Rich Paxson

“James says that in Luke’s account of the Passion, we see Jesus, the definitive Adam, getting right what the first Adam got wrong. What was it that Adam got wrong? What is Jesus getting right? How does it feel to discover that the Creator loves you that much?”

The Discussion questions for this lesson made sense but also engendered feelings of cognitive dissonance. I think it’s their seemingly great distance from my psychological and social world that bothers me. In my background, the Adam and Eve narrative has no direct or behavioral connection with Jesus. Maybe there’s a conceptual connection through the forgiveness of original sin. But a direct storyline connection, Jesus’s actions ‘literally’ reversing the consequences of Adam’s actions, no.

I see the Adam and Eve narrative as a model that’s useful for understanding humanity’s attempts to control conflict and to explain humanity’s consequent alienation from God. But, did the Gospel writers, knowing a relationship between Jesus and Adam as James explains it, craft their narratives with the Genesis model in mind rather than sticking to the ‘facts on the ground’? The Gospel writers crafted a narrative combining myth and reality, which I’ve known in theory, but until now haven’t thought about integrating into how I live my life.

This acceptance is both disturbing and liberating. The insight does not engender feelings of being loved, no, the moment of ‘liberation’ feels confusing. Abstract ideas, like Jesus reversing Adam’s sin, require time to percolate through my psyche before I can feel emotionally connected to them. I need time before I can live into new actions that I base upon my new understandings.