• August 7, 2020

Adam and Eve pondered - Odessa American: Religion

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Adam and Eve pondered

Story of mankind’s origin broaches issues of good and evil, disobedience and salvation

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  • The Story of Mankind

    In this painting by English artist Benjamin West (1738-1820) an angel is driving Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden after they disobeyed God by eating fruit from the Tree of Life. Ministers say the couple personifies the whole story of mankind.

Posted: Saturday, July 11, 2020 3:30 am

The story of Adam and Eve in the first three chapters of Genesis tells as much about God as it does about the origin of mankind, clergymen say.

Ministers James Cosentino, Adam Elliott and Jimmy Braswell say the couple who were created by God, enticed by Satan in the form of a snake and expelled from the Garden of Eden for eating fruit from the Tree of Life were the reason sin came into the world but that they found redemption through repentance.

“Their story says a lot about how God views humanity,” said the Rev. Cosentino, pastor of Greenwood Baptist Church. “He is creating light, water, land, plants and animals and in each case he says these things are good. But when he gets to Adam and Eve, he says, ‘This is very good,’ which is where we get the sanctity of human life.

“It addresses some of the things we’re facing today. Racism is a wicked thing because every individual human life is precious to God.”

Cosentino said Adam and Eve have great theological significance because they acted as the forerunners of all humanity when they became disobedient and rebelled against God.

Quoting Romans 5:19, he said, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man, Adam, the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man, Jesus Christ, the many will be made righteous.

“This story is a major foundation of the Gospel message that we are all sinners in need of salvation and that through Christ God provides salvation from the sin we took on because of Adam and Eve,” Cosentino said. “Cain killed Abel as the result of their sin because sin typically doesn’t stop with one act. It continues to grow like cancer.”

Citing Ephesians 2:8, he said, “It does appear that they had faith that God would save them by grace through faith.”

Elliott said the story begins in a simple fashion, “Yet the revelatory power of this beginning is precisely what adds to the depth of such a simple notion.

“It is in the creation of Adam and Eve that God allows his image to be personified and housed in the pinnacle of his creative purpose,” said Elliott, co-minister of Downtown Church of Christ in Midland. “It is through Adam and Eve that we learn God is personal and desires relationship, that he is good and provides for his creation and that he is just and merciful.

“It is in them that we find the heart and motive of God and the meaning and purpose in creation.”

Elliott said the couple personifies the whole story of mankind. “In merely three chapters we see their rise and fall and the promise of redemption,” he said.

“We see God’s image imparted to one, Adam, split in two with Eve and joined together again. We see sin enter, mercy reign and a God who will not leave his creation helpless and homeless. We see the Messiah.”

The Rev. Braswell, chaplain of Home Hospice, said there “was originally a lot more to the story that was told around campfires, I’m sure.”

Asked if it is literal or symbolic, he said, “I have friends in both camps, but Jesus accepted the ancient writings and I will, too.

“People can make their own interpretations of creation and that’s a dangerous thing. It’s best to leave it as fact.”

Braswell said Adam and Eve were equally responsible for disobeying God in the Garden of Eden, which is believed to have lain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Fertile Crescent of present-day Iraq.

“I met a man one time who said, ‘Men can’t sin. Only women can sin. They lead us into it and it’s all their fault,’” he said. “I said, ‘That’s a terrible interpretation because Adam was enticed as well. He made his own choice.’

“God knows bad things are going to happen and he allows them to happen. That way, free will and God’s sovereignty balance evenly.”

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