Archive for May, 2013
Enosh: Hey grandpa.
Adam: Enosh! Come here, son. Sit with papa and tell me what is new.
Enosh: Grammy Eve gave me figs and apricots.
Adam: Oh, yes. Grammy Eve makes a yummy fruit jubilee. So, how’s life treating you, my boy?
Enosh: Um… I’m fine, I guess.
Adam: You guess? What’s to guess about? I’m asking about you, son. You live inside of there (pointing to the boy’s heart.) Does it feel fine in there or does it not?
Enosh: Well, how do you know if you’re fine or not?
Adam: Ah, now that, my dear Enosh, is a question as juicy as the fruit jubilee filling your tummy. Why don’t we try a different question? What, in particular, feels less than fine?
Enosh: Sometimes, I fight with my friends and I don’t really know why. I mean, I like them a lot and I want them to always know that, but sometimes they do stuff- like, not big stuff- and it just makes me really mad. Mad, in a way, that just sort of feels… I don’t know… like too much.
Adam: You mean that you experience a level of anger that feels out of proportion what is actually taking place?
Enosh: Yes, right! That’s it exactly.
Adam: Okay. What else?
Enosh: Well, I guess- no, I don’t guess… I know…
(Adam smiles at his grandson catching himself)
Enosh: That sometimes I just wonder whether I am really a good person.
Adam: Because of the fights with your friends?
Enosh: Yeah, that. And… other stuff.
Adam: And what is this other stuff?
Enosh: I’m afraid you’ll get mad.
Adam: Enosh, you have my word. I will not get mad.
Enosh (hesitantly): Sometimes I worry that… that… sometimes I worry that there is no God.
Adam: Aha. I understand. And why did you think that this would upset me?
Enosh: Because you believe in God.
Adam: Yes, I do. Do you think that this means that I never doubt?
Enosh: Kind of.
Adam: It does not mean that, Jacob. I do struggle with my faith. Quite often, as a matter of fact.
Adam: Yes. Let me ask you a question. Is your struggle actually that you worry that God is not there or is your struggle that you fear that he is not watching over you; that he doesn’t love you?
Enosh (after a pause): The second one.
Adam: Hmm. And I wonder, is there one central reason that you think such a thing might be true?
Enosh: Um, well… yeah. I mean, it seems that if he really loves me, he would, like… I don’t know… like show me what to do; like, in my life, y’know?
Adam: You feel like a God who loved you would provide you with more guidance?
Adam: You know, Enosh, you have blossomed into a wise and curious young man. With this in mind, I suspect that it is time for grandpa to reveal to you some important truths about your lineage. You are aware that Grammy Eve and myself were the first people created by God, yes.
Enosh: Yup. Daddy sometimes calls you people kindling. I don’t what that means, but I think it sounds funny.
Adam: That is funny. I’ve not heard that one. It’s also fairly accurate, I suppose. So, The Heavenly Father, in his infinite grace began his relationship with what were to be known as human beings by breathing life into me and, shortly thereafter, that I would have the ability to be begin the processes of filling the earth with more just like me, he pulled a rib from my side and created your grandmother.
Enosh: Wow. How did he do that?
Adam: That’s the fascinating thing about the power of our Creator, Enosh; even when one is present for the miracles he performs, we still cannot comprehend how he does such things. That is a key factor in understanding that God is God and we; we are not. Therefore, there is much that we are simply not meant to know. Does that make sense?
Enosh: It does. So… uh… what was it like when he made you guys?
Adam: It was perfect. But then… we ruined it.
Enosh: You ruined it.
Adam: We did. God gave us everything. He told us that we were free to enjoy, revel in, every inch of this splendid reality he had created just for us. But he had one rule. There was a single tree from which we were not to eat the fruit. But we disobeyed him. We ate the fruit.
Enosh: But why? Wasn’t there lots of other trees with the same kind of fruit?
Adam: Oh, yes. There were endless trees replete with every kind of fruit the mind could imagine and many that it could not.
Enosh: So why did you eat from the one that you were not supposed to eat from?
Adam: Because, my beautiful boy- the nature of the perfection the good Lord granted to us could only be understood in retrospect.
Adam: Let’s say I handed you something that you had never seen before. A small item with a shape and a texture utterly foreign to you. Let’s say that I told you it was called a ‘chapin.’ I further told you that what you were holding in your hand was a perfect chapin; and that it was the only perfect chapin in the world. What would it take for you to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that what I had told you was the truth?
Enosh: Um… that I would have to see a chapin that was not perfect?
Adam (smiling broadly): That is correct. Do you see?
Enosh: Oh, you mean that because perfection was all you had ever know, the idea of something not perfect was impossible to fear; or even to imagine. But once it happened…
Adam: Yes; it was too late to get it back.
Enosh: Gosh, what was that like?
Adam: I cannot imagine that there could possibly be a worse pain in the world.
Enosh: Well, so, what does this have to do with me, grandpa?
Adam: Unfortunately, it has everything to do with you, Enosh. You see, all of the difficulties that you have been sharing with me; essentially, they are all my fault.
Enosh: No, they’re not! Don’t say that.
Adam: I must say it, my sweet boy. What I owe you; what I will always owe you,
Enosh- is the truth. And this is the truth.
Enosh: But how? How is it your fault?
Adam: Well, to answer that, perhaps we I ought employ another one of my ‘papa quizzes.”
Enosh: Oh, c’mon, not a papa quiz.
Adam (smiling): Sorry, buddy. A good teacher never just gives his student the answers. Okay, so here is your quiz. It’s a short one. One question; four parts. ‘What are the four ways in which human beings are clearly superior to all other species in the animal kingdom?
Enosh: Um… wait… I know this… is one of them that we, like, make choices between being good and being bad?
Adam: We are moral creatures, yes. What else?
Enosh: The we… that we think about whether God is there or not?
Adam: Very good. We are spiritual creatures. Third?
Enosh: I can’t think of anything else.
Adam: Yes you can; c’mon.
Enosh (looking frustrated): I can’t- Oh, wait, I know, we have this- this sort of an idea that there’s a reason that we are here?
Adam: Yes, excellent! We are missional creatures. What’s the last one?
Enosh: Oh, man. I don’t know, Grandpa. C’mon, just tell me.
Adam: Interestingly, you are missing the most obvious one.
Enosh: I am?
Adam: Think about what is taking place right here; right now.
Enosh (clearly thinking very hard): Oh, we need each other!
Adam: We are relational. That’s my boy!
Enosh: That was a good papa quiz, grandpa. But I still don’t see what it has to do with me.
Adam: Well, you asked me earlier what the grace of God’s perfection was like. While I could never explain it in a way that would provide you a genuinely clear picture. But, utilizing the four components you just correctly located, I can give you some indication. You see, after your grandmother was brought before me, the perfect reality of our world could, in part, be located by us externally; the stark beauty of the foliage; the scrumptious flavors of the food; the ideal temperature, etc. But, far more powerfully, the perfection was something that we felt internally.
Enosh: How so?
Adam: Let’s look back at our papa quiz. Morally, we were perfect; we knew only goodness and justice and humility. Spiritually, we were perfect; joined as one with God, feeling agape streaming through every cell, and out every pore, of our bodies. Missionally, we were perfect; we knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that we were placed here to be fruitful and multiply and to lord over all the animals on the land, under the water and in the sky. And relationally, we were perfect; grandma and I were awash in a love so complete, and so effortless, that it literally felt like we were joined in a womb.
Enosh: And when you broke the rules, it changed?
Adam: ‘Changed’ falls so short of describing the overwhelming nature of the shift, but, yes, it changed. You see, the way in which we came to eat the forbidden fruit was as a result of the temptations of Satan as played out through a serpent in his name.
Enosh: A snake. I hate snakes! They scare me. Did it bite you?
Adam: No, no. That is how Satan operates, Enosh. This is very important for you to know. Satan does not attack; he beckons. He does not yell; he whispers. He does not intimidate; he charms. The snake simply slithered over and had a conversation with Grammy. He questioned whether she had correctly understood God’s warning about the tree. She was still adjusting to her new life and was easily confused by the serpent’s wiles. He tricked her into eating the fruit and, my undying love for her temporarily blinded me from what I knew to be true, and I soon followed suit. So, ‘papa quiz part 2.’
Adam (steadfastly continuing): Four questions this time. Question one; we had been morally perfect. What effect did the snakes ruse have on this?
Enosh: Uh… you were, like, bad now?
Adam: Close. Not so much bad. We had been morally corrupted. I’m feeling generous. I’ll mark that one correct. Now, after we ate the fruit, and realized we had done something horrible, we feared God’s wrath. So we went and hid. Question two is: what part of perfect internal condition do we see effected in that choice?
Enosh: The one where we wonder why are here; or, like what we are supposed to do with our lives? Misha- something.
Adam: Very good. We had become missionally confused. Now, when God found us- which, I suspect you can imagine took very little effort- he why we were hiding. When no answer came, he asked me if I had eaten from the forbidden tree. Rather than directly admit my sin, I blamed grandma; who then, in turn, blamed the snake. So, question three- what had been effected here?
Enosh: Your relationship.
Adam: Exactly. We became relationally fractured. And, finally: question four- what do you suspect happened to us spiritually?
Enosh: God didn’t like you anymore?
Adam: No. This one I must mark incorrect, as, within this answer is a critical lesson for you and for all who follow. God loved us after we ate that apple exactly as much as he loved us before we ate it- which, is to say, wholly and completely. And that is because he is incapable of doing anything else.
Enosh: But that doesn’t make sense. God can do anything. He’s opti-… he’s omnivore-… oh, what’s the word.
Enosh: Right, omnipotent.
Adam: You are correct. God is, most assuredly, omnipotent. The word means ‘all powerful.’ God has all the power in the world to accomplish anything he wishes to accomplish… except one thing. God does not have the power to be something other than God. God is love; God is righteous. These are not qualities or character choices. They are an intrinsic part of his nature. And because God is love, there is no way for him not to love us. But, because God is righteous, he also has no choice but to turn away from us. Consequently, we became spiritually alienated.
Enosh: Huh. Okay, I think I understand. But, grandpa, I still don’t really see what this has to do with me or how anything that is happening in my life is your fault.
Adam: You see, son, if we take all four realities I’ve just disclosed to you: moral corruption, missional confusion, relational fracturing and spiritual alienation- and we were to boil them all down to one single word; the word would be ‘Sin.’ Not sins, with a lowercase ‘s,’ mind you. Capital ‘S,’ Sin. As a result of the regrettable actions of your grandmother and myself, Satan was given a stronghold within mankind. Put simply, he has the legal rights to us. Because of our actions, Sin is not a toxin that runs through all of humanity; and, that, of course, Enosh, includes you.
Enosh: But how? How does it run through me? I don’t get it.
Adam: Remember when you told me how you fight with your friends and find yourself angry with them on a level which you don’t quite understand?
Adam: You are relationally fractured. Didn’t you say that sometimes you wonder if you are a good person?
Adam: You are morally corrupted. You also told me that sometimes you fear that God is not there; or that he doesn’t care.
Enosh: Because I’m spiritually alienated…
(Adam begins to cry softly)
Enosh: And I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing because I’m missionally confused.
(Adam’s head falls into his arms as begins to openly weep)
Adam (without lifting his head; barely whispering): I’m so sorry…
(Enosh puts his arms around Adam and hugs him tight)
Enosh: Grandpa, do you remember when you told me the story about Uncle Cain killing Uncle Abel?
Adam (softly): I do.
Enosh: When I got upset and said that it was all so horrible, do you remember what you told me?
Adam (looking up): No.
Enosh: You said, “Enosh, I know this may be hard for you to understand, but in the midst of all the pain and the violence and the sadness is much richness and a powerful opportunity for growth and learning.” You said, “Without despair we have no reference for joy; without darkness we could not understand light.” You told me that, even though the tragedy robbed me of an uncle; it may also have granted me insights which would help me become a great man.
Adam: I did. I said that…
Enosh: So, grandpa, isn’t it possible that, on some level, you and grandma Eve eating that apple might have, somehow, been a part of God’s plan? Or, at least, that God’s plan is such that the action you took would not be powerful enough to knock it off course? Because if you knew to tell me that about Uncle Abel’s death than that knowledge must come from God, right?
Adam (tear stained face glowing with a wide smile): I don’t have the words to tell you how deeply I adore you or how magnificently proud of you I am.
Enosh: I love you, too.
Adam: I think I may have to stop giving you poppy quizzes so that you can start giving me Enosh quizzes.
Enosh (smiling proudly): Not yet, grandpa. Something tells me that you still have some things to teach me.
(They embrace and sit in silent for some time)
Enosh: Hey grandpa?
Enosh: Will God be able to save us from Sin?
Adam: I have every confidence that he will, Enosh.
Enosh: But how?
Adam: I really don’t know.
(Adam thinks for a moment)
Adam: Although, there was something that God said that has stayed with me ever since our fall from grace. Just before he told your grandma and I that we’d be cast from the garden, he turned to the snake and said, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Enosh: What do you think that means, grandpa?
Adam: I can’t say for sure. But that last bit seems to suggest that there will be a man. A man who will come and defeat death and banish sin that we all might be reconciled with our heavenly Father.
Enosh: What kind of man?
Adam: I would imagine… a very great one.