RECAP: So far, the story in the Bible has began with:
God creating the earth
God creating mankind
Mankind being created in Gods image
Mankind being designed to have a relationship with God
Mankind is placed inside a perfect garden
If you don't know how long the Bible actually is, you might be tempted to think that this is where the story could end.
WOULD THIS NOT BE THE PERFECT PLACE TO WRITE THE WORDS,
"AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER."
Our story could be locked in. All the marvellous details about relationship and living in a perfect garden could be locked in forever. However, if you've ever seen a Bible, you know that's not what happens. Why? Because one detail enters into the narrative that will change everything.
ONE. STUPID. TREE.
At this point in the story we are introduced to The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. A tree in the garden that the first two humans were told never to eat from.
For a long time this tree confused me. Why put this tree in the garden? Why give mankind the opportunity to blow this whole thing up!?
But the truth is, the tree had to be there. The tree had to be there because the story in the Bible reveals that God desires genuine love & relationship with His creation. He wanted sincerity in relationship, not a bunch of robots. And what do we know about sincere love?
IT REQUIRES A CHOICE!
Sincere love requires a choice. That's it. It's not based off emotions, its not based off feelings. At the end of the day, IT. IS. A. CHOICE. God knew this. Of course He did. The Bible says that, "God is love" (1 John 4:8).
If you don't let someone choose to love you, that would make you a dictator, stalker, or kidnapper. None of which are synonymous with sincere love. In the context of the story so far, had God not given men and women a choice, His relationship with them would never be authentic. They would all be created like tickle me Elmo.
You see, Elmo doesn't have a choice. When you play with or tickle Elmo he will always respond by saying, "That tickles" or "Elmo loves you." That means, as sad as it is, we could slap Elmo, or roll him down the stairs, and he is going to respond the same way!
DOES ELMO REALLY LIKE BEING SLAPPED!?
I GUESS WE WILL NEVER KNOW.
This kind of forced robotic relationship was never Gods intention. So, this tree was placed inside the garden. However, it still shouldn't be that big of an issue. Why? Because God warns them about it! God tells the first two people that the tree will result in their death.
Not eating from this tree is a NO BRAINER!
Think about all the pain you've ever felt in your life. Think about a life where that would never be your reality, and all you have to do in order to never hurt again is not eat from one tree. In actuality, that tree doesn't seem unfair in the least bit. That tree actually seems laughably easy.
Regardless of the tree's presence or not, this story could still have ended here with, "And they lived happily ever after." That tree seems far less concerning when you think about what they were giving up.
DON'T EAT FROM TREE = PERFECT LIFE
EAT FROM TREE = DEATH
Pausing to think about everything that's happened so far. Even with the presence of this tree, God has placed mankind in a perfect situation for success. He has already revealed that He chooses them, and loves them. Now, we just have to find out if the first two humans ever created would choose God over a death tree, and love Him back.
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