There’s a family in the church that has been reading through Genesis and they asked some great questions about God. One of the best was, (and I’m paraphrasing a little), “What’s God’s deal? Why’s he so mad? Dude could calm down a little.”
Great question! Adam ate that apple and God’s anger seems to be out of all proportion. Adam eats, and then God banishes them from Eden! Whoa. I’ve caught Sim eating candy in the pantry. That was bad. But I didn’t forever exile him from the house! “Oh! I see how it is! You want that gummy worm? Well, you can take that gummy worm and get out of this house! Don’t ever come back! And you and all your children will be cursed, because you ate that gummy worm!”
The question, “Why was God so mad?” is important for it helps us see why Jesus came. And besides, if we don’t have a good answer, let’s be honest, God does seem a little crazy. So, we better figure this out.
First, everything is about sex.
How do you like that for an opening? But, it’s true. If I said that physical sex consumes much of our lives, is that really surprising to anyone? It is the foundation of marriages and it breaks up marriages. It’s far and away the biggest industry in the world. It’s used to sell cars, beer, chicken wings, clothes, sports, movies, on and on. It has the power of bringing new life into the world! It’s everywhere. I’m not saying anything shocking.
But why is this the case? Why is sex everywhere and why are we consumed with it? First, it is because sex is at the core of our being. It is what brought us into the world, it is what drives us (drives all of creation, plants and animals!), and it is where everything is leading to. Second, we could see how everything begins with it and is driven by it, but what does it mean that everything is leading to it? Physical sex is but a symbol, a figure, an image. It is real, but it is not the most real. It is true, but not the most true. Physical sex is a sign pointing to something greater that is truly driving us. Something else is calling us and physical sex is just a symbol of it. Third, so, what is it pointing to?
That’s where the Lord’s anger comes in.
Why was he so angry with Adam? When he created the universe and man, it was NOT like having a child who is rebellious. Having a kid that constantly frustrates you is hard. They are ungrateful and they take advantage, and then they make you mad. We love our kids, but if they want to go their own way, then ultimately they have the freedom to do that. This is how we often think of Adam’s relationship with God. “God, if Adam wants to do his own thing, why don’t you just let him?”
But that’s not exactly what happened at creation. The creation of mankind is more like a marriage. God poured everything he had into creating a home (the world is a house!) for mankind. Then he breathed his very life into Adam. Adam was supposed to be a partner, working with the Lord in this house. There was supposed to be a spiritual union between Adam and God. Then Adam rejected the Lord, divorced him, and burned the house down. That makes sense of God’s anger. After all, he has a heart and he has been deeply wounded. He loved Adam and Eve. He gave them everything he could imagine. Paradise itself. He gave them his very own life breath! The apple wasn’t about the apple. The apple was God saying, “Adam, do you want me or do you want yourself?”
Physical sex then is but a shiny pebble compared with the riches of spiritual union between God and man. Physical sex is like a drop in the bucket compared to the ocean of love that is calling us in spiritual union with the Lord (this is why there is no marriage in heaven!) The story of the universe is one of marriage!
Everything is about sex. But we have debased it. Turned it into animal cravings. And so, we can’t read the signs anymore. We don’t understand what it’s pointing to. And we don’t understand why God is so mad about an apple.
God built a house in Eden and Adam burned the house down. When a rebellious kid leaves your home, that’s hard. But far worse is if you’ve ever had a spouse cheat on you and leave, because that destroys something in you. After all, when two come together, they are made one flesh. If you or someone you know has gone through a divorce, notice how they are angry, confused, hurt, and crazy all at once.
If we were meant for a spiritual union with the Lord, then you can begin to understand the Lord’s anger and hurt when Adam and Eve rejected him. The trauma of a broken heart is horrible. That’s what Adam and Eve did to the Lord . . . and what we continue to do to him. (This is why hell is real. If everything is moving toward spiritual union with the Lord, then all those who insist on rejecting that union drive themselves into outer darkness. Where else can they go? They were welcomed back into Eden, but they refused repeated offers to come home.)
But he doesn’t give up on us. It’s like we are a spouse that partied and slept around. And this kills him. Breaks his heart. Makes him furious. But, he still keeps saying, “Would you just come home? Please. Come home.”
That’s why the sin in the Garden of Eden was so bad. We were made for the highest of all things: spiritual union with God. But we join ourselves to other things and reject him. This is why Jesus came. This is what salvation is. It is the reestablishment of the union between God and man. We need this union, but our sin causes us to reject the Lord. We needed a human who wouldn’t do this. We needed a man who would hold fast to the union. We needed a representative who would not reject and divorce the Lord. Praise God for his Son, in whom is our salvation!
This is why in Revelation John pictures the end of time like a New Eden and sees a marriage between the Church and Christ. The end is a reestablishment of the beginning. Union with God is where everything is leading.
Anger, sex, marriage, hope, life, apples, and Eden!
May you be able to read the signs around you. May you be able to see where everything is leading. May the passion of your heart be drawn to the Lord. And in Christ our Lord, who held fast the union, in him may we all be found again in Eden, united to God.
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