by Christine Ege
Response to Chapter 1 of
Journey to the Holocaust: Anti-Semitism, the Bible and History by Dr. Susanna Kokkonen
At the outset of this intriguing book, the author sets the stage for a universally applicable key to understanding history: understanding “the nature of doubt and our fall into sin (p.10).” In fact, she posits that Adam and Eve’s sin was not, in fact, the action of eating the forbidden fruit. Similarly, Cain’s sin was not merely murdering his brother Abel. Instead, the initial sin in both cases was doubting God’s Word.
When Eve responded to the serpent’s question regarding whether or not God had actually commanded her not to eat of every tree of the garden, she stated that there was indeed one tree from which she and Adam were forbidden to eat – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, Eve unfortunately did not repeat God’s words verbatim; instead, she added that they were not to eat or touch it; she therefore added to what God had actually instructed her and Adam. The questioning of God’s Word ultimately resulted in the sin of overt rebellion against that Word. Doubt proved to be the toxin that led to the sinful action of eating the forbidden fruit.
The slippery slope for Cain also began internally when he became resentful and angry toward his brother Abel. The hatred in his heart ultimately led him into murdering his brother and subsequently denying his responsibility to “be his brother’s keeper,” to watch over and care for his brother. Even from the very beginning of man’s relationship with his Creator, sin began in the heart and mind of man in the form of doubting and questioning God and His Word.
However, the fact that God had created man in His own image and likeness imparts intrinsic value to every human being. That Godlike image is a holy Seed of truth – the likeness, or DNA, or Seed of God Himself in every person. Whenever man begins to deny, disparage, or doubt God’s Word, toxins creep in that slowly poison man’s sense of divinely-given value and purpose. Ultimately, those toxins are expressed in sinful acts. It follows that any attitude or behavior that de-personalizes, de-humanizes, or de-values people made in God’s image can ultimately manifest in sinful behavior.
Examination of the attitudes prevalent in society and even in the Church prior to the Holocaust will help us understand how disrespect for God and His Word can lead to heinous acts of genocide. The question remains: can the holy, eternal Seed of God’s imprint on the soul of man be destroyed by the poisons of doubt, unbelief, and hatred? In fact, can the holy Seed of God’s image in each person He has made survive unscathed such unspeakable acts of horrific violence and destruction? Astonishingly, God’s Seed of life lives on in survivors and their families despite the horrific acts of wicked men.