Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Freedom that Is Not

Before beginning this post, I want to say that I'm changing my postings pretty significantly, mostly in length. My intent from now on is to publish much shorter pieces, easier to read and digest, beginning now by finishing the thoughts of the previous post on sex, the Bible and culture. This will still be longer than what my intent is to work toward, simply because I need to wrap up the last post.

Rather than a detailed study of the Genesis account of humankind's fall into sin and how that applies to human sexuality, let me just make some observations.

First, as discussed last time, the created world and the humans that God had set over it were "very good". In it's original, pristine state, everything existed and functioned as God intended it. Yet in chapter three of Genesis the deceiver comes and seduces Eve to take from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He didn't attack Adam, he went after Eve, thus pitting her against Adam to whom God had given the original command not to partake of the fruit.

When both the man and the woman partook, the text says "the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked". Their physical eyes were not what opened since it says beforehand that Eve saw that the fruit was a delight to the eyes. So the fact that their "eyes were opened and they knew that they were naked" means that their understanding was opened.

Why the entire focus seems to be that with the knowledge of good and evil they realized they were naked is a mystery. Then, when the Lord calls for them in the Garden, Adam says that he hid from the Lord because "I was afraid because I was naked". So again the focal point of the consequences of the fall is that they knew that they were naked. Also, Adam says that he was afraid. Fear was the first negative emotion introduced into the creation.

From this point forward human beings are all born with a dual nature: created in the image of God, but now with a twist in their very being, a warp in the human character that causes us to be alienated from the God who created us. We are all a fallen race. That is why when God sent a Redeemer to save us from that fallen nature, He had to be born through the divine agency of the Holy Spirit of God planting the seed of the Messiah into a virgin. No mere mortal man could be the Redeemer. No one who was himself a fallen person could be the Redeemer. Only God Himself could accomplish redemption.

As it pertains to human behavior and to sexuality, because we were now a fallen race with the tendency to veer away from the way God intended things to be, thereafter God established laws as boundaries to restrain people from abusing the way He had designed the creation and our relationships with one another.

Humankind constantly seeks to flaunt those boundaries and has throughout history. Today, the rebellion against any form of sexual restraint is nothing new, it is in fact as ancient as the Fall itself. But the irony is that the "freedom" we seek to gain by casting off the restraints set by God, is in reality bringing ourselves into the bondage from which God sought to set us free. True freedom for Adam and Eve existed briefly before they fell and they became ashamed of their nakedness. That world is gone.

We live now in the fallen world in which God has had to impose boundaries for our protection. We kick against those boundaries thinking we are gaining freedom, but in reality, we enslave ourselves to the shackles of the fallen creation. Seeking to be free, we only embellish our servitude to the fallen flesh from which we are made.