Every religion, they say, attempts to answer 3 questions:
1. What is the attitude of ultimate reality toward me?
2. What went wrong?
3. What is the solution?
Every religion recognizes that all is not well in the human situation. In Genesis, Adam and Eve feasted on forbidden fruit, they became painfully aware that something was wrong and made leafy aprons for themselves. They’d been naked all along (Gen 2:25) but not ashamed but suddenly, they felt the need to cover themselves. Something was wrong.
They did become like God in that they knew the difference between good and evil. God attested to this in Gen 3: 22. This “knowledge” however, was not an academic knowledge but a deep intimate knowledge. There is a difference, in that while God intimately knows how it feels to be desperately evil, He is disgusted by it but we get addicted. In short, an intimate knowledge of evil doesn’t corrupt God but it ruins us. Even Satan, the most powerful entity outside the Godhead couldn’t handle that kind of knowledge. Evil corrupts us totally.
The realization that something is fundamentally wrong with us (guilt) is not wrong. What we do with this knowledge determines whether we live or we die… eternally. Adam and Eve’s perception of God had been corrupted and so their perception of themselves was corrupted because it is only in so far as we appreciate God that we are able to appreciate ourselves.
Adam and Eve came up with a coping mechanism… leafy aprons. We too have our own leafy aprons; masks we wear to try and conceal our guilt. We put on airs, pile up material possessions, bury ourselves in work and religious fanaticism, collect accomplishments, give away money all to try and hide the fact that something is wrong, fundamentally wrong… with us. These things aren’t bad just as leafy aprons are not inherently evil; it is the attempt to use these to cover up our guilt.
Leafy aprons were hopelessly inadequate, however, because as soon as Adam and Eve heard God walking in the garden, they still felt the need to hide. Sin had changed everything – man’s relationship with God, man’s relationship with others and man’s perception of himself. Sin changed everything, absolutely everything but God. During creation week, God stopped by earth at the end of each day (sunset) to see that everything was good (He enjoyed creation) and just like He always did, He stopped by that evening. He did what He always did because the problem was not that His attitude toward us had changed, but our attitude toward Him had changed.
On this particular evening, everything wasn’t good. What would God do?
[end of part 3]