The twenty-four week adult study promises to take participants from Creation to the formation of the early Church reading only the fourteen narrative books. The eight-week teen version does the same, but at a different level.
We're not far into the study yet, but there is already so much food for thought.
I was thinking today about the serpent. When we read about the serpent tempting Adam and Eve, we read with our twenty-first century eyes. Jeff Cavins, author of The Great Adventures, paints an early world picture for us.
The original Hebrew word is much more descriptive than the English "serpent." In original form, the word used to describe the serpent paints a monstrous figure. This was no mere slimly little snake. It was a terrible and threatening beast. Not only that, the serpent was intent on damaging the trusting relationship God had with Adam and Eve. It's God who punishes the serpent: "Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; On your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life" (Genesis 3:2). God then gives us the first promise of a Redeemer: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel" (Genesis 3:3). Jesus, the promised offspring, devotes His ministry to crushing the head of the Serpent. He teaches us to do the same.
God's treatment of the disobedient Adam and Eve is that of a loving, merciful father. He follows through with consequences for their misdeed. He sends them into the world knowing they would live to have children and produce food from the earth. He promises them new life through the Redeemer. Mercy.
As a child, I wondered why Adam and Eve couldn't tell the serpent was evil.
As an adult, I recognize that what's evil and deceptive isn't always ugly and monstrous.
Evil, no matter what its form or how it's dressed, is the same now as it was in the beginning: cunning, insidious, and deadly. It twists truth, mocks beauty, and destroys love.
Our sole protection is our Redeemer.