Genesis 2: 8 Plantaverat autem Dominus Deus paradisum voluptatis a principio in quo posuit hominem quem formaverat.
Genesis 2:8 Planted Kyrie God a paradise voluptuous at the beginning in which he posited the humans which he formed.”
Luke 23:43 Et dixit illi Jesus : Amen dico tibi : hodie mecum eris in paradiso.
Luke 23:43 And he said Jesus: Amen I tell you: today with me you will be in Paradise.
Jesus tells the criminal hanging with him as he dies on the cross, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” Paradise is a fancy Persian word meaning a garden. If you want to go to heaven, put down your harps and pick up your pick axes and shovels. When we get to heaven, it will be a paradise, a garden needing tending. A rule for writing is that one first tells the people what we are going to say, we say it, and then we say what we said. Good writers end their writing with the same images they started with. Our Bible starts and ends with a garden.
Our Gospel starts and ends with the same images. Our Gospels begin with John, “Produce good fruits as evidence of your repentance; and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Even now, the ax lies at the root of the trees. Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Luke 3:8-9
“The devil told him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.” Jewish rhetoric, which Luke was aware, had a rule of rhetoric, “G’zerah Shavah.’ here the same word appears in two separate cases, it follows that the same considerations apply to both.”
The word stone applies to the Sons of Abraham, and it applies to the food Satan asks Jesus to eat. The point is about leadership, Satan asks Jesus to consume, live off the people. Jesus replies that we should live on the word, the bread of God alone.
We read in Luke 21, “While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, he said, ‘All that you see here, the days come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” In John 2:20-21, Jesus equates himself with the temple a building of stone. Luke equates the stones of the temple with the people. Stone will not be left upon stone. There will no longer be a people where some get to the top on the bodies of those underneath them. All will be equal.
Luke 22:40-46 is interesting. In verse 40 Jesus says, “Pray you may not undergo the test.” In verse 46 it says, “Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.” What is the test? Good writers end where they began, and here is that stone again, “withdrawing about a stone’s throw…” There is that stone again. The stone is the people Satan would have Jesus consume, the children of Abraham. The test is the temptation to think we are better than others.
The Hebrew word for evil is “Russia,” and it does not refer the country. It’s root is the same as “Rosh Hashanah,” or “First of the Year.” Evil is thinking of ourselves as first. “Stone appears in one other place in Luke. “They took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb.”
Our Gospels begin and end with a tree. The Hebrew word for tree and counselor is “Eights.” Our Gospel writers pun off “Eights,” often. The axe is set to the tree, and the ax is set to the counselors who think themselves first.
There no magic formulas in our Gospel about who should get what, only that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with unalienable rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, and that governments are formed to protect those rights. Deuteronomy 30 tells us, “This command give you today is not too wondrous or remote for you. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who will go up to the heavens to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” No, it is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it.
Ezekiel 36:26 brings us back to that stone, “I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you back to your own soil. I will sprinkle clean water over you to make you clean; from all your impurities and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep them.”
If we put aside our conceptions of other people and just look to see other human beings trying to get from conception to the grave in one piece, people who have done stupid things sometimes, but still people, the flesh of our hearts will tell us the proper formulas for promoting Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.