Monday, July 23, 2018

Sacrifice (1) Guilt

The fall created a third serious problem for humans. God was present in the Garden of Eden. Humans could see the spiritual as well as the physical world. They could receive the wisdom of God by listening to the Holy Spirit speaking. Life on earth was amazing.

When humans rejected God’s wisdom and aligned themselves with the deceiver, they created a huge problem. God is holy, so their guilt caused them to withdraw from his presence. They still needed his wisdom, but choosing the wrong side of the battle created a barrier between them and their creator. They could not come near God, because their sinfulness made them scared that his holiness would overwhelm and destroy them.

God was not the problem. The problem was with humans. We were created with a capacity to communicate with God. We could see spiritually and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. Once sin corrupted that ability, humans cannot bear to be near to God. Guilt shuts down our ability to communicate with him.

When the humans heard God coming into the garden they ran away and hid.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden (Gen 3:8).
They could not bear to be close God any more. God knew that they had obeyed the serpent, but he still came to spend time with them. He was still happy to relate to them, but they could not. Their guilt meant that they could not bear to be close to God.

God did not have a problem. He was happy to communicate with them.

But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you? (Gen 3:9).
There is no anger in this question. God was looking for his friends to share with them. He realised they were lost and wanted to find them.

Later, he explained the curse they had placed themselves under by submitting the spiritual powers of evil (Gen 3:14-19). Even then, there is no anger, only sadness at what his friends had lost and the pain they would experience. God knew better than they did what life would be like for his people once they rejected him.

Guilt separated humans from the God who had created them. This was a huge problem. Humans needed God’s wisdom to care for the world. They had submitted to the spiritual powers of evil, so they needed him to rescue them, but they could not come close to him. God had given them authority over the earth, so he could not intervene without their permission. But because of their guilt, they could not bear to let God into the earth. Guilt left humans isolated from God, when they needed him the most. Worse still it shut God out of his creation, at the moment when the powers of evil had gained control.

Once God was shut of his creation by the ugliness of human sin, the powers of evil went to work and expanded their evil empire. For more than a millennium, they wreaked havoc on earth, as humans rejected God’s call to return to him.

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