A follow up to yesterday’s post!

My reading today was from Genesis 3, about the fall of man. You know, Eve taking the fruit and then giving it to Adam, which would make sense from yesterday’s post, right? I mean, if Eve was created as an ally to Adam, a kind of guide, then her taking the fruit and giving it to Adam would make sense. Adam, like a nut, went ahead and did what she told him without thinking about it. If you had a guide leading you through a desert and he said that you were going to jump off this cliff and then keep walking would it make sense to follow him? Wouldn’t you have some responsibility in your death if you just trusted something like that? So Eve hands him the fruit God specifically said not to eat and Adam takes it. When God questions him, he points at Eve. “She gave it to me. You said she was my ally and guide.” I can just see God shaking his head. Eve says the same thing. “That snake told me to do it.” They’ve both been given the gift of free will and neither of them accepts the responsibility that goes with it.

So where am I going? Well, yesterday I read and researched a bit the idea that Eve was not created merely as Adam’s helper but as his ally, partner, and guide. And I wondered what happened to that role? Why do we not promote that idea in the Christian church? It turns out, I think, that the answer is right in Genesis 3:16 “To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” There you go, folks. Childbirth was painful already but we willingly went through it because we were allied with our husband to “be fruitful and multiply” but now it would be very painful and make us not want to help our husband. Because of Eve’s role in the fall we will still desire to have children with him and he will rule over us instead of ally with us.

It sounds so sad. I wonder what Adam and Eve’s relationship looked and felt like before that. I wonder what their relationship with God looked and felt like! But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a similar relationship with our husbands. It doesn’t mean we are doomed to bear as many (or as few) children as our husband wants and live strictly under his rule. We were all given grace for our transgressions as a race of humans. Jesus was born and died to forgive all sins, including that first one that started it all. In my book, that’s just one more reason that I thank God for that gift. I have a wonderful partnership with my husband and I credit that to God’s grace on us both. It’s one more thing I thank God for every day, for my partner and my ally against the evils of this world.

A Woman’s Role?

Yesterday, I started reading a very interesting book I found at the used bookstore in town. I love books about science and the bible, trying to reconcile spiritual matters with the physical. They intrigue me and this one has not disappointed me! It’s called “The Genesis Question – Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis” by Hugh Ross.

Here’s what I came across today that I really found fascinating and then had to go dig deeper online…well, as much as I could today anyway. I tend to get very excited about some topic and spend about thirty minutes googling and reading, but then have to get back to taking care of my family. I’ve got housework to keep up, people! Can’t just sit around reading all day!

Concerning Eve’s designation as “helper”, “’Ezer is the Hebrew word for “helper” in Genesis 2:18, 20. The Hebrews used this word with reference to a military ally (see, for example, 2 Chronicles 28:16 and Psalms 121:1-2), and all that is essential for victory.”

“Together, Adam and Eve, men and women, can conquer. Divided and embattled, they fail.”

And it’s true. 2 Chronicles 28:16 is when King Ahaz sends for help (ozr) and Psalms 121:1-2 is “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help (ozr) come? My help (ozr) comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” After a bit of research, I found that ozr and ezer are the same thing. It just depends on who’s writing it since it’s a transliteration.

Interesting. Right? So what happened? How come our Bibles say “helper”, “helpmeet”, or “similar helper”? Why do they not say “an ally”? It just means something totally different. Then I wonder well, if you really study it and cross reference like this guy did, then you’d see that the word is used in other contexts to mean “an ally” not just a “helper”. But then I wonder why the pastor wouldn’t fill us in on this instead of telling the congregation that wives are only “helpers”, not that that isn’t a pretty important role! But “ally” kind of implies a bit more, doesn’t it? So I Googled again and found another interesting read.

It’s called “Eden’s Mystery Job Description” I like this guys style, probably because it’s written like a train of thought but with more details. It’s something I aspire to do! He pointed out that in the Hebrew, Genesis 2:18 has another word after ozr that isn’t in anyone’s translation. It’s transliterated to mean “in front of him” but then it’s just dropped off in everyone’s translation. Why? What happened? When I say “God created a helper for Adam.” it seems to mean something completely different from “God created a helper in front of Adam.” Sounds weird but it could mean a lot of things.

I’ve got more reading to do about this and I’ll probably come back to it in twenty years because that’s how I do things, but I have to say right now, what better way for Satan to divide God’s creation against itself than to get someone to drop a few words out of a translation and put one conscious part of His creation above another and tell that part that God says you have to be submissive and take your husband’s lead in all things instead of partnering and becoming his ally. Sounds a lot like what Satan did in the garden. God didn’t really mean you’d DIE if you ate that fruit, did he?

Look where we are now. I know so few people that are actually partners with their spouse. They mostly seem as though they only tolerate each other at best, even Christian families. Was this Satan doing?

Notes on “The Great Divorce” by C. S. Lewis (1946)

The last time I read this was in 2007 and I loved it. To be honest, I love anything that Lewis writes. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s like he has a personal connection with God. The last time I read this was before I would make notes while I read books, so all I have is that I remember loving it. This time, the thing I took away most was the very end. I won’t give it away because it really just wraps up the whole thing but I will be blogging about it for sure.

The first thing I thought when I wrote down the title and publish date at the top of my note page/book marker was that it was published around the same time at “1984”.

From the Preface, “I beg readers to remember that this is a fantasy. It has of course – or I intended it to have – a moral. But the trans-mortal conditions are solely an imaginative supposal: they are not even a guess or a speculation at what may actually await us. The last thing I wish is to arouse factual curiosity about the details of the after-world.” And that is how the book ends as well. It’s a dream. We cannot fathom the reality that God is from the side we are on. There is no way to describe it but through our own dirty and distorted lens. But God is trying to talk to us. We can feel it every day in the quiet stillness of the morning and in the dark and fearful night; in those moments of sadness and joy that make us truly human, we hear His voice.

Here’s my interpretation. Each of us hears God in the way that makes sense to us and calls us closer to Him. That doesn’t mean that all interpretations of God or a lack of God are true. It does not justify relativism. God is the one constant reality and the one thing in common with all our interpretations. It’s just complicated. Your dream or understanding of what God’s reality is may not work for my mind. And it’s not the actual reality you dreamed of, only God’s way of speaking directly to you. Does that make any sense?

I loved Lewis’ idea of heaven, hell, and purgatory the last time I read this book. It has stuck with me for the last 9 years. It’s the idea that humanity cannot fathom the idea of heaven. When someone says to me that in Heaven we will have no male and female, no desire, no pain, no…choices? We will be perfect in God’s presence? I will admit I cringe. The humanity in me does not really desire that. All of those things are what make us human, aren’t they? Why would I want to give them up? But that’s only an inkling of an idea about what Heaven is. We cannot understand it in our dimension or reality.

What I think is that once we make the decision to trust God, that different reality will open up to us and we will understand fully. For God, it must be like trying to explain depth to a two-dimensional being.

My favorite bit of this book, my “ah-ha!” moment, was in Chapter 13.

“Only the Greatest of all can make Himself small enough to enter Hell. For the higher the thing is, the lower it can descend – a man can sympathize with a horse but a horse cannot sympathize with a rat. Only One has descended into Hell.”

“And will He ever do so again?”

“It was not once long ago that He did it. Time does not work that way when once ye have left the Earth. All moments that have been or shall be were, or are, present in the moment of His descending. There is no spirit in prison to Whom He did not preach.”

Do you get it? God is outside our reality. He is bigger than time itself. That’s why when someone says, God knows your plan, it feels like we have no free-will. That’s not the case. We can only see our own chosen timeline. God can see every choice by everyone at every time. He knows all your choices and their outcomes before you chose them. Pretty cool, huh?

I used to wonder a lot about Jesus. If the only way to God/Heaven is through belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, then what about all the people that lived before He came? It seems rather unjust for a just God to do that. But the answer is here in the idea that God is not inside our reality. When Jesus died for our sins, He did it for all mankind throughout time. When it happened, it happened in all time and somehow we all got the chance to believe. I can’t explain how exactly but I’m sure it’s there and we’ll all know the answer when we are able to be in the presence of God.

The whole time I’m reading this book I’m thinking I should put it down at the end of each chapter and really soak it in but I feel compelled to keep reading. I just love it so much. It’s definitely on my “read-again-soon” list. I’d really like to get all C.S. Lewis’ books and read through them often.

Moving Towards Joy

I’ve been reading C.S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce” again. I love that book! The point I’m at is one of my favorites and I thought I’d share it with you. The angels are trying to talk to the ghosts of man and convince them to enter Heaven. They offer joy but each person rejects it for what he already has. He refuses to let go of what he has, even though it not really bringing him joy, and accept the bliss he sees in front of him. He does not recognize it as bliss, only sacrifice. “There is always something they insist on keeping even at the price of misery. There is always something they prefer to joy – that is, to reality.”

It brought to mind how many times I’ve heard friends and acquaintances comment about our homeschooling choice. Most people I’ve met have, outwardly anyway, admired our lifestyle and the results of our education choice but when I tell them they too could have what we have, they generally remark that “It’s not for them.” or “It works for your family but it’d never work for ours.” They tell me that they don’t enjoy rushing to and from school, homework, and after-school activities. They are not satisfied with the outcome of the schooling their children have had. They dislike the bullying and confinement of the school system. Yet, when I say “Choose differently.” or “There are other options.” they give excuses about why they must remain where they are, unhappy and unsatisfied. Why?

I really don’t understand our resistance to change. Even when what we have is clearly not making us happy we stand there hoping that someday we will learn to be happy with it instead of trying something new or changing something about our surroundings.

Choosing to homeschool has not been a sacrifice for our family. It is the running toward joy and peace. Yes. I have “sacrificed” being busy, handing over control of my life, bullying, and a myriad of other things for the joy and peace of a lifestyle that brings our family closer and provides a better education for our children with less stress and negative effects. I can’t think of a single thing I’d rather have than that.

International Peace Day? Sounds good to me.

Real, lasting peace begins with your own mind and body, extends to those in your home, neighborhood, and town, and then moves out into the world.
Until everyone finds that peace in their inner sphere of influence, there is no hope of that peace finding its way into the wider world.
Pray and meditate on how you can increase the peace of your own home before you worry about what other people are doing.
As a Christian, I know that God has His hand on my heart and I can do all things through Him. Lord, I pray that those who want Your peace have the courage to take it and keep it in their hearts, extending that love to those around them unconditionally.

Inspired by this World

We can’t “stop the hatred” or “end the violence” as so many on social media are calling us to do. It’s as impossible as stopping the sun from rising or the rain from falling. It’s part of the world we live in.

We can “come to terms” with the sadness in the world. We can expect it, envelope it, and accept it as part of our world, the natural opposite of joy and happiness. That does mean we need to enjoy it or encourage it but we don’t need to fight against it in others. We can present what is joyful, kind, and beautiful in us on a daily basis. We can stop lamenting and complaining about the world and bask in that which is good and healthy for us individually.

Personally, I know the Lord is present in the positive and the negative. I have the Lord Jesus at my side come what may. Whatever happens, I let that wave pull me up or down and then wash over me so that I can greet the other side with joy. I can’t sit here and wallow in getting something I did not want. I sit with it and see it for what it is, part and parcel of the world we currently dwell in. I don’t think God wants us to dwell on what isn’t and suffer until we get through this world and into the next which promises to be better. I want to completely experience this world that God gave us, in all its glory, until I’m called home. Ultimately, there is no negative or positive. There just is. I want to embrace it and learn from it. God didn’t put us here to punish us into submission. I truly believe he wants us to see Him in His creation and love it all.

A Word From Dio

From Durant’s “Caesar and Christ”,

We cannot know what God is, but we have an innate conviction that he exists, and we feel that philosophy without religion is a dark and hopeless thing. The only real freedom is wisdom – i.e. the knowledge of what is right and what is wrong; the road to freedom lies not through politics or revolution, but through philosophy; and true philosophy consists not in the speculations of books, but in the faithful practice of honor and virtue according to the dictates of that inmost voice which is, in some mystic sense, the word of God in the heart of man.” Dio (AD 40-120)

When people who do not believe that any god exists say that humans can have a moral code without a god to guide them to it, are they actually feeling God within themselves? Is that sense of honor and morality toward others, the sense of actual right and wrong regardless of religious creed or upbringing, “God in the heart of man”?