Yesterday, I promised to paint a picture for you of the Last Supper using the Old Testament (OT). This picture, like any master piece, may take some time to develop. We will see how it goes. Today, I want to answer the question – what does the Creation story tell us about the Last Supper and its meaning? This will be my way of pulling out the canvas and some pencils so I can start to rough out some of the details of the painting.
In the beginning, God created us. In his image and likeness, he created man and woman. It doesn’t matter if this story is a myth or real or some combination of both. It was divinely inspired. It tells us something about God and his reasons for creating us. It tells us that as his creation, we are good.
He made two trees, the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve could eat of the tree of life, and the fruit was eternal life. In this era of time, there was only one command, one law – do not eat of the fruit of the tree of good and evil. The result of disobeying God was death.
What we see in the Eden version of the creation story is a God who walks with his creation. We see a God who is present to us. I can picture God sitting down to eat with Adam and Eve, sharing a meal, sharing communion with them. But, we all know how the story goes, right? The serpent, the cunning creature, tempts the woman into disobeying God, and she in turn passes the fruit to Adam. Alas, sin enters the world, and humanity becomes its own god, its own creator of the rules of good and evil. The great divide between God and man came into existence.
I find great humor in this part of the story. Let’s look at what Adam and Eve do with all their new found wisdom. They don fig leaves to cover their nakedness. Have you ever googled fig leaves? The first thing they do is put a leaf with caustic properties on their “nakedness”! Ouch! I can’t say that this seems very wise to me!
Here our loving God, who knew from the beginning that we would disobey, shows his creation great compassion. In the face of our disobedience, he takes from them their painful choice of clothing, and makes them clothes out of soft animal skins. Then, like any parent who has to enforce the rules, he shuts the gate and places an angel with the fiery swords to protect the tree of life.
I want to back up, and address one final issue. Did you notice how Adam tells God that he was hiding because he was naked? This used to puzzle me because the previous verses say that they had already clothed themselves with their finest choice of materials. Why did they really hide from God? In my meditation on this question, I saw their shame; I saw their fear of disappointing God. Because of this, fig leaves have become for me a symbol of sin and shame. In some respects, I see sinners wearing layers of fig leaves, and God, in his mercy, wants to work with us to remove these fig leaves. He wants to replace them with something more fitting for our station in life as his creation.
In summary, what pieces of the picture have we sketched on the canvas. I suggest that in this divinely inspired story God reveals many things. He revealed that we are good, but that we choose things that are not for our good. He tells us that his original intention was for us to be in union with him; to walk with him in a land of milk and honey. We are the ones who choose differently. In some sense, it is in our nature to be out of communion with God, but he has a plan that will restore the original balance. First, he has to finish the OT painting so we can comprehend what Jesus means in the Last Supper.
 Myth, a symbolic narrative, usually of unknown origin and at least partly traditional, that ostensibly relates actual events and that is especially associated with religious belief. www.britannica.com
© Debra Weldon, 2019. All Rights Reserved.