In my first article at approached the idea that God may have already been acquainted with what we call post-modernism and in fact warned against it.
Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
Gen 3:2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,
Gen 3:3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”
Gen 3:4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
Gen 3:5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Gen 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Gen 3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
Gen 3:8 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.
Gen 3:9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
Gen 3:10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
Gen 3:11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
Gen 3:12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”
Gen 3:13 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.”
Gen 3:14 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
Gen 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Gen 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
Gen 3:17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
Gen 3:18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.
Gen 3:19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Gen 3:20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
Gen 3:21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
Gen 3:22 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 forever—”
Gen 3:23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.
Gen 3:24 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. ESV
The scriptures record this event in order that we may understand that the very first sin is in accord with the mood of Postmodernity. The idea that questioning authority is not our original thought, it was a thought given to them by Satan himself. Irregardless of whether you disagree with talking snakes and deadly trees the truth remains; what is common to sinful men is the fact that they act autonomously, using their own reason and will to define truth and determine what is false and what is true. From this they determine whether or not to use history as a guide and judge for themselves the relevance of truth of past generations as a viable truth for their own generation and finally determine who they believe themselves to be.
In light of these things, let us consider something of paramount importance. The question was asked, , “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Earlier God had given both Adam and Eve the command not to eat of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but now the question was raised as a sub-text “why the prohibition”? It must be that God is keeping you back from knowledge and that such knowledge does not come with death attached to it. Is this not the postmodern idea? That the commands of those in authority are in effect withholding something beneficial to us? Is that not exactly what was stated in my previous post?
The truth is again just another form of containment, but this time it’s built on words and ideas that may have nothing to do with me or my world. Truth, becomes the law of the oppressor, the prison guard that forbids expression of all that is contradictory to that so-called ‘truth’. The postmodernist says “who wants truth that is nothing more than a verbalized power play”? Historical interpretation again deals with the idea that language does not convey truth to the postmodernist, but an interpretation of events tailored to give one side advantage over another.
What is not recognized is that giving the person what they want can also be manipulative and effect a coercion to entrap and enslave them. There is no one with insight so keen and intuition so sharp that he can avoid all manipulation and yet pretend to own no objective truth. He has no way to interpret manipulation from true freedom, whatever truth he seeks to avoid on one end is pushing to entrapment on the other end. The old old story of the fall of Adam and Eve is not near so irrelevant as postmodernism would have us believe.
There is another danger that forces us to rethink the postmodern mood; the danger of what we autonomously declare to be good and helpful to us is bound to destroy us without remedy. So it is with postmodernism, it has run away from the old meta-narratives that warn of dangers spoken from the mouths of modernists; but what the postmodernist has judged to be good. As was said earlier
Any meta-narrative that prohibits or denies my freedom of expression sexually, morally, verbally or in acts or deeds through art, literature, invention or some form of creativity is an enemy to me. The postmodernist says I am trapped and condemned by such a narrative. When objective truth is used, it is generally regarded as not objective but subjective and therefore oppressive.
What is it that brought about the fall of Adam and Eve? What helped them to decide to hazard a disobedience to a known command? Satan said “Gen 3:4…You will not surely die.
Gen 3:5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” They believed a lie, a direct contradiction of what God had said. But the disobedience didn’t come by a simple change of mind on their own, a lie was needed to redirect their course of action. For many post-moderns they claim the lie is from the mouth of the modernist that warns them of error and declares truth based upon external sources from themselves. We find now that the postmodernist has no one to trust, he cannot even trust himself to rightly discern the path to take. Am I believing a lie? Or, Am I being told the truth but slanted in order to entrap me somehow? Who can I trust? For many, the answer lay in hap-hazarding their lives in what gives them personal pleasure. To make it simple a trip into nihilism with an avoidance of tackling heavy questions satisfies a number of post moderns. For these people, their course is set upon the guide posts that direct them to personal satisfaction and any deviation from that is not tolerated in their mind.
Lastly, what was not so apparent to Adam and Eve, is held out to us in bold relief; the only way for us to know ‘independent knowledge of good and evil’ is to become evil to gain that knowledge. This is what took place. You may verbalize it in various ways; becoming immoral in order to have the knowledge of morality both good and evil, becoming alienated from God in order to know what God knows. The reality of Adam and Eve is they could only enter into such a knowledge by becoming an enemy to God; in order for Adam and Eve to experience such a knowledge they must reject other explicit knowledge that kept them safe from harm. For what the sinful man desires, he cannot obtain, he is unable to be moral because he is naturally immoral and his parents before him all the way back to Adam were immoral and they understood morality only from the perspective of being immoral.
Is this not the foundation for the greatest heart-ache and the worst of all disasters in the annuls of human history? It is the idea that God’s authoritative word is made to be a hindrance to the knowledge and freedom of humanity. This age old lie is still being promoted under a new banner, the banner of postmodernism. This is not about forcing religion down anyone’s throat or about making people conform to some stereotype behavior, it is about the reality that there is a God that can be known and his love can be known and experienced. This God is not the product of a tyrannical leader seeking to oppress, it is not the conspiracy of many trying to enslave masses, this is the reality of what scripture teaches. God is supposed to be known and loved and our human abilities demonstrate the powerful creative strength of God to make so many individuals with unique characteristics, all of them in some way revealing the true God as creator and originator of uniqueness.
The fall of Adam and Eve show how mankind developed its waywardness, how humanity ever seeks to find a unity of knowledge but cannot conform to that knowledge and cannot agree on what is true and what is false without a guide. You see, God is more postmodern than you thought; He is individual, He is informed and able to discern clearly the path for each of us to take, He is not seeking to quench individual beauty and creativity, he seeks to give to each of us a joy that only comes from finding trust in Jesus Christ and finding hope in Jesus that the future is not a gamble but secure and waiting for us. Jesus Christ is not a buzz-kill, He is in fact the creator of all joy and the reason why humanity loves power, strength, truth, happiness, creativity, community, peace and love. Its because all these things abide in him and are given to us as part of his life giving power through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said it this way.
Joh 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
Joh 15:2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Joh 15:3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
Joh 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
Joh 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Joh 15:6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
Joh 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Joh 15:8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Joh 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
Joh 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
Joh 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Joh 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Joh 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Joh 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
Joh 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
Joh 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Joh 15:17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
The commands of Jesus are for our receiving great things from God, loving one another, knowing and loving God himself and finding community even with those who are your enemies. I believe this is what postmodernism wants, but alas, estranged from God it cannot obtain. But when a man puts his faith in Christ, believes that Christ will forgive his sins and disobedience to God’s word, Jesus will bring forgiveness and cleanse us from all sin and transgression. We will have a new start, a new spirit and a new desire to know God and depend upon him as was originally meant for human kind to do. For the first time, you may obtain knowledge about the world that is not poisoned by your own disobedience and your own immorality, you will be finally free.