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Getting Back To The Garden
2 July 2013
When I ponder the story of creation recounted in the first few chapters of Genesis, I often wonder what kind of relationship Adam and Eve had with God. To be close to your Creator without the stain of sin coming between you is almost unimaginable.
As far as I can tell, there are not many people who have imagined the life of Adam and Eve and then written it down to share with others. Right now I am reading such a book, told in first person from Eve's point of view. It's called Havah by Tosca Lee. Here are a few quotes which relate to Eve's relationship with God:
I was more alive than the first day I drew breath. Than the first time I lay in Adam's arms. I was alive as one can only be in the presence of the One.To find out more about this amazing book, see my article Havah: the Story of Eve.
It wasn't that I wanted to be alone. I wanted to be alone with the One. The One who scaled then careened from the heights of the mount. The One who raised up the man from the mud. The One who fashioned me from a part of the man and knew me more intimately than even Adam.
In my soul I heard laughter — first of Adam, from where I left him in the meadow — but more brightly and keenly, of God. Then — oh, great mystery, such a moment! There came a rush of wind and warmth that was not the sun. It was at my shoulder, in my ear and my face: the One that Is, running alongside me, His laughter honey in my ear. I doubled back beneath the shadow of the great mount and chased the hill to the orchard, pursuing the One through the trees, feeling Him everywhere — ahead, near the shrub, no there — beyond that tree! Did I see the curve of a shoulder, of a back just disappearing beyond the willow? I laughed, the music like song, the audible sum of elation, hearing behind and beyond it the laughter of God. I would have run like that for a day, a week, a lifetime to have only kept it there. To have felt always what I did in that moment.
Imagine knowing God in such a free and natural way, without the burden of religious obligation! They didn't have to attend a weekly meeting, sitting there for a couple of hours watching other people perform on a stage. They didn't have to sing pre-written songs led by another person, the lyrics of which were not genuine expressions of their hearts. They didn't have to read their Bible. They didn't have to tithe. They didn't have to keep a long list of do's and don'ts. They didn't have to force themselves to have devotions each day. They didn't have to join a group or recite a creed. They didn't have to go to confession. They didn't need any special buildings or ceremonies to be with God. Nor did they have any of the other duties and trappings of modern Christianity.
No, in the innocence of the Garden, in the simplicity of God's original creation, it was enough to simply BE — to exist — and to be with God, without the least hint of religiousness. Walking with God in the Garden, in the cool of the day. Relating to Him without the obstacles of ritual and dogma.
These are the realities my inner person hungers and thirsts for ... what I long for with my entire being. Is there a way to enter into that kind of relationship with God today, or did the Fall render it impossible?
And what about God's side of things? What kind of relationship is He longing for with us? One based upon ritual and obligation? Our precious religion can get to be such an obstruction to true relationship that it causes God to cry out:
"I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to Me. Even though you bring Me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps." (Amos 5:21-23)Pretty strong stuff from a passionate, love-sick God who is fed up with religious routine that ends up destroying intimacy with His people!
I believe that the deepest cry of the human heart is to be deeply connected with its Creator, and that God wants the same thing. I don't know why it has to be so difficult, but whatever it takes, we need to cut through all the religious rigmarole and find our way back to the original authentic, simple intimacy with God. As one of our modern poets expressed it,
We've got to get ourselves back to the Garden.
This article is 16th a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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