Are you hanging in there? I hope so. We’re going to get to the Good News. But we’re not yet done looking at our meditation – or holy imagination – of just how broken we are by the Fall. In Part 4, I noted in great detail that there was a separation of Adam and Eve from God’s full, unending, soul-filling presence. Now, they have a gaping hole in their hearts that desperately clamors to be reconnected to God.
This spiritual hunger often gets confused as flesh hunger. We tend to feed our flesh many artificial substitutes in an attempt to fill up the gaping hole that forms when eternal spirit beings are separated from their Creator. The ‘hole’ is spiritual but we stuff it with ‘dust’ and ‘ribs.’ That is to say, we stuff it with the raw materials from which we were created: for the man, all things physical; for the woman, all things emotional/relational. There has been a shift at the core of our being from spirituality to physicality.
One clarification is needed. I meet women who say, “Men do tend to fill up the hole in their soul with ‘physical’ things – like work addiction, lust and pornography. But I feel like the church does not recognize that women also struggle with these things.” This is an excellent point. There are men who struggle with relational issues (gossip, codependency, emotional adultery) and there are women who struggle with physical issues (lust, work, physical adultery). This is because both man and woman are created in God’s image: thus, we both have a bit of the other in us.
Let’s continue our meditation on just how devastating this ‘separation’ of Adam and Eve from God and the Garden is to their well-being and to ours today.
ONE, this ‘separation’ distorts our spiritual desires:
- We long for the connectedness Adam and Eve had with God and with each other.
- Our longing is a hunger for worship, community and affirmation.
- These longings become dislodged from worship and disconnected from God.
- This ‘separation’ leaves us desperate and confused to satisfy such longings.
- Our spiritual desires gets distorted into or confused as fleshly desires.
TWO, this ‘separation’ distorts our fleshly instincts:
- Our natural flesh instincts become untethered and desperately seek safe refuge.
- Our natural instincts morph into diverse lusts.
- Male-female bonds, reflective of His whole image, are now in conflict.
- This ‘separation’ leaves our fleshly natural instincts distorted.
- Jude says it well: We are tempted to follow mere natural instincts that often lead us to many ungodly acts that pollute our own bodies, the fruit of ungodly desires, and in the end we change the grace of our God into a license for immorality.
THREE, this ‘separation’ distorts our very being:
- We are wholly broken and fragmented persons.
- Our genders get shaped by this brokenness.
- Our natural instincts get shaped by this brokenness.
- Our desire to receive nurture and affirmation gets shaped by this brokenness.
- Our natural instincts and genders become untethered and distorted.
FOUR, this ‘separation’ can impact men and women differently:
- Men tend to fill the gaping hole physically – lust, porn, sex, work, and other addictions.
- Women tend to fill it relationally – codependency, emotional addiction, gossip, etc.
- Men and women no longer rightly relate to one another.
- The end result is that we struggle to live out our God-designed genders as He intends.
FIVE, this ‘separation’ leaves us exposed to harm:
- Our natural instincts, desires, hungers and sins further ‘break’ our brokenness.
- Others further ‘break’ our brokenness by the wounds they inflict upon us.
- We further ‘break’ others’ brokenness by the wounds we inflict upon them.
SIX, this ‘separation’ turns God’s ‘economy’ upside down:
- Animals that only ate green plants now eat one another.
- Men who ate endless fruits now eat and are eaten by animals.
- Corn that could feed a hungry world is now used as a substitute for oil (transportation).
- Distribution of food is now thwarted by corrupt rulers who ‘need’ to control the poor.
- Natural sex instinct is now oriented in all directions (pedophilia, bestiality, self-abuse, abuse of others, incestuous, same-sex, polyamorous).
- The ‘hole’ from which all this brokenness emerges – that represents a cry for reconnection to God – is the very place from which our flesh cries out for liberation from God so that we can pursue our natural instincts however they are oriented. Our spiritual cry for God becomes a fleshly cry against Him.
SEVEN, this ‘separation’ orients us such that we are now opposed to God’s ‘economy’:
- Humble yourself and you WILL be exalted – but who has time for humility!
- Lose your life and you WILL gain it – but who wants to lose anything!
- The simple WILL shame the wise – but I want to be the respected intellectual!
- The poor WILL shame the rich – but I want to have my financial freedom!
- The weak WILL shame the strong – but I refuse to allow others to walk over me!
- The last WILL be first – but Lord, I’ve been working ALL day long!
- The greatest WILL be a servant to all – but surely power will win the day!
- You MUST deny yourself – but I want to express myself!
- You MUST take up your cross – but Lord just don’t take ‘this’ from me!
- You MUST follow Me (Jesus) – but Lord won’t you come ‘my’ way a bit!
- Do NOT withhold what you have to give today – but Lord, I need to save for the future!
- Take care of the fatherless – but I first need to raise my own kids!
We could go on and on and on. God’s ways look distorted to us. We question His ways. We question them until we are filled with doubt and confusion. Before long, we are convinced that God surely does not really mean what He said. We come to the place where we finally have so many questions and so many doubts and so many distorted drives and desires and so much brokenness in our natural instincts that we endeavor – quite radically at times – to expel God’s commands and His ways and His upside-down economy from our hearts and minds. The shift in our hearts from spirituality to physicality and emotionality leaves us asking, Did God really say? (Genesis 3:1) Put simply, we want our own way and we’re going to have it…
This is what it means to be broken to the core. We’re about to find out how this connects us back to the beginning of this series when we discussed our tendency toward the double life. Don’t stop now. One more step into this brokenness and then we will ‘finally’ get some Good News.
Click here to easily navigate to Part 6.