Tuesday, September 05, 2006


The second lesson in the Horizons Bible Study, In the Beginning, raises the issue of deception in Genesis 3. Was Eve deceived by the serpent? Was Adam deceived by Eve? Sinclair goes on to ask, “We might ask these commentators why it is that being godly or godlike is problematic—isn’t godliness a characteristic we desire for ourselves and for our children?” The study misses the point that is being made in the biblical text. The point of the text isn’t that Adam and Eve were deceived. Being “like God” isn’t the point of the text. The point being made is that Adam and Eve ate from the tree that God forbid them to eat from. They openly disobeyed God!

Sinclair is able to come to her conclusions because she believes that “sin” = “separation”. Scripture teaches that separation from God is the result of sin—it is not sin. The “sin” in the garden was disobeying God. God specifically told Adam not to eat of the one tree. The text shows that Eve had yet to be created when this command was given. Did Eve know what God had told Adam? Yes she did! She knew that the tree was off limits. In her dialog with the serpent she adds “and you must to touch it” to the command. Were these additional words given to her by Adam or did she come up with them on her own? Quite frankly, it really doesn’t matter. She knew that she was not to eat from that tree. Additionally, Adam stood there and never tried to stop her. Both Adam and Eve were guilty of disobeying God.

The study misses a golden opportunity for women (the target audience is the women of PW) to talk about sin. They could share times when they had been tempted. They could talk about times when they failed and how Christ’s sacrifice enabled them to be reconciled to God. The study causes the women to miss the opportunity to sit with a sister who was in need of forgiveness and to be a part of God’s redemptive act of forgiveness. Women need to be able to talk about these serious issues with other women (just as men need to talk with other men). Sinclair (and by extension the editors of the Horizons Bible Study) are robbing the women of the church of something that is very valuable—the experience of praying with a sister as she seeks God’s forgiveness in her life!

It is very humbling to be with a person (man or woman) when they come to the Lord seeking forgiveness and reconciliation. To know that the person is broken before God is almost too powerful for words. Then, to see Christ lift that person up, tell them that he has paid the full penalty for their sin and give them new life is like watching a person be born anew (in fact, they are being born again!). It is very similar to the times when I watched my two children being born-it was awe inspiring. There was EXTREME pain (for the mom and the baby) just before the birth that transformed in a matter of moments to PURE JOY: the birth of a baby—the rebirth of a forgiven person.

As I write this post I am listening to a cd by Caedmon’s Call. A song on the cd is called Let Me Be. The lyrics are:

Lord, You are the maker of my heart
The framer and reshaper of my soul
Master and Creator
Healer and Sustainer
I will put my trust in You alone

Teach me to be faithful to confess
In this way my spirit will be blessed
Though my sins are daily,
You have loved me greatly
Removing them as far as East from West

Let me be open
Let me be humble
Let me find the joy of my salvation in Your cross
Let me be broken
Whenever I stumble
Let me remember the great mercy of my God

Give me the full measure of Your grace
As it is reflected in the Word
Faith and reassurance
Mercy and endurance
Carry these to those who haven’t heard

So let me be open
Let me be humble
Let me find the joy of my salvation in your cross
Let me be broken
Whenever I stumble
Let me remember the great mercy of my God

All I have needed is laid at your table
All my achievements, I lay at your feet
Alive in your spirit, I’m willing and able
You make my joy complete

Let me be open
Let me be humble
Let me find the joy of my salvation in your cross
Let me be broken whenever I stumble
Let me remember the great mercy

Make my joy complete

We all need to be broken when we stumble. We all need to find the joy of our salvation at the cross. The women of the PCUSA deserve a better study than In the Beginning.


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