Monday, September 24, 2007

Innocent is not naive

In Sunday School, we're going thru the workbook titled "Under His Smile: Breaking Free From the Need to Perform" by Sue Cortese (available from CEP Bookstore). Yesterday we were looking at Adam and how God created man in His image. In our discussion, we seemed to have all had some kind of allusion that because Adam was innocent before the fall, that somehow he was also very simple and naive with regard to the rest of creation. Upon further examination, this could not be further from the truth.

Gen. 2:19-20 "Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of
the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what
he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was
its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and
all the beasts of the field."

We totally forget that, as the first man, Adam was also the first botanist, biologist, chemist, zoologist, anthropologist ... you name it. Author Donald Miller writes in his book "Searching For God Knows What:" that "if it took John Muir the better portion of his life to realize his Glacier Theory about the landscape in small Yosemite" just imagine how much more intelligent and capable Adam would have been. And as the first human, Adam also was the purest form of human until Christ came. His DNA was unblemished. No mutations, no corruption or disease -- until the fall.

It's so easy to think of innocence somehow being synomous with naivity - isn't that in fact one of the ways in which the majority of the Gentile world viewed those early Christians as depicted in Acts and in the Pauline Espistles? And isn't that sort of how our modern/postmodern society views people like the Duggars and the Amish?

But wait... Is that also how we sometimes view Christ? The perfect God-man? Because He was the innocent lamb who made atonement for us, is He somehow more naive to the world and its ways than we? NO! He was tempted in everyway, right? Isn't it a mark of true maturity - and not naivity - when we endure temptation without giving in to its lure?

And Jesus was also fully God. Adam, made in God's image, knew God intimately and was given every gift, talent, and skill needed to act on God's behalf as a steward over His creation. But Adam was not in his very nature God. Jesus was with God and was God when He spoke Adam into existence at the very beginning. He is fully knowledgeable and intimate with all of His creation.
Heb. 4:14 "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (emphasis added)

He is the Soveriegn Lord and is by no means naive when it comes to the ways of the world. We can trust Him! Let us approach His great throne in awe, but with confidence that we too are made in His image.

We are always, always loved by Him as His very own children!! Even when we say that the world is too much for us, we have One who has gone ahead and Who has prepared a way for us to resist temptation and to bask in the glory of His love and care at all times and through all seasons of life. To God be all the glory. Amen.

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