All fall down
No, this is not a blog about the Fleetwood Mac song about a relationship breakup, nor is it about the Lindisfarne song, about the way Newcastle City Centre was ruined by building a motorway through it, though I have a connection to that one.
In 1972 I was one of a number of people who occupied a tower block which had been empty for some time. I was a student at Newcastle Polytechnic, now renamed Northumbria University, the occupation was a building which was part of the development in the song, and the occupation was because there was a lot of empty office space in the city and also a lot of homeless people. We temporarily housed people who could not find accommodation, It included families with babies and toddlers, but the single men who slept rough did not come in as we had a ban on alcohol. The occupation was supported by local churches.
This is an Advent blog. What has this to do with politicians building motorways and tower blocks? Well nothing, except that there is something in human nature which people tend to put themselves first. You could be mistaken for thinking the creation story is about man, with man being the pinnacle of creation, If you look at the 6 days of the creation story alone, as I did yesterday, that’s possible, but if you stand back you will see that the beginning of the story is the Spirit of God moving on the water and the end is God resting. The story is always about God. I have often said It’s not about me or it’s not about you in these blogs, but it goes back to the beginning. It has always been about God.
But there is something special that could have been missed. That is that humans, are made in the image of God, that is no small thing, as the Hebrew word translated image is the word used throughout the ancient middle east to mean idol. We are the idols of God. The commandment against making idols is for a simple reason. There is already an idol of God, not made by the hands of man but by God himself, and that is humans.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live for ever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.Genesis 3:8-14, 20-24 ESVUK
After the fall the man add woman hide themselves from God. Being ashamed is the first effect of the fall, but God still wants communion with the humans, he cries out ‘where are you?’ So the man is cast out of the garden, this is Go’s punishment. There is a guard of fierce warrior type angels to stop them going back, but there is nothing to keep God in. God still comes to help the humans he has created. There is no way back for us by our own efforts, but in good time God has come to us, become human, and offered us the way back. This is all God’s doing, not ours.
When we go against God the judgement of God is to say, “OK. Go your own way.” The Apostle Paul put it like this:
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Romans 1:24-25
To be told we can go our own way is not a blessing, but a curse. At least Fleetwood Mac got that right.