Saturday, 27 April 2013

Beautiful Lies

"But I fear, that as the serpent deceived Eve by cunning, so your thoughts will be lead astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus, or if you receive a different spirit or gospel from the one you accepted from us, that you will indulge it readily enough".  1 Corinthians 11:3 & 4.

Back in the 1970's, Paul Billheimer published a 'revolutionary' book on Prayer and the overcoming Christian life. Nestled in the second chapter of this work, was his teaching about the 'supreme rank of redeemed humanity'.

This is what he stated: "Created originally in the image of God, redeemed humanity had been elevated by means of a directly conceived genetic process known as the new birth to the highest rank of all created beings...
Angels can never have the heritage, the genes of God - they can never become partakers of the divine nature...
2 Peter 1:4 speaks of us being partakers of the divine nature, impregnated with His genes, called the seed or sperma of God...
Here is a completely new and exclusive order beings - a new species.
Thus, through the new birth, we become the next of kin to the trinity".

(Destined for the Throne, 1975 edition).

It should be noted that Billheimer didn't view this, in any sense, as physical process in the present, but as a spiritual reality. Sadly, in his use of language, however, there was allusion to another ancient Gnostic teaching doing the rounds amongst certain popular 'faith' teachers at the time that found such a teaching very useful indeed...

Back around the 9th century, the Jewish Kabbalist's introduced a new wrinkle into their writings: "Two beings [Adam and Nachash] had intercourse with Eve, and she conceived from both and bore two children. Each followed one of the male parents, and their spirits parted, one to this side and one to the other, and similarly their characters. On the side of Cain are all the haunts of the evil species; from the side of Abel comes a more merciful class, yet not wholly beneficial -- good wine mixed with bad."(Zohar 136)

Christianity was entirely silent on such a notion until modern times. Then, in the 1940's, American faith teacher William Branham began to introduce, by revelation, this notion into the growing revivalist and pentecostal strains of American Christianity, where it became an essential part of 'latter rain' theology. During the 70's, this teaching was thrown into the mix of  dualstic 'revelations' which defined the ministry of men such as Copeland, Hagin, Swaggart and others engaged in 'faith' ministries. What is shocking is just how enduring such errors can be - they are still doing the rounds, so it's imperative we look at the Bible's teaching on the matter of the nature of our being alienated from God, not because of sex, but because of sin, and what it truly means to be adopted and thereby redeemed.

To begin with, the scriptures make it abundantly clear that we're not expelled from Eden because of Eve's succumbing to the lie of the serpent (you shall be 'as god's' by eating from a particular tree in the garden), but because of the willful disobedience of Adam.  Sin, Paul affirms, came into the world through one man, and death through that sin, which spread to all men (Romans 5:12). All the emphasis on Eve, therefore, having children from 'Adam and the Serpent', is not only nonsense (see Genesis 4:1 & 2), it's entirely irrelevant to the reason we are fallen - because we all come from Adam, we are all concluded under sin (Romans 3:9-19). We can seek to make all kinds of religious or racial distinctions until the sun turns to blood, but they are of no value or merit whatever (as Jesus tells those who thought they were special because they biologically descended from the Patriarchs - what truly mattered was to do the will of God, which is to believe on His begotten Son).
Secondly, if the big sin was Eve having sex with a serpent, why was Adam hiding, feeling equally guilty for also having 'eaten' of the fruit of the tree? It makes no sense.

Genesis does indeed record some very strange events in the times after Eden (Genesis 6 and 11 in particular), but these in no way change the reason why we are fallen - the disobedience of Adam.

Mankind was made in the image or likeness of God in a very particular manner.  The use of the Hebrew word tselem in Genesis 1 reveals that we were made to represent God's nature and character - to express and proclaim this amidst creation. We are, therefore, an image which 'is like' the creator in certain respects. The goal, therefore of our being redeemed is to restore and renew what was lost in the fall - to make us, once more, those within creation who express something of the reflection of the 'weight' and the splendor of the relationship that is shared between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All of creation is yearning for that day.

Billheimer's book was amended in its later editions to omit the material I've referred to here. Sadly, most of the 'revelations' we've touched on above continue to be evident amongst 'anointed' teachings in many sections of the modern church. 

How readily, tragically, we still receive 'another spirit' and 'another gospel'.

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