Genesis opens in wonder as the universe soars like a symphony into the void. From the canopy of stars down to the slug under the rock, all is good. God moves across the waters and what is new unfolds. Creation does not end.
We who are made in the image of God hesitate to recognize our own goodness. The story sours when our ancestors disobey God and eat from the tree of knowledge. Sin, shame, toil, punishment, and death are born. Blaming begins.
Sometimes the sly serpent gets a bad rap. Or Eve is the villain dragging Adam down. When the alarm rings at the start of our day, we grumble about the shiftless ancestors who robbed us of the easy life where dinner was plucked off the nearest vine. In Masaccio’s great painting The Expulsion, Adam and Eve are driven defeated from the garden by an angel with a sword. Camus gives the story a devious turn in his book The Fall. Jean-Baptiste Clamence is a lawyer with a peculiar practice. He confesses his crimes to others, prompting them to reveal their secrets. But this John the Baptist brings no healing. Guilt is the pit and there’s no escape.
There is more to the fall than failure and loss. The story tells us who we are, how humanity comes into being. It is a story of leaving home and the struggles that await us on the road. We are curious. We take chances, go too far, stumble, and celebrate. From our first breath, we reach out to others. We do not leave the world the way we find it. In our eager hands, what is new continues to unfold. Our goodness is marked by shadows. Paradise was too bright; we could not find ourselves there.
You accompany us on the road. Your groaning joins ours and we are healed.
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