The Cycle of Life

Do you ever think about the cycle of life? 

I do. There are 12 Developmental Stages in the human life cycle. I’m in Stage 8, early adulthood. While my grandma is in Stage 12 death and dying. 

Those in our lives who are dying, or who have died, teach us about the value of living.  They remind us not to take our lives for granted, but to live each moment of life to its fullest, and to remember that our own small lives form of a part of a greater whole.  – Dr. Armstrong

That’s one reason why I’m so interested in the banal and just living a simple life. Because living in the moment is one of the best ways to fully experience the whole cycle of life. And we don’t have to wait ’till we’re dying to figure that out. 

Genesis 1-3 is so interesting to me, but I feel like there’s so much more to the story. So, I read it again and again hoping to get some more understanding about our creation. 

Tempted by Peer Pressure

That day in the garden when Eve was deceived by the crafty serpent and led herself and her man astray, that’s the day we were cut off from the tree of life. We had access to it and every other tree in the garden…except for that one tree…the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And Adam wasn’t man enough to get control over his woman when she didn’t stand up to that serpent. 

Was she even listening to God when he told her how to handle the trees? When the serpent asked her “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” She just carried on a conversation with the deceptive dude and he was much more clever. 

Instead of clarifying what God really said, she said something about not eating or even touching the tree in the middle or you’ll die. That answer right there opened the door for the serpent to beguile her. Why didn’t she just say, “Well, let’s just go ask God what He said.”?

Matthew 4 shows a good example of how to respond when being asked about what God really said.

Shame and Fear

Then when God asked them about it, they hid from Him, they lied, they made excuses, and they played the blame game. 

We were not ready for the responsibility of that kind of wisdom gained from knowledge of good and evil. Maybe one day we would have been but not yet. And now we’re stuck in a constant battle of good vs evil. In everyday life, in movies and in books. In everything.

Gustave Doré  Adam and Eve Driven out of Eden
engraving 1865

There’s some crazy stuff in the Bible, like some of the creatures God created. He cut us off from accessing the tree of life by placing cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth. I’m assuming we’ll get access again one day, I dunno.

And I guess that’s why we have this fleeting cycle of life. We go through the aging process and die and return to the ground from where we came. And while we go through the aging process, I guess our society decided to make some bank.

Like Eve, I’m also drawn to wisdom. I think it looks pleasing too.

Wisdom

My grandma was telling me about how she’s had a hard life but she loved it. She said if you can learn, then you can do anything. As a child, the doctors told her she’d never walk. That she would need surgery. And as a young adult they said she’d be in a wheelchair by the time she was 40. Well, she’s 83 and never had surgery and never used a wheelchair. 

Doctors don’t know shit. They apparently have a very low opinion of what humans can accomplish.

She was also talking about her husband and how he’s the only man she ever wanted. They met on a blind date and he didn’t want some floozy. He wanted a good girl who was feisty and could handle a wild guy like him. And that’s what he got. They had one of those story book romance loves. They definitely had struggles, but it was true love. 

And she told me she wouldn’t change one thing.

I think that’s beautiful and we should all try to live our lives with this attitude. So, maybe we are stuck living in a fleeting life but there’s so much living to do in that natural cycle of life. Even in my grandma’s dying days, her state of mind is to live each day she’s alive. 

Why Does Pope Francis Want to Change a Verse in The Lord’s Prayer?

I heard this morning that Pope Francis wants to change the wording of The Lord’s Prayer. He said that God does not lead us into temptation, but that is Satan’s job. He said this verse implies that God leads you into Sin and a father wouldn’t do that but that a father would help you get up immediately. Instead he wants it to be, “do not let us fall into temptation.”

I enjoy digging deeper into the Bible and getting a better understanding of what it’s teaching us so let’s jump on in.

First of all, temptation isn’t actually sinning. Temptation happens before you sin or don’t sin. It’s important to distinguish between temptation and sin because, come on, who isn’t tempted to do something they shouldn’t? I know that I get tempted but I don’t always follow through on the temptation. And it’s God, and the things I’ve learned from His word, that helped me overcome the temptation.

Pope Francis is using the KJV, so I wondered what the original Greek translation is actually saying. According to Strong’s Concordance, the word “lead” (1533) could be better translated as “carry” or “bring”.

So, instead of “Lead us not into temptation,” it would be more accurate to say “please don’t carry or bring me into temptation”? I wondered what the original word “temptation” is actually saying.

The word temptation here could be better translated as “trial” (3986) So, we would be asking God, “please do not carry me or bring me into a trial or test, but deliver me from evil”? This reminds me immediately of Job, who God actually brought to Satan’s attention.

“Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” Job 1:8

God said to Satan there’s nobody on Earth like Job, who is upright and blameless. Satan replies that God blesses Job and if God took away all those blessings then he’d surely curse God.

“The LORD said to Satan, “Very well then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Job 1:12

God is outright testing Job, carrying him or leading him into temptation. The heading over this section is even titled, “Job’s First Test.” Even though He is allowing Job to be tested by Satan (who God created) He also ordered Satan not to lay a finger on the man himself.

Hmm . . . in the book of Job, I see no implication of God leading him into temptation. I see that God outright carries him into temptation which is directly brought about by Satan. So, Pope Francis is partially right that it’s Satan’s job to tempt humans into sinful behavior. But, who created Satan and gave him that job? God did.

It might be hard for some people to look at God as being in control of everything, including Satan, or whomever else he created. I feel comforted because I know that God is in charge, and I personally don’t want to be tested the way Job was tested. God allowed him to go through some pretty bad stuff. But God also protected Job while he went through these tests.

I was reminded of another verse:

“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23,24.

Many verses in the Bible let us know that God will get us through difficult situations that will surely happen, but he won’t let us fall. So, the Pope’s concept about asking God to not let us fall is definitely a common concept in the Bible. But I still wonder if it is an appropriate or necessary translation for this particular prayer?

The Lord’s Prayer was given by Jesus as instruction on how to pray. And if we study it carefully, and combine this one prayer with other things the Bible is teaching, I believe we can continue to deepen our understanding until the cows come home.

come home cow.jpg

Let’s look again at Pope Francis’ proposed translation “do not let us fall into temptation.” Is this a better translation? Does it give us a deeper meaning of what the prayer is asking for? Does the Pope’s reasoning behind the change make sense? Are his reasons consistent with the rest of the Bible? Does it actually water down the truth? 

I’m glad I looked up the original meanings in the concordance. Gives me a little more wisdom to chew on.