In the previous chapter, we began by exploring one of life's biggest questions:
We left off on the Bible's claim that we are spiritual beings,
It's a beautiful picture captured in the story of the Garden of Eden.
But as we look around at our world, we often don't see beauty and goodness. Quite the opposite.
So perhaps another big question many of us have pondered is...
How we answer that question will determine how we try to solve these problems.
The Bible's assessment of humanity and its many problems is that humanity and our world are essentially...
According to Genesis, humanity was supposed to be the
No other creature was given the privilege of such a special relationship with God.
However, part of the nature of our special relationship involved the
God created things which had free will.
That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible.
Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata—of creatures that worked like machines—would hardly be worth creating.
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Besides, I need free will for those words to have any real meaning.
Hey Zoogle, tell me that you love me.
Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.
And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up EVERY TREE that is PLEASANT to the sight and GOOD for food.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying,
“You may surely eat of EVERY
TREE of the garden...”
“...but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil YOU SHALL NOT EAT for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Now the SERPENT was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and YOU WILL BE LIKE GOD knowing good and evil.”
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she...
TOOK OF ITS FRUIT AND ATE
...and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
When we read about the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:17), some imagine it as a kind of trap that God designed for the downfall of mankind.
But let's recall what the Garden of Eden was like.
There was probably nothing inherently special about the fruit itself. However, it tangibly represented Adam and Eve’s freedom to
As we can see, every meaningful relationship has a “forbidden fruit.”
Now, eating a fruit is a morally neutral act, so it can seem odd that such a big deal is made about this action.
Imagine if a married man approaches his wife after an argument, and without a word, hands her his wedding ring and walks out of the house.
What would this seemingly morally neutral act of giving back the ring communicate?
In a similar way, taking the forbidden fruit had serious consequences, not because the fruit itself was sinful, but because of what it meant:
Adam and Eve were rejecting God as their Creator and heavenly Father.
The Bible presents an accurate depiction of the situation between man and his Creator in Luke 15:11-24, The Parable of the Prodigal Son.
Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.
And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.
In Jesus' time, listeners of this parable would have been shocked to hear these words. That's because an inheritance is only given upon a person's passing. The son asking for his inheritance was equivalent to asking his father to die. It would have been a deeply hurtful and offensive act.
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons.
Consider a time you caused someone hurt through rejection or betrayal.
Think back to the tender picture of creation in Genesis 1.
Rejection is painful. And the more you love, the deeper the wound. The same is true in God's relationship with mankind.
Adam and Eve walked out on a relationship with God when they listened to the serpent's words in Genesis 3:5:
“When you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The alluring suggestion was that if they took the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they could determine good and evil for themselves
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY, “INVICTUS”
Sin is essentially a departure from God.
Sin is believing the lie that you are self-created, self-dependent and self-sustained.
Adam and Eve had made their choice.
From now on,
would be allowed to determine for them the boundaries of good or evil.
Truth, along with morality, would have to give way to their personal choices and preferences.
And now that they had
from the position of authority in their lives, they had become their own “boss”; they would rule their own destinies by means of their own wits.
How much can you relate to this desire to call your own shots?
For further reading on the topics discussed in this video, click below.
They wanted, as we say, to "call their souls their own." But that means to live a lie, for our souls are not, in fact, our own. They wanted some corner in the universe of which they could say to God, "This is our business, not yours." But there is no such corner.
CS LEWIS, THE PROBLEM OF PAIN
This departure from God creates a rift between us and God, but also leads to tragic consequences in our lives. We'll consider what those consequences are and ask if anything can be done in the next section.