Thomas Griffin (7/13/20)
The song “Heaven’s Knife” by the unique sounding Josh Garrels is explicitly linked, out of all things, to the first book of the Bible, Genesis. We know the story full-well, but there is a piece of the puzzle that Garrels points out in tremendous fashion. It is often overlooked but it is the key to a profound marriage.
(Note: All discussions on the Book of Genesis must begin with this fact – the Bible is written, not as a science or mathematics textbook, but as God’s revelation to humanity of who is and who we are. Our goal in investigating any passage in the Bible is to answer questions like “why am I here, what is the point of life, or how do I find true fulfillment?” Faith is not the result of evidence found in a laboratory (although we do have that), it is the result of an encounter with a living person)
God creates the whole universe out of nothing, and he arranges that human beings have the run of the place. There is a man named Adam and a woman named Eve who can do pretty much whatever they want in this garden that they reside in. Everyone knows that the world takes an epic and spiral downturn when they take a piece of fruit from the forbidden tree. This is what Christians call The Fall or Original Sin. This is humanity’s decision to be selfish and greedy rather than obedient and trustworthy; this is the reality that each of us struggle with.
Garrels does a brilliant job highlighting the beauty involved in the details prior to our demise. His mission is both clear and insightful. Before there was humanity’s grabbing or taking of the fruit, there was their irrevocable and unconditional gift of self in love. Up until they take that fruit they are living in a perfect relationship with each other and with God.
In the second chapter of Genesis, Adam is created first and he is alone. He attempts to busy himself with work by naming the animals or doing other things, but nothing is fulfilling him. He realizes he is not alone because there are other beings with him, but none of them are made like him – has no counterpart. Finally, God casts Adam into a deep sleep and takes a rib from his side in order to form a perfect partner. This beautiful and breathtaking creation will be called woman because she is taken from the wound of man.
The ribs protect the vital organs of human beings. Adam, risks his own protection and safety of life for the beloved. Here, God is writing us the perfect love letter message. Here, we are given the key, we must sacrifice for the other and risk everything to be with them because this is God’s identity; this is Calvary.
In order for woman to come into existence, man must be cut and wounded; he must be pierced by heaven’s knife. The wound that man receives does not cause him to be saddened or hurt; the wound’s only effect is joyful praise because that wound becomes the creation of his love. Love’s perfection is found in gift, sacrifice, vulnerability, and openness. Not just for a day, or for a few weeks or months; love’s perfection is found in giving oneself to another forever, for life.
It is, in fact, in this gift of self that we find ourselves. True and authentic freedom opens oneself up to the other and is not confined to absorption in oneself. Freedom is defined by a “no” to some realities, in order for our “yes” to what is most important to flourish infinitely.
For love to be immersed in integrity it must be a love that risks it all; it must be a love that gives of itself forever. Garrels connects love to what it must be linked to: permanence and even infinity. Vows of permanence enable freedom to reign as a sacrificial enduring love which wills the good of the other, no matter what.
The man is cut by heaven’s knife and all he can say is, “Oh, my Lord. She’s beautiful, she’s a part of me…she’s my wife.” There is reason why the Bible begins with the wedding of Adam and Eve and ends with the wedding feast of the lamb. The entire message of God can be summed up in one phrase (according to Dr. Scott Hahn): God wants to marry you.
Let us allow our marriages to mirror sacrifice; let us utilize heaven’s knife.
Thomas Griffin teaches Apologetics in the religion department at a Catholic high school on Long Island and lives with his wife. He received a master’s degree in theology and is currently a master’s candidate in philosophy. He writes for several Catholic media outlets.
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