This week’s “Nooma” video described the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, and the Tree of Life in Revelation – the beginning and the end of the story in the Bible. Rob Bell says, then, that we live “between the trees” – in a sort of in-between time. There are those who believe that this world is getting worse and worse, and they spend their lives hoping and waiting for a new world, a place to start over, where everything will be better. Bell expresses a desire for a God who is “now” – and we have a God who is now, one who was willing to take on the flesh of this broken world and get hurt and dirty for the sake of showing us love.
Let’s start, though, by talking about the first tree.
Genesis 2: 4-24
In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground,* and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’
Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’ So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man* there was not found a helper as his partner. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
‘This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called Woman,*
for out of Man* this one was taken.’
Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.
In the movie, Rob Bell says; “God says “You can live how you want, or you can live how I created you to live.” It’s almost as if God says, “It’s your choice.” It’s still our choice.”
What, then, does it mean to live how God created you to live? And, if we do believe that God’s way is the best way to live, why is it so hard to do it?
It is hard, isn’t it? Trusting in an unseen God in a fearful world, going against the grain, risking making a mistake or missing out or ridicule. What does living God’s way look like? And, how do live that out in our community in 2014?
Let’s start the conversation with this. More to follow later this week!