Thursday, October 25, 2012

In Search Of Truth, Genesis 3:1-7

Last time we looked at these verses from a skeptical angle. This time we'll be looking at them for application to our lives today.

Scripture later indicates that this specific serpent was Satan, the angel who rebelled against God. (Revelation 12:9, 20:2) The first thing he does is subtly manipulate the words of God, overstating God's command. Eve then falls into this pattern as well, adding that God said not to even touch the fruit, when in fact God had only said not to eat it.

One of the most harmful things we can do is alter the words of God and then live by those altered words. It's a little scary how we can spend years living by principles we think are biblical that actually do not reflect the teaching of the Bible. Yet another reason we can be grateful for the grace of Jesus, but also a reason to commit ourselves to better understanding and applying God's words to our lives.

Satan creates a very common doubt in the mind of Eve here. He leads her to consider that God does not have her best interests in mind. Sometimes it may be easy for us to believe that God is all-powerful, all-knowing and eternal, but hard for us to believe that he really loves us and knows what is best for us. Especially in the moment we are presented with a difficult choice.

Eve had likely never considered the possibility that God would command anything less than best for her, but Satan introduces this thought to humanity for the first time, and we've had to battle against it ever since.

Satan also makes something harmful look like something desirable. He tells Eve that if she eats the fruit she will have increased perception and be like God, "knowing" good an evil.

The Hebrew word for "knowing" here can also contain the meaning of "experiential knowledge", rather than purely intellectual understanding. Whether the serpent intended this sense or Eve realized this sense of his words, once Eve decided to disobey God she immediately gained firsthand, experiential knowledge of evil. Much more than she bargained for.

Suddenly, she and Adam knew that same guilt and shame we all feel after doing something we know is wrong. They felt separation from God and insecurity about themselves, as evidenced by their desire to cover themselves up when only moments before they were free of any insecurity regarding their appearance.

This is the nature and cycle of sin. It can be nestled in with some good things, much like this fruit. The fruit itself was not evil. Eve perceived that it was beautiful and would bring her wisdom. These are both good qualities! But God commanded her not to eat this fruit, for specific reasons we may never know.

This is why obedience for obedience's sake is an important skill to develop. There are plenty of times when there is something good or gratifying that we want to do or take part in. In the moment, nearly all we see is the good things about that activity, thought or action. We might see a little of the sin in it too, but in the moment we can't really remember why that sin is so bad or what the repercussions will be. So we doubt that God genuinely has good reasons for his prohibition of something, and just do what we want to. Only later do we realize that, like Adam and Eve, we got a lot more than we bargained for and now we've got a big mess on our hands.

This is when theology becomes vital. If we don't understand, trust, and then REMEMBER that God is perfectly good and knows completely and perfectly what is best for us, we won't trust that what he tells us to do and not do is the best thing for our lives.

Maybe right now there's some money you want to spend that you shouldn't, a movie or a game that looks awesome but has some things you know aren't good for you. I want to encourage you, even as I'm challenged myself by this passage we've looked at, to remember that God is perfectly good. He knows what is best for you. It may not feel good in the moment, but obeying him will result in the best for you both in this life and in eternity.

Next Time- The consequences of sin for humanity

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