In Wired For Wisdom, we were discussing our first parents, Adam and Eve, their relationship with their Father God, and how they walked with Him each evening, enjoying His presence and drinking in His wisdom. Then something tragic happened that broke their communication with God, something that impacts us to this very day.
So, what horrible sin did Adam and Eve commit that muffled the sound of God’s voice and plunged humanity into a cycle of fear, confusion and a desperate need for clarity? Popular theology assumes their sin was sexual and equates the infamous forbidden fruit with lust. There is no Biblical foundation for that theory. A married couple with no human competition for each others affection, it seems they chose to “fall from grace” together rather than be separated from one another.
Many people wrestle with the question of why God would create evil and allow them to be tempted by it. God did not create evil. He simply created sentient beings with the ability to make choices I do not believe Adam and Eve deliberately chose to embrace evil or break out in some bizarre, sexual excess. What they did was far more naive, and natural to anyone who has intelligence, the ability to imagine, and freedom to make choices.
A divisive influence entered the Garden of Eden in the form of a serpent. The Bible says the serpent was beautiful, which is hard to comprehend, but their innocent eyes may have seen no reason to fear it. The serpent did not incite them to rebel in some lascivious way. If he had, he would have surely failed. No, he simply appealed to their desire to know, their desire to grow, and their ability to make decisions for themselves.
There was one tree in the garden from which God had forbidden them to eat, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Perhaps this was not an eternal prohibition. Perhaps it was rather like a book, high on a shelf, that would have been opened in time when they had absorbed enough information and experience to know what to do with the knowledge. Perhaps the fruit of this tree would reveal information that needed to be digested in a certain context, so they would fully comprehend the revelation the fruit contained. Perhaps it was postgraduate level material, which they could not expect to understand because they were only in cosmic “middle school.”
Perhaps the tree was simply “law,” for what else is the knowledge of good and evil / right and wrong, if it is not law? If they had continued in their daily walks with the Father, enjoying his company and learning from Him , law may have never been necessary. They could have continued exploring and learning and perhaps creating, with no need for a fixed set of rules by which to govern their lives. Where there is only love and safety, there is no need for law. When life is a grand adventure of daily revelation, where is the need for a dull textbook?
The serpent was crafty in his efforts to put a wedge between God and his favored children. A high ranking spirit in God’s service, he himself had entered into a state of rebellion, not because he wanted to see virgins sacrificed or get preteens hooked on drugs or see babies born addicted to heroin or infected with HIV. In the beginning, his flaw was that he had compared himself to God and wanted to be FIRST. He wanted all of God’s favor for himself, or failing that, he wanted to supersede God and be worshiped in his own right. In his desire to be worshiped, he led other angels astray and had been banished from the fellowship of Heaven. Now he was bent on revenge.
The key to separating Adam and Eve from their intimacy with God was to introduce the possibility that God had somehow wronged them. The serpent implied that God was holding them in an inferior state (a little lower than the angels) for his own aggrandizement and the only thing between them and being deities themselves was to digest the knowledge contained in that forbidden fruit. With this knowledge, they would not have to wait for God when they had a question. They would understand all things, they thought, and could make their own decisions without consulting God.
“But,” the woman protested, “God told us that if we DO eat this fruit, we shall surely die!” “Die?” the serpent laughed, “You shall not surely die!” Then perhaps he added, “Am I not the one who explained to you about this tree? How do you think I obtained this knowledge? If the tree held death, would I be standing here before you?”
So, he told them God was not trustworthy and did not really care for them but only wanted their obedience to make Him feel bigger. Was not the serpent experienced and wise? Indeed, there he stood before them, alive and beautiful and possessing far more knowledge than they had yet obtained. The fruit itself looked simply luscious. Maybe they should take his advice.
So the woman took the fruit and ate it. The she called for her husband, offering to share it with him. He accepted, knowing it would lead to horror, but the two of them were one, and how could he refuse to share her fate?
Afterwards, in their shame and confusion, they hid from their Creator Father, whom they had previously trusted completely. Now, with poisoned minds, they didn’t trust Him to forgive them or restore them. He called to them, and they lied to him, and began to blame one another. Hiding… lying… blaming. Already, the seeds of destruction were sprouting, growing a hedge between the wife and the husband and the God who had created them.
When their children, Cain and Abel were born, they passed these tendencies on to them. Confusion turned to jealousy and anger, and even murder within one generation. Still, today, these habits of suspicion, secrecy and jealousy continue and the ripple effect plays out in the destruction of individual lives and fortunes, crumbling families, a wounded planet and warring nations.
Continued in “DROPPED CALLS AND BAD RECEPTION”