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The Great I Am

Preacher: 
Rev. John M. Edgerton
Date: 
Oct 7 2012
Scripture: 

Transcript

Have you ever heard the story of why there is everything instead of nothing? It started with the One, the One whom we will call I AM. There was I AM, and there were the illimitable and infinite gulfs of what is not. That is to say, there was only I AM, and I AM was alone. How long had I AM been alone? Well, how long has no meaning when a moment and forever are the same.

This could have been the end of the story, but I AM did not want to be alone and so began to create by changing some of the what-is-not into what is. And I AM first created place by making two places which were not the same as one another. The first place was called the heavens, where I AM would be. And in the second place, something else would be. And the second place was called Adamah, earth. And I AM took and shaped and formed some of the dust of the Adamah, into Adam. But the Adam was still only dust, and so I AM breathed into the nostrils of the Adam. And it became a living being.

But there was nothing for the Adam to see or do or eat because the Adamah, the earth, was barren and without any plant or herb or anything else. And so the Adam was alone upon the earth, just as I AM was alone in the heavens. And it was not good to be alone.

And so I AM created a garden. And the garden was called Eden, which means Fullness, because it was a garden full of every kind of tree. All the trees that there are today were there: maple and palm and spruce. And all the trees that have disappeared from the earth were there too: the Annularia and Banksia Strahanensis, the Galapagos Amaranth and Mason River Myrtle. The garden of fullness had every kind of tree, even trees that are impossible: there was a tree whose fruit was life itself, and another tree which gave knowledge of good and evil. And I AM put the Adam into the Garden of Fullness, to till it and keep it.

And the Adam could eat from any of the trees in the garden, including the tree whose fruit was life itself. But the trees, as marvelous as they were, were nothing like the Adam. And so the Adam was still alone upon the earth, just as I AM was alone in the heavens. And it was not good to be alone. So I AM warned the Adam never to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Adam didn’t know what good and evil were and so although the Adam knew it was alone, it did not know that it wasn’t good to be alone. But if the Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it would experience the weight and horror of being utterly alone, of knowing it would mean to walk the length and breadth of the earth and find nothing else its equal. Undying solitude had been too much even for I AM to bear, and I AM did not wish that upon the Adam. Such a life would be a curse and so on the very day that the Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, I AM would have no choice but to give the Adam death as a release from bottomless despair.

But this was all wrong, I AM had been alone and so set out to create in order to be free from solitude. But I AM had only created a kind of earthy double—The Adam was the solitary creation of a solitary creator. I AM was still alone in the heavens and the Adam was still alone upon the earth. And it was not good to be alone. So I AM began a frenzy of creation—new living things, every kind of animal of the field and bird of the air, and placed them in the garden of Fullness before the Adam. But when the Adam saw each, it merely named them and sent them away: zebra and jackrabbit, hummingbird and lion, ant and elephant, wolf and eagle, owl and serpent. Soon every part of the garden crept and walked and slithered and flew. But none of the animals were a partner for the Adam. The Adam was still alone upon the earth, just as I AM was alone in the heavens. And it was not good to be alone.

And so I AM made a deep sleep fall upon the Adam, a sleep as deep as that one which precedes a person’s being. And I AM took some of the Adam’s own flesh and made another being that was alike in nature but different in form. And in doing so, the Adam was split into Ish and Ishshah, he and she, male and female—of one essence, yet not identical. And I AM placed them together and when they looked at one another they cried out with joy: this at last is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. And they stood utterly exposed before one another and had no shame.

And I AM looked out of the heavens and saw that creation was finished, the man and the woman were no longer alone and it was good. But … but … the man and the woman were of one flesh with one another. For I AM, there could be no such partner. There was nothing like I AM in all of creation because that was the purpose of this first creation: for there to be something which was not I AM. So in the heavens, I AM was still alone and it was not good to be alone. And if I AM should shape a thousand ten thousand worlds, life incomprehensible, universes beyond counting , it would make no difference. I AM would still be like a potter at the wheel, surrounded by pottery and utterly alone.

And so I AM desired all the more to be with the people of the earth, to be together and not alone. But I AM could not bring the man and the woman into heaven, they were from the earth and of the earth. To bring them into the heavens would make them into something else, something they were not, it would destroy them. And I AM did not want to destroy what the man and woman were. It was good! To be flesh meant to be able to share flesh with another.

I AM was not willing to change the man and the woman into something they were not. But I AM was willing to do anything else to be with them. I AM might even become flesh. And I AM surveyed what it would mean to become as one like a child of humanity, taking in the whole of the story at once: law and prophets, sin and forgiveness, temple and exile, Rome and Galilee, love and betrayal, the bitterness of death and the glory of resurrection revealing that death is but a pale shadow of eternity. I AM saw what headlong risk it would be to become flesh, and I AM saw what terrible humiliation it would be to become flesh, and I AM saw what matchless glory it would be to become flesh. It would mean a new creation, a new creation in flesh that would mean a revolution of the heavens themselves.

And so I AM resolved to become the new creation: I AM became God. And God was the God of all flesh and all spirit. And as is the way with God, in resolving to become the new creation, the thing was done, had always been done, could not have not been.

So in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things came into being because of the Word. And what came into being through the Word was life, and the life was the light of all people. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen the glory of God, the glory as of a parent’s only child, full of grace and truth. And it meant the salvation of all flesh, and it meant the salvation of all the earth, and it meant the salvation of God.

That is the story of why there is everything instead of nothing. It is the story of the beginning and the end, of creation and new creation, of loneliness and togetherness. If the story is confusing, if the ending and the beginning seem to be the same and yet changed in the telling, that is because when we children of the earth tell a story we must start at the beginning and go to the end. But that is not the way it is with our God. Our God is beyond beginnings and endings, beyond time and space, beyond life and death. Our God is the great I AM.