Glory That Haunts Us
Preface: Without this last act of creation, all the previous acts of creation would come to nothing. The new heavens and the new earth are the culmination of God’s promises to us.
As I read Genesis 2, I am fascinated by the extent to which this short passage haunts our world. Even more interesting is the way in which the chapter shapes the images of the Advent movement.
To the world, this chapter gives a brief glimpse of what once was. From here on, whether in political science, or a study of myths, humankind moves ahead while glancing over their shoulder to glimpse what is lost.
For the Advent movement we can only begin to count the influences: God’s creative love, the state of the soul, the nature of marriage, the reason for marriage, the nature of rest, the true Sabbath, the original home. These are seven, but there are many more.
Here is the foundation of God’s love. God speaks the world into being, but He molds man and gently breathes into the waiting nostrils. What care! Such tenderness!
What is the spirit? What is the soul? Here we see that God breathed neshamah into man’s nostrils and he became a living nefesh. We see the breath as spirit and the man as soul. It is the foundation of our understanding of the nature of humanity.
God takes a portion from Adam’s side and fashions woman. She is neither above nor below. Here is the metaphor for the nature of marriage. Here is the equality of women that has been the glory of truly Christian homes.
We see Adam observing and organizing the animals by naming them. We understand our drive to organize. Further, we see the longing in Adam’s perfect heart for someone like himself. We look into our hearts and see the same longing for companionship.
We see that God rested. Obviously, He was not tired. The rest on Sabbath is about growth, companionship, worship—so much more than a Sabbath afternoon nap. God rested on the Sabbath that He made. He did not rest in anything that man made.
Finally we see the Garden. So many things happen with God in gardens—from Eden, to Gethsemane, to Earth Made New. In the fragrance of growing plants, we find our true measure of happiness.
So here is such a foundation of Adventist ideals. God loves people. He breathes into humankind to make him a living soul. Women stand beside men as equals in the proclamation of the final message. We work in an organized fashion. We want to enter the final Sabbath rest. We worship on the Sabbath of His choice. And, lo and behold, we idealize country living. Indeed, to know Genesis 3 is the beginning of knowing Adventism.
Doug Hosking, Williams Lake, Canada