Tag Archives: Fall of Adam and Eve

Sunday Devotional: On Suffering

Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4

How long, O LORD?  I cry for help
 but you do not listen!
 I cry out to you, “Violence!”
 but you do not intervene.
 Why do you let me see ruin;
 why must I look at misery?
 Destruction and violence are before me;
 there is strife, and clamorous discord.
 Then the LORD answered me and said:
 Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets,
 so that one can read it readily.
 For the vision still has its time,
 presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
 if it delays, wait for it,
 it will surely come, it will not be late.
 The rash one has no integrity;
 but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

Are you suffering?

I am weeping as I write this post, overcome with grief, having lost the two most important persons in my life in the space of a month.

For months, I had prayed for a miraculous intervention, but to no avail.

Do you, as I, lament as Job did in 30:20:

I cry to you, but you do not answer me;
I stand, but you take no notice.

But to suffer is to be human — suffering is the human condition.

If you find that unacceptable and demand an explanation, it’s right there in Genesis 3 — in the account of our first parents’ deliberate defiance of God’s explicit instruction, imagining in their preening grandiosity that they can become “like gods”.

But the exercise of free will is not free of consequence. As God had forewarned Adam and Eve, the issues of disobedience were dire indeed. By their fall, a door was opened to chaos; henceforth a price must be paid for being human. Where once was joy and ease, there would be suffering, hardship, and pain. The control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered, and humanity becomes vulnerable to the ravages of sickness, disease and eventual death.

And yet, narcissists that we are, when we are in the throes of suffering, we lament and wail “Why me?,” as if we alone should be spared from the universal human condition.

Did you know that researchers have found that religious, specifically Christian, faith is the most powerful non-pharmaceutical pain reducer?

St. Paul reminds us in Hebrews 4:15:

For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way.

In other words, no one better understands and empathizes with our suffering than Jesus. So, when you are wracked with pain, physical or emotional, look to our Lord on the cross and ask for His help.

2 Timothy 1:7-8

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So…bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Lent and the Fall of Adam & Eve

Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7

The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.

Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the Lord God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals
that the Lord God had made.
The serpent asked the woman,
“Did God really tell you not to eat
from any of the trees in the garden?”
The woman answered the serpent:
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
it is only about the fruit of the tree
in the middle of the garden that God said,
‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.'”
But the serpent said to the woman:
“You certainly will not die!
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil.”
The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized that they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together
and made loincloths for themselves.

The Fall of Adam and Eve is a mystery wrapped in a conundrum. For, having everything in that bucolic first garden, including and especially the unimaginably sublime gift of seeing and conversing with the Creator (Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day” –Genesis 3:8), they still chose disobedience and betrayal.

All because of the sin of grandiose narcissism — of wanting to be “like gods,” so as to determine for themselves “what is good and what is evil” although Adam and Eve already knew right from wrong. As the Book of Jeremiah 31:33 says, when God created humans, He placed His law within each of us, written in our very hearts:

[D]eclares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

But our first parents wanted to be their own gods, that is, with their own notions of right and wrong, which is nothing other than a contravention of the First Commandment (“You shall have no other gods before me.” –Exodus 20:3). Another way to say “wanting to be their own gods” is “Do as thou wilt” — the motto of satanist Aleister Crowley and the church of Satan, and the zeitgeist of our time.

That first sin by our first parents was so cataclysmic that it fundamentally changed the natural order of the world.

A door was opened to chaos; henceforth a price must be paid for being human. Where once was joy and ease, there would be banishment, toil, pain, hardship, sickness, disease, and eventual death (with painful labor you will give birth to children; “by the sweat of your brow”; for dust you are and to dust you will return”). Humankind’s relation with other creatures and the physical environment turned askew as “visible creation has become alien and hostile to man”.

So cataclysmic is the breach that human nature itself became perverted. Henceforth, all of Adam’s progeny would be born with the stain of Original Sin — tinder for sin (fomes peccati) with an inclination to evil. As St. Anselm lamented¹:

I fell before my mother conceived me. Truly, in darkness I was conceived, and in the cover of darkness I was born. Truly, in him we all fell, in whom we all sinned. In him we all lost.

¹St. Anselm: Basic Writings, translated by S. N. Deane (La Salle, Illinois: Open Court, 1961), p. 24.

Wrongs require restitution.

The dictionary defines “restitution” as reparation made by giving an equivalent as compensation for loss, damage, or injury caused; indemnification.

So immense was our first parents’ Fall that no man could make amends. Only God Himself, in the person of the Son, could make restitution — by becoming incarnate, only to be tortured, to suffer, and to die on a cross.

And so we come to Lent.

Since Jesus prepared Himself for His public ministry in 40 days, Christians imitate Him with prayer and fasting during this time of Lent to prepare for Holy Week. In remembrance of how Christ our Lord was tortured, suffered, and died for our sins, we are asked to make small sacrifices during Lent:

  • Abstinence: Refrain from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent for all age 14 and older. Why Friday? – because Jesus died for our sins on (Good) Friday.
  • Fasting: Eating one full meal and two small meals for age 18 through age 59, exempting persons with special dietary needs or medical conditions that require a greater or more regular food intake.
  • Surrender something that gives us pleasure, and/or do something good that we don’t ordinarily do.

Most of all, tell Jesus that you love Him with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.

May the love and peace of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you, always,

~Éowyn

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Sunday Devotional: God of Mercy and of Right & Wrong

Genesis 18:20-21, 23-26, 32

In those days, the LORD said:
“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great,
and their sin so grave,
that I must go down and see whether or not their actions
fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me.
I mean to find out.”

Then Abraham drew nearer and said:
“Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?
Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city;
would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it
for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?
Far be it from you to do such a thing,
to make the innocent die with the guilty
so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike!
Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”
The LORD replied: If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom,
I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

“Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time.
What if there are at least ten there?”
He replied, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.”

The Genesis passage above is a sobering reminder that God is a just God, who has inscribed within each of us a moral code of right and wrong. As the Book of Jeremiah (31:33) puts it, that law is “written in our very hearts.”

If we, exercising God’s gift of free will, violates that moral code, knowing already in “our very hearts” what is right and what is wrong, there will be consequences, as the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah discovered, too late.

Genesis 19: 24-25

Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah
brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;
And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain,
and all the inhabitants of the cities,
and that which grew upon the ground.

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, by John Martin, 1852

If you think the Genesis account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is fictive, you should know that archeological excavations at Tall-el-Hammam, which fits the geographical context of Sodom and Gomorrah at 14 km. northeast of the Dead Sea in contemporary Jordan, confirmed the biblical account.

The archaeological team found stunning evidence that the cities in Tall-el-Hammam were suddenly and completely obliterated in the Late Bronze Age in a “terminal MB2 heat event”. In the words of one of the archaeologists, Dr. Steven Collins:

“…multiple lines of evidence continue to confirm that not only massive Tall el-Hammam, but also its many satellite towns and villages on the eastern Kikkar, suffered some sort of fiery, civilization-ending cataclysm toward the end of the Middle Bronze Age, with the selfsame, well-watered-in-abundance area remaining devoid of settlements for the next 600 years or so [….] The entirety of Tall el-Hammam’s MB2 footprint is covered in heavy ash (from .5m-1m thick), ash filled destruction debris, and other conflagratory indicators….”

See “Archaeologists find evidence of the obliteration of Sodom-Gomorrah“.

Let this sink in: A cataclysmic, “civilization-ending,” “conflagratory” (fiery) “heat event” that reduced Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, making the area uninhabitable for 600 years.

That’s no ordinary fire. Not even a volcanic eruption would do that.

As an example, the ecology of Mount St. Helens in Washington state quickly recovered after the devastating eruptions of May 18, 1980. Within weeks, small mammals like pocket gophers already started meandering through the devastation.

Sobering and frightening though the obliteration of Sodom and Gomorrah is, remember that God is also merciful and loving. All He asks is that we choose right, and when we go astray, we admit we had done wrong and ask for His forgiveness.

And when we do that, He is overjoyed and envelopes you in His warm embrace, and you will have a peace beyond all understanding, no matter this world’s slings and arrows, abuse and buffeting.

Coming HomeLuke 11:9-13

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

But admitting we’re wrong, of course, takes humility. And humility is sorely lacking in an increasingly narcissistic people and culture, devoted to the worship of the self, of “Do As Thou Will” — that first temptation by the serpent in that first garden.

All He asks is that we are true to what we already know “in our hearts”. Is it so much to ask?

The Greatest Commandment of all is to love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.

And may the joy and peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

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