Sunday, September 14, 2008

Threading ...

All tapestries are woven of threads. One of the more moving metaphors of life for me is that of the thread. In Greek mythology there were three Fates: Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. Clotho spun the thread of life. Lachesis measured out the thread of life, and Atropos cut the thread of life. Thus was your destiny determined. The tapestry of all life was woven with these individual threads.
I like that image. I think it conveys a kind of global vision of the providence of God and not merely an ancient fatalism. Each thread is woven into the pattern of life in a certain way so that the pattern will be correct, the world will not be right without that particular thread woven in in just that way.
In Scripture the threads are the sentences that convey meaning. We are told in Psalm 104:24 "How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." A thread in Scripture is an idea, a concept which reveals God to us in some particular way. Each of the threads is positioned to convey the message of God's revelation. When a thread is torn from it's position in Scripture, we cannot always be certain that the meaning is preserved. For that reason I am very uncomfortable with what I call the snippet approach to bible quoting. One snippet here, another there, and you can prove 'most anything.
I want to step back a little from the discussion of Genesis to revisit Adam and Eve. We saw Adam is derived from earth and Eve from life. Eve desired wisdom under the enticement of the serpent and gave the apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to Adam to eat. This act of disobedience caused them to lose paradise and gain a life of toil, pain and ultimately death.
I have a lot of questions about this story. I am curious about its ultimate meaning. So let's flash forward thousands of years to the New Testament. The word 'Adam' only appears in 24 places in the bible (if you search on that single word in )
Sixteen are in the Old Testament and eight in the New Testament. Of these eight I will focus only on half: 1) those in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and those in Romans chapter 5.

1 Corinthians 15:21-15;41-49

1 Cor 15:21-25
21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

1 Cor 15:41-49
41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

Romans 5:12-14

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

The Wisdom of God, He who is with God from the beginning and without whom nothing was made that was made comes to transform us from earth, the natural man, the first man, to transcendent man, risen with the likeness of the Man from Heaven.

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