Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A New Story? # 8 - Don't Forget to Call

One thing often forgotten by modern readers of the Genesis creation accounts is this: They are Jewish documents written by Jewish people for Jewish people , and therefore they are completely irrelevant to you and me.

The more I read Genesis 1-3, the more I see a story not of creation, fall, redemption, but of something a little different. The jump from creation to fall is too sudden, too clean cut.

Consider Adam. He was created by God, but that wasn’t the end of God’s dealings with Adam until “the fall”. After God “formed” Adam, He did two things: He planted a garden, and then placed Adam in the garden. In this (what John Drane calls) “faith story”, Adam was not born into Eden. He was brought to Eden by God.

Verse 15 of chapter 2 puts it like this:

Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

Adam’s life didn’t begin in a garden of paradise. It began somewhere else, until God called him to the garden he had prepared.

Creation. Call.

This was a familiar story to ancient Israelite ears. Like Adam, they were “formed” by God (Isa. 43:1). Like Adam, they were called out of somewhere and brought to a new and beautiful place (Hosea 11:1). But also like Adam, their disobedience to the call led to exile from God’s promised land.

The story of Adam is the story of Israel. The story of Israel is the story of the world.

The story of Jesus rights the wrongs of all three of these stories. To be “in Christ” therefore means to be re-created and re-called. Re-created in the image of a crucified and resurrected Messiah, re-called to a life lived in the fullness of this image, all of which is possible – no, guaranteed -- through the power of God’s life-giving spirit. It is this spirit, this unique “presence-ing” of God that Adam never had, which is arguably the whole point of the biblical story (and which is sadly overlooked by many, myself included).

  • God, Adam, Abraham, Jesus, Spirit, Church.

  • Creation, Call, Disobedience, Exile – Incarnation, Call, Obedience, Return, Presence

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