I’ve had more than a few conversations with people about Adam and Eve. And more times than you might imagine, this question gets served up: “So Ronna…(insert a long and tension-producing pause)…do you NOT think that Adam and Eve were real people?”
The implicit and only slightly-disguised position is this: I’m wrong to think such; I’ve undoubtedly turned to the dark side, the dark arts, Ouija boards and horoscopes. I admit it: I love horoscopes. But deeper and underneath it all is this inviolable maxim: it’s not OK to question the Bible.
I can’t question the Bible, because I am then, inherently and disquietingly, questioning God. And questioning God is definitely not OK.
I feel exactly the opposite. Questioning is where and how faith and hope and love and goodness and God are shaken and stirred into a delicious cocktail of intoxicating grace.
Let me assure you of a couple things: First, I would understand if you don’t want a theology that is linked to cocktails. Second, I truly appreciate this position. Well, not the cocktail thing, but the larger issue at hand. You have a deep and well-loved/known system of beliefs that is solid and grounding and steeped in history; a trust in the inerrancy of Scripture; the learned experience of an immutable God. There have been times in years-past when I have been jealous of you; wishing I could return to something so rock-solid and undeterrable. I affirm such beautiful, unshakeable, powerful faith, even while I question that questions aren’t appreciated or allowed.
That said, here’s my position:
Questions and doubts and fears and ambivalence and even un-faith are what draw us closer to God than anything else. Where else would God hang out?
This isn’t about the historicity of Adam and Eve. It’s not about the virginal birth. It’s not about atonement or redemption or hamartiology (the doctrine of sin; yes, there is such a thing). It’s not even about the Bible. It’s about a God who cannot be completely understood, pinned down, defined, managed, or intelligently articulated. It’s about a God who confuses, confounds, and comforts. It’s about a God who shows up when unexpected and seemingly doesn’t when needed/wanted. It’s about a God who is revealed through marginalized women, burning bushes, snakes and a talking donkey, crumbling walls, prostitutes and murderous kings, nearly-insane prophets, an amazing star (along with some astrologers who might have loved horoscopes even more than me), and a baby’s birth. It’s about a God who slipped into skin and broke every religious rule and expectation and then, unexpectedly died. It’s about a God who defies all answers; who lives and moves and acts in questions.
For me, a place without answers is a pretty rich, long, and tasty pour; exactly where God dwells.
So take heart if you have more questions than answers when it comes to God. You’re in the right place. Glasses are chilled. Ice is clinking. Libations are pouring. Grace abounds. Love overflows. And God is everywhere in this mix.
‘Still wondering about my position on Adam and Eve? Really, it doesn’t matter – the question or my answer. In not having one, I can wander – uninterrupted and endlessly – through that Garden with them; discovering something new around every corner, pushing the boundaries of my imagination and curiosity, walking with God in the cool of the day, pursuing desire, maybe even making mistakes and still being fiercely protected and loved no matter what. A cocktail is definitely in order to celebrate such a story, such a place, such a God!
Raise your glass: Here’s to fewer answers, more questions, and a God who will not be defined (or defied) by either. *clink*