Atheists are adamant in their rejection of God, the Bible, religious expectations, etc., but will have no trouble accepting the opinion of a scientist who declares a rock is two million years old. This is their expression of what faith is. In their view, nothing religious can be affirmed as factual and thus, Christian faith is folly. Their faith, in marginalized scientific guesswork, however peculiarly conceived, often rests upon the “we’re working on it” response to facts not in evidence.
Christian faith demands that those who believe it is factual, but unproven by atheistic standards, live in ways that give evidence of the conceptual understanding that the manner in which Jesus lived is the totem for identification. Thus, mankind is exposed to requirements that are difficult to maintain and often are torn asunder by a temptation similar to that which Adam and his mate, Eve, faced. They failed. Too often, so do we.
Eden evidently was intended to be the mortgage-free habitation of God’s two creations. We can imagine that it was a place of beauty and our meager information allows us to think there were no laws to obey, no rigid requirements of zoning and no tax returns to be filed. There was, however, one stop sign. It was placed in front of what we understand to be a tree of knowledge. While complete freedom to enjoy the park was granted, the one limitation of never eating from it existed, and while we will never comprehend why the “devilish snake” was installed, as a resident, we can know that without it, Adam and Eve’s response would never have been tested.
God’s plan eventuated in failure. Adam and Eve, blaming each other for the mistake, were evicted from Eden. The altruistic asp also was hurled from the garden and was made to crawl upon its belly for all time, allowing us to think its original form was something other than the creepy, crawly, flesh-tingling slitherer that resides among us today. Adam was sentenced to hard work, from which he would learn the lessons of raising food, etc. Eve, in a truly strange assignment, was told she would be salvaged through child-bearing, etc.
Little is known, after the eviction notice of the Landlord, of the residential location of Adam and Eve. We are told that they lived east of Eden. In many ways, the entire formation of the Bible, including historic revelations, genealogies, numeric growth, political formations, Messiah’s advent and rejection, missionary work by the Apostle Paul, formations of churches, the teachings of Christ, etc., is the story of mankind’s consistent rejection of God and what happens in life east of Eden.
Everything that has evolved since the creation and failure of God’s original plan is continuing evidence of a universal decay that includes violence, mayhem, destruction, and man’s incomprehensible inhumanity. This may be evidence of what life, all of life, is when we reject God’s expectation and are thrown into the churning eddies of society that always is east of Eden.
There are some things in life that once lost can never be regained. Trust, between human beings, is an asset that when surrendered can be forgiven, but rarely ever forgotten by the one who was betrayed. In America, we are learning that trusting people we elect to represent us, at all levels of election, is too often a mistake. Ethics are many times surrendered for expediency and personal commitments are discarded like rubbish thrown in Dumpsters. Commitments, and the pledging of loyal affirmations, are seen as passing fancies and not to be honored when circumstances change. Morality, as expressed in varied ways, once a core value of honest behavior, is, in America, sliding on the luge of lamentable laxness with disaster in focus.
It all may have started with the end of Eden. For those who wonder about Scripture, and there are many reasons to be perplexed, it might be of help to view the books as partial revelation of what it means to live in a world that never achieved that which was intended, and for thousands of years the environment has been working toward an eventual end.
Until then, we can consider the notion that when the first generation failed, all generations have been uniquely living in a strange land just east of Eden.