I remember very well my first Halloween mask. It was a monstrous thing, and very realistic. When I put it on and passed the mirror, I screamed! I temporarily forgot it was me behind the mask.
We may stop wearing a mask to celebrate Halloween. However, as we grow, it seems we get more practiced at wearing a mask, not just on Halloween, but most of the time. Our perceptions seem to reverse from when we were a child. Now we may think the person behind the mask is scary, and that we need to wear a mask to feel more safe.
In The Beginning …
The Author of Genesis tells us that God made us in His Image.
So God created mankind in His Own Image.
In the Image of God He created them.
Male and female He created them.
Adam and Eve were uncovered before the Lord. Like babies, they were naked and were not concerned about it. They were innocent and had no need of anything to separate them from anyone else, including God. They lived as God designed them to live, in harmony with each other and all the creatures God had created.
All Trick — No Treat!
But they were tempted to envy. In this case, they envied God. They had the sense there was more to know and they wanted to know it. Envy always leads to the next step — trying to get what you envy.
This was a perfect opportunity for satan, God’s adversary. Satan was the first real Halloween goblin in a mask … a beautiful one. Would you like to know what satan’s mask looked like?
You were in Eden,
the Garden of God.
Every precious stone adored you:
carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,
topaz, onyx and jasper,
lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mounting were made of gold.
On the day you were created, they were prepared
Besides appearing to be beautiful, satan was crafty.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.
When satan showed up at Eve’s door, he offered her a treat. But unfortunately, it was a trick!
Satan did not stuff an apple in Eve’s mouth. In fact, there is no evidence he even put it in her hand. Eve did her own picking of the fruit. Why did she want it?
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree
was good for food
and pleasing to the eye,
and also desirable for gaining wisdom,
she took some and ate it.
But I’m Still Hungry!
Hold on a minute! Eve certainly was not in need of food. She had a whole garden of food. I imagine the other food was pleasing to her eyes and her stomach. But this fruit had a little something extra. Eve thought it was desirable for gaining wisdom. The forbidden tree was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve wanted knowledge. She thought knowledge was the same as wisdom. And she thought if she had knowledge and wisdom, she would know as much as God knew!
You may have heard the old expression that “knowledge is power.” But is it? We somehow have the idea that if we just knew everything, we could fix anything. We could create the world just as we thought it should be. But we are thankfully not a world of gods. There is one God and He is in charge of the world!
Why didn’t God want Adam and Eve to have knowledge? He did! He wanted them to continue to have what they had from their beginning — the knowledge of all He had created for them — all He had already pronounced GOOD. He did not want them to have knowledge of evil.
God knew evil is a vine growing out of control, ever seeking to expand and wrap its branches around the good, until it squeezes the life out of it. God wanted to protect His Innocent Children from the world of evil.
But the beautiful, crafty satan tempted Eve and she fell for it. Once the seeds of the evil vine were inside her body, it was already on its way, seeking to expand. Eve gave the fruit to Adam.
Be Careful What You Ask For! You Might Get It!
They now had knowledge. They were filled and covered with knowledge of things that were too much for them. When they looked at each other, they saw what they were created to see, the Image of God in the other. In the presence of evil, the Light was blinding.
They had to do something to shut it out. Instead of turning to their Creator, they thought they could be “Do It Yourselfers” and fix things. They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves.
They sewed fix leaves together
and made coverings for themselves.
As the story continues to unfold, satan seems to have disappeared. Once satan has tempted and watched his victims fall, he usually doesn’t stick around. He stays just long enough to throw a pile of accusations on his victims’ heads, as he leaves. He will be back at another time, but after he scores, he is off to trick the next person.
God, however, is always around. Adam and Eve first heard Him walking in the Garden, as He had done many times before. It had been one of the Joys of the Garden, to be in Close Communion with God, Face to Face. But now, they realized the first of many negative emotions they would experience in their new life. They were afraid … and not just afraid in general … they were afraid of the Only One Who could help them. They hid.
Even though God knew exactly where they were, He called to them. I believe He called them by name, something satan is not prone to do. A person’s name is precious and personal to God.
Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine!
What would you have done in that situation? God, your Parent specifically told you not to do something. You did it. And now you discover your Father has been at home the whole time you were doing it! Would you be thinking, “Uh oh, it’s over now. I will die.”
What did God tell Adam and Eve about death and eating the forbidden fruit? Did He say He would kill them? No, read again what He really said.
But you must not eat
from the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil,
for when you eat from it,
you will certainly die.
God was not going to kill them for their disobedience. He was simply laying out what the consequences would be if they ate the fruit. He was warning them ahead of time. In fact, He may have been testing them to see how they did with a little knowledge of evil. They flunked that test!
So now that God had caught them, and they knew hiding was not an option, what did they do? In the face of Truth Himself, they told the truth, albeit from their perspective … “Yeah, I did it … but it was really his/her fault.” One can imagine God shaking His Head and thinking, “My Children have so much to learn before they are ready to run My World.”
God did not kill them on the spot. But He did have to deal with their disobedience. And He did have to teach them how to overcome the consequences of their actions. His Plan was one any good parent might want to follow.
God’s Plan for Reconciliation!
1. First, they all had to leave the Garden of Eden. They were headed for a long time out.
2. God stripped satan of any earthly beauty and made him crawl on his belly on the ground. He put satan in a position where he could see the earth, from which God had formed His Children. This would be an ever present reminder that God was the Creator and satan was not.
God put satan in direct sight of all the animals and humans. He “defanged” him, and put him in a place where the one who he had deceived would have the ability to crush his head over and over again.
3. Adam was going to be looking satan’s way a lot now, since he would be tilling the ground. God provided an interesting consequence that would force Adam to focus on the place from whence he had been created. Consequently, he would have the opportunity to remember Who was His Creator and who was his deceiver.
4. Farming is definitely a joint venture between God and man. Adam would be working directly with God, His Father in bringing life out of the ground. It would not only allow him time to think about his origins, but also to think of the origins of all life. He would recognize that while he was a partner with God, he was clearly a junior partner. Bringing life from the soil would not be as easy for him as it was for God. In order to do it, he had to submit to God’s Leadership.
5. And what of Eve? God allowed her to partner with Him as well. Like Adam, her job would also involve bringing forth life. Like Adam, she would find that it was not an easy task. It would take lots of dependence on God to become what He had designed her to be — a suitable helper for Adam and the Mother of all nations.
Rags to Riches!
There was one more interesting twist to the story of Adam and Eve. Remember those flimsy coverings they had sown together themselves. God replaced them.
I’m betting He didn’t take the fig leaves away from them. He offered them something more substantial and they themselves gave up the coverings they had designed in favor of the Covering of God. God covered them with skin. Different translations imply different origins of that skin. The NIV Translation simply says
The Lord God made garments of skin
for Adam and his wife
and clothed them.
Why did God cover them? I believe it was to give them time to heal from the damage they had done to themselves.
When our physical bodies are wounded and opened to the world, more invaders may come into our bodies. God, in His Mercy, has designed the body to grow scabs to cover our wounds. Those scabs protect the wounds, until we heal. Then they fall away, revealing the new skin underneath.
God comes to us in our woundedness, not to punish us, but to restore us back to health. He comes calling us by name. He comes to redeem. (Redeem means “to make whole again.”) His only criteria is that we remove anything that is separating us from Him. He can look upon us, uncovered and still see the One He created … the One He loves. The first step to redemption is trusting that He is the God Who Loves us, behind all of our masks.
Who Are You?
In this week of Halloween, take some time to consider what masks you might be wearing. Dare to remove all masks. Look in the mirror and see Him in Whose Image you were created.
Ask Your Creator to heal your wounds and cover you. He will!
David, the Psalmist, was called a “man after God’s own heart.” Yet, David committed some terrible sins. How could he be a “man after God’s own heart?” Because he recognized those sins and repented time and time again.
Like us, David took off one mask, repented, and then was tempted to put on another mask. But then he repented again. Even as he struggled with his own humanity, he recognized The Heartbeat of His Creator. David longed for God as much as God longed for David.
David found Joy in being known by God. This is what he said. You might want to read it aloud, as you reflect on who God created you to be.
You have searched me, Lord
and You know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down.
You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue,
You, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and You lay Your Hand upon me.
Such Knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain!
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your Presence?
If I go up to the heavens, You are there!
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there!
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your Hand will guide me!
Your Right Hand will hold me fast!
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me,
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to You!
For You created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your Works are wonderful!
I know that full well!
My frame was not hidden from You
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your Eyes saw my unformed body!
All the days ordained for me were written in Your Book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are Your Thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand —
when I awake, I am still with you!