By Ubong SAMPSON
This piece is dedicated to Pastor Samuel Olasupo of Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel) Akwa Ibom State Headquarters, Uyo. While on duty yesterday with my boss, the speaker, I was privileged to be part of the church’s third (3rd) service where the speaker was attending a function. And since I could not meet up with the first service I usually attend in my church, I decided to use that opportunity to give God my share of full worship. The message by the pastor in mention did not only inspire me, it also inspired this piece. Now to the main subject matter.
If you are a man like me, give yourself the loudest ‘gbosa’ for being the first to hit mother earth. The women can take their turn behind us, if they so desire.
After all, no be we do am, na Baba God. And by virtue of His all-knowing (omnipotent) and pre-knowledgible (omniscient) nature, He knew why things came up the way they did.
According to the bible in the book of Genesis, after God had created everything and confirmed that they were all good, He then decided to make man in His very own image and likeness. Form the dust of the earth, God created man and then gave him His real likeness (spirit) by breathing into his nostrils, the breath of life. Afterwhich, man was put in charge of all other creations. By this act, man, despite coming last, was first among every creation in terms of value, and with the right to freedom of interminable (limitless) increase.
God gave man a beffiting home- Garden of Eden where he was to take charge, and then gave him the first commandment (call it law or constitution if you so wish), but that was more of a tenancy agreement. In the constitution was man’s right to freedom of choice, to eat fruits from all trees in the garden except that which stood at the centre of the garden. Whether or not God knew that man will sin, is not made known by history, but the story has it that, like every constitution clearly spells out punishment for every crime, man was to die, as punishment, if he ever violates this law.
Shortly after man was created, he began to feel lonely because he had noticed that other creatures came in twos (heaven and earth, sea and land, light and darkness, as well as the male and female species of the living creatures) except himself. Seeing his predicament, God decided to give him a help meet through a female companion- woman, whom God made from a single rib drawn from man. According to the story, Adam, upon waking up to the reality of a perfect companion, held her out of excitement and named her Eve- meaning, bone of my bones.
Man’s first act of folly came the day he abandoned his wife, the very companion he sought, for an unknown adventure, consequently giving the serpent- devil the room to operate. And knowing too well that the woman, like every women now are, will be easily carried away by sentiments, the devil made very good use of the opportunity. Before doubting this, one should first give reason(s) why the serpent did not attempt to tempt Adam all through his lonely days in the garden. Truth is, Adam, being the original recipient of this commandment, would have been too much of a kpim (hard nut) to crack. But on the other hand, Eve, despite getting the message from Adam, may not have gotten the emphasis and strictness that came with it, since according to communication experts, information passed from one recipient to another can never be the same, as it is most likely to suffer distortions, not in all cases deliberate though, but due to some external inferences.
To make his sentiments irresistible, the devil who is said to be subtle, cunning had begun by blackmailing God first. He made God look like our present day politicians who will decive the masses with the icing, so as to take their eyes off the main body of the national cake. In this case, the devil through the serpent told Eve that God had given them right to fruits from the other trees which according to him, were only rich in taste but with very little or no effect, so as to take their eyes off the main fruit which, despite not being as tasty as the rest, had so much effect, enough to open their eyes and minds to the kind of wisdom God possesses… like the politicians would not want the masses to be as rich as they are, to maintain the dignified gap between them.
So cheaply, Eve eventually fell, and without any further hesitation, made savoury of the fruit. And the damage did not just end there, as she, using her feminine powers and perhaps, with the earlobe-licking trick, took advantage of the weakness of a man helplessly in love, and lured him into sinning along with her. Like a pack of cards, Adam fell for the gambit and rather chose to blame God for giving him Eve… consequently losing his exalted position, home and all the comfort that came with them.
The rest of the story, as we all know, is history, and which damages, God, through a second Adam (Jesus), was so kind to fix, giving man another chance of salvation, with the same constitution, as amended in the days of Moses (with 9 more provisions added to it). The reward for keeping the new commandments has now been upgraded to heavenly standard, as against the paradise standard of the Eden Garden. While, on the other hand, the penalty for failing to keep them has equally been upgraded to an eternal suffering in hell, as against the temporal earthly suffering man was previously subjected to.
However, the constitutional and all other changes notwithstanding, man’s right to freedom of choice remains intact, just as death remains the penalty for violating any of the laws; only that the process has changed from instant to eternal. And before you wonder, God did not compromise His stand as regards the penalty for man’s disregard to the rule of law. Adam died. Though his death was of the spirit, not of the body. Like the pastor had said yesterday, Adam died in spirit the very moment he committed sin.
It might interest us to know that God created man in trinity- the spirit, soul and body. And in all three, the real likeness of God is the spirit. And as a matter of fact, this is the part of man that returns to God after the death of the body, to face judgment, as scripted in Hebrews 9:27, that it is appointed for a man to die but once; afterwhich, judgment follows. The soul is the mind, reasoning, emotions and mentality of a man, while the body is the home which God gave the other two to dwell and manifest. That is why the bible says in Proverbs 23:7, that as a man thinketh in his mind, so he is (in his act). Everything the body does is a reflection of the mind. This is evident in the gospel according to Romans 6:23, which says that the wages of sin is death, but the gift (reward) of God (for righteousness) is eternal life in Christ Jesus.
It is worthy of note that the present day man still displays the folly acts of the first man, Adam. Without hesitation, the present day man will, through his emotions or words of prayer, request from God, the good things of life to meet his desire for comfort. Sadly, these requests, when eventually met, causes him to disobey God and fall short of His glory. This is because, he ends up misusing them and causing God to regret, just like he regreted creating man. It is not out of place to seek and have comfort, but it is to our detriment, when we get sunk in the sofas of this comfort and allow complacency to keep enlarging the gap between us and God. Be that as it may, God, in His infinite mercy, had done His part by buying us sufficient grace of salvation with the precious blood of His son, Jesus Christ as the ultimate price. It is now left for us to do our part by paying the little price of keeping His commandments, as condition for having this salvation.
Summarily, salvation is only said to be free because we would have been able to afford its original price, hence, God’s decision to subsidize the price for us, and giving us an affordable price to pay. Before now, we in Nigeria were complaining that the original price of petrol was too much for us to pay, and the Federal Government had decided to subsidize the price for us. Today, that subsidy is no more. Yet, we are still buying the product. This is because we are left with no choice, considering the importance of the product to our everyday lives. If we could see the importance of an earthly product to our survival, which no matter how much of it we have, will extend our living moments on earth by a second; how much more salvation- a product that will earn us an eternal life of unimaginable comfort in heaven. Do we have to wait till the last day when that subsidy will be no more? Brother, sister, certainly, the answer is NO.
Ubong Sampson is a Public/Political/Social/Academic Affairs Analyst.