The story of Creation and the Garden of Eden is well-travelled ground for the Christians (and some non-Christians) in the Manosphere. I want to discuss an aspect of it that I have never realized before last night, and have never seen discussed–though I might have just missed it. Each part is a really short bit that isn’t talked about in scripture explicitly, but is unavoidable once you see it between the lines. By unavoidable, I do not mean that I have the answer, but that it is a question that should definitely be asked.
One of the ways in which the stories of the Bible, and the parables of Jesus, are so good is because they are the field in which new treasures are always being found.
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
This is part III of a series in digging for what is under the surface. I was going to do several parts, but I have some things I want to say, and I need to get through this so I can build upon it. You can find the other parts here: Part I, Part II
I have to do a quick review for my own sake, so I might as well post it here. In Genesis chapter 1 we have God, alone, and without anyone to prompt Him but Himself, He sets about creating a world. It is dark. He creates light, night and day, atmosphere, oceans, stars, land, plants, sea-life, birds, and the animals. After each one is made–and never before–He says “It is good.”
He makes man in His/Their own image, and does not say they are good until they are given a job. The very thing that is most like Him, is good only in that it has submission to His order and purposes; authority over the everything that was created; respect for the process of order itself.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Notice that almost every sentence beings with “And”. It’s a continuation of ideas. Man, being finite, can only hear or see one thing at a time–like a string–, but the conjunction “And” shows us this is a continuous revelation; each part tied up not only after the other, but alongside it. We read it as a string of text, but it’s actually a knot of authority, responsibility, and respect. You can’t have one without the other.
What is being described? It’s picture of the family. Though, we don’t see it directly; we experience it in the reverse, as the negative of the picture of family. We feel the pain of absence and disorder. What we experience is the shape of the hole where authority, responsibility, and respect should be.
- We suffer for the lack of authority from fathers in provisioning and leading their families.
- We suffer the lack of responsibility from mothers to continue in their marriages, and in child-rearing.
- We suffer the lack of respect from our children for what authority and responsibility have provided them; which is life itself.
This phenomenon is not limited to the immediate family (profiting when we accept the whole knot of authority, responsibility, and respect, or suffering when we reject it); it also happens on an internal level, inside us. It is true in the extended family, as well. It affects our churches, our governments, and even our businesses. This knot of authority, responsibility, and respect that began long before us and our families, continues through us, and goes on into infinity at the consummation of mankind with Christ. This knot is what ties us all together, and to God.
The second thing that really strikes me is that good-ness–or fair-ness–is not the reason for us to be stewards of God’s creation, to manage the animals, or to eat. We are given no reason but His desire.
In other words: to ask the question of something so basic as, “What right do I have to manage the animals?” (which is easily answered, given man’s easy ability to corral, raise, or destroy them), is to miss the point, or the mark.
The definition of “sin” is: “to be outside”, or “to be without”. Sin means “to miss the point”. Sin separates us from God not because we don’t see things the way He does, or because we have made Him mad, but because we have cut ourselves out of the knot of authority, responsibility, and respect. We have resorted to judging for ourselves what is good. Even God does not judge the goodness of a thing until He has seen it–even if He made it! We are trying to create our own knot with an extraordinarily tiny amount of finite string.
What happens when we cut a section of string out of a knot? Given enough time: the whole thing unravels.