Re: Ape talk

Charles Cairns (
Mon, 2 Mar 1998 22:43:47 -0500

Hello Russ,

You wrote in part re: Adam, Eve and the Image of God:

>I'm sorry that for you Adam and Eve are no more than spiritual metaphors.

I appreciate the sentiment, Russ, but can you tell me what is lost in making
that assumption? I'm fond of a word picture that I created for
fundamentalist friends of mine: If I'm hanging over the edge of a cliff, and
someone throws me a rope and says, "climb up the rope and sing 'Rock of
Ages,'" is it the singing or the climbing that gets me to the top? The rope
is Christ, the song just about anything else you want to name --infant
baptism, transubstantiation, Holy Mary's, or belief in a literal Genesis

>That difference between us no doubt accounts for the difference in our
>conclusions. Concerning the definition of the image of God: it is that
>which Christ redeems. "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be
>conformed to the likeness of his Son...." (Rom. 8:29) "Likeness" here can
>be translated as "image." In Romans 5: 12-19, especially verses 12 and 19,
>Paul teaches that it was Adam who sinned and Christ who takes away that

I think Keith, who replied on this subject, hit the nail on the head. I
would have replied with the same answer, but he has probably said it better
than I would. What is redeemed is our relationship with Christ. As such, we
need not be descendents of Adam in order to need redemption or be redeemed.
(We are, of course, spiritual descendents, if you like.) What is central to
that relationship is the one capacity that separates man from the rest of
creation -- love.

You may find my view on this interesting. I believe the Image of God is
love. Not divine love, not some lofty concept etched in marble, but plain
old ordinary love that you and I experience every day. The pain God feels at
our disobedience is the same we feel for our wayward loved ones; the loss he
felt at Christ's crucifixion is the same we would feel at the loss of our
own child. No less. No more. The same. I have no scriptural basis for this
(or compelling contrary evidence), but the concept is comforting, because it
means that the Jesus I've always known is the one I met in my youth: a
loving father on whose lap I can crawl, whom I can hug, laugh with and cry
with, because he created me with the ability to do just that, and is unhappy
when I don't. The Imitation of Christ begins in love, and love, of course,
is born out of relationships.

>I hope I haven't come on too strong! I enjoy discussing this with you.

Not at all, Russ. I trust you don't think me a pagan.