Fertile Journey Through Genesis: Genesis 3:1-7
Before I start, I must admit that I want to skip this Fertile Journey Through Genesis. I feel like I have moved on from the place where I was when I first read through Genesis and found it so theologically transformative in my own personal journey. Going back through it hasn't had the same affect and thus I am lacking motivation. Yet when I pick up my Hebrew Bible to begin reading Exodus I feel frozen by a sense that I am to return once again to Genesis. Thus I continue...
It is always the one thing that you can't have that you desire. God created this beautiful garden and told the woman and man they could have anything they wanted to eat in it, except the fruit on this one plant. I think that is how the journey through infertility feels like for so many people. It is just the one thing keeping them from their perfect life.
And then comes the temptations and the woman's drive to attain a pregnancy. Her husband goes along with her because he wants her to be happy and her sadness is overwhelming. He wants a child too, but it is her body and she is in the driver's seat regarding the next steps and decisions to be made. Will they consider IVF? How about surrogacy? And who decides where the line is between what is acceptable and what is not?
The serpent tempts the woman by making her think that God is keeping something good from her. In a way he entices her to think that she knows better than God.
What is tempting you in this journey? Where in your life are you trying to play the role of God?
I think this is the struggle for believers as they explore the fertility care options that are available. Which ones are equivalent to taking medicine for a cold or having open heart surgery to repair a valve? And which ones go beyond and are like doing plastic surgery and by doing so saying that what God created isn't good enough?
I think each couple has to discern this on their own as they listen to the Spirit's leading in their lives. When I wasn't expecting it, God told me to be open to the possibilities and to explore and understand the infertility industry. As I explored my heart was broken by the number of embryos that are created that never were implanted in the womb. My heart also broke for the women and men who compromised in order to make their dreams come true. I found routes for conceiving that are more popular outside of the United States, but difficult to access here, that limit the number of embryos that come to be and ensure that all are transferred to the womb. I learned that we in the U.S. can do a better job and that by not being open to the possibilities Christians have removed themselves from the conversation. Yet, as we prepared to move forward, God put a clear wall up to stop us. I thought I had found a path that honored life. But it seemed that God just wanted me to go on the journey so that I could talk intelligently about what is taking place with my peers.
I think this is one of the difficult aspects of this journey - discerning when God is calling one to go and when going is trying to play God! Even with adoption this can feel unclear. We know that God is supportive of adoption as God has adopted each one of us! Yet, adoption has its own ethical and moral quandaries. To start with is the question, "Does God want us to become parents in this way?" and the next being, "How do we make sure that our adopting does not feed the kidnapping and trafficking of infants and children globally?"
Parenthood may be the desirable fruit. It looks good and it is something we desire to share with our spouse. But the question becomes is it a fruit on a tree that God has marked as forbidden or is it a fruit of the Spirit in which we have freedom?