Tag Archives: genesis

The Depths of Isolation: A Review of “Entrance”

“Entrance” is not for everyone. It is a low-budget horror movie that is literal definition of ‘slow burn’. Very little appears to happen in the movie for most of its running time. I know some people who will be bored to tears by it. Happily, I’m not one of them.

The film follows ‘Suziey’, a young twenty-something living in LA as she goes about her normal life. When she mysteriously loses her beloved dog, a creeping anxiety begins to set in and she decides shes had enough of L.A. But on the night of her going-away party, Suziey finds out that leaving might not be so easy.

The film ultimately speaks about lonliness and isolation and the extremes some people will go to have a ‘connection’ with someone. As a Christian, I believe we live in a fallen, fractured world. As a consequence of our own selfish choices, and the choices those before us have made, we live isolated from everything.

The story of ‘The Fall’ in Genesis represents many things. When ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ chose their own wisdom, rather than Gods’, a number of things happened. The ‘sin’ they committed fractured the relationships of everyone involved. The relationship between Adam and Eve broke down because they blamed each other for the mess they were now in. Both of them chose to hide from God and so the relationship between mankind and God was broken and the relationship between Adam and the ground was also fractured.

Alienation is at the heart of ‘The Fall’ narrative. When we choose sin, when we choose selfishness, we become isolated from ourselves, each other, God and creation. Most of the atrocities committed in this world can be attributed to this idea. In the Genesis story we see ourselves mirrored in the figures of Adam and Eve.

As human beings we long for connection. We need to be connected with other people. On a trip to Copenhagen, Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke of a “Ubuntu“. It is a South African word meaning, “You are only a human through other humans …through your relations to other humans.”

Our humanity is defined solely by our relationships with others. When we are isolated, we become less than human. The gospel, as I see it, is about the reclaiming of our humanity. Through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we can enter into a new humanity. Through Jesus, the fractured relationships can be restored.

“Entrance” is about what happens when we people try to find that connection themselves. It is about the distorted ways people try to meet those needs. The film is a reminder of the consequences of our sin. It a reminder of the world that we have created through our actions. The film paints a bleak picture of humanity; a bleak picture of the modern city.

But there is another story. There is another city. A city where God dwells with his people. A city where everything has been renewed and restored.

Let us live as citizens of that city and tell others about it.

 

A Call to End Original Sin!

I finished reading Peter Enns, “The Evolution of Adam” and found it to be an engaging and persuasive argument for the end of a literal reading of Genesis 1-3.

In the book he gives two possible interpretations of the Adam story:

1) It was written as a response of the exile. It is the story of Israel and was a way of them understanding how they ended up in exile.

2) When read alongside Proverbs, the story is about the failure to fear God and attain wisdom. Rather then fear God, which is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10) they follow the advice of the snake and try to achieve wisdom without God. The Adam story is then a story for all of us as we make decisions each day. Do we follow God or someone else?

I was listening to an “Unbelievable?” podcast today where they were discussing “the fall” and “original sin”. As a consequence to not believing in a historical Adam, I then do not believe in the idea that we are all born depraved. I find the concept that we are all guilty because of what two people did to be incredibly unjust. Rather I believe that we are born with the potential to be good or depraved based on the decisions that we make.

I believe that the Adam story can be read in this way.

We are all born into a culture. A culture has been defined by some as “the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of an organization, that operate unconsciously and define in a basic ‘taken for granted’ fashion an organization’s view of its self and its environment.”

Rather than seeing the serpent as ‘the devil”, I believe we can interpret it to be the voice of our culture. We can choose to follow the voices of our culture or we can choose to listen to God. Now, there are times where the voice of the culture echoes the voice of God but that will not always be the case and it is the work of each christian to develop maturity and wisdom by differentiating between the two voices.

What do you think? Does this alternative reading hold true?

The Importance of Beginning at the Beginning

I just listened to an incredibly exciting and thought provoking sermon that Rob Bell gave to ‘Mars Hill’ church a couple of weeks ago on how we read Genesis 1 and 2 and had to share it. Listen to it below or go to the Mars Hill website here

Coraline, Creation and Consumerism

I just watched the ‘children’s movie’, “Coraline“. Fantastic. See it!coraline-movie-poster

It got me thinking…

Coraline chooses to live in the ‘other world’ where her parents are much nicer to her and give her everything that she wants. Naturally, there is something sinister going on and nothing is what it seems.

For a long time I viewed the story of Adam and Eve as literal. There really was a garden where these two people lived. I no longer believe that and see it as much more of a fable of how we and the world came to be. If people choose to still view it as a literal story then that’s fine because I think the meaning is still there regardless of if it really happened or not. There are many ‘truths’ in the story but after seeing “Coraline” I was reminded by one of them. We, as human beings, were designed to have limits. The story goes that Adam and Eve could eat whatever they wanted apart from one tree. I used to find that weird but I think I’m starting to understand it.

We were never designed to take everything that we wanted. There were limits put on Adam and Eve and ultimately on all of us. When we live just to please ourselves things get messy. It did with Adam and Eve and it did with Coraline. When the focus is no longer to help other people but to help ourselves, things just don’t work.

Because of this ‘truth’, I believe we are in the place that we are.  We have stopped having limits. The journalist Amitai Etzioni has written a great article in ‘The New Republic’ about consumerism which links everything that I’ve said. But she says it so much better than me. Check out the full article  here.
Here’s a short excerpt:

A culture in which the urge to consume dominates the psychology of citizens is a culture in which people will do most anything to acquire the means to consume–working slavish hours, behaving rapaciously in their business pursuits, and even bending the rules in order to maximize their earnings. They will also buy homes beyond their means and think nothing of running up credit-card debt.

“Coraline” is a story about limits. Once she stops focusing on herself and her wants, she realises what she has. Adam and Eve realised that too late. So did we.

But things can change…