The story of Adam and Eve

I listened to a Hasidic Rabbi give an alternate perspective about the story of Adam and Eve that sounded plausible. He said that earth was already occupied and in sin before God created Adam and Eve. They resided with God and chose to come to earth to help save earth’s humans. They had no concept of sin. God placed the tree of life and death in the garden so that they can choose for themselves. Adam being a man, he was literal in his thinking so he hung on to God’s words. Eve being a woman, the wiser and intuitive, knew that their mission was not to live happily ever after in the garden but to go into the earth and give humanity a chance. Eve was ready and the stronger of the two as she was a warrior on her mission. Adam and Eve spoke of the decision as husband and wife and it is conceivable that they worried about their children cause we would not have the same purity but made the hard choice to give us a chance. The serpent had legs cause he was on holy ground. Being that Adam and Eve were holy and without evil in their hearts, he dismisses the idea that they would manifest evil or go against God deliberately through a conversation with the serpent. Furthermore when God asked them if the ate of the tree, for them to point fingers when they were pure beings and are of the mission is uncharacteristic and unconceivable. When God reads out their “consequences” he is not punishing them but preparing them for the hardships they are to face from the choice they have made. This Story to me aligns more with my understanding of God. My questions are:

  1. Could we have misinterpreted the story altogether?
  2. From apologetic view, is this alternative story plausible?

In my view, if this version is plausible, from a scientific perspective, would this explain why the human genome and we as the “homo” species do not align with other prior human genomes / species?

A side question:

  1. Which came first? Adam and Eve or the heavenly battle with Satan?

Hi Namia,

Thank you for this question. I understand the desire to understand scripture more deeply and get to the inside scoop on what was really happening in a Bible story. But I think we need to be careful not to go to far in speculating about what might have happened, when we have God’s word to tell us what did happen. Although the picture this Rabbi provided may seem like it answers some questions for you and you may be drawn to it, I would encourage you to prioritize God’s word above any teacher’s speculations. We have very good reasons to believe in the inspiration and preservation of scripture, and Jesus himself reminds us not to reject any part of the Old Testament, which would include the creation and garden story. Ultimately I think this Rabbi’s imaginative picture contradicts the Genesis story in several places, so it should be rejected.

There are several Connect conversations about the topic of Adam and Eve that you might find interesting. Here are a few:

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Just want to add a few quick resources from a science perspective! William Lane Craig has spoken a lot on the historic Adam and Eve, so he’s got some great perspectives on that topic: The Question of the Historicity of Adam and Eve.

Like Matthew said, however, I think it’s doubtful that we’ve misinterpreted the story altogether. Of course, there are many quasi-Christian groups who would argue we definitely have (Jehovah’s Witnesses come to mind) but we should be really careful about the amount of extrapolation we’ll engage in outside of the Biblical narrative.

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Hi @Namia,

Your question caught my attention as I’ve worked extensively with Orthodox Jews in my professional work, and so I wanted to offer an additional layer here that can complement what @Kasey_Leander & @Matthew_Mittelberg have already well stated.

First off…stay true to God’s Word, even when extrabiblical ideas seem plausible. All truth is God’s truth, but God’s Word also gets the last word on what is truth.

As I have learned from my orthodox Jewish friends, the Jews have hung their lives for millennia on the Word of God in a literalistic way. They hold it in the utmost regard. Take the Sh’ma prayer (e.g., Deuteronomy 6:4) which they pray twice daily according to the directive from God in the later verse of Deuteronomy 6:7 (e.g., “when you lie down and when you rise”). This example carries true of Orthodox Jews to this day that they pray the Sh’ma in Hebrew. So, they take God at His word and it seems incongruous for a Rabbi to take such creative liberty to add on to the Genesis narrative.

And yet, over time, Jews found that the laws of Moses, for example, weren’t clear enough to them and needed to be interpreted for clarification. So Rabbis interpreted those for their people, and those interpreted teachings ended up not being clear enough, so the Rabbis further expounded on the interpretations into further enumerated rules. Ultimately, if further clarification is needed, a local Rabbi (e.g., teacher of the law) is the only one who can interpret a new case, and that decision is binding. Over time, the commentaries of certain Jewish Rabbis (take Rashi for example) have become on level with Scripture itself. You can see a great illustration of this in this video: https://youtu.be/dTiQb_3FGSE

What this illustrates is how much liberty the Jewish tradition has, at times, taken in interpreting God’s Word. This is how, for exampleX the commandment of God to keep holy the sabbath became “it is unlawful to heal on the sabbath” that the religious leaders accused Jesus of in His day. If you look at how Jesus responds to the Pharisees and teachers in examples like this and in Mark 7:8, you see that He takes issue with this latitude of personal interpretation when He said,

*> “You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

We need, as @Matthew_Mittelberg already mentioned, to be careful to listen to the interpretations of men that don’t have a basis in Scripture. We see the apostles wrestling with this issue when they argued about requiring Christians to first become Jews (e.g., get circumcised)…Jesus never talked about that issue, but men wanted to add to God’s words and later their own thinking onto it, and this was ultimately rebuked by Paul to Peter.

So, I’d look at what else Scripture says about Adam and Eve to see if it squares with the orthodox Christian doctrine on creation and the fall. A few verses that are helpful to me on clarifying this are:

Hosea 6:7 — “But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.”
‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭2:14‬ ‭— ‭‭ “and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”
Romans‬ ‭5:14‬ — “Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.”

Those encourage me on this issue and I hope they will you as well. ‭‭‭

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One last verse I forgot to include comes from
2 Peter‬ ‭1:20 — “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.”
‭‭‬ ‭
That was the advice of Peter to the early church. And it comes right after he exhorts them what we have in God’s Word (2 Peter 1:19) where he says, “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

If you look to the context of this passage, it will give you all you need—Peter relays his personal experience seeing Jesus transfigured and resurrected, and yet “did not follow cleverly devised myths” (2 Peter 1:16) but later goes on to say they have the prophetic word, which refers to Scripture, and implies that they lean on every word of God.

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@gabudjr Thank you for your detailed elaboration and providing the backing I need to be steadfast in the word of God. I am still studying the word/ bible. My desire is to be rooted in the word cause there is so much in the world being done in the name of God especially when it pertains to women. In all honesty, as a woman, I feel labored and burdened by the the story of Adam and Eve. I recall feeling guilt, shame, anger and how unfair things have came to be for the gender. I needed Eve to be explained. I yearn to find a connection with Eve cause feel I am Eve.

I heard a lecture by Ravi Zacharias about the strength on a woman and how big our role is in the bible. He expressed empathy for my gender and recognized how diminished we are in the bible. But he pointed out the pivotal moment is the bible that show how important we are. Ravi spoke of a mother’s love and how unwavering it is. He spoke of how the women remained by Jesus until his death at the crucifixion. He spoke of who Jesus chose to revealed him to first upon his resurrection. He spoke of how Jesus saw the heart of the woman, who was to be stoned for her transgression based on the orthodox belief that was in line with the old testament. He spoke of how significant it was for Jesus to have held a conversation with the woman at the well. His closed by saying and I paraphrase “to those much is given, much is required” . His words were uplifting and gave me a new found view of the women in gospel.

In this journey, I am seeking to understand who I am, as a woman in the bible? I know I am a daughter of the God. But in this walk with the sons of God, where do I fit? Where do I belong? As you mentioned, this was a Jewish rabbi and he took liberty in giving his take of the story which is unconventional. A part of me felt redeemed when I heard his version of the story and opened a can of possibilities in my mind. But like @Matthew_Mittelberg said, there is what we want the story to be and what is. I had to ask the question.

I will definitely be reading more about this and sorting out my feelings. My hope is that I find my place and role in the gospel. Thank you for the added resources @Kasey_Leander. Much appreciated.

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Ah - I see what you mean - the stigma upon womanhood for bringing death into the world.

But when Paul discusses this in I Timothy 2:14-15, he shows that this stigma is canceled by being the gender that brings life into the world. The status of womanhood is rescued because they are the Child-bearers - and their faith and holiness is poured into the infants that they nurture. The hand that rocks the cradle…

I hope this will help you in your search.

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Hi Namia!

Thank you so much for your honesty and vulnerability, I love your desire to stand under the authority of the Word of God and to find your identity in who He says you are.

You might enjoy the following threads that discuss this topic.

May the Lord draw you closer and clarify His dreams for you as you seek to follow Him. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have more questions. :slight_smile:

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James @jlyons after reading the whole chapter attached to your verse reference, I had personal questions for God and went into prayer. Thank you for your bread crumb cause right after my prayer, Rebekah @RebekahD commented and provided a thread that was so relevant to my life. I was nodding as I read cause I share a lot with the women in the thread. Sometimes, we ask questions about one thing that leads us to what we truly need. I didn’t think of my struggles with finding connection with women when I was inquiring about Eve but after reading comment after comment, the struggle stared at me. My struggle with finding kinship based on societal definition of a woman that is widely embraced and perpetrated largely by women has been a point of discord in my life. I had trouble with what is defined as subservient. The way the world tells and demands it, bothers my spirit. I am sure after I am done with the reading the Bible verses, I will have a lot to asked, discuss and vetting about with God.

Rebekah’s share is an example of God showing me the questions I should be truly asking for my growth and healing. Honestly, there is a hurt part in me that avoids digging up those feelings of isolation, abandonment and feelings of not being worthy based of the female world view cause I don’t check all the boxes of “woman”. Being rooted in what God says about me and showing me how to walk the path I am in will be like taking a deep breath and exhale.

Rebekah @RebekahD, how did you come to terms with Eve’s saga? How have you embraced it? How does it guide you?

Thank you @jlyons.

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I’m glad you found some value in the response I gave @Namia. I’m very sorry if you’ve been made to feel less than because of being a woman according to the story of Adam and Eve, or any part of the Bible for that matter.

After reading your additional remarks here, this issue has grown on me. As a husband to a Godly woman who wrestled with some of the same questions about her role as a woman in God’s eyes, and as father to a little girl (and no sons,) I have a huge heart for women understanding how fearfully and wonderfully made they are in the image of God. And it would be my heart for you, just like it is for my own daughter, to come to know God’s love for you and just how valuable that you are in His eyes that He would send His only Son for you so that you — a woman — would have everlasting life.

So let me offer some remarks that I have shared in my own home on this issue, as I have studied it with a personal interest to make sure I can shephard my own daughter’s heart in the right direction. Again, it all comes back to God’s Word, which is a lamp to the path along which the feet should walk (Psalm 119:105).

Firstly, I find it so relieving and helpful to keep in mind that Jesus, when tempted by Satan himself, responded to every accusation/temptation with Scripture (Luke 4:4) citing Deuteronomy 8:3 that “man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”. He always leaned on the Word of God as the truth to rebuke false ideas that the devil (and others) tried to propose, e.g., “if you are the Son of God…” (Luke 4:3). One of the tactics that the devil will try to use against us is to accuse us of misunderstanding God’s heart as revealed in His Word. Just like he did with Eve, asking “did God really say…” (Genesis 3:1,) Satan will accuse us in our own lives, e.g., did God really say you were equally created in His image like men? or something far worse that puts our identity as a loved child of God in question and can shake us if we do not have God’s Word stored up in our hearts (Psalm 119:11).

One verse related to the Adam and Eve story, which I would recommend you study and store up in your heart, is related to what @jlyons alluded to: Genesis 3:15. This verse depicts God speaking directly to the serpent and Eve after that original act of deceit and sin. God says… ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (emphasis mine). Notice that the one who God says will harm the serpent is the woman. That is crucial for what seems to be your hearts longing, if I may be so bold to paraphrase you here, to know your role as a woman in God’s story. And from the very beginning, though the woman fell for the devil’s deceit, God promised that it would be the woman (notice he didn’t say Adam’s heel would bruise the serpent’s head) who ultimately had the role in the defeat of Satan, and that comes through her offspring, namely Jesus. We see this imagery repeated in Revelation 12:1-6. And that is something you can look for throughout Scripture, the role that women have in God’s story of redemption. Ruth, Naomi, Deborah, Esther, Mary (the birth mother of Jesus)…all of these women in the Bible had a crucial role to play in the work leading up to Jesus’ atoning death on the cross for the world. And you see key female figures mentioned in the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-28. That’s no coincidence in a culture that was patriarchal; one where women’s testimony was not permissible in a court of law; one in which primogeniture (passing the right of succession and estate to the firstborn male child), was a most powerful cultural tradition. For all the signs that are in the Bible that show a male-favored society, you will see that God regularly flips the paradigm against the world. He chose Abel, not Cain (first born son); God chose Jacob, not Esau (first born son); and perhaps most directly to your point about going against the grain of perceived women’s roles, would be Luke 10:38-42, where Jesus does not conform to the misguided societal/cultural gender norm of saying that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Instead, He pulls Martha out of the kitchen and calls her to join Him at His feet, which was the place where disciples/students of a Rabbi would sit to learn from them (a place typically reserved only for men.) Here is how that story unfolds, and I hope it is an encouragement to you to see that what Jesus calls women into flips the system upside down from what the Bible at times showed as the practice and tradition of people to subvert the equality of women:

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

One thing this passage illustrates is how ingrained the perceived gender roles were at that time, even to women, that Martha would complain about her own sister not living in that presumptive role. And Jesus responds in a striking way, telling Martha she is worried about the wrong things. Basically, when it boils down to the way of the world and the way of God, the thing that is most important is being connected with Jesus.

Let me underscore this: your role is important as a woman, and the Bible does make that clear. But what can cloud that message is that while the Bible is God’s Word, it does contain stories of fallen humans and their fallen behavior (both women and men) and so a study of Scripture must come with a prayer for discernment of what is a command or directive of God and what is a narrative of the actions of fallen human beings. If anyone tries to tell you differently, then they haven’t studied Scripture well enough, because there is no Biblical basis for inequality according to the sexes. In fact, the Biblical worldview is the only one that offers women equality in the imago Dei. If you explore other religions, you will see that they do not view men and women as equals like followers of Christ do. Does that mean we are designed for the exact same tasks on this earth? No. But we are designed to complement one another, such that it wasn’t good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18) and so woman was created, because man alone is not enough. That is why Jesus affirms this complementarian view in Matthew 19:4-5.

Women aren’t here to serve men; they’re here to serve God alongside men. And while that might look different for men and women to do according to the strengths of their design, it makes neither role no less important.

As one last resource here, I found this talk by @Jo_Vitale to be very very helpful on this exact issue. Check it out when you have a chance. You also might find some other voices in the following Connect forum helpful as well: My Question: How Bible view women’s role

For what this is all worth, you have to start by looking at the person of Jesus Christ and work outward from there. Start with John’s gospel and ask God to speak to your heart through it. I firmly believe that the more you study God’s Word the more you will see that the Bible is good news for women, far more than some people might credit it to be.

Thanks for reading, and sharing honestly where you’re at with all of this. I pray that these ideas we’ve all shared here will be a blessing to you and draw you closer to the God who sees you and calls you by name.

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@Namia
There is a way to read Galatians 3:28 that could help you transcend the “am I this” or “am I that” secular mentality. The struggle is real. Though we live in this world, we are no longer of this world. As much as you spiritually can, remove yourself from discourses that keep you rooted in the topics of this world. Your struggle will become spiritual when your concerns remain spiritual. It won’t matter ultimately what the world says about the role of a woman, even though it tries to base the understanding (justification) of that role in the Bible. Our concern is oneness in Christ. The world is silent on how to do that because it cannot co-exist with a Church. Be a mother. Be a sister. Be a lady…in Christ.

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Hi Namia,

I am so glad the above posts have been an answered prayer. It’s really cool to see the global Church come together to encourage one another.

To be completely honest, I have viewed the sin in the garden as a mutual action of both Adam and Eve. Both were present, both decided to partake of the fruit, both suffered the consequences of it. I think we should to be careful of assigning blame to one gender or another in that it can easily lead to shirking responsibility or a prideful claim of false innocence. In the end, we will all be held accountable for our actions and how we stewarded our opportunities (both to sin and to do good) here on earth.

As I seek to live this out in today’s world, I am reminded of Romans 5. Yes, we are born into brokenness (verse 12), yes, one person’s disobedience made us all sinners (verse 15). Yet, “if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” (verse 17).

Through Jesus, I am made a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) but not by my works, by His alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). When I preach the gospel to myself, and realize who I am in relation to who God is, my purpose here on earth becomes clearer.

That being said, I do believe that everyone in Christ was put on this planet for a purpose. My Creator knows me better than I know myself. And in surrendering my life to Him, courageously obeying His commands, and walking by the faith that He gives, I can live out that purpose.

Where we get sideways sometimes, is when we (consciously or unconsciously) decide that we know better than God and try to step into a role or path that we were not created for. Am I striving in trying to prove myself by accomplishing certain achievements based on the world’s standards, or am I seeking to steward with excellence the unique gift set I have been given?

Another way we get disillusioned is when we try to find our identity in things outside of who Jesus says we are. Am I letting the fact that I am a woman be my main identity, or am I a once wayward child of God saved by grace? Just a few examples.

It’s so easy to look at other people and compare ourselves, or to construct an unrealistic picture of what life should look like. Yet God simply asks us to be faithful with what we are given. He is faithful to guide our steps and light our path.

Hope this helps, Namia! Praying for you and honored to be your sister in Christ! <3

make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders… ~1 Thessalonians 4:11

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. ~Psalm 90:17

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Thank you so much @gabudjr for taking the time to delicately and compassionately steer me to a place that can secure my heart and mind. You have considered what it could be like for a woman in this world. Your daughter has a strong foundation to lean on and a great outlook about who she should be in this world. Reading your post touched my inner child. I found myself choked up and teary-eyed. I have your verses marked down for my struggle to separate my life experience from a walk-in faith is challenging. This thread has a lot of caution that has dredged up a suffocation feeling. I am unclear about what has triggered these powerful emotions, but God says, “Ephesians 6:12 - For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” I will heed God’s word and seek his guidance for I see you have good intentions.

I had gathered how significant I am based on your careful outline. I have been watching @Jo_Vitale videos all day today. It is the end of the day and all I feel like doing is crying. I have been carrying a lot so I will take a breather. Much appreciated.

@bozemanjr I appreciate the counsel. While I would love to say yes, I will do exactly that, it would be a lie. For when I sort guidance on the how-to walk-in spirit in God from those who preached the word, my trust was abused and broken. Forgive me, for I am crawling to get there. I will turn each stone if necessary because when I stand for God, my head will be high and my faith unwavering. I will get there. :blush:

@RebekahD Thank you for sharing your position on the story. I never thought there were two at fault. Perhaps, it’s because I felt, experienced, and saw our slander, and as a result my pain sort to find the source or eradicate it. I never thought of the facts. I will pounder on it.
“Where we get sideways sometimes, is when we (consciously or unconsciously) decide that we know better than God and try to step into a role or path that we were not created for.”
I just finished reading the book of job. I always thought that job never spoke against God. When I read this verse, I recalled God’s words to Job. I certainly don’t know better than God and will not claim to think that I know for he has the full story.
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders… ~1 Thessalonians 4:11
I have led a life of silence and solitude for many years. In all honesty, winning the respect of outsiders is no longer a desire. I believe he has called me to be bold and not shy away from things of this world. If there is anything I seek to earn, it is God’s approval.
This entire conversation has been enlightening and I appreciate every guidance and input. Where I go from here only God can write it. May God bless you all.

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Thank you for letting us have a window into your journey, Namia. If we don’t meet on this side of eternity, I’m looking forward to meeting you in the presence of Jesus.

Yes! God does call us to boldness. I was actually thinking as I posted that scripture that “leading a quiet life” doesn’t actually mean to try to fade into the shadows but rather to faithfully stay in the lane God has called you to. I think we can be very vocal leaders and public figures yet still lead a “quiet life” in not getting distracted by peripheral drama. Sorry if that was unclear in the previous post.

It’s so beautiful that your heart posture has found rest in not chasing the temporal but wanting to leverage now for eternity. May the Lord give you eyes to see people as He does and compassion to share His love with them. May you operate out of an overflow rather than strive from a deficit, knowing “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”‭‭ ~2 Peter‬ ‭1:3‬ May you run your race with endurance that you may hear, “well done, my good and faithful servant”

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Absolutely my sister @RebekahD, I am confident we shall meet when and how God has written it. While I may have questions and strong feelings regarding the worldly positioning and usage of the word. I am very clear on who the enemy is. I am clear that the battle for souls is in full force. I am ware that Everyone’s journey is different but the destination for the believer in God and Christ is the same. I don’t know why I thought of the story about the Tower of Babel in relation to our journeys but I will read that chapter again. I am assured that our Father will direct me accordingly. Thank you for the prayers. May God hear them and return the blessings your way 2 times fold. We fight to keep our souls! We march in one accord! We face the darkness fearlessly and uproot it. We protect our brothers and sisters. We shield the innocent. We illuminate God’s light. These words sum up what I feel and hear. Much love!

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@Namia,

I noticed an error in part of my earlier response and wanted to clarify a point I was trying to make about Genesis 3:15. When I said:

I drew attention to the wrong parts of that verse, incorrectly stating the woman is the one who would directly crush the head of the serpent, but it is her offspring. I later stated that, but realize now that the preceding statements made it inaccurate:

To be clear, the woman’s offspring would eventually crush Satan, which you see referenced in the New Testament in Romans 16:20 and Hebrews 2:14.

I hope that correction is clear, and please accept my apologies for the oversight. In the end, there is a role that women play in the story of redemption, as there is for men as well, and yet both men and women need to recognize that ultimately it is not any of us who achieve redemption for humanity, either directly or indirectly, though we may be actors in the story, but rather it is Christ alone who defeats sin, death, and crushes Satan.

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