According to Baskin-Robbins’ website, the company has created over 1000 flavors of ice cream. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the company, it generally features 31 flavors at a time. People, especially children, are intrigued by the variety and sometimes stymied. They just can’t seem to choose. They walk back and forth looking, reading the descriptions, thinking about what they might like, and then someone with them or behind them says, “Just choose already!” That might explain the fact that the most popular flavor sold by Baskin-Robbins is (drumroll please) . . . vanilla. That’s right!
Sometimes in our country and our culture, we simply have too many options. We move more slowly because we have so much to decide and much of the “decision-making power” of our lives is spent choosing between options that really are not that much different. An argument could be made that our affluence actually hinders our progress at a certain point.
But what if you didn’t have any options? In many countries around the world, no one asks what will be for supper. They are simply grateful to have rice or bread or potatoes again. No one wonders what to wear because they only have one set of clothes. The lack of options almost defines poverty in the minds and hearts of Americans.
Adam and Eve found themselves without options in dealing with the most important part of their lives. How were they to restore a relationship with God? How could they find their way back to Paradise? There was no option. They were stuck where they were, in the life they had chosen. The way back was closed. They were not only spiritually poor, they were spiritually hopeless.
Of course they had other problems also. Creation itself had changed. The communion they had with God allowed them to walk among the creatures of the world in peace and harmony. Nature was tied to humanity, made for humanity, and it fell with humanity. The ground no longer brought forth crops joyfully. The animals no longer enjoyed fellowship with humans. Now there would be work and fighting and death. And pain. There would be pain.
But there were no options. Adam and Eve and their children had nowhere else to go. Eventually, they turned their backs on Eden and began a new life.
Truly, when people seem to have no options, they become very creative. In years past I remember many meals of macaroni and cheese from the box. The box was enough to feed the two of us and cost only 15 cents. When it got monotonous, we chopped up wieners to add to it or, if we had a little, some sliced ham (my wife drew the line at Spam, but I liked it). God made us amazingly creative. We will pretend to have options, even if it appears we have none.
And two paths began to develop. Now that the hearts of God and man were separate, their ideas of how to handle this new life became very different. God’s path and man’s path. After the Fall and before the Cross.
Grace 101 is a simple attempt to explain what has happened to us and what God has done for us. So much of what we have learned has been confused by sectarian doctrines and theological jargon. It is sometimes difficult to see the message the Lord wants us to understand as we read the Bible or worship together. The series of posts will be found in the category called Grace 101 and begins here. Enjoy!