The Hebrew word for “rib” is also the word for “side” a very important little fact that illuminates the creation of mother Eve. There is a call to be one, the separated halves will always yearn to be together again. The “profound sleep” that precedes the creation of Eve points at the death of Christ. Adam falls profoundly asleep and his side is open, from the open side comes Woman (womanhood, motherhood) who will be “the mother of all living.”
Those elements are found again in the last hours of the life of Jesus. The pleasure of the Garden of Eden brings to mind the agony of Gethsemane, the Cross echoes the Tree of Life where Christ hangs with His side open by the lance of Longinus. The effusion of blood and water, the very elements of life coming from the side of Christ evoke the “two rivers” of the first home of man.
There is plenty to meditate on the beautiful counterpoint between Genesis and the Gospels, the images are a palimpsest of wisdom so complex that one can only marvel at it. Those who have the blessing to read the ancient Hebrew and Greek languages are treated to masterful symphony of opposites and similarities that are hard to miss.
One of the concepts that run through that image, perhaps the hardest one to miss, is the concept of belonging to a unity that had to be broken so life could be possible, and the yearning of all life to be part of that unity again. Within that tension all life exists, the two rivers appear again. The fruitfulness of life requires that “belonging to,” see even the kernel of the English word “be longing:” from the center of our being we call God and God calls us.
The denial of such belonging is a denial to hear the call of the love of God:
“But you do not believe because you are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27.
Notice the sequence of believing, following, life, and belonging “in the hand” of Christ. The following sad facts follow: the denial of the Cross is at the root of a denial of Creation and leads eventually to a denial of Life. Of the resister Our Lord says: “He was a liar and a murderer from the beginning” because the devil’s beginning, his genesis, is a denial of truth that degenerates into an all out attack on life.
The opposite attitudes that give rise to the opposite consequences of believing and denying are quite chilling. A quote from today’s post by David Warren: “All human fallacy, all human foolishness, begins in that act of denial.” Included in that human foolishness is the losing of one’s soul.