Sunday, December 28, 2014

WHERE ART THOU? (Genesis 3:9)

Shortly before Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden following their transgression, they were summoned by the Lord and asked the question, ‘where art thou?’

Immediately one is struck with the wonderment, why an all knowing God would have need of such a query. Likewise, I do not believe that Adam’s superficial answer about hiding himself because he was naked was the ultimate point of the question.

I believe that it is entirely possible that the Lord was indicating to Adam that it would be a good thing to pause
occasionally and take an inventory of where he was in fulfilling his purposes for existence.

Once I started to understand the Spanish language beyond the burrito and taco level, one of the insights reading the scriptures in Spanish helped me realize, was that being naked was indicative of being without knowledge and when the Lord put coats of skin upon Adam and Eve it was symbolic of Him giving them the gift of being able to gain knowledge, understanding and eventually wisdom.

When we begin to understand the purposes of our existence, and after an honest assessment of the subject, we should eventually come to realize that learning how to relate to others with the pure love of a disciple of Christ and gaining knowledge, understanding and wisdom are found at the very top of the mortal quest list.

Most of the time, knowing where one is in relation to a desired goal, seems to be resolved most easily when people can identify points of reference outside of themselves.

Ancient mariners found their locations in the vast oceans by fixing their attention on distant stars.

Modern cars equipped with GPS triangulate their present position with other known positions which are continually bouncing information off of not so distant satellites.

When one compares the accuracy of ancient mariners using distant stars and that obtained by the marvels of the GPS, the comparison is like comparing crossing the continental United States in a covered wagon to flying across the continent in a jet airplane. A mariner would never have been able to tell how far a golfer was from the pin on the green by using the stars, but with an instrument which fits on one’s wrist, which communicates with those satellites in the not to distant sky, the modern golfer can instantaneously know within inches how far he is from the pin on the green of any course in the United States.

It is entirely probable that we can only make accurate judgments of ‘where we are’ by using gauges outside of ourselves.

It is also probable that it wouldn't be as accurate to use objects which are too far away or with which we have no expertise, when we are trying to know ‘where we are.’

A person in a beginning Spanish class might come to a discouraging conclusion if they were to compare their mastery of the language with someone whose primary language was Spanish. They would be able to get a clearer vision of ‘where they are’ if they were to make their comparison with someone closer to their own circumstances. I think this would be true with most any field one is trying to master. (We will eliminate prodigies from the discussion at this point!)

Since there is no one closer to oneself than oneself, it may stand to reason that an honest self-evaluation in terms of where I have been, where I am and where I wish to be might be the best barometer available.

That student in the beginning Spanish class would do well to confine the measurement of their progress to what they knew when beginning the course compared to what they know at the time they are making the evaluation.

The reason the scales we use need to be consistent and honest is that if we are constantly adjusting the measurements there is no way we can measure real progress. Many a mariner would have been drowned in the deep if the stars were constantly shifting position. Many a golfer would be frustrated even to a greater degree than they usually are if the GPS were constantly changing the distance which constitutes a yard.

One day when I was trying to search out ‘where I was’ temporally as well as spiritually, I was abruptly reminded of how quickly the points of reference which surround us can be altered and changed. Right in front of me the bumper sticker on the car read ‘don't follow me, I’m lost.’

Since I have had the luxury during my retirement years of investigating the philosophies of men through the ages, it has become very apparent their ideas are constantly shifting like the sands of the deserts, as the wind blows in one direction one day and another the next.

It has become very obvious during the first six years of my ten year project of reading the Great Books of the Western World that using the philosophies of men would be a poor measuring rod if I were to find constancy in measuring my personal progress.

Perhaps, if we are to find those fixed reference points which will help us identify where we are, we too must look to the Heavens.

Perhaps if I keep my eye singular to the Heavens long enough I will be able to get a true bearing of where I am.

Perhaps in my neophyte efforts if I could find my bearings by fixing my gaze on closer references such as the scriptures and prophets I would have fewer days when I feel lost.

Perhaps if my prayers became true communication, I would have a better understanding of the measurements I should be using to know ‘where I am.’

The great advantage that ancient mariners had over the modern use of GPS satellite systems is that the stars stay in the universe, whereas satellites burn out and spin out of orbit and eventually burn up in earth’s atmosphere.

If we are to avoid the certain destruction which comes to everyone who has never had the faintest idea where they have been, where they are or where they are going, we must tie our lives to a fixed reference point outside of ourselves which is constant and reliable. I have found the word of God to be as constant as the North Star, as everlasting as the constellations. Therefore, when I begin to wonder where I am I return to the word of God and begin to understand anew ‘where I am.’

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