Already Included #11 – Punishment

I was talking to a friend about this “already included” business. He said God punished Adam and Eve. He said God threatens to punish those who reject Christ. I used to believe the same way, however my thinking has changed over the past almost two years.

Now I see the story of Adam and Eve differently. People say God can’t look on anyone who has ever done anything wrong. But if we look at God’s actions, is that really His heart? As He is hanging there and letting us torture and murder Him? God IN Christ, reconciling our hearts back to Him. Showing us we have nothing to be afraid of. Perfect love.

No other religion that I know of has their great deity humbling Himself like that, submitting Himself to us. This is Hosea going out and looking for the wife who has run away. This is the very Good Shepherd who is not satisfied with any sheep being lost.

Adam and Eve were ashamed. I think they projected their feelings about themselves onto God. Hiding. Covering themselves. Yet it’s God who goes looking for them in their delusion. Why not just zap them on the spot if He can’t be in the presence of people who have done anything wrong? Why go out looking for them and talk with them? This now sounds like relationship more than religion to me.

I used to interpret Jesus through the lens of the Bible. Now I am working on interpreting the recorded testimonies in our Bible through the lens of Jesus. I now believe Jesus is not just a facet of God’s heart toward us, but the total Word of God to us. The final exclamation point, if you will.

I don’t think only part of The Trinity was hanging there letting us murder His body while Father God and Holy Spirit stood by feeling like they could only now accept us because their lust for blood had been filled. That sounds more like a horror movie. If we did to our children what we accuse God of doing to us, we’d be in jail. How then can we, made in His image, think we feel more compassion for our children than the God whose mercy is recorded hundreds of times in the testimonies that have been recorded for us? I challenge us to even look at our own lives. How many times have we experienced mercy way beyond what we should have expected in a purely legalistic paradigm?

I do not think love is an attribute of God. I think God is love. I now see His wrath in that context. Jesus passionately, furiously submitting to our will as we brutally and mercilessly ripped our Creator’s human body to shreds. Determined to change our minds about Him. Whatever the cost. Is this a God who can’t bear to be in the presence of anyone who has every done anything wrong? Is that what Jesus showed us when He interacted with us? Or could He have been showing us that we have nothing to be afraid of? That He will go to the farthest limits to show us that His love does not fail and His love does not change.

Did God punish Adam and Eve? Did He say He would kill them? Or did He say that in their dying they would die? I heard a great analogy recently: Say a Father tells His beloved child that they will get burned if they touch the stove. The child touches the stove anyway and gets burned. Then the child says, “My Father burned me.” Of course not! Just because the Father said the child would get burned does not mean the Father burned the child. How different are we in our view of God? There are consequences of using our God-given free will to do things contrary to how they were designed to go. But that doesn’t mean God is punishing us.

I think this eating of the tree of good and evil is more about independence than right/wrong. It is turning away from God to depending on ourselves.

How many times do we have the symbolism of coverings and unveilings in our Scriptures? I believe these are pictures for us. How many times did Jesus talk about having eyes to see and ears to hear? What, see and hear more law? As if the previous thousands of years hadn’t effectively shown us that we are incapable of being perfect? We really needed Jesus to come in the flesh to remind us yet again that we needed to get ourselves together or else He’s really this time going to send us to our room for the final spanking? I’m not buying that anymore. What does Romans say the purpose of law is? We keep telling Him we can do it on our own. He says, “Ok, I’ll climb inside your logic and help you see the end of it.”

We need a bigger God than our modern Christianity has offered.

I used to have a relationship with the Bible. Now, I have a relationship with God. And I want this for my loved ones. That is why I write about these things. Because there have been others who shared for me. I got it and I want others to get it also.
It is starting over.

I finally have peace. I don’t need to argue with anyone. Or prove myself right. I am living now. This explaining business is side work. Not the main thing. The main thing is living, loving, and being in relationship with God. We say that in the church, but then how can experience be disregarded? Were the people of old not receiving revelation through encounters with God? Is this same God no longer personally interested in each of us? Or is He just sitting in some distant cosmos with His Excel spreadsheet? Very busy keeping track of everyone’s failures?

Although I aim for perfect understanding, I no longer am dependent on it. I have casted all my cares onto a God who continually shows me how much He loves us. I trust His heart, not myself or anything I can do.

That’s all I have time for right now. Here are some other writings I’ve written in regards to God’s wrath:
Redeeming Wrath
Triage
Community
I Want

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