Jesus Creed

WeddingRing.jpgWe are discussing marriage by examining the recent book of John Piper’s called This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence.

“Marriage,” Piper says, “is more wonderful than anyone on earth knows” (29). And he argues that we need God’s grace to know this and that as fallen humans we will not grasp this fully on earth. So much for the intr to chp 2, which is called “Naked and Not Ashamed.”

He summarizes his previous chp and brings in once again his contrast of love with covenant keeping. “If a spouse falls in love with another person, one profoundly legitimate response from the grieved spouse and from the church is ‘So what! Your being ‘in love’ with someone else is not decisive. Keeping your covenant is decisive” (31). (I don’t like playing off “love” with “covenant keeping” because the former and the latter are nearly synonymous in the Bible, but he gets better in this chp where he speaks of “covenant keeping love.” Here he might be distinguishing “romantic” from “covenant keeping” love.)

Anyway, what about this nudity stuff in Genesis 3?

Piper is big on arguing that Adam and Eve were “not” not ashamed because they had perfect bodies. His argument is that perfection is not the foundation for lack of shame. Instead that lack of shame emerged from their covenant commitment. (Actually, I think he twists himself into unnecessary polarities here: their lack of shame was connected to their innocence, their genuine and uncontaminated love for God, self, and others, and to their clear covenant commitment to one another). I agree that covenant commitment is at the heart of their absence of shame.

When they sin and declare independence from God and one another, which is a retreat into the Ego Self (my expression), they experience shame. Why? Because their covenant-keeping love (this is better than his distinction of the two terms) collapsed (35). Their shame is connected to personal vulnerability and it springs from the realization that the other (Eve or Adam) is no longer trustworthy and because the “I” (Eve or Adam) is also no longer trustworthy. The distinction now grows between what “I am” and what “I ought to be.”

God clothes them. Why? To reveal that they are no longer what they were and not what they ought to be. And to reveal that God himself will provide and that there is a future glory that awaits them — and he ties this all to Christ’s redemptive work.

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