Six times in the creation narrative God reviews His creation in different stages, and He calls it “good”.
Sandra Richter in her book, The Epic of Eden, toes the orthodox, evangelical line, that the Garden of Eden was created perfect by God. This echoes the orthodox, western position that Eden was perfect, and Adam ruined the perfection of Eden in his rebellion against God.
This is the traditional view: that God’s world was perfect until Adam ruined it.
Not that Adam didn’t have some help in this rebellion. I am using Adam in the generic sense, meaning those initial humans who made that one fateful choice that God prohibited, committing the first sin that led to death and banishment from the Edenic paradise into which God introduced man.
This is what I learned as a new Christian. Sandra Richter is a theologian, and I am not. At least, I am not a theologian by trade, academic degree, or career. I respect Richter, which is why I am reading her book, but I am not sure this view is exactly right.
At least, there is another view that I think has some merit. I have come to see some nuance in Genesis that I had not seen before, and it gives pause when I hear the traditional line. I don’t think I have ever written on it, so here goes.
Continue reading “Was the Garden of Eden Really Perfect?” →
Sometimes, we gloss over what we read in the Bible too quickly, and we don’t spend enough time digging deeper. I have read over the following verse in John 1 many times before I thought, “Wait a minute!”
“But to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
John wrote that “all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, HE GAVE THE RIGHT to become children of God”. My emphasis added is the phrase that caught my attention.
For all the verses in Scripture about God choosing us, predestining us, foreordaining us, we find verses like this that put agency squarely in our own hearts and wills. But that isn’t the beginning of the story – or the end of it.
Yes, God chooses us; and in choosing us He gives us “the right to become children of God”.[i]
Yes, He made that choice before the foundation[ii] of the world, and He made us children of God not by blood descent, not by the will of parents or anyone else – maybe not even by our own will – but by His own choice.[iii]
We didn’t choose Him; He chose us, but the vehicle of the choosing was to give those who received Him the right to become children of God. The implication is that He didn’t those who did not receive Him the same right to become His children.
I do not have a systematic theology. I am not a theologian. My understanding of systematic theology is limited, but free will has always seemed self-evident to me as I read Scripture.
Continue reading “To Those Who Receive Christ God Gives the Right to Become His Children” →