When Did That Happen?

I want to share something I stumbled on that some of you may already know, but I never considered before. For me, it’s one of those things around which I have spent a bunch of time, but never considered in its context. It has to do with the “Fall”. We usually think of it in terms of “Fall of Man”, but there is another element that begs the question, “What else fell when man did?”.

It’s related to the question of “Why curse the ground?” When Yahweh curses Adam for eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the punishment includes “Cursed is the ground because of you,” (Gen. 3:17). Why do that? What did the “ground” do for which it needed to be punished? Why did Adam’s mistake result in the curse of “nature” or the “natural order”? Doesn’t it seem a bit like Yahweh slapped a bystander watching the spectacle from across “police tape” or something?

While it’s true that the ground was part of Adam’s calling (Gen. 2:15), the calling seems more closely tied to Eden specifically, from where Adam was cast out. Why, then, go on to curse the ground? And the curses in the garden did have to do specifically with their design, the serpent (loss of legs, enmity with people), the woman (help-mate and child-birth), and man (keeping the garden).

But that wasn’t the weird part. The weird part that I stumbled on was this: what happened in the spiritual realm when the garden was shut to humanity? Think about this, if Jesus stills a storm by rebuking it (Matt. 8:26, Mark 4:39, Luke 8:34) doesn’t that seem to personify something about the “natural order”? Was that part of the Fall? When did the natural order start to defy its Creator?

I have always thought of demons using (or abusing) the natural order for their own purposes, not actually having the responsibility over the natural order. That would be “animism” to consider the natural functions of nature to have a spiritual entity responsible for them. And yet, Jesus and His disciples do seem to encounter more than their fair share of storms on Galilee. And Jesus speaks to the storm like a person, demonstrates these storms have no power over Him, but rather the other way round. He walks on water, in a storm. He truly does what He wants with regard to “nature”.

Did this corruption of creation (see Rom. 8:18-20) occur at the Fall in the Garden? Was it there that the spiritual forces responsible for maintaining the natural order rebelled? It may seem like the natural order is…well, orderly. But does it seem in subjection to its Creator? It is, in a sense, as He created it (Gen. 8:20-22), and will continue to be. Yet, it still seems “broken” somehow. 

As I have studied Scripture to attempt to glimpse the “spiritual realm”, it has seemed to me that nature seems to be sometimes at odds with our Creator, but not always. As if the rebellion isn’t constant. Perhaps it’s too much to personify it like adolescents telling their parent, “Leave me alone, I got this!” And, for the most part, do. But then, also abuse the power, and throw tantrums when they don’t get their way.

On the other hand, I have also assumed, for most of my life, that God simply did what He wanted with nature, and it was always Him, blessing or punishing. Now, I’m not so sure. God promises the Sons of Israel good harvests and plenty of good weather if they obey Him. But, does it happen that way? Or, in spite of good behavior, did the late rains not come, or early rains come late, or whatever? What was it that made the competing religious views make some sense to the people for whom God parted the Red Sea, showed up in smoke and fire on Horeb, gave them victory over powerful nations, and planted them in the land? I don’t know.

What if the weather wasn’t, and isn’t, always what our Creator wants? He can obviously step in and correct it, but doesn’t always, or has very violent intent with it. But why rebuke something you caused in the first place? Isn’t that a correction? When did nature “rebel” against her Creator? When did that happen? Was it always that way, and the garden was this perfect “bubble” within the chaos outside? 

All I have are clues to such answers, not clarity or certainty. How does that work? Am I being “superstitious”? That’s what it feels like, I feel silly working through this. Yet, Scripture depicts this weird milieu of spiritual reality somehow superimposed over physical realities, natural and political. It’s weird. And I’m not sure how much of it is our Savior accommodating the human condition of the day, and how much is an accurate description of spiritual reality.

So, did Adam and Eve start a spiritual rebellion on earth? Was it already going? Or did the enemies of our Creator take over from the “good guys” when the serpent succeeded? When did that happen? I shiver, and not just because it’s a cold foggy day here. It makes me want to “go home”. I don’t know how much I like this place any more.


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