Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Possession

I am fond of Sarah McLachlan's music, and today as I was listening to Possession, the thought occurred to me that I have pondered "possession" in the last week several times. Oh, not possession in the sense of demon possession, although demon possession kind of fits into what I am talking about. No, the possession that I am thinking of is this idea of having something. I have come to realize that the concept of "possession" is what led to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Recall, in the poetry that is the creation narrative in the book of Genesis, God calls Adam to be steward of the entire created world, to tend the garden and protect it. He bestowed upon Adam a perfect mate in Eve and bade them be fruitful and multiply, and God provided everything that Adam and Eve needed for life and happiness. The one thing that was forbidden was for Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for if they did, they would "surely die." We all know what happened, but I think it is worth mentioning the words that the author of Genesis uses: "The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom." There are four words that stand out there: good, pleasing, desirable, and (most importantly) gaining. When Eve saw the fruit, she desired it so much that she would disobey God to obtain it, to possess it. By yielding to this desire, Eve turned inward on herself and became self-serving rather than self-giving. Instead of ordering her will to God, the source and summit of all wisdom, she ordered her will to herself in her desire and longing for wisdom. She attempted to take something that was not hers for the taking. Eve's desire for knowledge and wisdom obtained improperly (I will get it my way!) resulted in a disastrous chain of events from which the world has not recovered.

So, here is what the problem becomes: when we desire things, we ascribe to them a value, and quite often in our fallen state, we transfer that value on to the owner of the thing, and define a human being not by who they are, rather we define them by what they own or have, and in such a state, we begin to devalue human life if a person does not have enough stuff or the right kind of stuff. If we continue down the path of possession, we even go on to say that if a person does not have the ability to get stuff, then they have lesser value as well. People no longer are identified as unique creations each with an inherent dignity and nobleness, rather, people have to earn their dignity and nobleness through possessing things which have been ascribed value by society. And if you cannot even attempt to possess those things, then you are even worse off. The end result? A society that is turned inward on itself. A society that sees the pursuit of things that will increase the value of a human being as more important than bringing forth new life (as it will intefere with the pursuit) and nurturing and cherishing the lives that are here. A society that will "surely die."

Into this night I wander,
it's morning that I dread,
Another day of knowing
of the path I fear to tread,
Oh into the sea of waking dreams
I follow without pride,
Nothing stands between us here
and I won't be denied....

2 Comments:

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Peter said...

Wise words indeed- something to contemplate over my cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee...

 
At 9:01 PM, Blogger Brian said...

I got your Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee right HERE!

 

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