Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Eden of the Second Adam

The Sabbath as ‘a day of rest.’

Christ has His own re-education program on this topic, in that the conventional reading of the creation story tells of God making people and then resting, without qualification—it was understood early on that human beings were established as divine proxies. Thus, Christ is able to heal on the Sabbath, because that is what you do, so that God can rest.

The purpose of describing human beings as being made ‘in the image and likeness of God’ was not to draw the distinct relationship with God directly (this was a strictly monarchic benefit/obligation—and yes, Adam is formulated as a ‘natural king’ rather than a king that is coronated) but to establish the circumstances under which God was able to rest.

In other words, being created in the image and likeness of God allowed human beings to dominate the created order as God’s proxy—the created world looked at Adam and Eve and said ‘Yes, there’s God, it is time to stay in line.’ From the perspective of the universe, God, Adam, and Eve were indistinguishable prior to sin, and the sin essentially was what ‘blew their cover’ and gave the universe leeway to disobey.

Had God’s plan not been sidestepped, hundreds, if not millions, of divine proxies would populate the garden, expand and reinforce the domain, allowing God to rest. That is the context of the Sabbath: That we engage our nurturing potential, love one another and be active stewards for the created world. That we emulate the very values ‘serving one another with acts of love, of mercy, of benevolence’—St Paul is clearly aware of this interpretation, though he is not as explicit in his Genesis reading.

And yet Peter, who is given the keys of the kingdom because he was the only apostle who actually knew what the king of Judah was supposed to be like, well, he was able to extend this metaphor deeply in Acts 2, when he gives the speech at David's tomb, and you have these people now who listen, three thousand accept the challenge to emulate Christ's kingship, and you have, as it were, a new Eden as it is described in what follows:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-47

This passage gets misinterpreted often as socialism or communism, but it is in fact the Eden of the Second Adam, where all are kings and queens and all share equal hegemony, rights and responsibility to love each other and the world in full.

— Jacob Aaron Gorny

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