You can run but you can’t hide. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
What a world it would be if we only spoke in clichés.
Is it the kind of world you and I live in?
Do we retreat into beaten-down meadows, like deer who lay where others have already flattened the grass?
There’s less work I suppose. And the grass may still be warm.
But it’s also kind of like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
You can enter a home that isn’t yours, you can search for a bed that fits just right, but at the end of the day your cover will be blown.
You can run but you can’t hide.
After all, you’ve made your bed, now lie in it.
Perhaps it is such lying that is really the apple.
For picking fruit from someone else’s tree has never been a good idea.
Those kind of apples certainly keep the good doctor away.
But I guess we also have to be careful to not overcorrect.
We must not out of pride be unwilling to enter where others have already been.
No, that is wisdom. We should go where others have gone before. It just depends on who they were and where they went.
And no matter what, we shouldn’t hide within those spaces, pretend that they are our own, and perhaps worst of all, act as if we are the first to ever have entered—delusion of this kind leads us to the belief that we create anything at all.
Think of Adam in the Garden. God is busy whipping up the entire universe from out of nothing. Creating and sculpting, adding and adapting, breathing life into His new world. And Adam, well, he’s one of the building blocks. Yes, certainly a favorite. A favorite that God does not want to be alone.
And something spectacular takes place:
The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him. So the LORD God formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each living creature was then its name. The man gave names to all the tame animals, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals… (Genesis 18-20)
God created, Adam named.
It is simply amazing. And humbling.
What an honor. And what a clear indicator of who is truly in charge.
We create nothing. That’s the bad news for those who want to be God.
We do though participate in the ongoing unfolding of God’s perfect and eternal world. We even seem to share the leading role. That’s the Good News for those who believe.
For our work is not to create. We simply cant. Only God can. And even if we “build” with what is already in existence, if we seemingly “create” something “new” with the building blocks we find already laying around, that “pseudo-creation” still isn’t our primary job.
Then what is?
Well, the original disciples of Jesus had a similar wonder:
So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” (John 6:28-29)
And there’s the crux of it, if you will.
Adam, we must remember, when in the supremely honorable position of naming God’s creatures was still naked, and he felt “no shame.” He hadn’t yet eaten what wasn’t his. He was not yet hiding “among the trees of the garden.” He still believed in the One Who Sends.
Adam was faithful. Adam was original. Adam knew he was God’s creation. And Adam was free to roam.
But Adam used his freedom to choose to become a slave.
Adam’s fall was a fall into self. A fall into creation, the creation of a great lie, that man creates on the same level as God.
It was a great fall. So steep was the cliff off which he went that no other story could ever bring more meaning to the most hackneyed line: “Once upon a time…”
Adam’s fall is a fall into denomination.
A fall into the church of self.
A fall into complete and utter cliché.
And it brought death to the great privilege of cooperating with God, of naming and stewarding on His behalf His created world.
But thanks be to God.
For someone truly original, and creative, finally came round.
He put the apple back up upon the tree and told the snake to take a hike.
His name is Jesus.
He is also called The Son of Man.
But of course we are free to just call Him God.
For about Jesus, nothing is cliché.
It is very clear, there’s absolutely no running or hiding when it comes to the Cross.
And when it comes to His love for us, there’s no apple that can keep the Divine Physician away.