Thru Rose-Colored Glasses

When as a kid, I found a box with several pairs of small rose-colored glasses.  My curiosity was peaked, so I asked my mom, “What are these small rose-colored glasses?”  She, being a farmer’s daughter, was quick to give a not so pleasant answer.  “Well, son, when a chicken is injured, it is necessary to either separate that chicken or place rose-colored glasses on the other chickens to protect the injured chicken. Otherwise, they will kill the injured chicken.” It was her following statement that brought even more tears to my eyes.  “You also put those glasses on the chickens when it is time to butcher them. It keeps the other chickens from panicking when they see another chicken die.”

This actual illustration causes me to ask the following question. “Do we often read the scriptures thru rose-colored glasses?” Do we read the scriptures, missing the clues that tell us we are in danger, more danger than we can imagine?

In the creation account, we are introduced to paradise. This statement fortifies this feeling of contentment. “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31). What more splendid explanation could there be to illustrate the paradise that existed than to say, “it was very good,” excellent, perfect.

Yet when the author of Genesis expands and expounds upon the creation account, we perceive something lurking in the background. Something unexplained and forboding.  Suddenly, in what is seemingly a perfect world, there is the hint that all is not perfect. There is something wrong.  “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden (paradise) to tend and to keep it (provided them with employment). And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’ ” (Genesis 2:15-17).

While wearing our rose colored-glasses, did we miss it? Or did you catch the subtle hint that all is not well, all is not perfect? When closing chapter one, it finishes with the words, “It was very good.” But the account, when expanded upon, explains in greater detail God’s involvement in creation. Yet, there is a hint that all is not well. In the tree, there is death. There is no explanation as to who, what, or how this came to be; only that death is in the tree.

Upon seeing God, humanity was asked to trust that He is their Creator.  Now in Genesis 2:17, the Creator asks them to trust Him once again in that what lurks in the tree is not suitable for them. It is something out of their reality to understand. Yet, they were asked to trust the Creator and that He had their best interest in mind.

When we read the passage through our rose-colored glasses, we miss the Creator’s love. We forget the fact that He asked humanity to place their trust in Him. Our first parents couldn’t comprehend what was entirely at stake, so he simply said, “Trust Me. I know what lurks in the tree. You do not want to partake of what is in the tree. Paradise all around, created for your enjoyment, so trust in Me for by partaking paradise is no more, yet I will never leave you.”

Today, as we can clearly see, even thru our rose-colored glasses, paradise is no more.  Yet, God still asks us to trust Him. It is by trusting God that paradise can once more be restored for those that trust in God.

Paradise Lost, the Promise of Paradise Regained

“They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis. 3:8). Genesis chapters 1-3 act as an echo chamber where the wording allows each thought to resound many times. Thus, the words describing the terrifying estrangement linger long: “I heard the sound of you.… I was afraid.… I hid myself” (Gen. 3:10).

Whatever impact this account leaves on modern biblical interpreters, there is no question that it impacted subsequent Bible contributors. In the greatest prophetic vision of the Old Testament, the memory of Paradise Lost is the fixed reference point for the future state for which the prophet is yearning.

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6–9)

Isaiah paints a beautiful picture of Paradise Lost. What the prophet foretells is an incredible vision of Paradise Regained. The prophet evokes in the fondest images possible of peace and harmony lost and then restored. More than once, Isaiah returns to this theme before sending it off to posterity to become the vision for the promised future state in the New Testament along with the “before” state in Genesis (Isaiah 25:6–9; Isaiah 65:17–25).

In the New Testament, the crisis in Genesis is recalled time and again. It is the crucial point of reference for its message. We see it in the temptation stories in the Synoptic Gospels, where Jesus seems to retrace the steps of Adam and Eve. As in Genesis, Jesus confronts a tempter who seeks to shake His confidence in God. Yet unlike Adam and Eve, Jesus emerges victorious, refusing to bow to the satanic innuendo (Matt. 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13). The contrast is striking as the similarity, yet it is the similarity that puts the encounter in the proper perspective. Jesus is traversing familiar ground—the ground where the first human beings adopted the serpent’s point of view. The echoes of Genesis are meant to enable us to revisit the account between the serpent and Eve and thus gain an appreciation for the scope of Jesus’s triumph. And it is because Jesus Triumphed that we have a hope for Paradise Regained.

God, Creation, Evolution

I have heard both sides of the argument. Maybe you have as well.  “I cannot believe in Creation, for science tells me something different.  Evolution seems easier to accept.” Yet strangely, when I look at the Creation story and compare it with Evolution, I see things differently.  But, let’s be honest with ourselves.  When we look at either Creation or Evolution, it takes trust (faith) for one to believe in either version of the earth’s beginning. 

Evolution states that all this world happened by chance, is sustained by chance, and steered by nothing. The Bible’s narrative of Creation tells of a God who speaks, guides, and directs the process of Creation. After Creation’s completion, the Bible tells of a God that is still interested in his Creation. So much so He sent Jesus to show us the God in heaven.

Some may argue, but the truth is, Evolution, with its lack of direction, the fact that it happened by happenstance naturally teaches the absence of a God, which leads to Atheism. Genesis teaches there is a God, and He is the Creator of the world and all that is in it. He spoke, and it came into existence. He came down from heaven and formed humanity. God stooped low to create the first man from the dust of the ground, then the woman from the first man’s rib. He placed them upon the earth in a beautiful garden home. He instructed them to tend and keep the earth. To be fruitful and multiply.

When God, through Moses in Genesis 2, explained Creation in greater detail, He stated. “Then the LORD took the man (humanity) and put him the garden of Eden (paradise or house of God) to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man (humanity) saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; But of the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17). The Jewish text literally states, “In dying; you shall die.” God, talking to the first couple, explained, I am the God who made you and Created all that you see around you. Our relationship is built on trust. It would be best if you trust me that I am your Maker and Creator of all this. If you trust me, you will not partake of what I ask you not to eat. Look around you. There are 10,000 trees of which you may freely eat, but of this tree, I have reserved it for myself.

All relationships, even today, are based upon trust. Why would it be any different in the original garden home of humanity and God? Why would this relationship be other than our relationships of today, which are also based upon trust?

Evolution is based upon trust. I must trust in the fact that things happened by chance and by happenstance. Creation is also based upon trust. A relationship of trust in that a loving God used his power to Create first a beautiful planet and then humanity because He desired a relationship with us. His desire was for humanity to enjoy, tend and keep this beautiful world. God is still using His Creative ability to direct over the affairs of this world. Though marred by sin, God is still leading, guiding, and directing.

In closing, Richard Dawkins, an Atheist and best-selling author wrote in “The God Delusion,” a quote I think is worthwhile repeating here.  He stated, “How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “this is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant? Instead, they say, ‘No, no, no!’ My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.’ A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.

Interestingly enough, in the above, Dawkins quotes Carl Sagan’s book “Pale Blue Dot.” They both have a point. If we truly trust in God and look upon the wonders of Creation, why is it we don’t shout from the mountain tops what a wonderful Creator God He is?

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