- Sonya Leigh Anderson
Genesis 3 World?
It was Wednesday afternoon, last week, and I was just seeing the news. Standing at my kitchen island, reheating my coffee for a workday boost. I’d seen a notification, clicked, clueless. Felt my stomach knot, ignoring the beep, beep, beep of the microwave oven.
NO! My spirit’s first response, and then I’m sure I must have asked the same question that had already been asked innumerable times. How can this happen? WHY does this happen? WHY??
Since when have our elementary schools (and our grocery stores for that matter) become our war-zones?
I had already chosen my blog topic for this week. This intriguing question about the world we live in. Ironically—or maybe not—I’d been listening to a podcast about war and violence when my own question formed.
There were two hosts debating the theological arguments for “Just War Theory” and “Christian non-violence.” I was intrigued, somewhat persuaded by arguments from both. But at the end of the day, a 54-year-old Nana who’s never been touched by the actualities of war, has to admit—her classroom opinions hardly hold weight.
And yet. If I could ask just one question…
One of the podcast hosts, the one who argued for Just War, kept talking about the effects of living in a “Genesis 3 world.” Of course. All we have to do is turn on the news to confirm it. War-torn broken and so much violence, the evils of sin. Genesis 3. Indeed.
The other host—a Millennial advocating for “Christian non-violence” didn’t disagree. And yet all of his arguments…Christians resisting the status quo…Christians living by a different standard…A “Kingdom ethic”…the Way of Jesus…laying down one’s life…
It all begs this question...
As followers of Jesus…Do we live in Genesis 3? Or do we actually live in the first chapters of the story of Acts? And is there a difference?
Quick recap. Genesis 3 is Adam and Eve and the talking snake. The forbidden tree. The beginning of SIN.
The first chapters of Acts are post-cross and Jesus’s ascension. The promised Spirit. Pentecost.
Last week I wrote about Paradox, and if ever there was one, this is it—
“We are human, which has always been our limitation. From the Garden of Eden, we fleshly people have struggled with sin. We’re unfaithful. We make a mess of our loves. But when Jesus came, he changed the story. He changed our story. The story changed.”
We live in two worlds.
From The Covenant Story:
In the days, months, and years that followed, the friends of Jesus would find their reality turned upside down. Nothing would be as it once was. Everything would be relearned. The new covenant would become the lens through which they would see all of it—every story, every prophecy, every word of God, and every act of God. The blood of Jesus had opened a new and living way that would shake the world.
So I ask you this. Followers of Jesus—are we shaking the world?
Jesus conquered the sin and death of the Genesis 3 curse on the cross. Didn’t he? And when He ascended to where he sits now at the right hand of God—He sent the HOLY SPIRIT to radically transform the world through his people. And these Spirit-filled humans would revamp this war-torn earth through the restorative power of heaven’s love.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters in the Unseen Kingdom. Here is what I believe is going on. Here and now. As the evils of this world are sure and certainly ramping up—so must the Kingdom of Heaven.
Here’s something that might sound crazy…controversial even…but I truly believe it…
When Jesus conquered sin and death he made a way for his people to be freed from the curse of Genesis 3. Which is to say, I believe the Good News of the Gospel is better news than we imagine. I believe that followers of Jesus are Acts 2 humans. Through the Holy Spirit we are empowered to be the actual HOLY people of God. We are in this world AS JESUS (2 Corinthians 5:16-21; 1 John 3:7-10).
What does this mean for war and violence? It means at the very least that we who have been "born again” into this “post-curse” humanity will represent the priorities of Jesus—which are undoubtably LOVE and PEACE (Romans 12:9-21). We are people who have died to ourselves (died to the self-serving, greedy, murdering ways of the flesh) and who embody the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and the greatest of these is most certainly love (Galatians 5:13-26; 1 Corinthians 13:13).
Followers of Jesus ought to be (and can be) radically different than the violent humans who are populating this Genesis 3 earth. A world we still do live in—which is to say, we are still suffering under its evil regime. We live in the PARADOX tension of the now and not yet. But we are NOT AS THE WORLD.
We live a better story. A story that ACTUALLY shakes up the world.