The last Adam’s blood

As the first Adam’s sweat embraces my face may the last Adam’s blood race through me with grace.

These are song lyrics that I heard on Air 1, Christian radio.

I am amazed by the brevity of this statement. It encompasses so much of the story of redemption. It expresses the arch of God’s story. Because of Adam’s sin in the garden, sin entered the world. I recently re-read the first chapters of Genesis and realized that God’s response to Adam and Eve’s sin was not one of anger and vengeance. When God spoke to them about the consequences of their sin, he was not threatening or pronouncing judgment upon them. He was lamenting the fact that their actions had changed the very nature of the world. They had introduced corruption. And God lamented. They had brought pain into existence. And God lamented. They had ushered in death. And God lamented.

Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. – Genesis 3:22-24

God had given man free will and as a result, he knew they possessed the power to take from the tree of life and live forever. This would have violated the nature of the universe. For if they had done this, they would have been like God, yet harboring darkness and corruption within them. Sadly, God could not allow this to happen. He was forced to banish them, thereby removing their opportunity to live forever. Had they not eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve would have lived forever. The fruit of the tree of life had not been banned from them. Only the fruit of the other tree. But darkness cannot abide with light. Therefore, they could no longer be allowed to eat the good fruit. This was their separation from God – their separation from the life of God.

Being a father, I know that God regretted having to banish them. But there was no other choice in order to maintain their free will. The amazing thing was that God foreknew that all of this would happen. It purposefully arranged events and the created environment so that it would happen. It was the only way. So what must it have been like for God before their sin, to anticipate it all the while being in happy fellowship with his innocent children? Even though God is not a temporal being, it his joy still must have been bittersweet. Yet, also through his ability to be outside of time, God also must have been experiencing the lasting joy of his permanently redeemed children through Christ.

I pity God in this moment and I praise him for his plan of reconciliation. For he knew that even in the moment when sin began it corruptive work on Adam, tainting him throughout his being, he had already begun the cleansing process. It’s almost as if God had left a remnant of himself inside Adam – untouchable by sin. This being a dormant property of life-giving power that would only be activated when Jesus uttered his last words, “It is finished.” And this is, in fact what he did. God left the back door open a crack. Open just enough to whisper through, to communicate his love and thus allow all men everywhere a chance to hear his voice and see glimpses of his divinity.

To me, this remnant seems like dormant cells in our bodies. No, more like DNA at the atomic level. Every fiber of our being possesses these remnant atoms. They wait within us. They course through our blood. They do no harm to the surrounding tissue. But at the new birth, they come alive. In fact they are much like Chi – undetectable energy. When they are quickened, they cleanse us and give us balance. This life-giving Chi re-connects us with God and it races through us with grace.

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What corrupts a child?

In Watchman Nee’s The Spiritual Man, Nee says the following:

If man’s spirit and soul would maintain their created perfection, healthiness, and liveliness, his body would then be able to continue forever without change. If he would exercise his will by taking and eating the fruit of life, God’s Own Life undoubtedly would enter his spirit, permeate his soul, transform his entire inner man, and translate his body into incorruptibility. (p. 45)

Watching Harper, I think about his innocence, softness and purity at his young age. Already however, at age 3, I observe a hardening occurring within him. The innocence in his eyes from a year ago has been diminished and a part of it has been replaced by a blossoming understanding that the world contains cruelty. Of course cruelty to this 3 year old is not actually cruel, but he has experienced disappointment and is increasingly realizing that life presents choices and especially limitations. I see this a s the beginning of his personal evolution toward an understanding of the world – the knowledge of good and evil.

The embodiment of such knowledge transmogrifies (transforms the nature) a person. This first introductions of this knowledge ignite a process of corruption. While watching this process begin to work in my son disturbs, saddens and frightens me, I also recognize that there is a significant beauty in it. Or rather, there is beauty in God’s response to it. This process first occurred and took its root in Eden. When Adam and Eve took and eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the mechanisms of God’s redemptive plan begin to move. God foresaw the need for man’s redemption from corruption and planned for a way of reconciliation and restored innocence in the person of Jesus Christ.

So now I can watch my son, who was born incorruptible, become corrupted so that he can journey to the point in his life where God reveals to him that he needs rescue from the mire that he currently has no idea he has dipped his little toe in. And when Harper is given his vision and realizes his opportunity, it is my hope that he will choose to reach out as far as he can and that God will deliver into his hand the gloriously brilliant fruit from the tree of life; that Harper will be born incorruptible again. Thus beginning the journey back to innocence – back to God from whence he came.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, and are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, whis is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18