Friday, February 22, 2013
Friday, February 15, 2013
Through A Glass, Darkly
Last week's lesson was about the fall, this week is about the consequences. Let's briefly recap last week. Eve goes out through the garden and encounters the Tree of knowledge og good and evil, with a serpent on it. What attracted eve to this tree this time? Ellen White says in patriarchs and prophets pages 53 through 56 that serpent ate fruit like a man – it plucked the fruit of the tree and took it to its mouth to bite - and that it ate of the fruit this tree. Although not clearly said it is very possible that Eve saw the serpent eating of the fruit. She saw that the serpent did not die, and furthermore it spoke. Eve thought that the serpent spoke because of eating the fruit (1 Spirit of Prophecy, p. 337). She told the serpent that God said not to touch nor eat the fruit. Ellen White says that the serpent put the fruit in her hand, implying that the fruit did not kill her by touch, and that it would be safe, even beneficial, to eat.
Eve had heard the Word of God. In that moment she had to choose between trusting what she heard or saw. As Paul said, 'So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God' (Romans 10:17). Hence, Paul's statement that "we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Eve chose to trust what she saw. So, based on this story can we trust what we see? Eve, in her perfection, did not see everything, how much we in our sinful state?
Unless our eyes are unveiled, our view does not go beyond our presently physical realm. We are like Elisha's servant. When Elisha and he were compassed by an army, the servant was afraid. We read the story in 2 Kings 6: 15 – 17,
2Ki 6:15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
2Ki 6:16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
2Ki 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
Hence, the importance of hearing; Paul emphasizes this to the Galatians 3. It is by the hearing of faith that we receive the Holy Spirit. It is by the hearing of faith that miracles are performed and the Sprit is ministered (Galatians 3: 2, 5). Jesus also emphasized hearing. We see this, for example in the parable of the wise and foolish builders (Matthew 7: 24 – 26) and in the parable of the Sower and the seed (Matthew 13: 1 – 8; 18 – 23). Another example is,
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
It is through the hearing of faith that we discern spiritual things; which is why Paul said that we see through a glass darkly. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, the apostle says. Now, our inability to discern spiritual things is compounded by the fact that creation does not reflect the glory of God as it used to.
Although in previous lessons we have proved that all over creation we see evidence of God's handiwork, the evidence is not as it used to be. Sin has greatly influenced and degraded God's creation, and the themes of death and decay are everywhere. The earth bears evidence of the curse from sin, from decay and death, conflict, warfare, immorality, selfishness, and many other aspects of this troubled world, yet God maintains this world, continues to "rain on the just and unjust", and provides for basic human needs. We see the work of righteousness and love as well as sin all around us. The themes of resurrection and restoration are also seen in the cycle of life, in the birth of new creatures, in the miracle of the seed, and the scientific properties that keep seas in their boundaries, etc. we see the miracle of the Hand of God.
The evidences of the warfare in the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan are ever before us. The effects of sin are on the psyche of every human being, and the world is broken, groaning, and slowly dying, waiting for the day that God will remake the heavens and the earth in holiness. Satan does have the ability to cause great destruction and suffering. We must be careful in the conclusions we draw about God and His creation, but there is evidence of the laws of nature, the healing power inherent in the human body, the resilience of nature, the miraculous properties we find in the processes of biology and other sciences, and many other miracles of the power of God. The creation truly speaks of God's care, and the concept that an intelligent being could oversee this vast expanse of the universe speaks of a love and intelligence that is totally beyond our comprehension. Yet, this testimony and witness is incomplete, and we will someday see God and comprehend Him in a way we are not fully capable of now. "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Corinthians 13:12). This is our hope.