Thursday, April 18, 2013

History Has A Way of Repeating Itself

It is often said that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This is often applied to the evil that exists in our world, where patterns emerge and where the worst of human behavior is put on full display.

But what if we were to understand it in another way?

One of the most popular questions that those who enjoy philosophy ask is "Why didn't God create a world in which evil did not exist?" Sometimes this question is asked to spark critical thinking, but there are other instances, maybe too many, where this question is used as an indictment of God for allowing evil to exist. The question though, I think, is a bad one, as God did create a good world for us, a perfect and peaceful world that wonderfully reflected the truth and the beauty of our Creator.

So what does this have to do with history repeating itself exactly?

We don't know exactly how long Adam and Eve had been living in this paradise, tending to it, but one day while Eve is out in the garden, alone, a serpent comes up to her and begins talking to her. Apparently this didn't strike her as odd, but what he says to her changed everything, and not for the better.

"Eve, look at that tree over there. I think that tree has the nicest looking fruit. It might even be the juiciest fruit in the whole garden."

"Maybe, but Adam and I aren't supposed to eat that fruit. God told us not to take from that tree. And all these other trees provide very good, very tasty fruit and provides all of our needs."

"Did God really tell you that you're not supposed to eat from that tree? It seems to me that God is really wanting to keep you from knowing everything He knows. He doesn't want you to be like Him. He wants you to miss out on something really great."

"Well, that fruit does look really good..."

We find ourselves in the mess we're in because God's word was questioned and we were made to think that perhaps we know better than our creator.

First, being created in the image of God, we had characteristics within us that made us, in many ways, like God. He breathed His very life, His Spirit, into us. When the serpent questioned that, He questioned the very integrity of God's goodness, His image and His Spirit. But then he took it further. When the integrity of our Creator is questioned, perhaps when His motives are questioned for His decrees and His word is undermined, then we find ourselves in a mess that we were never intended to be in.

When we are given an instruction manual for the proper use of something, do we question the manufacturer on whether they really meant what they wrote? Or do we follow the instruction manual for that particular item?

Now undoubtedly there are some who will, but they soon find out that their actions in not following instructions end up costing them more than what they intended. It costs them money, but it also costs them the use of their item.

While it might be a bit of an inconvenience should we ignore the manufacturer's manual for an item's proper use and what its designed for, the fact remains that items can be replaced, and we can move on. But what do we do when it comes to the most precious thing we have been given, and that is life?

Life is in many ways very unpredictable and we aren't given a whole lot of control over the things which effect us on a daily basis. When we drive, we don't have any say over what the other drivers on the road are or aren't going to do. We can't control the weather, although we complain about it greatly. We can't control how the actions of others are going to impact us. Just this week we were reminded that a joyous, world class event can be turned into a major tragedy in a matter of moments.

The serpent promised Eve something he couldn't deliver on because it wasn't his to give away. We are lied to when we are told we control our destiny, and that our capacity to reason makes us smarter than our Creator. That's the same lie, the same question of integrity that the serpent used on Eve. History is showing that we are just as susceptible to that lie now as we were then. For all our education, for all our technology, for all our faith in our capacity to reason, we are just as susceptible to the lies of the past.

The fact is, we are given an instruction manual for our life. And it was passed on to us through those who showed both the consequences of sin and the blessings of obedience. We might think that if we submit our lives to the will of God, and take to heart the instructions He has left us and follow them, that somehow we're missing out on something. Well, yes we are. We're missing out on the things we were never supposed to experience, we're missing out on the things for which we weren't designed for.

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