Thursday, 31 December 2009

Who walked with Adam?

Over Christmas I read Vaughan Roberts excellent book 'God's Big Picture'. His book gives a chronological overview of the Bible and pulls out the main themes. Its an easy read, short and has a great chart that plots the interaction between God and mankind. This chart ends up showing heaven as a better place than pre-fall Eden.

I got talking to my fellow elder Richard about this and we ended up on a fascinating discussion centering on who walked with Adam and Eve in the garden. Was it God the Father or God the Son?

Richard suggested that throughout the OT whenever God appeared (the theophanies) it was Jesus, the mediator of our faith (not God the Father) . This is how he reconciles the numerous statements that no-one has ever seen God face to face.

Jesus in the garden of Eden is brand new thinking for me and am not sure what to make of it. If the age to come is the first time God the Father will walk with Mankind, this position certainly makes the new heavens & earth a much brighter prospect.

In one sense I think this is , at best, a secondary issue, but it is an appealing idea. If you have any thoughts on this please do post a comment!


Richard Walker said...

In the West, we have lost theology like this because we're too busy treating the Bible as a science/history text book and not as a book of revelation from God which is only truly understood with the Spirit's help.

All the big puritans and the early church fathers would agree with this position on the theophanies. We 21st cent Westerners are the ones who are out of sync with historic biblical Christianity.

The giant of the English Puritans, John Owen, in his whopping great 7 volume commentary on Hebrews, deals with the issue of theophanies and specifically which member of the Trinity was in the garden here (read from point 3 near bottom of page).

If I take verses like John 1:18 and 1 Tim 6:16 at face value, then I would also have to say also that it was Jesus walking with Adam and Eve before they rebelled not just after.

If that were true, it would force me to accept that a (re)new(ed) creation - a new Jerusalem, a garden city - not a return to Eden, is what all of history is moving towards. The day when God the Father can finally move house and join his Son and his Spirit and be in the midst of his people. Emmanuel, (God with us) then will be fully and finally true.

That is an awesome thought.

Glen said...

I'm with Richard

... and one or two others in Christian history...


Happy New Year!

dave bish said...

what a refreshing post.

chris e said...

I think that last bit naturally follows from a consideration of what would have happened had Adam fulfilled the dominion mandate.

Additionally, in the New Heavens and New Earth we won't be able to sin, so glorification definitely differs from our initial unfallen state.