Focus point taken from a Devotion by - ( (c) Edward Hindson, D.Phil. & Edward Dobson, Ed.D.) - source, "The Knowing Jesus Study Bible".
People want to be in charge of their own lives. This theme began to unfold in the Garden of Eden, when humanity first turned away from God. God created a perfect world and placed man (Adam) and woman (Eve) in the Garden of Eden. In the entire garden there was only one tree whose fruit they were forbidden to eat - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told them that, if they were to eat the fruit from that tree, they would die. Adam and Eve were not innately prone to sinful choices, nor were they surrounded by temptation in an evil environment or victims of dysfunctional backgrounds. They were sinless people in an idyllic environment - and still they chose to disregard God and indulge in sin.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS FOCUS POINT?
Sometimes it's hard to imagine two people who had everything, including freedom and a sin-free existence, could so completely mess it up. I've often thought on Adam and Eve and wondered primarily why God put the tree in the garden in the first place...it was almost like being shown every day something you couldn't have. If it was detrimental to Adam and Eve to touch it and eat it, why was it there? Why couldn't God have put it somewhere else, out of their sight? Surely, because He created them, He was aware of their human weaknesses? Right?
This is the approach I take with my life sometimes...actually I am smack-bang in the middle of that right now! - wishing for the easy way that requires no effort or commitment on my part. God is more than aware of my weaknesses, but He allows temptation (He doesn't tempt us, but He will sometimes allow the things or people around us to be a temptation) as a way of strengthening me and my resolve as a Christian, and teaching me to rise above them in His strength - not as a way of teasing me into falling headlong into a place I should go, but as a way of building my character and my Christ-like-ness.
I suppose we can get caught up in thinking that because Adam and Eve were the first people to walk the earth that they were perfect...completely, utterly and unequivocally perfect. But what we must remember is that although they were the first and, as the authors of the above piece say, were void of all hurdles we can lay claim to as to why we do the things we do, they were still mere humans! They were not gods, they were not equal to their Creator God in any way. They needed to be taught and guided and shown and warned and told, just like we do. They needed instructions and they needed to know they had to follow them, that they were for their own good! It was no different for the angels God created, who were required to do His will. If that was the way it was for the angels why would it be different for the first man and woman?
If we think back further, before the Creation and remember an angel who fell because he wanted to be in charge, and run his own existence, and be God! - Satan - we see another act of disobedience and rebellion. Like Adam and Eve who came after him, Satan was also banished from what should have been his perfect paradise home.
For whatever reason - and who are any of us to question Him? - God did put the tree there and said don't touch! He set boundaries and made it clear what they were and what would happen if they were crossed...and Adam and Eve still crossed them. By whatever human reasoning - and that is a powerful tool, isn't it? - they did what God said not to do. We parents know sometimes we have told our kids 'don't touch' and when they have asked why we answer, 'Because I said so!' We all have at some point in our lives, disobeyed the will of God, and in days to come we still will.
And on top of it all, when they were found out they played the blame game. Adam blamed the woman and God. Eve blamed the serpent. In the wording of Genesis Chapter 3, I don't think either of them actually owned their mistake. Neither of them took responsibility. Neither of them even said they were sorry. They just made excuses.
11 And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
12 The man said, "The woman You put here for me - she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
When God asked; "Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?", Adam didn't say, "Yes, Lord." He said, "She made me do it, the one You gave me." When God said to Eve; "What is this you have done?", she didn't say, "I ate from the tree when I shouldn't have." Instead she said, "That snake lied to me." And God wasn't asking because He didn't know, He was asking to see if they would tell the truth and take responsibility.
I think also they were complacent and naive, and many of us still are, about the seriousness of God's commands, believing that He didn't really mean it, or He changed His mind...because He loved them, adored them, enjoyed having them around. Perhaps once they realised that they'd made a right mess of things they thought God would be upset - rightly so - perhaps angry even, before giving them a good talking to and that would be the end of it. But instead they lost everything. All the beauty and wonder and perfection God had given them was taken away from them again. God's judgement is sure and severe, and we all need to remember that. It doesn't mean He stops loving us, or loves us less, but He is a perfect God commanding righteousness from His creation - us! Of course, when we foul up, we are forgiven when we repent and turn away from our sins, and as long as we live we are given one second chance after another, but there are still consequences to anything we have done. A large percentage of people now languishing in prisons around the world are living the consequences of their stupid, ill-thought out choices.
HOW CAN WE APPLY THIS TO OUR LIVES?
These things can be applied by owning up to our mistakes instead of trying to hide from God. And doing so, not because He can see into our hearts and knows them anyway, but because we love God and want to obey and honour Him with Christ-like living. And instead of wishing God would make our life easier by taking temptation out of our way completely, we can grow in His strength toward continuously being able to resist the temptations we are faced with through the strength of the Holy Spirit within, and growing as a person, as sons and daughters of the King.
Hugs - Jeanne.