Why is sin appealing to us humans? As with many topics, the beginning place for an answer is found in the ancient stories preserved in Genesis chapters 1-3. The potentiality for temptation and for sin is inherent in the twin poles of our created nature. On the one hand, we are creatures, made of dirt. On the other hand, we bear the image of God. Try holding those two thoughts in your mind at one time.
God forms the first human from physical elements of the earth, in-breathes this creature with living breath, and calls it “adam”–Hebrew for “dust-person” (2:7). “Adam” is used later as a proper name for the first male human. But before it is a proper noun, it is a common noun for “them”–male and female alike, both of whom bear the image of God (1:27). What is God’s image in humans? Genesis is not specific, but it seems to include such traits as imagination, creativity, a sense of right and wrong, and various aspects of self-awareness.In another story, God takes a bone from the male human creature’s side and forms a female human creature.
Whatever heights dust-men may scale in this world, they cannot escape their origin. Made of earth, they finally return to earth again. Yet however tightly dust-man is bound to the earth, both she and he bear the image of God. Do we see the tension these two realities create? Do we feel the inherent struggle between our limitations and our glory? There is no doubt that we experience this struggle, but do we recognize it? Alone among created beings, we are made in the image of our Creator–surely holding promise (we think) of reaching a maturity that no longer requires God. Would God make us to imagine such a thing if it were not possible? It is a teasing question, but there is little humor in it.
We cannot even talk about our likeness to the Creator without acknowledging that we are creatures. And created beings did not exist until they were created. Every moment of our existence is the Creator’s gift. We can accept our creaturehood and embrace the glory of God’s image, or we can desire to be more than we are, more than we can be. But this requires declaring independence from God himself, an act that leads to our own destruction. Yet this is precisely what the human creatures do, as we see in the next gracEmail on this topic.
Words of truth and wisdom from my friend and fellow on the journey, Edward Fudge.
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