What is the question?
To be, or not to be–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die–to sleep
No more; and by a sleep we say to end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die–to sleep.
Perhaps one of the most famous soliloquies in British Literature is the one partially quoted above, spoken by Hamlet. Perhaps the question that begins it is one of the most well-known questions in English literature. It is a question that many in North America still ask. It is a question asked by a person who knows evil. To live, or end my life? All too often, the answer is “End my life.” But this post is not primarily about suicide.
I want to back up and ask an ancient question, perhaps a question that would have been part of a soliloquy if the protagonist was penned by a playwright, brought to life by a playwright. But this protagonist was formed from the earth and received the breath of life. This protagonist is you and me.
One protagonist is called Eve. Her question, our question, is: To obey or not to obey?
The Book of Genesis, as it is often called by the English-speakers, is about creation but it is also about ordination. In the beginning, God created. The earth and everything in it is the King’s, God’s. But in the account we also see a profound ordination: mankind is made to obey God.
Instead of obeying the King, we have rebelled. You don’t have to look far to see the disease, the destruction, the disdain and the death this rebellion has caused. The problem for us is that there has only been, and there is, and there will always be, only One King. God will not be dethroned.
The fruit of disobedience is death. So before you choose suicide or death by rebellion, please ask another question and think carefully about your answer.
To obey or not to obey?