sometimes there is debate over whether mankind is viewed as good or bad. (this isn’t about whether we have the dispensation for evil or good, the news is a good indicator of that answer.) the story of the garden of eden was most likely a metaphor. the phrase adam wasn’t just a name, it signified the pluralized form for ‘mankind’. the story of eden is the story of us. but how does God view us and has his view ever changed?
The Old Testament was written in Aramaic and Hebrew, a rich metaphoric poetic language that always said more than what was being said. When God saw us, according to the author, He said we were ‘very good’. In Hebrew, very means extreme, extravagant, out of this world, or unreal. The word for good is a dual-layered definition. It means beautiful, it means the viewer is in awe of what is being viewed. Take it one step further, it would be like watching something so beautiful that you jaw dropped. So, when God saw us after creating us, he jaw dropped because what he saw was so out of this world. That is how God feels about us. If He didn’t, why would he go through the whole of the Old Testament chasing after us, and then send his Son as a carrier of the nature of heaven and show us how to bring that here? God is committed to us. Some might try and use the fabled story of Noah and the Ark, which is under scrutiny as a metaphor for a massive flood in the Mediterranean Sea that happened during that time, or if you read about the Epic of Gilgamesh (which has similar storylines within it) then you will notice that people were trying to make sense of a global catastrophic event, such as a flood of some kind. I think it is important to recognize that people wrote scripture in hindsight, so, if there was a flood, the people living then would have thought that their God was punishing them for their behavior. It doesn’t make their worldview right, it just makes it their worldview at the time. When you look at scripture, people most likely wouldn’t have written scripture while the event was occurring. (In fact there are interesting resources on how the Old Testament was canonized, start with Karen Armstrong’s, ‘The Bible: The Biography’). In fact, some of the authors were nervous about compiling pages on the divine because they thought it would limit Him….hmmm…I wonder if we do that now? So people would have looked back at their wars, the world, their experiences and anytime they lost at a battle or the world was in dissarray the would explain it by saying that their God wasn’t present. We still do this today. And so, scripture is man’s understanding of God. This is why there are discrepancies in scripture, because we are dealing with people’s views on God. But, this post is more about how God sees us. And that we are still very good. Yes, we sin. Yes, we need Jesus. But, God sees all of us as extremely beautiful. This is good news. Yet, some find it easier to call ourselves worms and low-grade parts of creation, and yet we are considered the ‘crown’ of creation. So, when we spend all of our time and words and energy on saying we aren’t good enough, what we essentially are agreeing with is that God didn’t do a good enough job. No, we may not mean for that to be the message we agree to, but at the depths of our being, this is what we are saying about ourselves and God. that we don’t believe we are still good enough. for you, why do you believe that way, if you do?