We're going to continue our Series. Where were exploring? These strange? Passages of the Bible. I mean things that are like really weird stuff that you probably when you read theirs. It's so weird. In fact, that you don't even notice that your mind is kind of skipping over it cuz you just don't know how to make sense of it. And so we've been talking about this idea of the Bible has this kind of view of the world that is so strange to us. So, foreign to us that it makes it difficult to understand. I mean, I have a degree in trying to understand the Bible and I still come to passages. I'm like, once in the world is that even mean? I don't know if you have ever felt like that but I definitely have and so we have been talking about how important it is for us to understand the story of the Bible. In order to do that, we have to understand that there is this Supernatural kind of underlying theme running throughout the Bible and by Supernatural. And I don't really like that term because I don't really think it describes the Bible in terms of how human beings are experiencing the the reality that they understood it to be. I like and I introduced para. But I'm going to do a different prefix this time and do natural. That means inside the natural. Another words, I want you to understand your self, your identity and you are purpose at somebody who is inside this story, who is inside this kind of view of reality. That is so strange. And so otherworldly, that we have a hard time making sense of it. And so we tend to use a word like soup with the prefix means above natural, so it's out there. We don't have to actually mess with it at all. That's the problem. But the other problem is that it's weird. We don't necessarily with our modern you. No way of seeing the world. We don't really buy into it very much Lisa. I'd I struggle with it, right? I mean this Garden passage of the temptation of Adam are the human. The Temptation is hard. We have a talking snake. We have a tree of Good and Evil. We have God walked in the garden. We have you very, very strange. Emage has that are hard for us to comprehend. And I want you to know that was hard for the ancient people of Israel to comprehend as well. If you've ever read any of the profits, or if you've ever tried to read Revelation that last book of the Bible that you'll see all kinds of like pieces and an images that aren't Crystal Clear trying to get at what is going on on these different levels. This, this Heaven space is God space and this Earth space that we occupy. And so they're trying to help us understand. And I give you the image of like a Venn diagram with overlapping circles and not overlap of the circles slowed. God space, outer space. We called that eaten. That's the garden is so, anxious are using images that are very much a part of their world very like Garden being up and kind of mountains. For example, that was the image of where Kings lives, right? Anxious, Babylonian Hanging Gardens. That was for the king. And so, they're going to take that image. And they're going to say, this amazing Garden that is is up, you know, on elevated from everything else. And mountains, of course, are also very important. I n, n in a scripture for the Hebrew people and four other ancient people and the ancient near East and so they're taking these images and they're trying to paint a picture. I don't I told you last time we couple weeks ago when we met I don't want you to try to literally take the creation account of Genesis. Like I don't want you to take it literally because if you do you're going to sit still. I come up with a really weird things about the world that you know, at least I hope that are not true like a flat world. So we know that the Earth is not flat, even though I had an eighth grade class or years ago, trying to say a group of them are trying to say the Earth is flat. They were like trying to make the case for real. Cuz that guy jetpack, get her whatever he was trying to make the case the flat earthers are called And hopefully you're not one of those people. But what happens when we take Genesis chapters? 1 2 and 3? For example, we start to try to understand them immediately, our modern mind starts to dismiss it because we know that's not really how creation works. So what I told you is, what you need to do. When you come to scripture, when you come to scripture, you need to recognize that you are not an ancient near East. Yeah. Eastern ancient near Eastern are right. You didn't live in that world. You are familiar with all of the stories that were circulating and their world. You weren't familiar with the cosmology of the view of the universe that they had and Genesis chapter one. This is the carefully. Constructed poem is drawing on those images and the world that you get the cosmology, the view of creation, and how it's put together. Is remarkably similar to other people that we're living in the ancient near East. In fact, the whole world view is these images come right from that contact With a Twist. So this is what we do with the Bible and creation stories and other stories that we find very strange. We have to understand that the ancient people of the near East, the people of Israel, that would later become Israel. They were taking images from their world. They were trying to say something specific and unique and really actually quite remarkable about who God is. So, that's how we have to approach these passages. Not try to try to. I feel like is fine. I'm just thinking like we comes Evolution, for example, in life science. I had a kid. Ask me my first-year teacher, he said, I thought you were a Christian and I'm like, I am. I'm actually like a pastor, you know, go figure that out, right? I mean like, how do you put that together? And I was like, so you obviously can have that discussion in the middle of class right there, and he needed to include his parents and his past, or his young, whatever his clergy leader. What I invited him to come to the soup kitchen, but he didn't take me up on it. But I have that And the response is, is unfortunate because we don't have to buy into the cosmology of the ancient near East in order to hear what they are trying to tell us about God. Because if you think about it, God is beyond anything that we can comprehend. If they're saying, God is creator of all that is by definition, we cannot comprehend the Creator. Cuz we're part of creation. It would be like us trying to comprehend like if we are video game programmers and we had a video game character that we created in a world that we created in the video game. You like that character, trying to comprehend that video game. It's not possible. There is such a disparity between God and the rest of creation and that's important for us to remember. And so, the ancient people are trying to talk about their encounter with God, God chooses to reveal God self and it is that choice that they're trying to describe the using the images. You know, how I talk about quantum mechanics, I'm using that image to help us understand different dimensions and, you know, I've gotten really dirty with you guys before, and try to bring and kind of book modern language. I'm appropriating the images and understanding of our world of our shared contact to help you understand what scripture is saying. That's important that we started off the series, just laying that out saying. This is, the Bible is more like a mosaic. People are like giving us little pieces here and there because they're trying to destroy this reality, that is beyond comprehension. How do you describe the indescribable? That is what they're trying to do, and that's what your Bible is all about. And so, when we come to a story like genesis chapter 3, We have a garden, we have a snake that's just hanging out talking to the woman in the garden. Just like chatting saying. Hey let's look at that food over there. We're tempted to write it off but I talked about laugh or two weeks ago when we are talking about the characters in this ancient garden, we were trying to, I was trying to help you understand that these characters are important because their present all throughout scripture and so this snake figure who is not a snake, Okay. Scripture? If it's all the way to the end of scripture, this snake figure this ancient serpent. So Revelation chapter 12 verses 3 through 9 is what I want us to look at. And you'll see at the very end of the Bible are snake is president. Then I witnessed and having another significant events. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads, and ten horns. And with seven crowns on his head. This genre of literature is called apocalyptic. The Revelation is called the apocalypse. The Revelation is the uncovering, the unveiling, its the looking into. And Beyond the what we normally just think about, we can see it is seeing the Unseen its present, all throughout the Bible in different places and it's going to use really strange images. And this should not surprise us in order to make something very clear and important and it is remarkable. His tail Swept Away, 1/3 of the stars in the sky and he threw them to the Earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth ready to devour her baby. As soon as it was born, she gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod and her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne and the woman fled Into the Wilderness where God has prepared a place for her care for 1260 days, don't get humbug on the numbers. I mean, that that will take you down a crazy part. People get really into numbers in the and Revelation and that's not necessary. Okay? For this certain amount of time, then there was a war in heaven. Michael, and his angels fought against the dragon, and his angels, and the dragon lost the battle. And he, and his angels were forced out of Heaven. This great Dragon, the ancient Serpent of the Garden in Genesis called. Here's a couple names that we see the devil or the Satan, the one to Steve in the whole world. Satan is a title, the fever, the one, deceiving the whole world was thrown down to earth with all of his angels. Clear as mud right. You understand, you guys read Revelation a lot. Probably not. So all of these images are being shown to us and it's not something that we have to take, literally, right? We don't have to picture the garden, the serpent, in the garden, as a dragon with seven, you know, heads and the tail and it's red, and that kind of stuff. You don't have to do that. That that imagery is significant for other reasons, but that's not what we're asking you to do here, that's not what scripture is asking you to do here. Instead we're trying to make connections all the way back to the beginning of the story, because that's what the Bible is. Is this great story of Humanity's relationship with God. And if you really want to understand the power of scripture, without having to say, crazy stuff, if you really want that power to be a part of your relationship with God, if you really want to try to understand what is being said here, You have to realize you are not an ancient near Eastern person and you have to be open to what scripture is saying. And in some ways, there is this quasi personal evil, right? That exists. This Satan is our accuser, this snake and the Genesis chapter 3 image. And here, this dragon is trying to Devour the child. Who's the child, you think? Jesus. The Christ, the promised one and noticed that this great battle that is being depicted here, because that's what it is. This great spiritual battle, is what the Bible is? It is the first I heard the professor described it like this. Here's the Bible in a nutshell, creation fall and then restoration. Creation for the chapter 3 and then the rest of the Bible. Redemption. Bringing back Humanity, overcoming the fall taking the fall and its evil that it perpetrated in the world. And there's a lot of, like, young little, most of the Bible is about seeing how evil is playing out in human in the in our worlds, right? But that's it. It's creation. Fall Redemption. It's this massive story that is trying to help us see God in the midst of Our Lives to help us understand what's going on in our life. I love the Bible project and I have to change the lightbulb cuz I don't want to show you cuz you guys were saying that you couldn't see it very well. But those I've shown some of their videos before and what they do is they depict that's really well. They have these human beings that are missing their Heavenly Blue glow night. So an even even where there's an overlap Between Heaven and Earth and this call of humanity, the purpose of humanity is to partner with God, and I said, Eden izing, the rest of the planets, the rest of the world, another word for taking the benefits of the garden and bring you that to the whole of creation, or to use the language on the call of Abraham to bless the whole world. I said what they do is they seed figures who are in this blue and as soon as the fall happens, They're off the mountain of Eden Hazard down in the mud. They are the humans Bahamas. People, the mud people. Everything is dark, right? And the way that evil is depicted, these demons is these like distorted figures of creation as they're created as well. These distorted figures of creation that are just manipulating these human beings. And it's a great way to understand what did try to visualize what's being said here. We have this accuser, this statement, The Serpent, and his gang who are trying to Fort God's plan. And I said this sermon is the, it's a sermon about the two rebellions because it's not just the rebellion of Adam and Eve and not listening to God. It's also the rebellion of the other figures in the Garden of Eden. Those Divine Council figures that term is all throughout scripture. The Divine Council, the Elohim. I showed you that word a few weeks ago, they're the people that are goddess. A let us there the audience when he is saying, let us create them in our image and in the Genesis 3:22 saying they had become Like one of us, so their present as well. So what we have going on here cuz we have the story, this conflict, this Clash, And this was driving the plot of scripture because the curse of the serpent is the curse of the woman's child or offspring striking. The head crushing the serpent is another way to translate that strike. It is the story of that working itself out. Genesis 3 is also the story of I do good things, bad things happen to good people. Where does evil come from? What they're trying to show us because if you like me, that is something that also hangs you up in Scripture. Miami of God loves us. Why is there evil? If we are really loved by God and God is powerful, why do bad things happen? Why are people dying Of this covid disease. If God is really presents, then why? Are there earthquakes or my vacation last week and the Glenwood Canyons mudslides? Are there. Mudslides why are there wildfires going on? What's going on with this conflict that we have constantly between, you know, people of this religious group and not religious group or people of this country and that country And so, the ancient people are not going to adjust it in a way that you can be satisfied with. I've tried to find that but they're trying to acknowledge its presence. Why would they want to acknowledge that evil is present?
Because it means that we have freedom. So there's a choice, there's a tree. There's actually two trees in the garden. The trees are talking about. Here is the tree of the garden of knowledge of Good and Evil. Not the Tree of Life. This tree provide a choice for Humanity. Choose this fruit. The snake says the accuser says God says, don't choose that fruit. Notice that there's a choice.
But doesn't that create a bunch of problems it does. That's what scripture is telling us. There's a lot of problems that come from not and right from the beginning of the problem is they choose the fruit. They're not supposed to but there's a choice.
They have freedom. What does that mean? That means that they're loved.
Think about this with me for a sec. As much as I wanted when I was like, trying to get Michelle to marry me as much as I wanted her. Like, just to immediately say, for me, to be able to say, you're going to say yes. And she says, yes, right to control her to say. Yes, that be love.
Horse might not love, if freedom of choice is gone. If it's not available. It's not love. Love is not possible. Here's a geeky analogy for you. That God is giving us this freedom and this freedom is actually something that all of us have the ability to choose and each moment of Our Lives, whether we're going to do this or that. So I like Star Wars and I like Star Wars Wrong audience are okay. Well, if you know the old Star Wars, I like that for the very last one Return of the Jedi, right? The very end, the conversation with Obi-Wan Kenobi and he's telling Luke that his father is more machine than man. He has a great kind of like drawing upon these greats, images of Good and Evil in this class. And what happens as you do, evil over and over and over again, you start to degrade your soul become more like machine, the man. What? Your plan, I can watch anyway, so I'm going to spoil it. What happens at the end? Darth Vader sees his son being killed like slowly killed with by this by the emperor. And he's suffering. And the suffering is starting to wake something up in Darth, Vader's heart. And he's the one that saves his son. I taking the emperor throwing them off and he does it at the down this like big thing, the dies in this like energy area. He sacrifices his life. In order to save his son.
It's a beautiful image of what actually is playing out. Here, we have a choice, the machine, the more machine than man becomes more man than machine because of this choice, and it is driven by a choice of love. And I love is not possible without a choice, but of course, evil is also a possibility and it's very likely given how we are. Not God. And so the story of scripture is about working out and confronting evil in the world, not with violent, but with love the whole scene here in Revelation, chapter 12 is a scene of birth of a mother's love, birthing a sign. If there's not a better image for love, I don't know what it is. A mother who is sacrificing her body in order to Bear children. I mean it's all downhill after the children, right, women know I feel like that sometimes,
And so, right right in this, this thing right here, which is the beginning and the end in the same way. It is love. That is the way this evil is defeated. And that's a very important thing for us to understand today. So the question for us the challenge kind of bring it to our world rather than just sort of Curiosities about. The Bible challenge is for you to ask this question. What does it mean for you to love today? What does it mean for you to Love In This Moment? What does it mean for you to love? Tomorrow. And the next day, what does love require of you? Because the story of the Bible is a story of a great spiritual battle, but it's a battle that is recognized as being only one through love Not violence. What week was Don probably more than any other New Testament scholar on this idea of engaging, the powers confronting evil in the world evil, which is very much inside us as well as outside of us. He talks about the myth of Redemptive violence. The idea that you can force people to love each other that if you have the best weapons that you can make people, you know, do what you want them to do, which presumably if I have a better more loving Society, right? That is not the message of scripture is it? Can't force, people. Love each other can't force people to love God and so he talks about what he does with what Jesus is doing is he's doing evil things to resist evil but he's resisting from a place of love. And it's really great. So it's unusual when we see it. The Olympics are happening. I'm a super competitive person. So I'm looking at the medal count every day and I'm just come on. We got to get another model, what's going on, you know, I'm getting frustrated and all that kind of stuff. And then, you know, everybody and there's all these like articles about Noah from the different countries perspective and they did that. And that's not fair and it's just as like great competition What are the stories that really stand out? What about a story from a gymnast Suni Lee?
But that she was like cheering on like in a big way a competitor from China. I mean like big-time as she posted on Instagram, I love y'all so much. And it was picked up. People were like, what, how is that possible? Or what about the story of, Isaiah, Druid, and the Botswana and Nigel Amos, who they trips like he was Drew, it was tripped. He was about to come in, second hit a really strong race. I was running the 808.
Andrew. It turns around help help sum up. And they finish together. At the entrance. Why does that stand out?
Because of the love involved in both of those things. So what is it that you need to do? How do you choose love today? Maybe that is getting vaccinated if you're not, maybe that is eventually. Hopefully not asking if we have to do that because the place is rising. Maybe it's how you spend your time or what you by the way is that you use your money, maybe it is doing things for the environment as much as I hate this, but Rex is like really, really into saving for reserving of the environment. And so we're eating impossible meat. So it's like plant-based meat and we're trying to like, you know, do stuff like that and I don't like it. I'm a carnivore big time. But we're trying to love creation and cultivate. And racks. What is it? That love requires of you today because this story is a story of you being drawn into this great purpose of redeeming, all of creation, you included and even your enemy And that is done through love. The God be all the glory Now and Forever on man.