Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rambling through Romans (10): 1:19-32 (Part II)

19 This is because what is known about God should be plain to them because God made it plain to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—God’s eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through the things God has made. So humans are without excuse. 21 Although they knew God, they didn’t honor God as God or thank him. Instead, their reasoning became pointless, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 While they were claiming to be wise, they made fools of themselves. 23 They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images that look like mortal humans: birds, animals, and reptiles. 24 So God abandoned them to their hearts’ desires, which led to the moral corruption of degrading their own bodies with each other. 25 They traded God’s truth for a lie, and they worshipped and served the creation instead of the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 That’s why God abandoned them to degrading lust. Their females traded natural sexual relations for unnatural sexual relations. 27 Also, in the same way, the males traded natural sexual relations with females, and burned with lust for each other. Males performed shameful actions with males, and they were paid back with the penalty they deserved for their mistake in their own bodies. 28 Since they didn’t think it was worthwhile to acknowledge God, God abandoned them to a defective mind to do inappropriate things. 29 So they were filled with all injustice, wicked behavior, greed, and evil behavior. They are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, deception, and malice. They are gossips, 30 they slander people, and they hate God. They are rude and proud, and they brag. They invent ways to be evil, and they are disobedient to their parents. 31 They are without understanding, disloyal, without affection, and without mercy. 32 Though they know God’s decision that those who persist in such practices deserve death, they not only keep doing these things but also approve others who practice them.
 

Paul lays great stress here on the effects of sin on our minds (vv.21-22, 25, 28, 31, 32).  This is what theologians call the “noetic” effects of sin.  Most commentators see that Paul is here offering an interpretation of Genesis 1 here in the interest of his polemical purpose (yet to be fully seen).  So it seems right to begin there in explaining the effects of our rebellion against God on our mental capacities.  Baxter Kruger expounds this for us nicely:

“The actual Fall came before they ate the fruit. They fell when they stopped believing the truth and believed the lie of the serpent. In that moment, the razor cut through their souls, assurance was shredded, and anxiety infiltrated the scene of human history. Eating the fruit itself was the first fruit, the first response to the great anxiety that swept into their hearts when they believed the lie. The serpent convinced them that God was holding out on them, that He was not giving them everything they should have, that they were not yet everything they could be. He convinced them that they were missing out. What happened to Adam and Eve’s assurance when they believed that lie? What happened to their security and peace when they believed that God was holding out on them, that they were not everything they could be, that they were missing out on the real glory? Their assurance and security and peace were destroyed, and their souls were baptized with the lethal roux of anxiety and insecurity and guilt. Adam and Eve suddenly knew good and evil. Moreover, the baptism of anxiety instantly colored the way Adam and Eve perceived the world around them and one another. That baptism produced hiding, self-protection and self-centeredness, which acted together with their colored perception to obliterate their freedom for fellowship.”

You see, belief on this lie has corrupted our view of God and our view of who we are. This lie has gotten to the core of us, and completely warped all that we hold dear. We are now left with the task of rediscovering and understanding what God originally had in mind for us. However, in order to do this we need to get rid of this lie that has been ingrained into all that we do, and see God for who He is.

When Adam and Eve believed the lie and fell, they ran and hid themselves from God. When they took this lie and believed it, the flood gates of insecurities and guilt were opened up. I believe this belief in the lie caused them to have a perverse perspective… (http://timothywest.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/wanted-the-lie/)

More Kruger:

“I think sin is fundamentally a reference problem, followed, of course, by all manner of other rippling relational, social and moral issues. In the fall, Adam’s reference point moved from God to himself. He became self-referential, and thus developed a perception of himself, God and the world from a center in himself and his terrible fear. From that point the human race was trapped in its own way of seeing. If it does not ‘make sense to us’ it cannot be true. Our way of perceiving a person or a situation is the way it is. And that is the problem fraught with utter impossibility. Even the Lord’s presence and self-revelation, and indeed his way of thinking and saving, has to pass through Adam—and our—way of thinking, and thus the Lord himself and all his ways are subject to our judgment. He must make sense to us, or He is not correct, and thus dismissed. So we invent a god in the image of our own self-reference—which, of course, from the Lord’s perspective is utterly incoherent—and judge God’s presence and action by it.”

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