The Gospel Story:
Good News Concerning God and Humanity.
God’s relationship with humanity is explored in the ancient tale of Adam & Eve. In the paradise of Eden, God sets out two trees. The Tree of Knowledge is intended to teach humanity about good and evil, illustrating that such knowledge is outside of them. The Tree of Life is intended to grant the fullness of eternal life to those who eat from it, illustrating that life is found not within themselves but in God. Adam and Eve’s temptation by the serpent to doubt, distort, and dethrone God results in them disobeying God’s command to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge, thereby learning good and evil, but not by God’s design or timing.
This story illustrates the fundamental problem of the human heart: idolatry. Idolatry is taking a good thing and making it an ultimate thing above God through worship. Thus idolatry gives birth to sin. Sin means missing the mark of what God intends; pride is at the root. Adam’s sin was one of omission (not doing what should be done) while Eve’s sin was one of commission (doing what should not be done). The Fall of Man illustrates how the forbidden fruit is found in the eye of every person’s heart. This leads humanity to doubt the divine, have a distorted image of God, and dethrone Him in their lives through disobedient worship of idols (sex, power, money, etc.). It is thus an act of God’s care and grace that he does not allow people back into Eden to eat from the Tree of Life, which would thereby cement an eternal state of fallen humanity. Therefore, the natural result of sin is death.
Humanity’s chief adversary/enemy is introduced in this story: Satan. The devil and his fallen angels seek to establish a kingdom of this world, one set in darkness and in rebellion towards God. Satan is more than a being; he is a way of understanding the systems of evil in the world. Humanity must now live with sin in the world, death to their being, and a devil that is waging a spiritual war against them. This leads to inevitable suffering (violence, oppression, famine, disease, disaster). Therefore, God is not the author of suffering, but He is present in the midst of it. It is a mystery as to why God allows suffering to come upon His people, but the writings of Scripture (Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes) attest to suffering being a catalyst that strengthens one’s relationship with God, even if their faith is questioned in the process.
The Fall goes from man being ashamed of their sin (Adam & Eve), to lying about it (Cain & Abel), to accepting it (Noah & the Ark), to celebrating it (Tower of Babel). These sins taint man’s relationship with creation, family, society, and God. Throughout these tales, the relational dynamic between God and humanity is tested as God mourns over man’s wickedness while sewing seeds of hope in their midst (bringing light out of darkness). He does this by retaining His blessings, though due to man’s failure must now be accompanied with natural curses. God also promises to defeat evil (crush the serpent), raise up a Savior for good (the seed of the woman), and make an everlasting covenant with creation (Noahic). These particular stories are not written to be historically accurate, but are designed to awaken human imagination to universal truths that define God and His relationship with all people.
Part 3 Coming Soon