Posted in adam, encouragement, Eve, eyes, Garden, sin

Seeing God with eyes closed

I’ve mentioned on my other blog that I love to play around with my photos using the online photo editors. I think it’s cool what you can do these days with a photo by manipulating it into something different or even nearly unrecognizable.

Not that new is necessarily better. I learned about heliogravure and collotype which produced stunning photographs and reproductions with clarity, tone, and detail almost unsurpassed by today’s digital photos. But I digress.

The colors of fall are spectacular. Once the summer haze and humidity clears out the night sky becomes ablaze with stars and the day sky is a deep blue like a sapphire. Years and years ago, I took this photo of a fall tree in Maine, its leaves having dropped and its bare arms crookedly reaching under an azure sky. I’ve always liked the picture.

EPrata photo

I monkeyed with the picture and made this:

EPrata photo

I like the altered photo too. Are they the same picture? The same scene? Do they depict the same reality?

They do … and they do not. By blocking out some tones and colors, it brings forth others. By reversing some aspects, it shows others.

I enjoy reading and studying the first three chapters of Genesis. I spend a lot of time there. In this instance, I was thinking about the moment when Eve and then Adam ate of the fruit.

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. (Genesis 3:4-7)

Their eyes were opened? Of course we know that isn’t literal. They were not blind before, they could literally see. Eve “saw the fruit was good for food”. In chapter two of Genesis, God brought the animals to Adam, who obviously saw them before he named them. Adam saw which tree not to eat from, because he instructed Eve likewise after she was created. So they could see.

As Albert Barnes’ Notes state,

It must therefore mean that a new aspect was presented by things on the commission of the first offence.

As the two photos above showed, a new aspect of things that had been there all along but now were in the forefront. The happy blue sky is gone, it is now darkened. The glory-white clouds are now ponderous boulders in the sky, scudding ominously. The tree which was of good AND evil, now shows the aspect of evil and ghostly death that the pair could not see before.

Gill’s shows us the depth of the loss:

And the eyes of them both were opened,…. Not of their bodies, but of their minds; not so as to have an advanced knowledge of things pleasant, profitable, and useful, as was promised and expected, but of things very disagreeable and distressing. Their eyes were opened to see that they had been deceived by the serpent, that they had broke the commandment of God, and incurred the displeasure of their Creator and kind benefactor, and had brought ruin and destruction upon themselves; they saw what blessings and privileges they had lost, communion with God, the dominion of the creatures, the purity and holiness of their nature, and what miseries they had involved themselves and their posterity in; how exposed they were to the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and to eternal death:

They had been naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25) but also unaware. Now they were aware. Their eyes had been closed to evil and thus only glory filled the lamp of their eye. Upon eating of the fruit (disobeying God) the eye’s shutter that had excluded all sin and evil was now opened, allowing its full flow into their eyes, heart, and mind.

When we’re glorified, the shutter of our eyes that was opened in the garden will be closed once more. We will never look upon sin again! We will only see the glory of God, unfiltered and fully Bright. As His children with childlike faith, we will see with eyes closed. Did you ever think that our eyes being closed will be a good thing?

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Posted in curse, encouragement, Garden, garden of eden, gethsemane

Two Gardens: Eden and Gethsemane

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:8-9).

“The Garden of Eden” Jan the Elder Brueghel (1568-1625)

It’s July. It’s garden season. Everyone in this rural county in North Georgia has a garden, it seems. The tomatoes and yellow squash are coming in gangbusters. People around here are self-sufficient. They know how to fish for lunch, shoot dinner, maintain a garden, skin a deer, and BBQ a hog. They keep their tractors running and their farms afloat.

It’s pretty here, too. As a result from working the land, people cherish their land. They are good caretakers.

A friend’s garden, not the one I’m helping
with this week. Different friend. EPrata photo

This week I am working a garden. Yes that is unusual for me. I do not like outside. I know it is there. I see outside through the window. I don’t need to go into it. So why am I working a garden? Because I have married friends who have a large garden. They went away this week on vacation and they asked me to tend the garden while they are gone. They said I could eat the produce from the garden and also share it with others. I love serving the brethren, so of course I said yes.

I don’t have experience with gardens and such. I’m from Maine and the growing season is so short it barely makes it worth it to put a garden in. So I have been introduced to gardening this week. Gardens are very much on my mind.

When I picked the yellow squash, cukes, and tomatoes the other day I battled bees and wasps. There were lots. The squash blossoms were huge and inviting to them and apparently none of them had declined the invitation, and hence there was a lot of buzzing to battle. Also, I had to check for snakes in the underbrush, because, well, Georgia has snakes. Apparently my fig latex allergy isn’t limited to fig latex but any plant from the tomato, squash, or cuke family. My friends have planted tomatoes, squash, and cukes. I emerged the first day with huge welts that burned and stung. And itched.

Bee: potential ouch. EPrata photo

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:15-17)

I came home and put the produce I’d picked in a sink of water that also had some vinegar in it. When I plunged them into the water and let them soak, the maggots came out. So. That was gross.

Gardening may help the dinner table but it seems to me that the gardener is exposed to too many irritants and dangers in order to make it yield. All gardeners and farmers know this, but it’s stressful and difficult to work the land.

Thorns. Another ouch. EPrata photo
~~~~~~~~~~ Eden ~~~~~~~~~~

It didn’t start out that way. Initially in the Garden of Eden, “The Garden of God” (Ezekiel 28:13) it was easy to work the garden and it was beautiful, with no thorns or irritants or stinging insects or venomous snakes on the ground.

The two greatest perfidies that ever occurred on earth both took place in gardens.

Man and Woman disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. There was one rule. Don’t eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But they did.

Why? Satan told them to. Which at the time I guess was more compelling than when God told Adam not to.

Satan is a cherubim, the highest and most beautiful angel. Yet evil was found in his heart and satan, whose given name is Lucifer, determined to war against God and supplant Him. (Ezekiel 28:15, Isaiah 14:13-14). He came down to the Garden, (You were in Eden, the garden of God; (Ezekiel 28:13) entered into a serpent and spoke to Eve and Adam. He said to eat the fruit. “Hath God said? You surely will not die.” They ate. They died.

Betrayal!

Satan sinned in heaven and now he had brought it to man and woman and the garden. The garden was forever changed from a beautiful place with all plants, animals, and humans were at peace with God, to a thorny place at war with Him and each other.

Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,” (Genesis 3:17b-19a)

~~~~~~~~~~ Gethsemane ~~~~~~~~~~

Garden of Gethsemane, 2011 CC,  Ian Scott photo

Satan entered into a serpent and brought the deepest evil known to humankind. And Satan did it again. He entered into a human this time, and brought the deepest evil known to mankind…when Judas kissed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Betrayal!

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. (John 18:1)

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” (Matthew 26:36).

In the Garden of Eden, there was temptation, satan tempted Eve. (Genesis 3:4). In the Garden of Gethsemane, there was temptation also. Jesus asked the disciples to remain awake with Him, so they would not be tempted-

And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:40-41)

Judas came, along with a great crowd, while Jesus was speaking to the disciples about prayer so as to resist temptation. While Jesus spoke of the coming temptation, Judas arrived. Amazing. And inside Judas is who? Satan. Satan had entered into Judas a earlier that evening as Judas departed the final Passover Supper, (Luke 22:3) and went to find the cohorts to arrest Jesus. So once again, satan inhabited a being and tempted men. In a garden.

What was the temptation? I am not sure, but a short while later Peter did deny Jesus. There had been temptations to fight over position in the Kingdom, as the Disciples thought was coming soon. Perhaps it was a temptation as simple as running away, which they all did, Mark 14:50.

~~~~~~~~~~ Conclusion ~~~~~~~~~~

In the Garden of Eden man was the highest he could be, created perfect and blameless by a perfect and holy God. In the Garden of Gethsemane man was the lowest he could be, betraying and selling out God who created him for the price of a slave. And he did it with a kiss.

In one, satan inhabited a serpent. In the other, satan inhabited a man. In one, man walked perfect and righteous. In the other, Jesus as God-man walked, perfect and righteous. In one, temptation. In the other temptation as well. In one, the first Adam. In the other, the last Adam.

Sin has corrupted all gardens on the entire earth, including the one I’m working in. There are weeds and thorns and snakes and bees and wasps and prickers and allergies. … Creation groans for release from the curse pronounced upon it in Genesis 3.

The beauty that was lost in the Garden of Eden will not always be lost! We have hope. Jesus reconciled man to Himself at the cross. He came as the last Adam to be the sacrificial Lamb, endure all God’s wrath for the sin that happened in the Garden of Eden and every day since, and to impute His righteousness to His elect.

Creation groans under this curse, one it didn’t bring on itself! (Romans 8:22). But in that first garden? God gave us hope! (Genesis 3:15). At the conclusion of all things, He will reconcile earth. (Romans 8:19-21).  He will restore all things! (Acts 3:21)

In the future, His entire creation become the Garden He intended it. What a day that will be!

Posted in adam, discernment, Eve, Garden, holy, sin

Discernment lesson- A rabbi’s new twist to the Adam and Eve story

The attack on Genesis 3 is an old attack and that is for a reason. It is the basis for everything, it is the foundation for all that comes after. It is the beginning of sin, rebellion, and God’s interaction with man. Humans want to deny their culpability in their rebellion against God, so they twist and deny and slyly change the bible’s foundational doctrine…like this rabbi does.

In discernment, first and foremost, any religious person who says that have a “new twist” on the ancient word is lying. In essence, they are saying, ‘I, and I alone, have found the one and only interpretation that escaped everyone else for 3 thousand years.’ Not.

But here is Rabbi Manis Friedman telling his story in an essay titled
A New Twist to the Adam and Eve Story

Right away, discernment bells should go off in your mind.

Additionally, I will make a comment that is sure to rankle some. Our friends, the Jewish scholars and Jewish people, are not saved. They are not under the covering of blood that saves them from the wrath of Gods and are not brethren as defined in the bible (Matthew 12:50). They may be expert in the history of the Jewish people, but they do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit in them because they have not believed on Jesus’s death and resurrection as the Messiah and become saved. Therefore it is easier for satan to work in them. We pray for all the lost, and we know that God is not finished with His people the Jews and His nation Israel, they will come to national salvation at the end of the Tribulation. (Zechariah 12:10, Revelation 7:1-8). But unless a person is a Messianic Jew, they are not saved and therefore have no clue about the whole plan of God in the Old Testament to the New.

I want to link to and excerpt some part from the Rabbi’s piece in the Huffington Post today. He made some statements that a careful reading will show what he is about.

He begins by restating the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. So far, so good. He does say that “within an hour of those explicit instructions,” that they ate the fruit but the bible does not say how long of an interval occurred between God delivering the instructions and the time they ate of the fruit of the tree. It could have been long and it could have been short, as little as a day. Butthe bible does not say it was an hour. So he took a liberty there.

Then he asks, ‘Hasn’t it ever struck you as a bit odd? Why would G-d choose to start the Torah with such a horrible story?”

He didn’t. He started the Torah with the book of Bereishit, which we know as Genesis 1, and the Creation. He began by revealing His power.

Now, asking questions of the bible is good. I ask all the time, not to doubt (like Zacharias) but to wonder (like Mary) ,(Luke 1:5-17) My questions are like, “Wow, I wonder why He did that? I want to study that more!”

But the question the rabbi asked about beginning the story of human history seems more like Zacharias’s question to me, “hath God really said…” More of a doubting nature, questioning the event itself. God began the story there because that is where the story began. Period.

Then the rabbi says the Garden was “a place where the evil inclination cannot even exist, and after being given just one simple commandment they break it within the hour.”

First, he is obviously wrong. Evil inclination did exist, because satan was there. He had already fallen and he was evil through and through. (Ezekiel 28:15). Unless the rabbi does not believe that the serpent speaking to Adam and Eve was satan, which he was.

And there is that ‘one hour’ thing again. The rabbi makes it sound that because Adam and Eve disobeyed so quickly, something else must have been going on. ‘They couldn’t have been so weak as to be unable to resist one ‘simple’ command… Come on….’ However the rabbi’s sly approach denies the strength of the sin nature, which is exactly what God was showing us here.

And then his sly work deepens. He writes, “And if there is no evil inclination in the Garden of Eden, how could they have transgressed this one commandment, and so soon?! If G-d Himself told us to eat from any tree that we wanted, except for one, wouldn’t we listen?”

The rabbi builds upon his false premise that evil couldn’t have existed in the Garden, and cements his proposition that because it happened so quickly something else was happening. He is essentially saying that man has the internal strength to resist sin and to perfectly listen to God on our own. Now his essay is really getting deep into treacherous waters of non-belief in the meaning of the plain text.

Rabbi: “But when He asks Adam to refrain from eating from a tree, Adam’s response is, “I’ll try”? That can’t be; it’s not possible.”

Where has the rabbi been for all of human history? Why does he not take the example from his own people’s history, one of continuous disobedience to what God said not to do?! It’s not possible? Of course it’s possible, it happened over and over! But he is chipping away at the authority of God’s word by denying the fact that we succumb to sin so easily when tempted.

Then the rabbi says that God is a bad psychologist. “It is also bad psychology. When you tell a child, “Don’t touch that crystal vase,” you do not add, “if you do…” What do you mean “if you do”? You don’t! You never introduce the possibility that they will break your rules. When you say, “If you do…” you’re in effect saying that it’s possible that they will touch that vase.”

So God is never to tell us not to do anything against His wishes because we’re children and He knows we will disobey anyway? Doesn’t that make God into a slave to OUR sin-nature?

Rabbi: “And where did Adam learn to blame someone else? His automatic response to G-d’s query was that Eve had forced him to eat the fruit. This man was only a few hours old, having been created just that morning, and he’s already blaming others?”

If the rabbi read Genesis 3:7 he would know that after they disobeyed, a sin nature came alive into them, their eyes were opened, and they knew shame. Before the Fall, they did not know shame (Genesis 2:25) After the Fall, they did. And blame, too, obviously. “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. (Genesis 3:7).

Adam did not remain sinless/righteous after he disobeyed. He then knew the full pantheon of good and evil, just as God had told Adam would happen when He said not to eat the fruit. (Genesis 2:16)

Rabbi: “The whole story as we know it appears quite problematic. But the main problem is, if you would want to start teaching your child the Torah, would you start with this story? Even if it did happen, why talk about it? And right in the beginning of the book? Maybe the story isn’t all that simple.”

Here it comes. Wait for it…

“Adam and Eve consciously remembered being in heaven when they were informed that their souls would have a special spiritual mission to fulfill in a physical world.”

Really? I can’t find that in my bible.

In order to create a new doctrine, and that is what the Rabbi is doing here, you need to stray off the path. But false teachers don’t grab you by the hand and yank you off the path, They lead you gently. He has brought us to the edge of the path with his questions and false premises and building on those premises as if they were true. Sly questions incrementally drift us to the edge of the narrow road God set before us. Hebrews 2:1 says we must pay careful attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away. Illegitimate questions nudge us off the way and soon we are drifting to the edge. Eventually, the false teachers leave the left foot on the path but take their right foot off it into new territory. It doesn’t feel totally unfamiliar to you because one foot is still on familiar terrain. This is to get you to feel comfortable with the new terrain before he leads you totally off it. Now we take one foot off the path on our veering away into new doctrinal territory.

He sets up quite an argument, beautiful in its false logic, superficially logical in all its evil. Read it. I will post the summary statement here–

“Adam wanted to ensure that his children would all remain righteous. How do you do that? Don’t eat from the tree. If you don’t eat from the tree then you’ll stay in the Garden of Eden, you’ll never die, there will be no sins, and all of your children will be pious. Eve didn’t want that. She wanted her children to be forced to struggle, to have to repent for their inevitable shortcomings. She eventually convinced Adam that one who must struggle to find G-d is worthier than a naturally righteous man.”

Yeah, because who wants that. Perfect obedience to God and living a perfect, righteous life in perfect fellowship with Him? Nah.

Rabbi Friedman says that when God asked Adam if he had eaten the fruit, God was not angry. He was smiling, happy that the humans had figured it out. God is a riddler and woman is clever.

What the rabbi is saying in his piece are several things:

1. God tricked humans with a double-back command
2. Adam was too dumb to figure it out
3. Eve was smart and led the man to the right conclusion, (incidentally paving the way for feminism)
4. A typically Pharisaical hierarchy is cemented by this doctrine, that all Jews are equal, but some (struggling righteous Jews) are more equal that others (naturally righteous Jews). (HT to Animal Farm by George Orwell)
5. Some men are naturally righteous (not so says Romans 3:10)
6. Pure, unadulterated grace is less desirable than man’s self-effort at righteousness

Let’s get back to the beginning for a moment. The Rabbi had asked, ‘is it really that simple’? And proceeded to confuse things. But it is that simple. God said not to do something. They did it. He was angry. He proved He was angry by punishing them with departure from the garden and cursing all participants. He told them they were lost by promising them a savior. It is so very clear.

Back to the Rabbi: “Eating from the tree was not an act of rebellion against G-d, nor was it succumbing to their appetite, for they had no desires other than to serve G-d. The choice they had was between one holiness and another. Their motivation came from their G-dly souls. It is known as the “sin” of the tree for sin means stepping down from an innocent place to a lower place, and they certainly did — not out of weakness but out of devotion to their mission.”

Of course they had desires other than to serve God, The verse in Genesis 3:6 says so.

And in another HT to Orwell, the rabbi’s treatise on the “new” way to see the story of Adam and Eve is typical doublespeak. The rabbi’s evil conclusion- Rebelling against God is holy.

Doublespeak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. For example, in Orwell’s book 1984, we learn that in the dystopian, atheistic world of Orwell’s future, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.

In Rabbi Friedman’s world, Sin is Holy.

Hath God really said…?