God gave Man everything, but we chose to live this life without His guidance.
This has led us to misery, pain, and death. God desires that we be His children, that we grow into His Likeness, in perfect fellowship and community, governing His creations on earth. After choosing our own way, natural Man is now subject to the whims of our enemy, cursed to toil and die. We were not able to live the life of God as the second Adam, as Jesus triumphantly did, and thus the natural earthly life is characterized by consequences of a life chosen apart from God.
Adam and Eve
Again, we turn to Genesis to visit the beginning of the tragedy of mankind. Almost everyone is familiar with the story, whether he/she believes it or not. Your personal interpretation of this story reflects a lot about our own relationship with God. Until the width of its implication and the depth of its application for you on a very personal level are reconciled and embraced, you will not be able to go further in your pursuit of truth and life in the Kingdom of God. This familiar story does call for serious consideration and careful scrutiny, done with both the fear of God and good faith in God’s word and His love.
We won’t dwell too long on the story itself but make some observations as needed in comparison with Jesus’ test in the wilderness.
Gen. 2:8-9 [NIV]
8Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground-trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Notice here that the trees given to man to eat are not bad; they were pleasing to the eye and good for food.
Gen. 2:15-18 [NIV]
15The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
18The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
While God withheld nothing good from man, He did withhold what is bad from him. Some might argue that He shouldn’t have put the forbidden tree in the Garden. But this is a misunderstanding of the way of the Lord. Obedience can only be practiced when one has the free will to disobey and thus must be tested against that possibility to ensure that obedience is done willingly, not out of compulsion or without understanding. It’s vital to understand that God created you to mature into His nature and wisdom. Optimally, when facing tough choices, you would always choose to obey Him, rather than satisfy your own desires or pleasures. This is vividly exemplified by Jesus’ interaction with the devil in the wilderness. Hebrews teaches:
Heb. 2:14-18 [NIV]
14Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil- 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
This post is _Part 1_, in a series on the Fall. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series.
Photo credit: Hany Kamel