Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reviewing the Adventist Review

January 12, 2012
Vol. 189, No. 1

There is a lot of excellent content in this issue. However, the cover article, PSYCHE, PSUCHE, AND SOUL by Jennifer Jill Schwirzer takes some cheap shots at secular psychology and psychiatry that are self-serving and parochial. ‘Nuf said. Regular readers know that I am not a biblical literalist, and you won’t be surprised that Lael Caesar’s ruminations regarding The Fall, LOSER MAN: YOU DON’T BECOME GOD BY GETTING ANYTHING, has generated my take on Adam and Eve’s experience with the Snake.

In a Letter to the Editor, Erica Armstrong has nice things to say about my favorite Review editor

“Kudos to Stephen Chavez for his editorial ‘Our Amazing, Unpredictable God’ Dec. 8,2011. I don’t know what I find more offensive: that finite creatures claim to know everything about an infinite God, or that they dismiss out of hand what anyone else says that doesn’t agree with their narrow view of God.”

MEASURES OF FAITH by Dixil Rodriguez is one of her best columns ever. It’s a MUST READ, particularly if life has made you question the significance of your life and witness.

THE GOD OF IIMPOSSIBLE CAUSES by Sudha Khristmukti is a story that demonstrates the results of persistent and constant Christian love.

THOSE CRYSTAL-BLUE EYES by Edwin Orsonio-Centerwall will break your heart and motivate you to write a generous check to causes like ADRA or Physicians Without Boarders.

Monte Sahlin uses statistical CHURCH TRENDS to prove the following:

 “If we learn to listen carefully to others—unselfishly—then we are more likely to be able to speak words of real hope to them. If we respectfully pay attention to the way others think about spiritual things, then we can find opportunities to meet their needs and suggest how Christ’s message can be meaningful in their lives.”

LIVING THE DREAM by Stephen Chavez is a reminder that the Christian life is an irrepressible reflection of thoughtful kindness.

The story of The Fall has been and always will be the bane of biblical literalists. I have never heard a sermon preached that dealt with the entire story. It’s as if Genesis 3:22 & 23 doesn’t exist! Consider the facts as reported in the NIV.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it…

And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.

What is to be learned from this story?

God told Adam and Eve that if they ate or even touched fruit from the tree, they would die.

The Snake said they wouldn’t die if they ate the fruit, and they didn’t!

The Snake said, “When you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”. It happened!

According to the story, even after The Fall, Adam and Eve could have lived forever as long as they had access to the tree of life. However, God didn’t want these two, disobedient, newly minted “gods” to live forever, so He kicked them out of the Garden, and made their lives, the lives of their descendants, and the lives of all other flora and fauna on the earth so difficult that they would have to ceaselessly recycle their immortal genetic material.

The story suggests that Adam and Eve were simply higher order animals before The Fall. Their disobedience made them gods, i.e., human beings, “knowing right from wrong”. The story suggests that Eve’s disobedience was the result of God’s attempt to create a mate for Adam that was endowed with more curiosity, daring, and desire for wisdom than Adam had previously exhibited. Did God inadvertently create a “companion” with too many godlike tendencies to remain an animal? Was Eve’s disobedience a crucial evolutionary step in the creation of god-like human beings?

And what about the Snake? The Bible clearly identifies him as an animal, not Satan or the Devil. Why that particular snake was created remains a mystery!

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