Adam and Eve – the glory of the story
The narrative of Adam and Eve has pride of place – if you only manage to read the first ten pages of the Bible you'll at least know that story. In fact the significance of the story hovers like a mesmeric shadow over all the cultures of the Abrahamic religions. It seems to set the scene for all human weaknesses, with gender stereotyping highlighted for good measure. Little wonder the non-religious cannot believe this Book is our spiritual sustenance.
But Adam and Eve is the story of all stories, about material creation. Over the years people have told different stories about that subject. For a long time there was a committee structure of gods – responsible for the various departments of life. Nowadays our leading thinkers prefer a god of chaos, who contrived through nothing more than the random movement of atoms to create a world of stars, sand, sea-lions and sunflowers – and many other worlds as well, we expect.
These theories have two things in common. First, they all contain an inbuilt explanation for human frailty. – if not the result of listening to a serpent, it is the result of the random darts of chaos, or the weaving of beautiful molecules into patterns of human strength and weakness.
The second common factor in all these theories is they have no room for an omnipotent, omniscient God. The God of the Adam and Eve story was a blundering god who, whilst clever at making things from unlikely materials, went away somewhere else whilst his creatures fell into a trap that he either accidentally or knowingly put there for them. The God in the world of the Big Bang and DNA is found nowhere except in the capacity of his randomness to create wonder and self-awareness.
So we politely agree with the experts in material science and have no quibble with their DNA diagrams. We don't even mention that their theories will one day join the ranks of discarded ignorant mythology as all the earlier theories have been. But their theories have not helped us, or them, find a meaningful God, so where do we look?
If we listen to Jesus Christ he gives the answer in three words “God is Spirit”. The import of this statement is that God is not material. He is not found in atoms, or DNA, or the garden of Eden for that matter. The law of Spirit rules in God's spiritual creation.
Paul describes in this way our escape from the tyranny of materialist theories -
".. the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:2)
To the sceptic, the Bible is an unlikely guidebook to life. But its early pages could not give a more vivid and timeless account of how our materialistic beliefs have imprisoned us. And if that stirs us to take up the narrative thousands of years later to see how Christ can unlock those gates of Paradise, then we have found a way to the Life which is God. Freedom from limitations of all material laws, be they of serpent; chaos or conditioning; DNA or diagnosis – the empowerment the twenty-first century thinker seeks—this is the glory of the story.