Saturday, October 12, 2013

Who told you, you were naked?

People miss the significance of this question, and go on, to launch themselves into intellectual and emotional crusades as to whether or not Adam and Eve were real historical persons.

Those who believe, those who doubt, both waste precious time arguing, when the question addressed to them personally hangs in the air, the Asker waiting for their response. Missing the point that He knows all about us, and yet He still asks, they reduce the living God to a proposition, and His holy and divine Word to a mere book, like all their other books.

‘But the Word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it’ (Deuteronomy 30:14). ‘I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know’ (John 1:26). ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand there looking into heaven?’ (Acts 1:11).

The living God is no mere proposition, but the man standing next to you. What will you do with him? The Bible is no mere book, but the living Word of that living God: holy because unremittingly other, ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:8), divine because it is the Spirit Himself pressing His holy face into the folds of our human flesh, leaving His mark not made by human hands. ‘And I saw another angel coming up from the East, carrying the seal of the living God’ (Revelation 7:2). How dare we toy with this?

‘Who told you, you were naked?’ (Genesis 3:11) asks the living God. He knows all about us, yet He asks. Long after we have sinned and forgotten about it, not having been punished we sport ourselves as if all were well, though in our hearts we feel afraid, and we hide ourselves behind the foliage of our thoughts, ‘perhaps He won’t notice us.’

But one day He comes, He who walks among us invisibly, our eyes unwilling to see Him, our hearts to recognize Him, but His voice rings out, ‘Where are you?’ We already know that Voice, we recognize it. There is no escape.

He listens to our complaint, ‘I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’ He deals with us on our own terms. We offer our excuses, and He questions us. Then, He asks us the question we dread most to hear, ‘Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?’ just as He once asked a woman of Samaria by telling her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come here’ (John 4:16).

Like her, we would rather confess, understating Him, ‘I see You are a prophet,’ and then offer our speculations, hopefully to change the subject.

But He presses down on us, proving that He is the living God, knocking on the Door that He has provided to shield us from His glory, the Holy Scriptures, giving us the freedom to keep it closed, or to open it, if we dare, to meet Him standing there. ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the Door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me’ (Revelation 3:20).

This is no offer of a mere business lunch, over which we can argue whether or not the food, or the host, are real. He is here among us, the table is full and abundant. Do we choose to starve amidst plenty?

‘Who told you, you were naked?’
is Life itself coming to deliver us from death. What room is there left for our speculations, our questionings, or our vain proofs of this or that assertion?

In the time that He has opened for us, in the paradise in which He has placed us, among the fruit-bearing trees inviting us to eat and be satisfied, we are yet drawn to the one thing that He has forbidden, and then spend the rest of our days hiding behind our thoughts of self-justification, hiding from Him who has formed us as images of Himself.

‘Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from My decrees and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you, says the LORD Almighty’ (Malachi 3:7).

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