First Published in ‘The Catholic Voice’, Ireland, February 2016
The serpent enters the Garden of Eden
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)
Notice again how the serpent approaches the woman with a false assertion. This is no idle question on behalf of the serpent. He seeks to engage the woman in dialogue so that he may overthrow the human race and separate mankind from God. In this day and age, when dialogue is trumpeted as being one of the solutions to the problems of disunity amongst the various religions, it is well to remember that it was this initial dialogue between the serpent and the woman that brought about the disunity of man from God his creator. Not all dialogue is good and for dialogue to be good, it must be based on Truth otherwise it will lead to further dis-unity and to compromise.
False Ecumenism & the Dangers of Dialogue
The Catholic Church has been entrusted with the fullness of Truth and she must bear complete witness to this Truth, which is none other than Jesus Christ, in any dialogue that she engages in. Catholics are the only one’s that have something to lose in ecumenical dialogue and this is why certain truths can never be set aside in order to concentrate on what unites us to other faith traditions. The purpose of all ecumenical dialogue must ultimately be, to bring the lost sheep home to the Catholic Church. Anything else is a compromise and will lead to a loss of faith on the side of the Catholic.
We see this false ecumenism in the garden of Eden. The serpent, in a way, is looking for a kind of unity. He wants the Man and the Woman to share his own fate, to be ‘united’ to his fate, as it were. The serpent has just blasphemed God, making Him out to be a liar and petty minded in not wanting to share the benefits of this special fruit from the tree of knowledge with the man and the woman. As if God is afraid and will somehow feel threatened, in that they will now be like him, knowing good and evil. But Adam is silent in the face of the serpent’s false and blasphemous assertion. Adam is the head of Eve and of the human race. He has a duty to speak out to defend the honour of God but he remains silent, probably curious. Or perhaps he doesn’t want to offend the serpent by contradicting him!
Those who have a Duty to Speak, remain Silent
We see the same situation occurring today with so many of our leaders. Many, who have a duty to speak so as to defend the teachings of the Catholic Church, remain silent when the honour of God and of His Church is being besmirched by lies and half truths. It is then no surprise when those under the care of these leaders behave like Eve in the garden of Eden. Had Adam intervened and called the serpent out on his blasphemy, it is unlikely that Eve would have proceeded to take the fruit and eat of it. But Adam remained silent! He reneged on his duty before God and there were very serious consequences.
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.” (Genesis 1:6-7)
Original Sin is Committed
Disaster befalls the human race! It is impossible for us to truly appreciate the full extent of the horror that Adam and Eve experience through their instantaneous separation from God through this original sin. Imagine that you have gone for a social night out and that you meet someone who is very friendly and knowledgeable. During the course of a very pleasant chat they offer to buy you a drink and you accept with gratitude. The next thing that you remember is waking up in a strange country, surrounded by people who do not speak your language, you are naked and you are on display in front of all of these strangers. Imagine the terror and the panic of finding yourself in such a situation and yet, this is nothing compared to the situation that Adam and Eve now find themselves faced with.
They try to Hide their Nakedness
They have just sown some fig leaves together, to cover what has now become their ‘private parts’, when they hear God walking in the garden in the cool of the evening. Their situation is piteous; their intellects have been darkened; their bodies and desires are no longer in submission to their wills; they are confused and they are terrified. In this sorry state they seek to hide themselves from God amongst the trees of the garden.
“But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:9-13)
Man Must Render an Account
God is fully aware of all that has happened, yet he still asks Adam to give an account. Again, notice that God calls to Adam and not to Eve. Adam is ultimately responsible for what happened because he did not do his duty before God and he reneged on his duty to protect and defend his wife Eve. The church speaks of the ‘sin of Adam’ she does not speak of the sin of Eve. These are very important points to be aware of if we want to come to a true understanding of what is wrong with this world that we inhabit. If we want to understand what has gone wrong within the Church that we love and if we want to begin once again to correct these problems we must pay careful attention to all that happened in the beginning.
© John Lacken 2015
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Author: John Lacken
Founder: Legio Sanctae Familiae – The Legion of the Holy Family