A Topography Of The Fall

Until over 200 years after Christ’s death, no one had any concept of an Augustinian “Fall” or an Anselmic need for propitiation. That’s a matter of history. It just isn’t there. That’s read into scripture now of course, but it wasn’t on the minds of early Christians.

The classic, early views of sin, soteriology, and atonement and christology is simply the metaphor of two trees in the center of a garden; a choice in every moment to judge yourself and others, or like God and Christ, love instead.

You can hear this and nearly only this from Irenaeus specifically (the vanquishing, the victory over, death of corruption preventing humanity from being … human), and from Ignatius, Polycarp, and Noetus to name a few.

So no, that it all begins with some idea of a fall and disobedience and a cosmic “righting” of justice between debts owed, man to god … It seems Christians are precisely not obliged in any way to think so, or if they do, that they must start there.

In fact, in the garden, why was God pissed? What was he angry with? What was his first comment?

He was angry at Adam and Eve believing (because now they judged) they were not worthy to be in God’s presence. His only following comment was deducing why they now thought their metaphoric nakedness was shameful (ie insufficiency) … “Ah! You ate from the tree, eh?”

What is shameful in modern Christianity is still buying that lie we tell ourselves. Instead of “just as I am without one plea, I come”, we now bastardize Christ by fashioning him into yet one more set of clothing to cover what God is fine with in the first place; our humanity, all of it, as it is, loved just as it is; and perhaps our image of ourselves restored if we believe Christ telling us so. Life to the full, not to judge you but save you (from it), your own judgment, the message of love even the prodigal did not believe when asking merely to be allowed back as a servant (“Nothing you do can change the fact you’re my son and I love you!”).

Just a thought.

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