With a new year before us, I’m starting my personal challenge to read through the Bible in the year, and so i will be posting from time to time from my personal reflections (I would love to post daily, if God wants, but He will have to provide the time!). So, here are some thoughts on Day Two.
Today, reading from Genesis, Chapter 3:
Now the snake was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’ The woman answered the snake: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, or else you will die.’” But the snake said to the woman: “You certainly will not die! God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil.”
The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
When they heard the sound of the LORD God walking about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden….
My first thought in reading this passage was, what bliss it must have been, to able to ‘hear the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden’. Imagine turning back time and sitting in the garden, just to hear the Lord walking… it is what every human heart wants but doesn’t know it is missing that incredibly intimate relationship with their Creator. To be able to walk with God, talk with God, ask questions about why the sky is blue and the why the moon’s shape waxed and waned. To watch God in His creative work. To see God’s delight in being with us, His creation. But then this perfect relationship and harmony came to an end.
There was the Serpent, the Tree, and the Woman. What if that tree wasn’t there? Would sin have been avoided? Could God have prevented this disaster of separation from His creation? Of course God could have avoided the very messy consequences of that unfortunate encounter. Then, why did He allow it? Everything was perfect, except …
If Eve didn’t have a way out of loving God, could she have been free to fully love Him? Would there have been a capacity for love at all if God did not allow the Tree, and the Serpent for that matter, to coexist with her and Adam in the Garden?
God gave them abundance in His love. In the first creation story, God said:
“See, I give you every seed bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed bearing fruit on it to be your food” (Gen. 1:29).
The second creation story spells out God’s condition:
“You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you at from it you are surely doomed to die” (Gen. 2:16-17).
They had the world of food to choose from as God’s expression of His love. And because of His love, they were given a way out of His love, if they so chose to not love Him in return. What does this teach us about our relationship with God, and with one another for that matter?
Love must be free to be received and to be given. Without the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, the woman could not express her love for her Creator through obedience. She would have been no better off than a robot or puppet unable to exercise her conscience. Everything would have been constructed for her.
And human beings would not have known love.