…More than just a Government ?

Last 4th. of July I began what I intend to make a tradition: I read the Declaration of Independence aloud. (So far, I’m the only person present at the reading.) This year, while reading those hallowed words that explained & proclaimed the American Revolutionary cause, I also began to get unexpected glimpses of parallels with things not necessarily ‘political’. These glimpses will, I know, become full visions, if I am not just imagining them. If I am not just imagining them, surely others have been graced with such…insight.

My conviction that the hand & works of the Lord run through all of American history, for a strong & definite purpose, grows every day. There is not much about which I have no doubt, but I have no doubt about that. I think I am coming late to the party! as the almost tangibleness of His invisible things become more manifest to me. We read in 2 Corinthians 4:17 about affliction “…working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” and are counseled to look at those things which are not seen. I suspect that the United States of America is a powerful representation of those unseen things.

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“That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

What impacted me especially, in this statement in the beginning sentences of the Declaration of Independence, was the idea of the consent of the governed. That some form of government among men is necessary cannot be disputed. The heavy-handed concept of government might be inherently assumed. Clearly, with tyrants & dictators, it is. There, the people fall prey. Perhaps they have never known any other way.

(But there is another Way.)

God is on the march, and He has plans for men.

~~~

 

We begin our endeavors with high hopes & grandiose plans. Then, we usually start hitting roadblocks, right? Sometimes, roadblocks hit us! As the sparks fly upward, man is born for trouble, we read in the book of Job. (Job 5:7) I hate that this is written, but…it is. We can usually safely assume, at the very least, glitches along the way; but often serious difficulties, conflicts & divisions rise up.

So it is & has been in governments among men. The reason for that is that governments are composed of men. Our Founders knew this well, and did not expect perfection, or a problem-free republic. In the Federalist No.51, James Madison astutely wrote: “It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

‘Glitches’ began rearing their hostile heads early on in the young United States. Prior to the framing of the Constitution, under the Articles of Confederation, Congress had failed so miserably to govern that a return to monarchy was being considered as the only defense against chaos. George Washington doubted that the young nation could exist much longer without “…having lodged somewhere a power which will pervade the whole Union…” (Athearn, Robert G., American Heritage series, Vol.4, ‘A New Nation’)  Such crises led to four months of constant, intense & sometimes bitter debate during the Constitutional Convention, where the Articles of Confederation were scrapped, and agreement was finally reached on the new Constitution of the United States of America.

Safeguards against the inclinations of man at his worst were implemented into our Constitution, to the best of our forefathers’ ability. In his closing speech at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, while acknowledging not entirely approving it, Benjamin Franklin also acknowledged astonishment that the finished Constitution of the United States of America approached so near to perfection as it does.” (Ravitch, Diane & Thernstrom, Abigail, eds., The Democracy Reader)

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So…men struggle to achieve the goal of a free nation. Such a nation requires government.  And perhaps we see in the heart, the form & the functioning of the government & citizens of the United States of America a parallel to the corporate body of Christ and the individuals within it. And thus, a glimpse into the heart & desire of God.

~~~

Just as the American governing system is comprised of many persons who serve in a hierarchy of various offices & functions, so Christ operates His government on this earth through His people, who serve within a Divine structure, as many members of one Body. Yet “…all members have not the same office.” (Romans 12:4) The optimal functioning of the body of Christ on earth requires the willing participation of…His people. God want co-workers. (2 Cor.6:1, 5:19)  He wants us to agree with him, so that we can act in accord with His purposes. Although the Lord can do as He pleases, it is not in His heart to subvert us, or force us to work with Him. He wants our consent.

He wants the consent of those over whom He would be Lord.

Consent of the governed.

~~~

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Looking Back might Help…

In today’s very troubled world, as threats & turmoil seem to increase almost daily, concerned citizens of the United States would want to be able to choose hope. But faced with such constant danger & unrest around the globe, when ‘around the globe’ can be as close as your television screen, or iPad, it is often hard to maintain optimism, isn’t it?

Fortifying me in this regard are periodic visits back to our Revolutionary beginnings. A wealth of understanding and vision abides in the words of our Founders. Renewed faith, hope and joy are so often the treasures I bring back with me, after time spent in a meeting of the minds with such as George Washington, or Thomas Jefferson. These men, and their compatriots, lived in a time of boundless possibilities. We’ve ‘been there, done that’ and may be sadly jaded, or deadened, but not so those stellar patriots that gave us, and in fact ARE our heritage. Like the blood of Abel, these men “still speak”.

To renew your hope for America, it might be helpful to catch a glimpse of how our Founders saw her…and us. We are not separate from them. Though over two centuries have passed, and technology, industry and corporations have transformed our lifestyles – there yet remain those voices from the times when quill & ink on parchment, and horse & carriage were the order of the day. There yet remains in many of us the blood & spirit of the patriot. Some may not realize it – but they will, with God’s help.

~~~

Today, we know that America prevailed in her war for independence. Now, it seems obvious that it should have been our victory, and those who deliberated, decided & fought that Revolutionary War knew they would triumph. We sit assured that we were meant to win. But back then, they were not assured. The Founders did not know. No militia fighter, nor soldier in the Continental Army, knew. A victorious outcome was not a foregone conclusion in their minds.

Afterwards, Washington speaks of “…the magnitude of the prize we contended for…. (We today, who by inheritance daily partake of this glorious prize, possibly do not view it that way. We need to be reminded.)  Washington had seen the coming battle as being not only for the liberation of the thirteen colonies from English tyranny, but for the rights of all mankind. He believed that ‘the destiny of unborn millions’ would be impacted by whether America stood, or fell, during and after her Revolution. Before 56 other valiant patriots counted this struggle to the death as being worthy of their lives & fortunes, and so declared it in writing, George Washington did the same: “It is my full intention, to devote my life and fortune, in the cause we are engaged in, if needful.”  

He knew the outcome was doubtful, and spent “many anxious days and watchful nights” in the pursuit of that outcome.  The Founding Fathers in general were intensely aware of ‘the improbability of their undertaking’, according toArthur M. Schlesinger informs us that author of The Cycles of American History.  The mighty Roman Empire, which Alexander Hamilton considered to be ‘the utmost height of human greatness’ (The Federalist) – and to which the fathers of our republic turned for instruction in achieving their own aspirations of free men governing themselves – fell nonetheless.  Why would one presume the thirteen colonies could do any better?   

And yet, as it came to pass“…the glorious events which Heaven has been pleased to produce in our favor”  Washington considered to be “the parent of future happiness”. How many of us believe that ‘Heaven was pleased’ to grant us this prize? Such an advantageous outcome Washington called “the greatest possible reason for gratitude and rejoicing.”

This Founder, about to retire (he thought) after leading the thirteen colonies through an eight-year-long war, must have known a depth of satisfaction few ever will. He saw this land as being a “theatre…designated by Providence for the display of human greatness and felicity” and as being given “a fairer opportunity for political happiness than any other nation.”

How can we today read such words so full of import, almost bursting from General Washington’s heart, and not be even just slightly encouraged? Going forward, maybe some of us might know a renewed spark of excitement.

~~~

 

 

 

Note:  Unless otherwise specified, quotes referenced above are taken from “George Washington: In His Own Words” (Maureen Harrison & Steve Gilbert, eds.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…Transitioning…

I don’t know if it is me, or the times. 

I have observed that I am less & less inclined to attempt to ‘stay on top of things’, politically.  It’s too much.  Even just glancing at my emails makes me instantly tense anymore.  Do I really need to know all this?  Or do I? It isn’t up to me to accurately assess national & international crises.  I’m not a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, or the Intelligence Committee.  No one needs to know my opinions, and none of the outcomes are my call. Yet it seems wrong to not be at least aware of the major happenings of the day in this extraordinary land I call home.

It’s a dilemma. 

Is it just me, or is it the times?  What is really going on?  I’ve learned enough, over the last 5 years of writing & publishing on this site, to have reached a saturation point where current events are concerned.  I can’t absorb anymore right now.  I may need to do something with what I already know, but I also think I need to monitor what new information I let in.

Where are we going wrong?  What is happening in this country?  What did God intend for America?  What was in His mind, and can we still do anything about that? 

Issues are so complex.  There are no simple solutions.  It would seem that some matters would be black & white, matters of morality, or security, but there is law and there is grace. Drawing a line may not be the Godly move. Motive is everything.  Substance trumps form, does it not?

Barbara Walters was David Letterman’s guest tonight, and they were discussing various well-known international leaders, mainly dictator types.  She demonstrated knowledge, class and compassion.  Yet she too expressed her quandary with the times.  Wrapping up a summation of a current world situation, Ms. Walters declared that she didn’t even know what she was saying.  Trying to describe the realities of the times brought her to a standstill.

I feel exactly the same way these days.  Even as I begin to form a thought or opinion, it fizzles out.  There is no point.  I don’t say this by way of despair or fatalism.  Not at all.  But when I was watching one of the last  government shutdown news broadcasts – before it was ‘resolved’ –  for the first time, I felt a disgust with Washington, DC.  Suddenly, to me, the whole kit & caboodle of ’em were disgusting.  I’ve seen this sentiment many times in online forums and comments, but I’ve never believed it to be true.  Until now.

Is it just me?  Or is it the truth of the times?

Donald Trump was also a Letterman guest recently.  He emphatically volunteered the information that all of them up there on Capitol Hill dislike each other, can’t stand each other.  Trump has been around the block many times;  I would trust his input on a matter like this.

So where does it go from here?

~~~

I can only see one solution for this country.  More than ever there needs to be the planting of the seeds of knowledge of our Constitution, and of the heritage of America, still beautiful.  This has to happen.  Whether it is done from your home or in the classroom, through computer screen or the pages of a book, while in a church  or in a university – it has to happen.

We the People

 

 

       

Depending on your Point of View…

On this Memorial Day, 2013, I had occasion to re-read this post from May, 2009. Though a bit wordy and with a few mistakes, I decided to reblog it today.

May the mighty God continue to bless the United States of America, always imparting His mind and wisdom to our leaders.

Jesus, the Revolution & You

In my reading and studies of our nation’s beginnings, I am frequently struck by an angle or viewpoint that may not be the one usually pursued.

It is said that there are two sides to every story, right? (Personally, I maintain there are at least three…!) Have you ever considered viewing the American rebellion years leading to the events of 1776 from the perspective of the English monarchy? Not, of course, that England was in the right – it just makes for, may I say, an interesting approach. From our viewpoint, perhaps ‘absurd’ would be a better word, in light of where America stands today… I just find it intriguing how a situation, or an individual, can be perceived so very differently by those involved, or by on-lookers, based on…based on what? Needs? Desires? Duty? How we can be so absolutely certain of a thing, but time may soon…

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Is America a Word from God?

The United States of America is not just a country, not just land discovered, settled  and developed.  There is, and always has been, something big going on here.

The Spirit of God has been weaving Himself into and through our history from way back.  I have no doubt He is working His deliberate and perfect will throughout all of America’s struggles, conflicts, achievements & victories.  What I am not at all sure of is, exactly what His purpose is in all this.  Exactly what is being shown to us and the world?  Because America is a living epistle to all mankind, she is showing forth a specific Word from the Creator.  Just as Jesus is the Word made flesh, America also manifests a Word from God.

If it is true, as he wrote in his journal, that Christopher Columbus was called by the Almighty God to  set sail for a foreign shore, a pristine & undeveloped continent, then there had to be a Divine reason for that.  The voyage was perilous, one from which other adventurers had not returned.  Technology had not yet arrived, and navigational instruments as well as the crafts themselves carried great risk of shipwreck.  If God was commissioning a journey so fraught with danger it would seem that the bounty to be found would be glorious, and well worth the risk.  He had something specific in mind.

Scripture tells us that all things are summed up in Christ.  A simple, succinct statement…yet mind-blowing.  Is America’s entire existence a representation of divine principles & truth?

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Redeemer Nation
Ernest Lee Tuveson, Author

It was believed by many that America was intended to be the New Jerusalem of the Scriptures.  We’ve seen the term ‘Redeemer Nation’, and in fact,  books have been written bearing that title.  It was also believed by many that no such destiny was the case; rather, America was an experiment “conducted without divine guarantee by mortals of limited wisdom and power.” (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Cycles of American HistoryJohn F. Kennedy, in his first annual message, while speaking of the continued endurance of our nation, said “The outcome is by no means certain.”  In ‘An American Dilemma’, published in 1944, Gunnar Myrdal wrote, “America is continually struggling for its soul.”Many of us – probably most of us – stand here today, as Americans, simply assuming that the United States of America turned out as was intended, and that there never really was any other option.  Our success was a given, and everyone knew it from the first.

But we would be wrong.

Finally triumphing in her war for independence, Americas was just beginning myriad battles of other kinds, in which she continues to this day.  There seems to have always been present, in any new enterprise, those forces that oppose or seek to ensnare, robbing of precious victories, robbing of liberty & life.  It seems to have been destined that there should & would be conflict.  Starting in Eden and travelling through time & history to, say, issues between you and your spouse, right in your own living room…up ’til now, at least, tears have not  been wiped from every eye, and there is still pain and sorrow.  The Founding Fathers had glorious vision for America. but it was not without doubt.  They “had an intense conviction of the improbability of their undertaking” writes Schlesinger.  History had demonstrated – at least up ’til 1776 – that republics inevitably fell to corruption.  That knowledge caused some of our Founders to be “deeply troubled by the ill success and ill repute of the only form of government which was possible for them”.  (Henry Maine, Popular Government) 

But there comes a time when the tide is turned, the dye is cast, and we forge ahead, creating a new path into the future.  Desire was stronger than doubt, and faith, though with trepidation, was stronger than fear.  Give me liberty or give me death prevailed.  Against all odds and against the mightiest nation in the world at that time, America was born.

~~~

Considering ‘America as destiny vs. America as experiment’, my own conclusion is heavily slanted towards the destiny angle! but actually, I believe both are true.  Experiment played a part as a means to the destined end.  We still, as always, can play a part in the experiment because we believe in our destiny.  And though I would have to agree with JFK that the outcome is by no means certain, for that very reason we must press on.  Hope remains alive in some of our hearts.  All were not in favor of the original Revolution, all may not believe today…but some still do.  Maybe more than you might think…God continues to have His remnant in the land.   The light of His truth still burns in hearts across America, forcing the darkness back.

 

 

…more to come…

 

“…the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God…”

These terms – ‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God’ – made their first appearance in The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America – our Declaration of Independence – in its opening words.  “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them to another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal stations to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…”  Accordingly, it would follow that all else contained within this document, and any other document based on or springing from this Declaration, would be built upon & around these foundational realities.

So a problem arises if one doesn’t really believe that such a concept as ‘Laws of Nature’ is in fact a reality. Or if it is a reality, but not such a priority that an entire new nation & system of government should revolve around it!

When I first embarked upon my journey into the Founding of America, those words troubled me. Only vaguely, and not enough to search out further answers, but…my knowledge of the Scriptures and spiritual reality, seemed to contradict what the greatest document in American history, and possibly the history of the world, clearly espoused without question. Because other strong evidences pointed to the hand of God in America’s founding just as clearly, I disregarded these troubling apparent contradictions. For me, the one outweighed the other. But it would be so much better if I could find a resolution to this dilemma.

My previous understanding of the ‘laws of nature’ was determined by the Biblical concept of natural versus spiritual. Scripture speaks of the natural man in terms that are not exactly glowing, and clearly juxtapositions him against that far more desirable state, the spiritual man. The very unlovely  ‘works of the flesh’ (Galatians 5:19) fall into this ‘natural man’ category listing, and they only get worse, spiraling downward. So you can see why my impression of the ‘laws of nature’ left me wary. And if the Declaration of Independence was founded on such, then…could I truly be in agreement with it? Were some parts of it antithetical to my Christian faith?

Well…Scripture shares with us the concepts of the ‘letter of the law’ as opposed to the ‘spirit of the law’. We are informed that the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. One trumps the other. I have wondered if perhaps this ‘laws of nature’ idea somehow could be resolved within such a framework. But my musings are just that, my musings, and I’ve needed weightier, far more authoritative & definitive answers.

Enter Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Although I knew in a general way that our Founders drew from the theories of ancient Roman & Greek philosophers, orators, and statesmen, etc., in forming our republic, that was all I knew. I may have been reluctant to delve into such historical background, viewing such times & cultures as heathen, and not knowing how to ‘come to terms’ with such facts. Regardless, Marcus Tullius Cicero was considered to be our Founding Fathers’ favorite expositor of Natural Law. And as I’ve begun to learn from Cicero’s perspective about this Natural Law, I’ve found that I need to do a complete 180, as the saying goes. Natural Law turns out to be the exact opposite of what I thought it was!

Cicero was born and died before Christ appeared on the earth. He did not sit at the feet of Jesus, nor learn of such things as were taught or performed by Him. Born in a small town about 60 miles southeast of Rome, Cicero was brought up in a society that has been considered ‘pagan’. Yet even so, during the course of his life, Cicero’s contemplations & observations led him beyond the veil of visible phenomena to see “the brilliant intelligence of a supreme Designer with an ongoing interest in both human and cosmic affairs.” (W. Cleon Skousen, The 5000 Year Leap). The heavens declare the glory of God…day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. (Psalm 19, v.1-2) Marcus Tullius Cicero was given to see and hear these things. God causes the light to shine out of darkness.

Having established in his own thinking the reality of a Creator, Cicero also established a belief in a system of laws set in place by that Creator. In Book Two of his landmark work de Legibus (Latin: On the laws) Cicero writes that law does not, and cannot, begin with men. Men are rather the instruments of a higher wisdom which governs the entire earth. That wisdom, inherent within the Creator, dwells within His laws, laws that would produce & insure the best quality of life possible on earth, in every area, from individual relationships to national government. According to W. Cleon Skousen (mentioned above), Cicero concluded “The Creator’s order of things is called Natural Law”.

Our Founders concurred.

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“As all the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher united than Cicero, his authority should have great weight.”- John Adams ( Mortimer N. S. Sellers, American republicanism: Roman Ideology in the United States )

Thomas Jefferson, in an 1825 letter to Henry Lee, named Cicero as a major figure shaping American understanding of “the common sense” basis for the right of revolution, and as a contributor to the tradition “of public right” that informed his draft of the Declaration of Independence. (Morton Frisch and Richard Stevens,eds., The Political Thought of American Statesmen)

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“…to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal stations to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…”

Knowing now the sure foundation upon which our Declaration of Independence was framed, and the entire American experiment, way of life & government has been built, has stunned me. Somehow, everything has become more real. If ever I believed that the hand of God has always been at work in the birthing & existence of America, I believe it even more so now. I believe it with complete abandon.

Marcus Tullius Cicero, way before our time and yet, a powerful voice from that past which has had more influence on your life & my life today then we ever knew. Perhaps just as Cyrus, heathen king of ancient Persia, was stirred up by God to build Him a house (2 Chronicles 22, 23), so Cicero was stirred to be a mouthpiece for the Lord, declaring His existence & laws to a foreign land, and pointing to the glory of a  society yet to come, based on those laws.

“…for dust thou art…” Gen. 3:19

“…for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”. (Genesis 3: 19)

 

I cannot think of too many more onerous pronouncements than this one, spoken by the LORD God to Adam shortly after that famous transgression in the Garden of Eden. Do any of us relish the idea of returning to ‘dust’? I, for one, do not.

The Fall of Man, Engraving by Albrecht Durer, 1504

For me, this Scripture has always resonated with a sense of Godly displeasure & disappointment towards the first man, a man who, it would seem, didn’t quite make the cut. He ‘hearkened unto the voice of {his} wife’, instead of the words of the LORD (v.17), and as a result, the LORD curses the ground, invokes sorrow, thorns, thistles & sweat upon Adam, and pronounces the ‘dust’ judgment. Plus, Adam was driven from Eden and any path to the Tree of Life seriously blocked. Nothing about this section of Scripture do I find encouraging. Try though I might, researching Hebrew definitions and hoping for a glimmer of light…I got nothin’.….however….
I’ve been learning about soil lately, from a perspective of its many marvelous, even redemptive, components and functions. Yes, really…and while at this point I still am not seeing this aspect of ‘dust’ showing its face in Genesis Chapter 3…nonetheless, this aspect exists. It is real, and manifests itself over & over & over again in visible, proven, documented processes. So I must be missing something. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
 

~~~

Did you know, for instance, that most of the ingredients used in antibiotics come from micro-organisms found in soil? The dirt that we can’t wait to wash off ourselves actually is a key provider of healing! And while the term ‘micro-organism’ makes me flinch…there is nothing like a good, strong antibiotic when you need one! They save lives. So here we see an example of how an element of dirt – the ground – engenders healing and protects life. Though once cursed, this same ground yet blesses.
Similar processes occur and re-occur endlessly within earth’s soil. Beginning to realize the inter-connectedness of the materials comprising this planet, the plants, animals, and cycles of life, decomposition & death, has given me significant pause. What I once saw as one thing, now appears to be something else entirely. I now ponder what God was saying to us through His creation of this world, and especially its soil.
 

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Scripture tells us that man was formed out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7), and that man will return to that dust (Genesis 3:19). ( We also learn that ‘every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air’ were also formed out of the ground {Genesis 2:19}).
Now…this first man is called Adam here in verse 19. The Hebrew word ‘adam’ means ‘ruddy’, and is derived from a similar word indicating the ability to show blood in the face, or flush. ). The quality of redness, then, is identified with this man-made from the earth. In fact, the Hebrew word for ‘ground’ in verse 19, ‘adamah‘, is translated ‘soil’, due to its general redness. (Strong’s Concordance, Greek #120 & #119)


What piques my curiosity is the fact that we begin with ‘dust’, so-called because of its powdery nature and grayish color, then somehow progress to a reddish substance. Scripture does not record any insignificant or meaningless details. Every word is there for a reason. The fact that three different words – dust, ground, & earth – appear in this one section of Scripture, referring to essentially the same element found in the same area, makes me wonder what that reason is. And my wondering leads me here: does the redness of that soil bear silent witness to the blood, in which is the life? Without the life in the blood, a human body is just that – a body. Which will eventually disintegrate into the ground. Should the blood (=moisture?) itself finally depart from this ground, only dust remains. And you can’t do much with dust. Soil, earth…it has moisture (=blood?), thus potential..but dust? It blows away.

“…I am the way, the truth and the life…” (John 14:6)
 “…without Me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

~~~

The importance of this ground on which we walk cannot be over-estimated. From any direction, any way one looks at it, soil is pivotal to life. Nutrients essential for its maintenance are found in soil. The cycles necessary to sustain it occur within, and pass through soil. Energy from the sun, required for life processes, is stored not only in bodies of water; it is stored in soil as well. Soil facilitates climate control, absorbing & holding water, thus slowing or preventing its complete evaporation. But as the water does leave the soil, wind can redistribute it over an area, or to another area, delivering needed moisture, or managing temperatures.

~~~

As I’m composing this article, I’m munching on Swiss cheese, chips, French Onion dip, a couple of eggs, a banana….certainly not conscious of the connection of soil to these food items (even though I’m writing about it!). Suddenly it dawns on me, Oh! Yeah, right!…I’m enjoying the bounty of our planet’s soil. These tasty & nutritious (ok, maybe ‘nutritious’ is stretching it for the French Onion dip!) foods are only on my table because, first, there is soil. And good soil, too.
But not all soil is of good quality. Good quality soil must hold within it any number of decomposed plants & animals, enriching it, enabling it to hold water and giving it a weightiness to stay in place. If conditions allow for repeated washing away of this layer of the ground, the remaining soil will become of a poorer quality. Food production then suffers. Both the sellers & consumers are impacted; malnutrition and poverty can result.

You may not have connected soil with sickness or poverty – I know I didn’t. But a connection there is.  

~~~

Almost from the first, there seems to be a co-existence of provision and struggle. Though a means to have & eat food was provided, it came with painful toil, sweat, thorns & thistles. (Genesis 3:17-19) The LORD did not withhold needed sustenance from man, but neither was man’s life declared to be comfortable and easy, not after the man & his wife chose a path other than the one given by the Creator.
It would be easy to assume Adam & Eve were being ‘punished’ by God for disregarding His instructions to them not to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. But could there have been a Divine motivation other than that one? If not, then God is portrayed as petty, tyrannical…at least, so it seems to me. So I have to look deeper.
Those first two humans chose their own way. Deceived or not, it was their call. ‘Their own way’ excluded God’s way. Although many of us can’t help it, pursuing our own way eventually brings us to exhaustion, frustration, depression…the list goes on. Things can get really difficult and yield little, if any, benefit. His yoke is easy and His burden light. Not so, ours.

And so, my question is, by partaking of another way, by their choice, did Adam & Eve unleash a spiritual poison into the earth, as well as human history? Was the curse on this planet, once their decision had been made & acted upon, inevitable? Was it not as it may appear, a ‘punishment’ by God but rather the playing out of an action taken? You touch fire, you get burned. If it is true, as we read in the first chapter of the epistle to the Romans, “…the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…” (v.20), the ways of God are manifested in the earth. When His ways are maligned or opposed, this also would make its appearance…on and in the planet. The ground and what it produces.
 

Perhaps rather than pronouncing a judgement on man and this earth, God was instead informing Adam & Eve of a truth, and preparing them for the tragic changes which were coming upon their life.

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The toil in which man brings forth the fruit of the earth, even with today’s technology, serves as an ever-present reminder of a broken relationship. Yet, still…a relationship. And just as a Way has been provided to restore our divine relationship with God, we see also in that Way, blessings yet springing from the earth – the soil.
That Way – Jesus, the Son of God – partook of this material world, the flesh which came from this same soil. He did so to redeem mankind from the curse. Jesus tasted death for every man. To redeem you. To redeem me. His offer is open to all.

Whosoever will may come.

 

(Source)

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