Friday, March 03, 2006

A figurative story is sometimes more important than the historic one. For example, the way this story is used to illustrate things in our own lives that are timeless:

... while that world was young, and we, too, were young and beautiful and full of life, a corner was turned. Something happened, which we have heard about, but never fully understood, or we would see it playing itself out every day of our lives, and more important, we would also see the chances given to us every day to reverse what happened.

'Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the creatures the Lord God had made. "Really?" he asked the woman. "Did God really say you must not eat any of the fruit in the garden?"

"Of course we may eat it," the woman told him. "It's only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God says we must not eat it or even touch it, or we will die."

You won't die!" the serpent hissed. "God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil."

The woman was convinced. The fruit looked so fresh and delicious, and it would make her so wise! So she ate some of the fruit. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too. (Gen 3:1-6 NLT)

Alas.

There are no words.

Wail; beat your chest; fall to your knees; let out a long, lonesome howl of bitter remorse.

The woman was convinced. That's it? Just like that? In a matter of moments? Convinced of what? Look in your own heart - you'll see. Convinced that God was holding out on her. Convinced that she could not trust his heart toward her. Convinced that in order to have the best possible life, she must take matters into her own hands. And so she did. She is the first to fall. In disobeying God she also violated her very essence. Eve is supposed to be Adam's ezer kenegdo, like one who comes to save. ....

... Having forfeited our confidence in God, we believe that in order to have the life we want, we must take matters into our own hands. And we ache with an emptiness nothing seems able to fill.

(Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge -- pointed out to me by Elesaid)

We all seem to have that moment, when we feel that God is holding out on us, that we can not trust his heart towards us, when we have learned to fear the will of God.

Pain, resentment, prayers without answers we can understand -- all of these lead us to the point where we need God, we need to trust in a power greater than ourselves, but we have learned to fear that there is something better if we just don't follow God, because God is holding out on us and the only solution is to find another way.

Which cuts us off from the path that can heal us, which is the human condition.

We are bounded by time, and the real test is to find a way to trust God to order our time in the way that leads us to finding hope, faith and love -- the things we truly need.



The importance of a figurative story is that we can apply it to our own lives. Such a story is told not necessarily as it really happened, but in a multileveled way that allows us to see ourselves in it.

Thus Eve can be seen as someone who chose to experience life, to know good from evil, to experience hardship, pain and choice, that she could grow. Each of us can look at ourselves as having made the same choice by being born. But we can also see in our own lives other levels of the story, especially the temptation to believe that there is no other way to have what we want than by disconnecting from God and that our great challenge is to find that connection again.

That is why we have figurative stories, to find multiple levels in them.

2 comments:

Téa said...

Wow...this hits home and then some for me. Something good to ponder over the weekend.

jnntt said...

Hi Stephen,

I really enjoy your blog. (You can tell from my frequent visit. smile.)

Particularly this post. I came back to it many times.

"... Eve can be seen as someone who chose to experience life, to know good from evil, to experience hardship, pain and choice, that she could grow. Each of us can look at ourselves as having made the same choice by being born."

This is so profound. It makes me look at religion at a different angle.

Thanks for the post.