In-Sight: Still Falling in the Garden

Adam and Even fell into sin in the Garden of Eden.  We continue to fall in the garden through the same sin:  the attitude which says, “What’s yours is mine, I’ll take it.”  Our primal ancestors took what was only supposed to be the prerogative of God–the knowledge of good and evil–and claimed it for themselves.  Deity can handle dualism, humanity cannot.  Egotism grows and expands whenever we think we know better and then self-authorize ourselves to move around the world taking what is not ours.

Whether it be money, territory, dignity, reputation, virginity, integrity,  intellectual property, passwords, photographs, or whatever else, our world is the victim of ego’s arrogance:  “What’s yours is mine, I’ll take it.”  We are a global community of thieves.

It happens on Wall Street and on our street.  It happens through terrorism and through the political process.  It happens in back alleys and board rooms.  It happens in physical assassination and in character assassination.  It happens with weapons and with contracts.  It happens through hackers and kidnappers.  It happens through potentates and paupers, through church members and gang members.  It happens with bombs and tongues.  A common thread encircles the planet:  “What’s yours is mine, I’ll take it.”

Some time ago, I saw it expressed in this simple way:  sIn.

Jesus put this originating sin into parabolic form in the story of the Good Samaritan.  The robbers who beat up the man, took his possessions, and threw him into the ditch were driven by the philosophy of life that says, “What’s yours is mine, I’ll take it.”  And whenever you believe that, Jesus taught, there is no end to the ways we will express ourselves, even justifying it as we go along.

I really don’t like to write posts that are only diagnostic in nature; I like to at least propose something that would make things better.  But honestly, I don’t know how to go about rooting out a problem that has so many tentacles spreading themselves across every dimension of life today.  But I do know this–and so do you–our world will continue in its violent, downward spiral unless we can begin to say, “That is yours; I am not supposed to have it.”  Until then, we will keep falling in the garden.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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5 Responses to In-Sight: Still Falling in the Garden

  1. Amen Dr. Steve, absolutely correct

  2. marcia says:

    I think the response would be rather than “I will take it” it would be “this is God’s, not mine, so I will gladly share it”. Like the good samaritan, Open palms instead of closed fists. mentality of generousity not the fear of scarcity. (defined by wikipedia as follows: Scarcity is the fundamental economic problem of having seemingly unlimited human wants in a world of limited resources. It states that society has insufficient productive resources to fulfill all human wants and needs.)— problem of humanity. God meets all needs.

  3. genesmith12 says:

    Reblogged this on woodwonder and commented:
    Very thoughtful insight on our plague…sin

  4. I appreciate the diagnosis… just thought I would put a positive spin about who we are in the Kingdom…He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.” This is “counter” leaven. 🙂 We share the same hope!

  5. Steve … you are truly a prophet-psalmist for our times.


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