things we cannot hoard or cling to. Time stands as the queen of human progress and growth. Missed opportunities are not guaranteed to return and a planted seed needs a specific set of conditions. I think the time has come to unmask a cruel lie about man’s original condition because the idea that death, development and its byproducts were absent in Eden requires us to discard the facts of genuine progress built into God’s creation. Let us agree that it is rare to find a spiritual regime grounded in the realities of sky, land and sea. The revolutions of the earth are a mighty piece of evidence that there is no recapturing of the past, no return to youth, and apart from denying ourselves, there is no grounding in our youthful history that meets today’s challenges, neither for rooting or for a fearless and secure residence.
Wearing masks to deceive; first things, death and procreation
When I first read the saying that death was not in sight anywhere in Eden it seemed to align with the idea that man’s loss of his life through disobedience was the first sighting. I think the reference was to no dead leaves. It sounded beautiful – deathless plants, flowers, and humans – but it is not God’s world. Death is typically preceded by debility and malfunction but not in the case of plants and animals, man included. We do have the evidence that plants have limits: they do not migrate and they expand up and out only so far. So we can make the argument that original sin is disobedience and different from the failure that all humans face, unbelief, but personal sin as necessary for God’s design is merely an attempt to bypass faith in the Son of God as the remedy for the human condition.
The rush to believe first things are tops
The list of lies that people have clung to is out in the open. The human journey from Eden to desert, the increase of violence, the flood judgment, the wilderness catastrophe and the years of exile and rebellion do not square with covenant faithfulness.
Procreation is normal but not monolithic
God made reproductive systems to be the reflection of his creative power. Miracle babies are a special human divine arrangement and God’s procreative power is a unique thing between Himself and His Son. Men and woman can choose a single life and enjoy God’s approval. “Multiply and replenish the earth” bites the dust too.
These are not static populationsGenesis 1 (NASB)
19) There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. 20) Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” 21) God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
We have to recognize that the curse following man’s rebellion has no effect on animal populations. Without death a full earth bulges at the seams.
All the created beings procreateGenesis 1
God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
The purpose for seed, eggs and semen is quite clear. Had procreation not been an original design it might have been curtailed in the decree. After filling up the space they occupy there are two avenues of relief. The creatures either migrate or they die. Space on the planet is not infinite and there are places where trees , animals and people will not survive.
You judge. You decide. You delay. You strike. You grow. You wither.
No death in Eden faces the jury that recognizes that (a) the garden needs tending (b) animals and trees that do not change and (c) . It is ultimately an idolatrous venture. It is an idea cooked up to mislead people about the man’s destiny and the path to full human potential.
Earth’s people occupying every square centimetreGenesis 1
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Every rich and burdened punk ass evangelical conservative is going to insist on pulling out his transcript to prove how profoundly he has been the loyal, obedient and patriotic son, how perfect his food is, and how miraculous his daily bread and forgiveness are, but that juvenile view of the world is not getting off the bench in this quarter. Even the young ruler who tried to attach eternal life to the Law he had observed all his life would have to admit that he had not grown up grounded at all. The writers of the New Testament summed up the matter conclusively for us. With one voice they proclaimed and hazarded their lives for the maturing of Israel’s faith in Yeshua of Nazareth, and the simple and careless can make the loudest noises for their sandy foundations, old or new.
The choice between maturity and puberty
- Christ’s words, the grounding for all challenges (Matthew 7:25, Luke 6:48)
- Divine Love, the terra firma of God’s fulness (Eph. 3:17)
- Faith in the gospel, the path of the grounded (Col. 1:23)
- Earth, the ground that will we rolled up like a scroll and put away (Heb. 1:10)
- The call of a gracious God, the assurance of settled persons 1 Peter 5:10
Growing means nothing to them, and being grounded for them means back to childish things. Growing for them is not up towards the infinite God (or even towards the stature of stellar heroes, matriarchs and patriarchs), but it is a fearful uncertainty about what stands and what falls.