Firstly, it should be noted that all of Noah’s family had been blessed by God (v1), and these were the seed from whom the whole earth would be repopulated. Yahweh thereby declared His love and kindly intentions towards fallen humanity, affirming a few verses later that he still regarded man as being in His own image (v6). Noah had three sons, one of whose seed became cursed, Canaan, son of Ham who had uncovered his father’s nakedness. Japheth, prefiguring Ishmael, retained his father’s blessing but was not chosen to be the seed from which the children of Israel would stem. That was to be Shem via his son Arpachshad. There is a further motif evident here pertaining to the firstborn being the line of special blessing. This can be traced back to Adam’s son Seth, heir by default, his two elder brothers Cain and Abel having been respectively banished and murdered. Seth’s firstborn was Enosh, the first to evoke the Lord (Gen4:26).
The re-occurring phrase within these genealogies is in the format: “When X was a certain age he fathered Y. X lived for so many years and went on to father (other) sons and daughters”, only the firstborn son ever being named (Gen5). After Enosh came Kenan, then Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch who “walked with God”, Methuselah who outlived his son Lamech, father of Noah, dying within a year of the Flood. There is no reason not to take the patriarch’s ages literally, especially in view of Gen6:3.
The same motif continues with the Church and her Head. The “Firstborn of all creation” is Jesus Christ (Col1:15); the firstborn of God’s children are the elect, who are also described as “the church of the firstborn” (Heb12:23 Greek: “prototokon” is plural – it is not referring to Christ but His chosen people). Under the Old Covenant with Israel, the firstborn son was always “consecrated unto the Lord” (Ex13:2). Those designated “firstborn” are typically designated to sanctity and kingship, and by them are the whole family to be blessed.
A free PDF of my e-book is available from the download pageHERE
The book of Enoch expands on Gen6:1,2 also alluded to in Jude1:6 concerning angelic or rather satanic union with women and the irretrievable corruption it caused, even extending to the animal kingdom through bestiality. It resulted in the “giants” referred to in verse 4 and testified to in later scripture (e.g.Deut2:21, Num13:32-33 cf. Hebrew interlinear). These offspring of unions between satanic beings and humans occupied the Canaanite territories, a notable being Og, the Amorite King of Bashan famous for his oversized bed (Deut3:11). (No, I never learnt about him in Sunday school either). But these are no more fairy stories than Noah and the Ark: they are Scriptural and archaeological realities, and referred to by some of the very earliest Church Fathers. From these giants came the “unclean spirits” that roamed the world and were prevalent in Jesus’ day. Again the Book of Enoch fills out much of the detail here for it pertains to the Gen6:1 incident concerning the fallen watchers. This polluted seed pool needed to be eliminated, which explains not only the Flood but the wholesale extermination of men, women and children (e.g. Deut3:6) in seven of the Canaanite nations God’s elect people went on to inherit, although some of these demonic hybrids continued up to the time of David (e.g. 1Chron20:4-8 – consult Hebrew interlinear).
But what cannot be perceived without reference to the book of Enoch yet is needed to understand the rationale behind the universal Flood is that these satanic collaborators had imparted knowledge to humanity that the Lord had intended mankind gradually to discover over many centuries. As with Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge, humanity in its infancy was not ready for the knowledge they provided and it would lead to their destruction, yet could never be unlearnt, hence the need for a radical universal cleansing by water. Enoch19:1 explains that these rebellious sons of God who left their appointed place (cf. Jud1:6) and were responsible for the global contamination and the thwarting of God’s plans for mankind’s development were able to assume different forms to carry out their illicit unions (re: Mt22:30). Through God’s mercy, the bulk of humanity who ignored Noah’s warning and perished in the Flood has subsequently had the good news preached to them by Jesus Himself (1Pet3:19,20). So, the apostle indicates, do all the dead have the opportunity to hear the good news so that although having been punished in the flesh “they might live according to God in the spirit” (1Pet4:6). Some struggle with that concept believing it to undermine the relevance of the gospel. It becomes far more intelligible (indeed right and just) once one understands the context of gospel salvation within God’s broader reconciliatory plans. These imprisoned spirits were given the opportunity to repent and acknowledge Christ’s lordship; they were not to be betrothed as His eternal Bride, nor did they escape punishment for they had been “imprisoned” for centuries. Indeed, some very early Christian writers including Irenaeus understood Adam’s physical death, though partly a punishment, was in effect a concession by which once freed of the body he could be freed from sin so that he could begin again “to live for God”.
Such a principle is alluded to in Gen6:3 – the reference to God’s “spirit” not being the Holy Spirit but the human spirit (cf. Rom8:16) that “does not consistently or rightly adjudicate in view of the flesh” as a result of which man’s life span was shortened for the sake of his eternal wellbeing (cf. Gen6:3). That makes sense in the context of what I in line with the majority of pre-Augustinian Church Fathers regard as the tripartite nature of man: body, soul and spirit. Such an understanding is required to grasp some of Paul’s essential soteriology, in particular his references to the inner conflict of “flesh versus spirit” (not Spirit) – discussed in detail in chapter two of “The Fellowship of the Secret”
The book of Enoch is ex-canonical scripture that was nevertheless regarded as inspired and a genuine work of the Patriarch by a number of the early Church Fathers such as Clement, Irenaeus, Origen, Augustine and Tertullian. This is hardly surprising since it is directly quoted in the New Testament (Jude14,15). Tertullian specifically regarded Enoch as falling within the remit of 2Tim3:16 concerning “all scripture” being inspired and useful. It was excluded from the Old Testament cannon (apart from that formulated by the Coptic Orthodox Church) and for valid reasons; perhaps most significantly there was an unacceptable degree of variation in the manuscript copies available to the early Church councils that determined the composition of the Biblical Canon.
Apart from being directly quoted in the Bible, this scripture clarifies some otherwise obscure verses which themselves are quite important and cannot be properly understood by comparing canonical scripture with scripture. None more so than Genesis 6; explaining in great detail the context of vv1-3, necessary for a rounded understanding of God’s nature and modus operandi, together with the respective culpability of the human and celestial agencies that contributed to the Fall and the Flood. The latter was another reason it was more conclusively rejected by the later Fathers who believed it did not place sufficient emphasis on man’s culpability for those particular cosmic disasters, especially having endorsed Augustine’s austere take on the matter. This extra-biblical literature also clarifies less important but nevertheless intriguing issues such as “the blood that speaks better things than Abel” (Heb12:24), Enoch’s walk with God (in great detail) and the ethnicity of Adam, Eve and their offspring (hinted at in Genesis5:3). It also reveals, albeit cryptically, the ethnicity of Noah’s three sons, and for that reason alone, especially in view of Gen9:25, it was providential it was excluded, and until relatively recently not readily accessible.
With the aforementioned early fathers, I have no
doubt the book is inspired and needs to be consulted in order to aid completion
of the biblical jigsaw. In the context of “The Fellowship of the
Secret” it also contains certain prophecies regarding God’s final
providential mystery (cf. Rev10:4-7) that might not have remained a mystery had
Enoch1 been received within the canon and historically focused upon within the
churches. But there is another reason to believe Enoch was not intended
for the Church throughout its history yet is relevant for today as profitable
reading – that is the very opening verse:
“The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and the righteous who will be living in the day of tribulation when all the wicked and godless are to be removed” (Enoch1 ch1 v1)
And at the end of Enoch there is a prophecy
concerning the book itself and other books:
“But when they write down truthfully all my
words in their languages, and do not change or diminish anything from my words
but write them all down truthfully – all that I first testified concerning
them; then I know another mystery, that books will be given to the
righteous and the wise to become a cause of joy and uprightness and much
wisdom. and to them shall the books be given, and they shall believe in them
and rejoice over them, and then shall all the righteous who have learnt
therefrom all the paths of uprightness be recompensed” (Enoch104:1113).
More on that in my particular book** but in the
context of these Genesis posts, Enoch provides a helpful reference source to
enable us better to understand God’s rationale for the Flood by clarifying the
context of the first two verses of chapter 6 concerning “the sons of God’s”
union with human women, which made such a drastic remedy unavoidable.
Both Jesus and Paul referred to certain individuals as “children of the devil”, Cain being the archetype of those who follow “in his way” (Jude11). Significantly, John described Adam’s first-born as “ek tou ponerou”, i.e. derived from the Evil One (1Jn3:12). Ultimately of course like Lucifer himself, he is derived from God. All human souls are created by God (cf. Rom9:21,22) but not all are planted by Him (Mt13:39; 15:13), a mystery that I explore in chapter six of my book. Following on from my previous post, the requirements for acceptance within the Universal Covenant from which Cain defaulted are intuitive, a part of natural law, involving the innate spiritual faculty we know of as conscience. In the Bible’s definitive chapter on final judgement, the Matthew 25 sheep did not require “special revelation” or a religious creed to recognise that they should show compassion to those in need – it was intuitive to them, since they were “ek tou theou” (of God 1Jn4:7). As Jesus made crystal clear, such is the quality that determines a person’s post-mortem fate (Mt25:44-46). It is a passage in which religious faith is not mentioned at all, but such acts of compassion are evidence (indeed the efflux) of an underlying faith or godly fear as I seek to demonstrate from Scripture in chapter three of my book, along with evidence that such a concept of natural law was understood by the earliest (pre-Augustinian) Church Fathers who had received the Faith directly from the apostles or their immediate appointees and so were not solely reliant on biblical exegesis.
One’s status within the Universal Covenant also determines one’s involvement or otherwise with Satan as an agent (Greek: aggelos) within God’s mysterious providential role for evil. That is why Cain as the TYPE of those rejected from that covenant was brand-marked and protected rather than wiped out there and then. These issues are, as it were, the un-illuminated side of the revelation globe, pertaining (I believe) to the final mystery concerning God’s intentions towards His earthly creation (cf. Rev10:4-10).
Resulting biblical tensions
Failing to perceive the mystery of providence has resulted in biblical theologians for ever attempting to fit three square pegs (soteriological categories) into two round holes (soteriological outcomes). An historical reflection on our planet’s religious plurality and cultural formation that God has (at the least) permitted should reveal that such a presentation of the “Good News” not only provides the direst of cosmic outcomes but distorts the perceived characteristics of both man and his Creator. It dishonours the magnanimity and loving kindness of the One and nullifies the underlying goodness of the other, especially mankind’s ability to practice agape (compassionate love) which ultimately determines what one is and where one is heading (Mt25 again), the religious dimension determining in what capacity (cf. Dan7:18). Such foundational errors have also resulted in seemingly intractable tensions within scripture typified by the narrow way leading to Life that few will ever attain on the one hand and frequent intimations (not least by Paul) of God’s broader scale intentions to reconcile all redeemable humanity to Himself on the other. The latter is surely consistent with the divine nature as Scripture reveals it and the Son of Man reflected it: compassionate and forgiving, making allowance for human weakness and culturally related ignorance (Acts17:30 cp. Amos3:2), yet One who will by no means show mercy towards the merciless but will avenge them for the suffering they have caused to those He loves (cf. Ex34:6-7; 2Thes1:5-6; Rev16:5-7).
It is surely no coincidence that Adam had three sons as did our postdiluvian Patriarch Noah, and from these have sprung all humanity: Adam’s son Seth and Noah’s son Shem represent the elect line; Adam’s son Abel and Noah’s son Japheth the “righteous” within the Universal Covenant whilst Adam’s son Cain and Noah’s son Ham were the accursed defaulters albeit that only one of Ham’s sons was cursed (Canaan) as Ham had already received a blessing (Gen9:1). Once we arrive at the EXCLUSIVE Abrahamic Covenant, Isaac represents the elect line resulting in Israel, whist Abraham’s other son Ishmael who had been circumcised by his father and (nota bene) blessed by God (Gen17:20), thereafter remaining in His favour and care (Gen21:20) had not been elected to the Covenant of Promise.
As for the Church –
“You brethren LIKE ISAAC are the children of promise” (Gal4:28NASB):
And you sisters and
brethren, if baptised, are in the elective covenant that replaced Abraham’s and
you are there by grace alone. Others are equally loved and precious to God as
was Ishmael, but are not elected to the exclusive grouping predestined before
the foundation of the world to form the community in which the spiritual
resources and teaching are provided for faithful adherents to become holy and
faultless in love before God through Jesus Christ (cf. Eph1:4,5). That is the
Church, priesthood for the world (1Pet2:9), brought forth by God’s will to be
the first-fruits of His creation (cf. Jam1:18)
[A quote from “Fellowship of the Secret” – chapter 3]*
** Illustration: A photo booth “selfie” of Patrick Mackay (b. 1952), a.k.a. “the Devil’s Disciple” – a prolific UK serial killer and Nazi enthusiast, taken on the day he axed to death the Catholic priest who had earlier counselled him. Regrettably most individuals in the category we are considering are less easy to spot, but that is anyway not our task but God’s
The Fellowship of the Secret is a direct quote from the apostle Paul’s writing (Ep3v9 some translations). It refers to the fact that in terms of salvation history the current age is not as many believe “a fulfilment of Old Testament prophesies in a spiritualized form”, but as a result of God’s chosen nation’s rejection of His purposes for them, effectively an unforetold epoch we know of as the Church age. In three of his epistles Paul affirms the nature of the current age to have been a divine secret, undisclosed through any Old Testament prophet and barely intimated by Jesus during His earthly ministry. The book explores the wondrous providential and dispensational implications of this mystery; and shows how such a perspective resolves numerous other tensions and mysteries within the Bible.
The revised edition
A new (third) edition of “The Fellowship of the Secret” has recently been released. In the event it has been only slightly modified and much as I long to be more conciliatory I’ve had to remain faithful to what I believe has been revealed to me by the Spirit. That includes some contentious assertions relating to the sixteenth century Reformation and the need to dismantle key aspects of Augustinian and “Reformed” theology that have influenced so many for so long. Only then can the joyful prospect of God’s broader benign providence – what my adoptive Church refers to as God’s Plan of Loving Goodness – be discerned. But most importantly, especially from the perspective of those within the Evangelical churches, every proposition has been solidly underpinned from Scripture. Such an endeavour has been the primary purpose of the book, although its author has still broader aspirations – to set out a possible path to church unity. That is especially necessary in the context of the end-time script, so that a coherent witness to the Good News of the Kingdom can be provided to the world before the current arrangements upon it are concluded at our Lord’s return (cf. Mt24:14).
Following on from my last post I am well aware that the Church’s theologians cannot rely on a single passage in Genesis but must compare scripture with scripture, and the concept of an inclusive covenant for fallen humanity implicit in the Cain and Abel story (explicit when utilising the Masoretic text) hardly fits in with much else as it has been historically and universally interpreted ever since Christian doctrine was systematised. Moreover, the Greek Septuagint (LXX) renders the key verse about God’s warning to Cain somewhat differently and that is the version to which most of the apostles and the early Church will have referred. The Hebrew (Masoretic Text) is just as dependable as the LXX but it simply was not utilised by the apostolic Church, the Greek language being lingua franca for the Roman Empire and therefore the Greco-Roman Church. It is therefore no surprise that the apostles do not make direct reference to this verse (Gen4:7) whilst the early Fathers always quote from the LXX, which intriguingly refers to Cain’s incorrect division of his offering and that he should “be at peace and rule over him”; somewhat meaningless and surely a corruption of the Hebrew, presumably the “him” referring to the devil. Such obscurity may well be an intentional veiling on God’s part regarding an understanding of a Universal Covenant, yet it is not dependant on this verse alone but can be deduced from Cain’s punishment and curse in which he became excluded from the nature of the relationship with God that his brother, his parents and indeed Cain himself experienced before the fratricide, which surely is the point (Gen4:11-14).
The nature of the Bible
However, the principle reason for what might in a dual sense be termed “the Lost Covenant” concerns the nature of the Bible itself which was never intended to be a detailed story of God’s creation; for example we know relatively little about the angelic realm from which evil had sprung and in which humans will one day participate; rather scripture’s focus is the salvation history for the world centred on Christ, His cross and His peculiar peoples (the Jewish nation and the Church). Hence Abraham is a vastly more significant figure than Abel; both had “faith” and were justified by it, being representatives within covenants, but Abraham initiated the EXCLUSIVE covenant from which his own son Ishmael who had been blessed by God and circumcised by his father was not admitted (Gen17:20,23: cf. 21:20). Such a covenant was formed to provide the royal priesthood through whom God might enlighten and reconcile the world to Himself (cf. Deut4:5,6; Ex19:5,6; 1Pet2:9). The inclusive and universal covenant into which Abel was declared to be righteous and Cain defaulted does not have a direct role in that salvation story, firstly because it pertains to that which is intuitive (so is not dependant on special revelation or a specific creed) and secondly because individuals are not “saved” through it, i.e. they are not purged of their sin and spiritually empowered to experience a living, transformational relationship with Christ whilst still in the body so as to be fitted to be His eternal Consort in the ages to come. That is the nature of gospel “salvation” and it requires “the exceedingly abundant grace which is in Christ Jesus” to accomplish it (1Tim1:14).
As considered in some detail in chapter two of my book, God’s munificent providence has been obscured by a foundational error in traditional western biblical theology – the failure to distinguish between disobedient Adam and his psychopathic eldest son. The latter’s relationship with God radically altered AFTER his extraordinary act of defiance towards His creator and the murder of his brother (vv11-14), the theological consequences of which have been quite eluded. They pertain to an eluded covenant between God and fallen man. The following verse from Genesis is unquestionably covenantal in form, though most theologians for the last two thousand years have chosen not to regard it as such:
“IF THOU (CAIN) DOEST WELL, SHALT THOU NOT BE ACCEPTED? AND IF THOU DOEST NOT WELL, SIN LIETH AT THE DOOR. AND UNTO THEE SHALL BE HIS DESIRE, AND THOU SHALT RULE OVER HIM” (GEN4:7KJV )
The translation of this verse from the Hebrew is admittedly problematical: “Will you not be accepted?” (Hebrew: seeth) could equally be “will your countenance not be lifted?” which is utilised by some versions of the Bible. The KJV quoted above recognises “sin” to be a person (the Sinful One), which makes sense since it or he is lying or crouching (Hebrew: rabats) at the door and “desires” to control Cain. Sin per se could hardly be “at the door” in Cain’s case, it’s already in Cain’s heart and about to wreak havoc. Cain is described elsewhere as “OF the evil one”, confirming that the Sinful One was indeed at the door and was able to master Cain and thereby control and own him (1Jn3:12).
From the human perspective, that would not have been so if Cain had responded differently to the challenge Yahweh presented to him in Gen4:7, so the verse effectively reflects a Universal Covenant for fallen humanity; for Abel was fallen but he was accepted. The purpose of the Cain and Abel story, however literally one might choose to take it, is drawn upon in the New Testament, and it is not to show how Abel “got saved” but how Cain became reprobate (rejected), indicated by the vital yet typically glossed references to “this day” and “now” with regard to the elder brother’s fate. The day he killed his brother he was cursed and entirely alienated from God and NOT BEFORE THAT DAY. When God told Cain to “do well”, He was not seeking perfection but to do what the young man intuitively knew to be right: offer like Abel the first-fruits of his crop and preferably not go on to slaughter his innocent brother in cold blood. For no one is born devoid of at least one “talent” (the light of conscience) but some choose to bury it in the ground and they will be condemned (cf. Mt25:14-29; Jn1:9). Cain, an agricultural farmer (4:2) was not expected to steal from his livestock farmer brother Abel in order to sacrifice an animal in offering for his sin, as some would dissemble (e.g. the Youngs Literal translators). Comparing scripture with scripture we see that Cain and his sacrifice were not accepted because his works were evil whilst his brother’s works were righteous (1Jn3:12). That was because the one exercised faith/faithfulness and the other didn’t, for one was a child of God, the other as confirmed in later scripture was or had become satanic (1Jn3:12).
As third century Irenaeus had expressed the matter precisely in this context: “It is the conscience of the offerer that sanctifies the sacrifice when (the conscience) is pure and thus God is moved to accept the sacrifice as from a friend”. Abel showed by his works and a good conscience that he had “faith” so was justified by that faith with reference to his works (offering the best of his flock), not by achieving a standard of worked merit (justification by works). Why was perfection not required by either of them? – It was in view of the Sacrifice of atonement effectual throughout human history (Rom3:25 cf. Greek). Through the faithfulness of Christ (Greek: ek pisteos christou), which more theologians and the more recent bible translators are recognising needs to be distinguished from cognisant faith in Christ (pisteos en Christo), expiation has been provided for the faults arising from human weakness for those who themselves seek to be faithful to God, i.e. to the light He provides to them through their conscience, by which in Paul’s language (when rightly translated) they become a law FOR themselves and do by nature the things contained within the Law; indeed fulfil the heart of it which is to exercise compassion towards their fellow man – cf. Rom2:14; Gal5:14.
The understanding of some that Cain and Abel were expected to anticipate a future Sacrifice for sin by sacrificing an animal is unsustainable; cultic sacrifices were not clearly established as a religious system until the Law of Moses. Paul, James and the writer to the Hebrews make it quite clear why Abraham had been counted as righteous, being a belief in the God he had encountered evidenced by obedience, in his case that he would be rewarded with a great family (cf. Gen15:1). Abraham, nor indeed anyone in the Old Testament is declared to be justified by means of offering an animal sacrifice. As will be demonstrated from scripture, Old Testament folk and indeed all “people of good will” were and still are accepted by God through the merits of the Atonement achieved through Christ’s faith/faithfulness being applied to those who are deemed to fear God through their positive response to the divine enlightenment they have received (cf. Jn1:9KJV), resulting in humane behaviour towards their fellow man in need (a.k.a. Christ Mt25:40).
[These posts are intended to complement my book** by identifying “glosses” in OT narrative which have impacted upon traditional Christian perspectives on divine providence].
I pointed out in earlier posts that Adam and Eve were not cursed by God (cf. Gen3:14,17). That divine pronouncement was given to the arch-instigator of mankind’s downfall represented by the serpent (the devil) and later at an individual level to Cain. Fortunately for humanity, Adam is man’s federal head, not Cain, nevertheless all his offspring were condemned to a life of arduous toil, aging, decay and death, for the SOIL was cursed for man’s sake (Gen3:17-19), whilst woman-kind would additionally endure male domination and great pain in childbirth, for in Paul’s assessment it was Eve who had been deceived and so bore the weight of guilt (1Tim2:14,15 cf. Gen3:13). Through Satan’s victory, he was granted control of the world order (Greek: archon tou kosmou Jn12:31), yet as we shall see it was all for the greater good. Amidst the apparent debacle, a ray of hope appears: God tells the snake (representing the Evil One): “I shall put enmity between you and the woman, and between YOUR OFFSPRING and hers; it (or He) will bruise your head and you will strike its heel” (Gen3:15).
So as early as Genesis chapter three we have a shadowy glimpse of the Good News concerning a coming Messiah (the woman’s offspring), for our omniscient God had already envisaged His plan of salvation for humankind, the central event of which would be the sending of His Son to be the Saviour of the world (1John4:14). Satan would strike the Christ’s heal through his apparent victory at Calvary, but the death and resurrection of Jesus would prove to be the bruising of the snake’s head; assuring Satan’s ultimate defeat. It is not just Satan but HIS OFFSPRING who are to be at enmity with the woman’s offspring; nor is the latter referring exclusively to Jesus (Rom16:20). Satan’s seed pertains both to the outcome of Gen6:1-2 (considered shortly) and also the human seed adopted by Satan, who following their own free choice to amortize the innate light and Law of Christ we experience through the faculty of conscience (cf. Jn1:9KJV; Rom 2:15; 1Tim4:2) is permitted to gain their mastery (cf. Gen4:7 Hebrew Masoretic). This could only be by divine decree; it is a providential arrangement with, not any obligation to Satan, being a corrupted creature not a rival god. As such he could have no inherent rights over God’s property (i.e. everything). Such arrangements on a smaller scale are indicated elsewhere in Scripture (e.g. Job1:6-12; 2Cor12:7). It is an ingenious contrivance on the Creator’s part (for He is sovereign) but one will not discern any positivity to it until one has understood the mystery of evil and the purpose of suffering within God’s wondrous plan for humanity, covered in the final two chapters of The Fellowship of the Secret.
The “death” referred to in God’s warning to Adam (Gen2:17) was clearly not physical death, he continued for centuries; nor is it accurate to say (as the Catholic NJB translation inaccurately infers) that Adam was “doomed to die”. The “death” he would experience would occur the very day he ate the forbidden fruit and is the “death” that every man and woman experiences as a consequence of the Fall: that is the disruption of their vital relationship with God – the very purpose for which they were made but cannot experience whilst “in the flesh”. This is the death Paul is generally referring to in his writings where at one point he asks “who will deliver me from the body of THIS death? (Greek: somatos tou thanatou toutou – Rom7:24).
“This death” is referring to the condition that the unregenerate man he was depicting in that passage was currently experiencing such that he desired to do good but constantly gave in to the desires of the flesh (“the law of sin that is in my members” – previous verse). It is that absence of “Life” that Jesus spoke of when He said “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood you have no life in you” (Jn6:53). He means “eternal life” (literally, age life) being the present-day experience of “knowing God” (Jn17:3), which by its nature will also be everlasting (i.e. Jn10:28 is not tautological). Paul’s reference to death in this context neither refers to a person’s mortality nor that he is “damned” but the loss of the vital communion which our first parents brought about the day they ate the forbidden fruit. But thankfully “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive“. Cain, though is another kettle of fish… (to follow)*
*Post related to Cain as TYPE of the devil’s children HERE
Having acknowledged in my previous post that the Genesis account would not be expected to incorporate a scientific account of creative processes, moving on to chapter 3 and the “Fall”, I personally am content to take references to trees of knowledge and a garrulous snake literally. Those who regard the whole account as allegorical or symbolic must nevertheless take stock of the events and what they are intended to symbolize, given that all the key players in the saga are frequently referred to in New Testament writing. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, but that is only a third of the story, and the smallest third at that, once understood from a more enlightened Christian perspective such as that possessed by the apostle Paul (cf. Rom8:20,21). In those two verses Paul identifies Whom he regards as ultimately taking responsibility for the Fall – it is certainly not man, he is third in the pecking order, which is not to say he is not culpable and deserving of the punishment which he has received. But the consequences outlined for man in Genesis are temporal, not eternal in nature, and (believe it or not) the punishment devised is ultimately beneficial for the recipients. By temporal I do not mean merely physical in nature; the “death” referred to in God’s warning to Adam pertained to his vital relationship with God which would be broken (cf. Jn17:3). Damnation will be a reality for some, but that is not what this “death” (or indeed Pauline “death”) is referring to. Hell has been prepared for the devil and his messengers/agents (Greek: aggelos), many of whom are human (Mt25:41) – we will shortly encounter their archetype in Genesis 4.
The chief culprit at Eden was the snake representing Satan, whom it should be noted alone was cursed by God in the post-incidental exchanges (as later was Cain). Nevertheless, man’s Adversary would appear on the surface to have achieved a mighty victory, gaining control of the world order and seemingly ruining God’s plans for the elevation of its human inhabitants so that they may come to share in the divine nature – the cause of Satan & his minions’ rebellion in the first place. But the Adversary had played right into God’s hands and has actually facilitated the process! I will say no more about that here, merely offer a textual clue, which taken in the context of the above offers a solution to the mystery of evil. It explains why a sovereign God described by the apostle John as Love personified (1Jn4:8) permitted events to take the course they did at Eden; also, why this will ultimately be beneficial for mankind, whilst at the same time immensely costly to the Godhead: it is a verse from Hebrews and it is Love beyond human imagining:
“It was fitting for (Jesus), for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Heb2:10NKJV)
Download a free PDF file of “Fellowship of the Secret” e-book HERE