Wednesday, 3 December 2014

December 3rd - Consequences

Genesis 3

Today we found out what happened when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Our parenting and discipline avoids threats and punishment, relying more on the teaching that comes from the natural consequences of our actions. Anyone present at our wedding will know what I mean when I say, "Consequences!" but for those readers who didn't have that experience, suffice it to say my dad gave a very long speech, punctuated by his reminder that we have to live with consequences of our actions. This was big in our childhood and now all my friends know too! I was embarrassed at the time, but actually, his speech does make sense to me now, as a parent.

Reading the account of the Fall from the perspective of consequences rather than punishment has been helpful for me. When God said Adam and Eve would die if they ate from the tree of Knowledge, it wasn't meant to be a threat of punishment for disobedience, but a warning. God could not allow them to eat from the tree of Life and so live forever if they had allowed badness to enter their hearts. It wouldn't - couldn't - be a case of just eating the fruit and then never breaking another rule. One sin leads to another and another. Immediately, Adam and Eve hid from God and then began to lie. The rollercoaster was on the move. Paradise couldn't be allowed to filled with sin, and so Adam and Eve had to leave. Their actions broke Creation, allowing pain and toil and enmity in. The consequence of eating of the tree of Knowledge was removal from the Tree of Life, and therefore death would be inevitable.

When we look at God as a loving parent, rather than as an all powerful dictator, His decisions become more understandable. I take away a toy from B because she is using it to hit; we can't go to a party because she's ignoring instructions and taking too long to get ready; she has to hold my hand when we're out because she doesn't stop when I ask her to. She doesn't like these things; they make her angry, but they are the consequences of actions - some for safety reasons, others down to to logic. God always has our best interests at heart, no matter how His decisions make us feel. Just as I know more than B, God knows way more than I do. And that is why His plan for Redemption was set before time even began. His desire for people to love Him, through their own free choice, required that they have the opportunity, the ability, to turn their backs on Him too. But our decisions have consequences and we cannot escape those.

We can be freed from their effects upon us though, through Jesus' death and resurrection. Even in the story of Humanity's expulsion from God's presence and Paradise, we see the light of the Saviour: 
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 NIV)

And so, our paper plate craft for the day was a snake:
paper plate craft snake Genesis

There was certainly enmity between my offspring, as M managed to rip the snake before I could take a photo. Don't worry though - the redemptive power of sellotape solved the problem!

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