I’ve asked this question in one form or fashion. My son has asked, as he’s dealt with his father’s death, and every other thing he’s suffered through having autism. My step sons have asked as they’ve grappled with losing their mom. My husband has asked. We may not all use the same words, but we have certainly asked, along with millions who’ve asked before us. There will be millions after us.
Have I a pat answer? No. But I’ve grappled, and asked, and sought an answer in the only book I know can answer such questions authoritatively. From the only author whose not only seen all suffering, but been through all suffering. The only One I know who can answer the question of suffering with personal experience, along with immense grace, mercy, and hope. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Here’s what I’ve come up with. Please bear with me and don’t walk away before I’ve finished, with an “I know where she’s going, and I don’t want to go there.” You may be surprised by the ending, if you wait it out. Remember, I have several “t-shirts” as the backdrop to all of this.
God Made and Entrusted Adam to Rule Over His Creation
In the first days of creation, God waited until after he’d made the sun, moon, planets, land, oceans, sky, atmosphere, vegetation, fish, birds, and land animals. We were the last creature he made, and the pinnacle of his earthly creation. (Genesis 1, Genesis 2:15, Psalm 8)
After, God said all he made was “good”.
God gave Adam the job of ruling over all he’d made, under him. That would be a “bit” more important than if the royal family of England called one day and asked one of us to run their kingdom for them, under their tutelage. Pretty heady job! Along with this, Adam was tasked with tilling the ground and filling the earth with little Adams and Eves.
Don’t overlook this – God put Adam in charge.
God created Adam in his image – Adam’s ability and authority (his heart, compassion, courage, grace, mercy, and wisdom) to rule under God came from being made in God’s image.
There Were No Barricades to Relationship
As God’s creation, made in his image, Adam longed to be in relationship with God. And God chose relationship with Adam. This relationship was not forced but natural and beautiful, with nothing at this point to mar their communion as Creator and created. Nothing.
One of Adam’s first tasks was to name the animals. The Bible says God brought each animal he’d made before Adam to see what he would name it. I picture Adam sitting and thinking…contemplating… about each characteristic, each nuance, each detail of each creature as it came before him. The Bible seems to insinuate God waited to see what Adam would name each animal, as if in anticipation. (Genesis 2:19-20) I can imagine Adam talking it over with God, each together reveling in this moment when everything was new.
Of all the creatures in the garden, there was none like Adam. So, God chose to give Adam a special gift. He made one like him, to complement him, from his own body, and presented her to Adam, so that he wouldn’t be alone. Adam named her – Eve. There was no strife between them. They were naked and unashamed. (Genesis 2:20-25)
Beautiful, huh! No suffering at all. Only “utopia”. Something we’ve all longed for – not surprising as we all originated from this scene. What happened? Let’s continue the story tomorrow.
With love and prayers,