A comic once compared the talk of youths and aged. He remarked that young people employ hasty verbs: “Hurry up!” “Come on.” “Go faster!” The elderly, weighed down with life’s wisdom, know that the tortoise beats the hair, so they constantly chime: “slow down.” “Wait a second” “take your time” “live your life.” This is certainly not novel, and time will tell, as it has again and again, that this viewing of time will continue to tick on. In fact, I’d be willing to say, that the Christian view of the world has been saying this all along. Young girls race to be women in dress and sass. Boys take for themselves whatever silly girl they like. Both, pushing the clock hand forward and neither ready for the consequences. Rushing. “Give me my inheritance,” barks from their lips. This is not new. This is what got us in this mess in the first. Rushing.
Now, what if I told you that the sin that drove this world into chaos was rushing? You might immediately object: No, the fall came as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and listening to that damned snake! Or another would say, that’s a silly wives (or husbands tales if you are a feminist) tales, talking snakes and magic trees. Both have a cake unturned—one side is burnt and the other is doughy! What I mean is, one tends to view this story only historically, and the other, as a tale, a parable, or perhaps even non sense. But for the sake of discussion, let’s read the story as both historical and theological, I’ll let you decide what percentage of which is most prominent.
Most of us who know the story have a visual picture of Adam and Eve, twenty-somethings, frolicking naked in a garden. But I am not quite sure this is true. The case can be made that they were but ten-somethings, that is, they were little children (or at least in mind), and I intend to make it. The circumlocutors might, again, intercept this by saying, God told them to be fruitful and multiply and that can hardly be done by pre-pubescent lads. Yes, but if you take the time to think it through, he also said, “…multiply and fill the earth.” That hardly could be accomplished at that very moment, not even within a few years; I dare even say a century. They had to grow into the divine blessing. We say to our children all the time, even when they are young and perhaps before they can comprehend, things like: be the best you can be, or study hard so that you can go to college; readily knowing that they aren’t expected to fulfill it at that very moment. So, I believe, God is giving a similar blessing to his children.
One windy day, that old devil slithered up to Eve, up to no good he slyly cast darkness into her heart, for she once saw clearly but she began to doubt. He concocts a story that was garbed in what appeared to be truth and the two young ones were ribbed into believing it, and immediately their eyes were open as if scales trickled off, but this time they saw askew…And the story goes on as it has been told, or has it? What went wrong? I believe it is what I have said all along. Rushing. Israelite wisdom literature described the knowledge of good and evil as wisdom, the ability to make educated discernment, and those who lack it as simple (Adam and Eve could not eat it at the time, further suggesting their adolescence). How is it then that wisdom and experience is bad? Did God want doting simpletons? We must give a double negative to both questions. I believe the problem was timing. Or to stick with our buzz word, rushing. Old Testament Scholar John Walton, alleged that at some point Adam and Eve would’ve been able to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, precisely when it was ripe for the picking, when they were mature enough discern correctly. This can’t be far from the truth. This isn’t too farfetched at all. Little children are told to never touch the stove or to drive the car, but surely, we don’t mean that to be the case forever, only until they are more mature. So, I believe, the case is here.
One minute, we are clamoring for our inheritance, our share, and the next we are driven into a pig-pen—the stuff of our own making. In one scheme, we wish for the death of authority, only to see that we brought death to ourselves. Rushing, to become our own master, we lose our freedom, the freedom that makes us whole, and we awaken as mere shells, wisps shuffled about violently by the very winds of a beautiful day.
We call this autonomy; it ain’t freedom. Groups all about liberation and autonomy are but groupies in the Devil’s band; they are sick of restraint and burn with a hellish fever, because their heresy is hellish, and it is as old as mankind, but not any older. Should we not celebrate? Eve was the great feminist! She cast off her authoritarian God, ransacked her husband’s lead, and did the thing that great liberators do, defied authority and her husband stood with her, high five, you go girl! (I’m not making this stuff up) Let the reader see this for what it is, utter rubbish! I don’t mean to make this a dig about radical feminism, we could use many examples, like the girl playing adult and the sex crazed boy, or the young man who ran off with his inheritance and ended in the muck with swine. Or the under aged drinker, the arrogant kid, and lest we forget, all us adults who buck against God, goodness, authority, and rule. As a river cannot flow higher than its source, we can never have more authority or know-how than God.
Thus, when a young man and young woman decide to do the grown-up, and they decide to abort the baby because it is their choice, we have the same sad tale being spun again: illusory autonomy and subsequent death and grief. That’s why I tacked “or is it?” on to “the story goes on as it has been told.” Even the Genesis writer seems to believe the falls was both an original event, and a paradigmatic cycle of human trappings. If you’ll recall, after Noah got off the great boat, there was talk of, nakedness, covering, guilt, and cursing– even before this civilization fell further, read it and see.
The beginning of wisdom is not making matured choices, the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God, for no discernment, or life takes place apart from God and his timing. We are not our own; we are accountable to someone, and to that someone we must give an account. We live in an age of foolish intelligence; the height of technological advancement, and the valley of moral and theological gumption (or lack thereof). If departure from the Creator means death, then what can return to God mean by life? Quit your rushing, friend. You are going in the wrong direction, heading no wear rather quickly, slow down, come back down the right road, allow your eyes to be healed, so that, you can see for real this time. Arise from the muck and be cleaned in baptism. Enjoy being a lad (if you are a child or an adult), a child of the Most Heavenly Father, who in his time will teach you how to be sensible.