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Hebrews 6:1-8 – OT

04.18.2011

Genesis 3:17-18

In Gen 3, God pulls the plug on the party in Eden, due to Adam and Eve’s inability to be cool and not ruin things for everyone else.  This is the Fall, the first of two turning points in human history (along with the Incarnation/Crucifixion/Resurrection).

As God is expelling Adam Eve, He hands out some curses, for the serpent, for Eve, and for Adam.  Today’s passage comes from God’s curse for Adam.  Because Adam ate the from a tree he wasn’t supposed to, he’s now condemned to getting all of his food from the ground, and not easily, too.  See, God curses the earth itself as a punishment for Adam. 

In Eden, Adam was given dominion over the animals and the plants of creation.   Now that creation is cursed, Adam’s authority over it is diminished.  He can tend the land, water it, care for seeds and saplings and the like, and there’s no guarantee that his work will yeild a crop worthy of the effort.  The ground may choose to remain dry or malnourished, or it may produces thorns and thistles and other inedibles seemingly out of pure spite.

In Rom 8:19-23, Paul looks forward to the fullness of the Kingdom, when we will be reunited with God in full and the curse of Gen 3 will be reversed.  He uses picturesque language of creation ‘wait[ing] with eager longing’ to be ‘set free of its bondage to corruption.’  He further says that ‘the whole creation has been groaning together in the pangs of childbirth until now.’  Creation, interestingly, is bearing out the curse pronounced on Eve back in Gen 3, that of pain in childbirth, only this birth will be of a new order of sinlessness.

So Adam neglects His sacred responsibility to tend to God’s creation.  As a result, he, his descendants, and creation itself are all cursed and enslaved to sin and corruption.  We know from our own history that man has tried with varying degrees of success to regain his mastery over creation and undo the curse.  Ultimately, however, man cannot free himself or creation from the curse of sin and death, and so creation groans in pain.*  Paul tells us that Jesus has come, as the only one who could lift the curse, and has turned those groans of slavery into the groans of new birth, of a new creation free from sin and death.

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* This is a major tenet of theodicy, this idea that the horrors and disasters and tragedies that seem woven into the very fabric of the world (natural disasters, disease, evil) are the manifestations of that pain that creation is suffering through as it labors under the curse.

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