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Learning Curve… “I think, therefore…”

Awakening Greetings, Gentle Reader!

I am utterly delighted to announce that the Challenge, the Puzzle I posed yesterday… was solved by none other than Paulfg of Just me being curious.

I had given the hint that it seemed that Adam would have immediately “known” only two things upon opening his eyes… regardless of whether he yet had any “language” with which to characterize or articulate such knowledge. But Paul, in his solution, shows us that there is a third as well… Here is the question, and Paul’s response…

Question: Before anything else happens in the Garden, before there is even speech, just consider this question, “What did Adam… what COULD Adam… know in those first moments when he opened his eyes?”

Paul’s Response:

Thought it might have to have some boring “criteria” 🙂

I sit here imagining. And imagining. Stripping back as much of the “stuff” we all accumulate as I can. And repeat. And repeat. And keep repeating. Until all I ma left with is this:

I am.
We are.

Wow… takes my breath away, Gentle Reader. Never seen anyone do this “on demand” this way… And in recognizing the truth of Paul’s response I added that he has shown me that my hint of “two” truths is inadequate… clearly, there are “three”.

The Truths I had in mind, when Adam opened his eyes and beheld the Face of God in the First Instant of Human Time, were the realizations:

“I am.” and “You are.”

But Paul is absolutely right… there is also… “WE are.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So what, eh? Why is any of this important? Is this just a little game of silly buggers, the sort of thing the Apostle Paul in Corinth called “futile speculations” trying to show off our own wisdom and sophistication? Just so much (blech!) “philosophical stuff”?

Erm, no. No, it’s not.

In fact, just as I’ve been typing this I was struck with an intriguing thought.

What can we KNOW, ASSUREDLY about Adam? Well, simply that… he “wasn’t”, then God fashioned him, then Adam “was”. As God breathed life into/onto him, he became “man”.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. [Genesis 1:26-31]

Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. [Genesis 2:7-9]

What has just struck me in all this was that God “created” through “Word(s)” Some imagery portrays creation through God “speaking”. Some others have posed a creation scenario wherein God “sings”. I love all of that. All things were created through Jesus, the Word of God… and He upholds all things by the word of His power. This is, indeed, a great “mystery”. I have no idea HOW any of this happens, I simply believe THAT it happens (present, as well as past tense), because Scripture says so.

But the thought that struck me was that, as Paulfg so rightly points out, Adam may not have had any command of language at birth. The first “voice” he could have heard was that of God. Now, I fully realize that we cannot say that God did not infuse tremendous knowledge, including language, into Adam upon his awakening… but simply we cannot declare this to be so, as Scripture never addresses this.

(We seldom consider the question… we simply assume all kinds of knowledge for Adam, based on our own human experience. But unlike us, Adam was a bit “feral”. Nature only, no nurture at all but for God Himself. No family, no culture, no language, no “accent”, no “school” or “peer groups”. None of those wondrous background elements that so go without saying in our own lives, who provide information, knowledge, and personality development. We can’t assume any of that.)

Was everything Silent, as he opened his eyes? It may be that birds were singing, frogs croaking, crickets chirping and such… but Adam’s creation was in the “Uttermost West” (as one author puts it), and all the Garden stuff was “east” of this birth site. Or… was there perhaps music? Did the very universe “hum” in this time, as the Music of the Celestial Spheres played out? Did God hum an incredible melody, as His penultimate creation drew his first breaths? Who can say? But wondrous to consider, is it not?

Nonetheless, the point here is that… language and descriptors or not… Adam’s very first realization has to have been simply that he, Adam, WAS… he existed… he was aware and a person. And, looking upon God, comes the immediate recognition that “God is”… that… “You Are”. And with that, as Paul points out, a “new” concept, a “new word” comes into being…. “WE”… that WE ARE. “Relationship” is now a reality in human existence and experience.

Here is the critical truth, the point of this entire exercise.

Even before man is completely formed into the Image of God… before the creation of Eve… (“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”)… even before God completes the creation of Man/Woman fully in His/Their Image, Adam’s consciousness recognizes Self, Other, and Relationship.

He may not have known anything else yet… Clearly he didn’t realize much ABOUT God yet… he was simple, naked, unaffected by subtleties. He knew nothing of needs, yet. Did he know fear? Unlikely… we learn fear from negative experiences in our history, and Adam has had none yet.

So… there’s the foundation course of stones in the human experience. The ultimate “knowledge” of solo man… “I am”, “God is (You are)”, and “We are”.

So… here’s the next question, the next layer, the next challenge.

“What does Adam then FEEL?” What does he need?

We have to infer this from God’s actions that follow the birth.

Again, Gentle Reader, trust me… this truly has a point. We’re not just batting philosophical baseballs into the firmament. See what you think.

More to come… Grace to thee — The Little Monk

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2015 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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Learning Curve… Beginnings…

Awakening Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven.

Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.

Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. [Genesis 2:1-7]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

There’s this question that keeps coming to me…

“What did Adam know?”

I mean, think about it for a moment. All our preaching/teaching/debate regarding “culture”, “worldview”, the “fallen world”… all that…

A friend spoke to me the other evening about a sermon they heard about Adam at the Creation. He spoke of Adam’s great intellectual endowments and prowess. How magnificent must God’s First Perfect Created Man have been! True… all true…

But I had to respond with a question the Lord has buzzed in me for a long time… “What did he know, in that first instant?”

This all truly has a point which will develop over the next few days, but before that I’d ask that you spend a few moments building the foundation of this discussion and

Imagine… God fashions Adam from the dust of this (new) material universe… God “breathes spirit” into him… Eyes open and here, for the very first time… very first moment in all of history there is…

Human… consciousness…

But… there is nothing else! Adam opens his eyes and sees… the Face of God.

Adam knows nothing about God. No memory. No “intrauterine” memories or sensory stimuli. No parents, no culture, no nursing and nurturing… not even language.

Adam… is the ultimate tabula rasa, the blank slate. God now must grave onto and into Adam all the knowledge, the learning, Adam needs to live fully as a human…

Before anything else happens in the Garden, before there is even speech, just consider this question, “What did Adam… what COULD Adam… know in those first moments when he opened his eyes?”

Until tomorrow…. Grace to thee… The Little Monk

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2015 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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Journey – The Jots and Tittles

Desert CaravanThese days of the journey have been fairly quiet and simple. Rather a humming along, gentle and reflective, rather than anything dramatic.

Ministry has moved along sedately. Bible study smoothly. Family and friends well and even the weather moderating a bit.

For me, on this journey, there’s been a bit of a growing sense of anticipation. Not quite yet “excitement”, but a steady sense of the Lord building up towards the Spring, and the Feast of the Resurrection.

If anything, I think the theme has been “simplification”. Lots has been written in various times and places about “simplifying our lives”… occupationally, financially, socially, lots of different ways. But these days on this journey, I’ve felt the gentle urging to simplify “spiritually”, simplify “theologically”. There’s been the sense that as we move through this last part of Lent, I’m to clean up some ideas and convictions, paring them down a bit, removing debris and fluffly lint from them, finding their vibrant living core of truth to set on lampstands for my Temple.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The first Truth is simple: “Man is created by God for the purpose of being loved by God.”

No ifs, ands, buts, howevers, or other conditioning prepositions or conjunctions to it.

“We love, because He first loved us.” [1 John 4:19].

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” [Romans 5:8]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What I am to rummage through my pack for, and leave here by the side of the road, are all the little “unfaith qualifiers” I tend to tag onto such verses to rob them of their grace, authority, and power.

Stuff like:

“Well, yes, He created me to receive His love… but only if I receive Him, believe in Him, and behave properly…” I mean, that’s pretty well squashed as a view by the Romans 5:8 quotation, (I mean, really… the timing on that is pretty clear, isn’t it?) But still, it’s amazing how easily I can doubt God’s “Love Agenda” based on Him assigning some “condition for acceptance” grounded in my own will or works.

or

“Well, yes, He loves us and created me for that… but then I’ve got to return His love, and worship Him, and fear Him. After all, He MUST have made us to worship Him, right?” Well, if He dealt with us as transactionally as we tend to deal with one another… like “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”… then I guess this would hold water. But, well, this isn’t what scripture says, and Jesus was pretty clear through Sermon on the Mount that this tit-for-tat stuff isn’t really how God deals at all. So I guess that one’s out.

or

“Well, yes, God loves us, true… but He created us to work for Him, worship Him, and build His Kingdom.” (I’ve seen this one in a few places. I even bought into it for a good chunk of my life.) This one got me into a bit of hot water one day, when God finally confronted such foolishness with a healthy dose of serious reality check. It hit me like a glass of icewater dashed in my face… “Really? REALLY? Like God… Holy God… Omnipotent and Almighty God… NEEDS ME to manage His Kingdom?” Who was I kidding or trying to impress? How silly. He “needs” absolutely NOTHING that I have to offer Him. He created all of Reality perfectly well without man, and certainly didn’t “need” him in the Garden of Eden to tend it. He had other reasons, reasons of love, togetherness, fellowship, and growth in loving… for telling Adam to tend the Garden, but that discussion is for another time.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Like peeling the husk and silk off fresh ears of corn, or shucking peas… my urging has been to find the core truth… “God created man for the purpose of loving him,” and remove all the other stuff, the jots and tittles, from it.

Now, does God DESIRE more for us, and from us, than that? Absolutely. There’s vastly more to growing in intimate and immediate presence and boundless love relationship with this King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He raises His children with tremendous attention to detail. But all of that, ALL of it, is expression of His love as Our Father. Our “house rules” are nurturance and formation, not our “purpose” or our “conditions of acceptability”.

For me, this is the most fundamental truth I know. Everything else builds from this. Nothing else makes sense until this cornerstone is in place.

God’s agenda is simple: “Our Father has created us, so that He can be Our Father TO us.”

Any questions? No? Good. We’ll move on then…

Grace to thee — The Little Monk

 

 

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