Doubts about Autonomy 4

Posted: December 29, 2012 by J in Mission, Theology

My other main concern about the ‘rebellion’ story we tell people is that it doesn’t follow the story we find in the Bible.

In Scripture, sin comes in because Eve and then Adam were deceived, tricked by the serpent. In their ignorance, they were led astray from faith in God, and put their trust in a lie.

It’s true that in this story Adam and Eve are offered ‘you will be like God, knowing good and evil’. But it’s far from clear that this amounts to an invitation to topple God from his throne. At the least, Adam and Eve are tempted to acquire a wisdom which is similar to God’s. It is probably too much to read a full-scale rebellion into this.

But however we read that temptation, the context in which it comes is one of a masterful serpent who overwhelms and hoodwinks the first humans with his craftiness. This leads them into ruin and misery. Adam and Eve do not emerge as belligerents in this story. They do not shake their fist at God: they hide from him behind bushes. They make a pathetic picture.

No, the main story-line is not one of rebellion, at least not from the humans. It is one of defeat and enslavement. Sin crouched at the door, an aggressive, hostile force, ready to master them. And master them it did.

When we paint the big picture of human condition as one of sinful autonomy, of little gods vying for self-rule – I can’t help feeling that we’re in the wrong story.

  1. Keith says:

    Hey there brother, not sure about the statement ‘ Eve and then Adam were deceived’ in the light of 1 Tim 2:14. Also does it have to be either or? Can’t sin be both rebellion and enslavement? Or are you just saying that the enslavement aspect to sin has been forgotten by largely speaking in terms of rebellion, autonomy etc?

    • Jonathan says:

      Fair point, brother. Thanks for your comment.

      I’d be willing to concede the point about Eve! I tend to read the ‘first’ in v.13 as conditioning the whole comparison between Adam and Eve,(so read ‘Adam was not first deceived, but Eve was…) – but I could easily be wrong! But my point was really just that the story in Gen 1 is one of deception. The humans fall into sin (or even into rebellion) as a result of the serpent’s trickery.

      Of course it could be both/and, rebellion and enslavement. Theology is of course about shape and structure and proportion. They probably can’t both be the primary category, or the big picture of sin. I’m suggesting the bible story highlights enslavement – not rebellion – as the big picture, or at least the main category for sin. But there’s no doubt that rebellion is also an aspect of human sinfulness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s