Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Cosmic Nature of the Fall

Being as reformed as I claim to be, I have a great appreciation for the cosmic nature of the fall.  What I mean by that is this: Not only is humanity marred by sin and thus “noy the way we’re supposed to be”, but the whole cosmos is not as it is supposed to be.  Paul picks up this theme in Romans 8

"For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." (Romans 8:20-22, TNIV)  

Why do see this as so important?  Simply because it helps us interpret why things happen the way they do.  If, as some of the Church Fathers argue, Paul is only speaking figuratively and the whole creation really isn’t affected by the fall, then it gives to humanity a level of independence that I don’t think is appropriate given the nature of the creation accounts where humanity is clearly connected relationally to the rest of the cosmos.  Therefore, the impact of human sin also effects the relationship humanity has with its environment in a negative way.

I think it’s important to understand the fallen nature of our world.  If we look at things such as disease, ecological/environmental issues, etc. and compare them to the image of how the world was supposed to be (Gen 1-2) and how it will be at the end (Rev 21-22) we recognize how exactly different the world is from what it was supposed to be or what it will be at the end.  Thus, a central part of God’s new creation will be the renewal and transformation not only of us, but of the world around us and that is something the church is called to be apart of.  And in particular, what does the renewal and transformation of the world look like when it comes to bio-medical issues such as combating disease?

This has been on my mind with the recent passing of Elora.  I was reminded tonight at the calling hours that we weren’t meant to die, it’s that simple.  We have gotten used to people who are older dying almost to the point that I think we can forgot that death isn’t supposed to be.  But when someone dies at 14, a child who modeled in so many ways what it meant to be truly human at that, we are reminded that death wasn’t supposed to be.  However, death’s like Elora’s cause me to examine and seek out answers in faith.  The only answer I find at all compelling as to why Elora died is that the whole creation is fallen.

Yet, even in the face of this tragedy we rest in the promises that God will renew the creation and we will once again see Elora, transformed and renewed into the likeness of Christ.  Praise be to God!


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