Back in the 1950’s, Harlan Howard coined the phrase “Three chords and the truth” about the simplicity and directness of country music. While this description doesn’t define the entire genre, the point he was making was that the simple, direct way of conveying a story is a hallmark of a good country song. Angels and humans have coexisted for a very long time, and their story might take on a new character if told “country music style”.
First Verse: First Came the Angels
I would like to tell the tale of angels and humans with a “three chords and the truth” template as part of a series of articles that will attempt to convey the essence of our rich, complex faith. This post is the first of three, and will eventually be joined to articles on the Incarnation and discipleship. A soft strum can be heard throughout ….
In the beginning, there was the God family: Father, Son, and Spirit. Actually, they existed before the beginning of time as we know it, and they will always exist. The love and intimacy shared within and among them are limitless and eternal. God’s supreme love finds its expression in every element of creation known to humankind and beyond. So much for the cosmic chorus, let’s get into the verses ….
One Heavenly morning, God created a plan to make beings with many of the characteristics that were shared within their holy trinity. They were given the name Angels, and they would be free to come and go, as they wished, similar to the butterflies of Earth who were to come just a “moment” later. These beautiful spirits delighted God as they enjoyed the limitless freedom they were given.
Second Verse: Then Came the Humans
Just outside of Heaven, God made a magnificent garden for their divine pleasure. There were plants and animals of all types, including the aforementioned butterflies. God then created men and women to take care of the garden of Earth. Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, had tremendous freedom inside the garden. Within the boundaries set by God, they had total autonomy and dominion over all of the creatures and plants with one exception: the tree of life. More about that in the final verse ….
As the eons came and went, there came a time when a great convening of angels was called. God revealed a plan of adoption that was magnificent. Every angel would be eligible to become a member of the God family and live in God’s house forever. Formerly free to exist on their own, if adopted, the angels would be bound to share their existence forever as family members bearing the name of God. They would enjoy all of the rights and privileges of heavenly royalty while accepting all of the responsibilities involved in family life.
One of the main responsibilities the angels would have would be to oversee and nurture the growth of the humans in the garden. God revealed that these creatures, while in a lower form, would eventually become eligible for adoption by the power of the Incarnation of God The Son. Jesus, the Christ, would become human by birth and redeem and change their status and being. There would come a time when humans, like the angels, would be equipped and eligible to accept adoption into Heaven. In fact, they were destined to become the crown of God’s creation.
Third Verse: The Great Divorce
The majority of the angels, approximately two-thirds, accepted God’s offer with great fanfare and celebration. The remaining third, however, did not. The prospect of living with humans in the same household was too much to bear. The fact that humans would be elevated and even surpass the angels was unacceptable and resulted in a great rebellion. Lucifer, the leader of the rebellious angels, led his followers to a place called Hell. It is in this dark place, far from Heaven, where they remain forever.
Lucifer, assuming the form of a serpent, traveled from Hell to the garden. His purpose was clear: to trick Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life. The man and woman ate the forbidden fruit, and for the moment the serpent had caused a rupture in God’s relationship with the human race.
This “song” has a happy ending and hopefully will find its place in a “Greatest Hits” album entitled “Three Chords and the Truth”.