Eyes wide open, they see for the first time their nakedness. Disobedience already slithering in the garden long before they knew their first lie. They didn’t feel like gods just shame. They sought cover in a hastily sown cover of fig leaves knowing they could never hide from the approaching footsteps they waited eagerly for just yesterday.
9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:9-11 NSRV)
Adam and Eve felt distance from God atop of the physical reminders that would curse their future.
21 And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man[d]and for his wife, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21 NSRV)
With first kill comes the first cry. The first sacrifice from God to man was made to appease their newfound shame. This life blood absorbed by God at the expense of gaining covering of an animal hide would echo in the hearts of man. Man will always try to fill the debt causing the distance in their hearts to their creator whether they recognize The Giver or not. God validated the sacrifice from Able but not the offering from Cain because the blood of life belonged to God. Vegetables and fruits from Cain’s good farming could not appease the debt of their parent’s banishment.
So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
8 Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.”[b] And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! (Genesis 4:5-10 NSRV)
The shedding of blood of the living blood seems to have reached its nexus from violence when we stumble across the reading of Noah. Humanity’s second chance given profound hope through the later reading of Abram. This righteous one, renamed Abraham by adding the “ha”, the breath of God, was possibly our first chance at redemption through descendant man. Still, the Abrahamic covenant made between God and man took place while Abraham slept in dread. God knew Abraham, although righteous would fail knowing Abraham’s fear of failing God. Later God would keep booth sets of the Decalogue, The Ten Commandments, and finally would finally appease the unnecessary need for violence and shedding of blood through crucifixion of Christ. It was the very mission of Christ to do the will of the Father. Without fail in innocently fulfilling every redemptive need of the Father, Jesus could joyfully say He and the Father are one. There was no distance in the heart of Jesus and the Father. The outpouring of love between the two united them in a Trinity of returning to each other through their outpouring to each other. Jesus was the incarnation of Torah, which means ‘return’. Abraham Jacob Heschel is quoted to say that “A Jew without Torah is obsolete.” The redemption through The Door, this sacrifice of God’s begotten, is a restoration of the mileage between our heart and the Father. From Abraham, to Moses, to Jesus, the Gospel is a simple clarion call to do the will of the Father which is simply our chance to love. To love God with all our hearts, mind, soul, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves! Yet the once grateful scion to Judaism has a haughty business of sin management and exclusion in the western culture. We must question why religion tends toward stealing the judgment from the Garden of Eden and wallow in guilt and sin-management from inappropriately applying the wisdom gleaned from the Sermon on the Mount. The opposite of love is violence. Consider the following:
49 This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. (Ezekiel 16:49 NSRV)
5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5 NSRV)
Mother Teresa said it best: “it is impossible to love when you are judging people.” We were given the keys to forgiveness. It is our discernment to seek the opportunity to love not judge.
Let us live the Gospel’s opportunity to love.