Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Far As the Curse is Found

Sometimes the simplest questions provoke the deepest contemplation. Sometimes the deepest contemplation yields the deepest awe. Such was the case last week when I began to prepare for our small group’s study of the book of Mark.

The passage we were studying included Mark’s account of the temptation of Christ, found in Mark 1:12-13:

12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

The question for consideration was this: Does verse 12 surprise you? My immediate reaction was “No,” and then, “yes.” “No,” because I was, I thought, extremely familiar with that verse and the idea behind it, and “Yes” because the notion that the Spirit drove him in to the wilderness seems, well, shocking. I finished answering the rest of the study questions, but all day long and for several days, my thoughts kept returning to this question, which turned out to be not so simple after all.

I began to think about Christ, the Second Adam, and the implications of His temptation compared to that of the First Adam.

The First Adam

Adam was created from the dust of the ground by the Hands of the Creator. He was created in perfection and placed in a garden—a Paradise—over which he was to have dominion and of which was filled with an unlimited supply of food. He was given a wife from the Hand of the Creator to help him with the tasks set before him. There was no sin or corruption to be found in Adam or in any of God’s creation—until the serpent, who was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made, was found “crouching at Eve’s door.” The temptation worked; Eve took and ate of the fruit and gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate, and ever since the Tempter has been crouching at the door.

There is no indication in scripture that Adam struggled with the temptation. It could not be for hunger’s sake that he so quickly received the forbidden fruit from the outstretched hand of his wife, for he had been given abundant food from every tree in the garden except one. There seems to be no concern or conflict of the heart in his fall, nor even remembrance of God’s admonition: And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Gen. 2:16-17 She held out the fruit to him and he ate.

And so, Adam fell and sin and corruption entered the world. The Bible calls it a curse. God sent angels to drive Adam and Eve from the garden and bar the way, so that they could not approach the Tree of Life. The curse of sin and death held sway over creation so that taking dominion over the ground and the animals became a struggle and a threat. But saddest of all are these words, from Genesis 5:
This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.

The image of God was shattered. Next to come: the Second Adam and the image restored.

UPDATE: You can find the second half, And Wonders of His Love here.

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