Awakening Breath

Listen to sermon delivered at Condon United Church of Christ here.

Outline of Sermon
Sept. 11, 2016
Condon United Church of Christ
Rev. Tim Graves

Eve and Adam had a choice.

We have a choice.

Our choices have consequences,
sometimes far-reaching consequences.


Dispose of some myths.

Myth 1: Eve leads Adam to sin.

  • Eve is ‘ezer or helper – equal or higher status
  • ‘ezer used for God
  • the snake uses plural language > Adam was standing beside Eve

Myth 2: The snake was the devil

  • no indication whatsoever
  • snake was divine or semi-divine in ancient thought
  • “The snake was the most intelligent of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made.” (Gen. 3:1a CEB)
  • internal myth buster

In other parts of Bible:

  • biblically H’satan was more of a teacher
  • to empower devil is to de-power God
  • much of what we think we know is extra-biblical

Myth 3: Eden is a spa vacation.

Adam & Eve have a job

Myth 4: Original sin

  • this story is not about our sinful nature per se
  • it is about the human condition
  • it is about free will: individual & collective
  • our choices make it tough on us

The Nahum M. Sarna says in the JPS Torah Commentary,

“there is no inherent, primordial evil at work in the world. The source of evil is not metaphysical but moral.

Evil is…humanly wrought. Human beings possess free will, but free will is beneficial only insofar as its exercise is in accordance with divine will.

Free will and the need for restraint on the liberties of action inevitably generate temptation and the agony of choosing,

which only man’s self-mastery can resolve satisfactorily. (JPS Torah Commentary)


In every moment we have a choice. 

In this moment you

  • can leave
  • scream
  • sing
  • call me names

But God calls us to the most loving response.

How do we figure out God’s will?

  • prayer life
  • Bible study
  • community
  • generous giving
  • reflection on choice gone bad
  • other thoughts?



This is the 15th Anniversary of 9-11.

  • Where were you?
  • What were your thoughts?
  • What were our choices?


Adam & Eve made some choices

  • consequences

We made choices following 9-11

  • consequences

God warns Adam & Eve

  • choices have consequences
  • childbirth will be hard
  • the land outside Eden is harder to cultivate

What if God was giving them a choice?

  • not “the fall” but consequences
  • stay in garden
  • go into world

Remember, our life comes from the very breath of God

  • two parts: dust & breath
  • dust has no free will
  • so, free will is “of God”
  • to make a decision is to use God’s breath

When Adam & Eve make their choice to see the good & evil in the world, 

they are living into their God-parts.

They are following God’s lure to become co-creators of the incomplete creation. 

Like Adam & Eve, we are called to assist God, to co-create with God, God’s dream for the world.

 Suggests Disciples of Christ Pastor Loren Straight,

We are not called to stay in the garden but to go into all the world, in the image of God, 

where it is not all roses but toil and labor, resentment and competition, and always, always, the easy [choice] belief that someone has to die for this. 

Could it be that this is not about our fall but about our awakening? (Pastor Loren Straight, Central Christian, Iowa, Facebook, Narrative Lectionary Group, 9/9/16)

You are not fallen. You are called. 

Awaken the breath of God that gives you life. 

Listen. Follow. God will lead.


Tim strives to share God’s extravagant love for all–no matter what & without strings. Seeking to follow the lure of the Spirit, Tim writes about what it means to be a follower of Jesus in an era where Christianity has come to be associated with hatred and political wedge issues. “Heinous things have been said & done (& still are) in the name of the One who breathed in the Divine,” notes Tim, “but Jesus shows us that God loves extravagantly.” Following the teachings and life of Jesus is about inclusion not exclusion. It is about compassion, grace, and admitting no one has all the answers. It is about responding lovingly to the best of our human ability. It is about people not institutions. It is about social justice. It is about caring for creation. It is about being who we were each created to be. Tim is a former early childhood educator, a runner, a hiker, a devoted husband, father of two adult children and their spouses, and a grandfather of four perfect grandchildren. Tim serves as Senior Pastor of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Albany, Oregon. He writes from home, from the coffee shop, and wherever the trail leads him.

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Posted in Genesis, Genesis 2, Genesis 2:4-3:8, Old Testament, Sermon, Uncategorized

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All materials by Tim Graves unless otherwise noted. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0

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