ADAM & EVE ASK: HOW DID WE GET TO THIS POINT?
Part 2 of 3
Why must we struggle with life? Thisis the second of a three-part series based on the story of Adam and Eve responds to the question:. How did we get to this point?
Adam was well satisfied with the woman he named Eve. Together they shared the beauty of the garden while nurturing it. In return, they ate from the richness of the food it produced.
Adam and Eve knew “good.” Everything around them was good. There was nothing to fear. Animals weren’t vicious, plants were edible, and relationships to each other and God were rich.
They sensed something different—evil and its result. They knew there was a tree in the garden whose fruit would add to this knowledge. It was at their one prohibition in their garden. God permitted them freedom to eat the fruit of all the other trees in the garden, but not from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This was the tree that would test man’s love and trust in God.
God wanted man’s love—a love that included respect and obedience. But God wanted his creation to love him voluntarily.
This is a very important fact.
- What if I stood up here as your proxy pastor and said: “I am here. I am appointed to represent God to you today in Monte’s place. Therefore, you MUST love me, trust me, obey me. You have no choice.” Now, how do you feel? How do I feel”
Isn’t that the point of God providing His first creations with freedom and limits? Love just isn’t real if it’s demanded.
One day while checking the garden, the first couple met a friendly Serpent at the testing tree, the tree confronting them with the choice to believe and accept God’s gifts of goodness in their life or to step out on their own and reject the gifts.
The choice at the testing tree differed from their other choices. Adam chose what to name the animals, and as stewards over the garden he and Eve made choices in its care.
The Serpent confronted them with a different type of choice: to obey God, accepting
God’s rule, or to claim self-rule.
They knew that by disobeying God they would know evil. But possibility is not actuality. In the ancient world “To know” signified more than just intellectual knowledge. It meant experiential knowledge. Knowing evil existed was not the knowledge of evil.
- As adults we teach our kids that drugs and smoking damage the body, fast driving kills, free sex isn’t free. How do they respond? Over and over I hear, “I hear you, but I have to experience it for myself for it to be real! I have to control my own life. It won’t happen to me.”
It wasn’t unusual for Adam and Eve to meet the Serpent and visit with it. But this day was different. It asked Eve a special question. Her answer would defend God or would lead her to “know,” to experience, evil in her life.
“Has God said you should not eat of every tree in the garden?” it asked Eve.
The answer lay within the question.
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is which is in the midst of the garden, God said we shall not eat, nor touch, or we will die.”
The Serpent moved in for the kill.
“You shall not surely die. But if you eat the fruit, your eyes shall be opened and you shall be like gods, knowing good and evil.”
The Serpent had presented an envious God who would selfishly and greedily keep precious knowledge to Himself. It offered Eve the choice of believing God or believing itself.
You shall die. You will not die. Two opposing statements for Eve to consider. Should she choose to obey God or choose to become separated from God and direct her own life?
Choosing to eat the fruit meant leaving the protection of divine providence, of letting go of God’s provision of what was good for man and losing complete security.
The Serpent showed Eve she could go beyond this protection and goodness to decide for herself what would help or hinder her.
Its offering of freedom was fascinating, with its lack of restriction, its intangibleness, its mysteriousness.
As Eve saw that the tree was good for food, was pleasant to the eyes and was desired to make one wise, her mind was no longer on all that God provided for her. It was only on the forbiddenness of the tree.
“What? Is God depriving me of this fruit and wisdom too?” was the thought that kept running through her mind.
Ultimately, she succumbed. She took the fruit and ate.
And she didn’t fall over and die!
Evil likes company. Eve gave Adam some fruit, and he ate. And his eyes became open.
Suddenly, the couple noticed their nakedness, both physically and psychologically. Their innocence was lost: they now knew vulnerability.
Their eyes were not opened to the anticipated benefits of disobedience. They were opened to guilt and shame. And they did not like it.
Guilt can be dealt with, but shame has tentacles that reach deep within the soul. Shame changes a person soul-deep, at the core of one’s being.
Watch for the third and final installment Adam & Eve Ask: How Did We Get To This Point? Part 3 of 3