Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Father Curry on types of questions and Original Sin

... Alone of all creation, mankind, that is to say, the Adam, is said to be made in the image of God. Less abstractly but in a complementary image, man is said to be “formed from the dust” and to have had God’s spirit “breathed into him”. He is a spiritual creature with a relation to every other created being and with a special relation to the Creator.

The Fall is about the disorder of that relationship. As made in the image of God, man is capable of knowing God. Hence he is given to name the things of creation, which is to say, he is capable of knowing God’s knowing of the things he has made. And he is given a commandment.

In the form of the story, the serpent is the occasion for the disobedience through the raising of questions. As such the serpent signifies the agency of man’s reason. The problem, however, is not with the raising of questions per se but with the direction or the intent of the questions. For the questions of the serpent do not seek an understanding, rather, to the contrary, they seek to undermine what is known as good, though not known as known. They insinuate doubt and instigate revolt. Adam and Eve prefer the lie of their wills to the truth of God’s will. The rest, as they say, is history, “of man’s first disobedience and the fruit of that forbidden tree.”

And it is our history. Children have a way of asking profound theological questions such as “Why did God make blackflies?” How do you answer that one? ‘So that we would be reminded that this isn’t heaven’. Indeed, but neither is this world paradise. And it isn’t paradise because of the Fall. But, then you may say, ‘It just doesn’t seem fair that we should have to suffer things like colds, flues, aches and pains because of what Adam and Eve did so long ago’. Right. It doesn’t seem fair until the lesson is learned that they are we. This is our story. This is what we do. And what we do and what others do have consequences for all of us. We turn towards the ground of our self-will and away from God ...
Father David Curry, sermon for Sexagesima (2003).