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From the Garden to the Desert … and on to the Cross - Part 2

By: Arnie Cole & Michael Ross

We Are Free to Choose

God didn’t create us to be human automatons. Instead, the One who uttered neutrons into existence had given His greatest masterpieces the freedom to dream, to use their imaginations, and to think on their own. They were free to work with their hands and to create. They were free to make their own decisions and to govern the world on God’s behalf. But in doing so, the Lord exposed Himself to the pain of jilted love. Adam and Eve could choose to love God and to become clearer images Him … or they could choose to turn their backs on Him and reject Him altogether.

God could have existed for all of eternity without pain, but instead He risked anguish in order to have someone outside Himself to love; someone who would freely love Him back. And this is the genius of God’s creation. Yale University’s Karen C. Hinckley explains it this way in her book The Story of Stories: The Bible in Narrative Form:

He [God] had previously made creatures who were pure spirit: They could reason, make choices, and perceive qualities in God like His majesty. “Holy, holy, holy!” they cried as they worshiped Him unceasingly for His greatness and perfection. But His love was beyond their capacity to grasp. A being needed feelings—even passion—to understand what it would mean to offer oneself to another vulnerably and to share—well, to share love. God was a passionate, self-giving Being, and His angels were utterly unable to appreciate this side of Him. On the other side, animals had feelings but could not reason and make moral choices; their love lacked consciousness and maturity. Man was God’s ingenious hybrid—spirit and soul, reason and passion, the finest reflection of Himself that God could produce.

And so, to practice their Godlike qualities of creativity and authority, Adam and Eve were put in charge of the garden. To practice their ability to make moral choices, they received one restriction: Don’t eat from the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil.

But an invader from outside the physical universe, a spirit who camouflaged himself as a snake, tempted Eve: “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” In other words, He doesn’t really love you. He wants to keep you ignorant and under His thumb; abiding by an endless list of unreasonable rules. You’re more like an amusing pet than a person. Rebellion is your only choice.

Adam and Eve had no idea that the imposter had been the highest of God’s angelic servants until he rebelled. According to tradition, his name had been Lucifer (“lightbearer”), but it became Satan (“the adversary”) and Abaddon (“The destroyer”). He simply did not care to spend eternity worshipping his Creator; he considered that boring and beneath him. So he declared his independence and set up a rival kingdom. The serpent was crafty. It knew how to sway the minds of the world’s first couple. Does God really know what’s best for you? Could you be happier looking out for yourselves instead of always listening Him?

The scent and color of the forbidden fruit enticed the man and woman’s senses, and suddenly, everything they knew about the Lord—His desire for them, His loving care, His wisdom and gentleness—all was forgotten. At that very moment, truth was traded for lies. As they gave into temptation and were dragged into rebellion against God, a deadly menace was freed; one that would taunt and toy with humans until the end of time.

From Tempted, Tested, True

© Back to the Bible.

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