I find myself with a couple of minutes on hand before I go to lead our study of God of Our Mothers by M.R. Ritley (Morehouse Publishing, 2006). As I prepared for it I was reflecting on some of the things that have come up in previous studies. I though that since I hadn’t posted anything new for a while, I might share some of my recent “ramblings” with you.
Why is knowledge of good and evil such a bad thing? I don’t know how many of you took the Sayers course and studied the play based on Faust. That question comes up there when Faustus asked to be returned to the state of innocence before the eating of the fruit. All hell breaks loose. So why is the knowledge of good and evil such a bad thing if such knowledge can prevent us doing evil. A few things came up.
Shawn, I think it was you a few years back, that suggested that maybe the reason Adam and Eve were not to eat of the fruit was that it was not yet ripe. That although there was the knowledge, there wasn’t the wisdom that would come with maturity (of the fruit).
Someone else has suggested that prior to the eating of the fruit, evil did not exist, that it was in disobedience that it began. But if it doesn’t exist, why have knowledge of it.
There is the idea of Adam and Eve’s awareness of their nakedness (is this why we have such a problem with the human body which is wonderful gift from God). But is this awareness not part of maturing?
In it all is my question – Did God really plan for us to remain as children?
I have always struggled with the idea of original sin – probably natural considering my Pelagian tendencies. I found an interesting thought on Father Jake’s blog where he based his understanding on the writings of Irenaeus of Lyons. http://frjakestopstheworld.blogspot.com/2004/06/human-progress.html (Sorry, I still haven’t figured out the link thingy yet). This idea of human progress really resonates with me. I got so excited about this that I looked up Against Heresies on the internet. Now I wish I had the time to read and understand it. But it doesn’t fit into my study schedule this year.
Is there really a valid base for Original Sin or is the idea a result of the influence of Augustine's life style before becoming a Christian? - and then grasped as a mechanism of control by the powers that be? This is a rambling I have been going over and over for a number of years - considering that some of the ideas that have resulted based on this concept did serious damage to my spirituality.
The phrase, the God of our Fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob occurs a number of times (or phrases meaning that). I have always questioned Isaac being in there. He doesn’t seem to have much of a story – and indeed when we read the texts we see that Rebekah is the real strength.
Ritley brings up the interesting question of Isaac’s relationship with God, Abraham, and Sarah. I have always wondered how Isaac would have felt about nearly being sacrificed. How did that affect future relationships? When reading the text – Isaac seems to have a very close relationship with Sarah but not Abraham – I’m not sure I would get over my father’s willingness to sacrifice me either. And then, although the translation is not quite clear there are the couple of times that God is described as the “Fear of Isaac.” That makes complete sense to me. I wouldn’t exactly be comfortable around a god that wanted to test someone through bringing me to the point of being a sacrificial offering.
What I found interesting about the whole sacrifice story was that it was so out of place. Ritley suggests that it is from early sources. Why it is placed in there is anyone’s guess. I go with the idea that it’s a reminder to us, after Abraham’s relationship with God as a friend, that God cannot be tamed or pegged or contained. The story is jarring in that it does not really reflect a loving and compassionate God. But that very jarring serves to remind us not to take God for granted. It restores the balance between immanence and transcendence.
Well, I now used up most of my time so I best quit writing and focus on today’s study which is Leah and Rachel. I haven't had a lot of time to proof-read so I hope this isn't a case of post in haste, repent in leisure.