06 January 2013

The Real Problem

I'm convinced that the entire Bible can be summed up in the first 3 chapters. I also believe if all we had was Genesis 1-3, then that would be enough. Why do I say crazy stuff like this? Well, give me a chance to explain.

In the beginning...
It's imperative that we understand what happened in the beginning. It allows us to get a glimpse of the big picture. If we don't see life from God's perspective, then nothing he did will ever make much sense.

Honestly, so much of what we've been taught about Adam and Eve is the wrong perspective (what I call bottom-up theology). Whenever you hear about the story, most only mention the "bad" things. We all know about their disobedience. We all know how God cursed them after they ate the fruit, but what really happened? What's really going on here that we tend to skip over?

The story of Adam and Eve is often referenced as "the fall." It's "the fall" of man. Or, the "the fall" from grace. Which are both horribly wrong labels. No one falls from unfailing love. How do you fall from something there's too much of? Isn't his love so deep and wide that you'll never find the edge (Eph 3:16-19)? On top of that, Adam and Eve didn't fall from anything. It's actually quite the opposite. They gained something they never had before (Gen 3:7).

Not too long ago, in a comment from one of my previous posts, I had someone quiz me on Facebook about why I blatantly chose to "skip" the sin (disobedience) aspect of the story. This person made it clear that sin was the most important issue. However, sin is NOT the most important issue.

The biggest part of the story is what happened as a result of the disobedience.

Pretty much every Christian I know focuses on sin. However, what most don't understand is that it's no longer a problem (Col 2:13-15). Actually, sin (or disobedience) is not even God's main concern in the beginning. Why? Because we always had forgiveness. God knew that Jesus was going to die one day to pay for all our sin. You see, when you're an eternal being, you're not bound to time. Actually, time doesn't exist. It's just structure to measure life events. Since God lives in eternity, he sees everything that ever exists in this very moment. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever and if God never changes, then his forgiveness never changes either (Heb 13:8). The forgiveness we had on the cross is the same forgiveness Adam and Eve had on day one.

Ok, so if sin wasn't the biggest problem, then what was?

The real problem is we gained an understanding that God never wanted us to have - the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3:22-23).

Adam and Eve were specifically instructed not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen 2:15-17). They could eat of any tree in the garden, but this one. Yet, God created this "bad" tree. He created everything; even the tree he didn't want us to eat from (Gen 1:29). I find this very interesting.

Now, let's look at something else. Why in the world would God only mention 2 trees? He first mentions the Tree of Life, then he mentions the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen 2:9). Yet, God made many more trees and other vegetation (Gen 1:11-13). I'm sure all the other trees, bushes, and grass had names (or purpose), but these 2 trees were all he cared to mention. Or, could it be all the detail that Moses chose to share with us?

Actually, I do this too. I don't spill everything that God tells me. I leave the rest up to you and Jesus. I only mention greater detail to close friends of mine and even then I don't reveal it all. I don't say much when I'm having a hard time understanding something. Also, when I write my posts, I simply scratch the surface. I never reveal too much hoping someone catches on. The Truth has a way of finding people who are seeking it (Pro 1:20-33).

Anyway, so let's get to the point.

The serpent (who many say is Satan) starts chatting it up with Eve and questions what she thinks about the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. She says she can't eat it or even touch it (Gen 3:2-3). However, the serpent assures her that she won't die if she does take a bite. He also confirms that she'll be like God - knowing what he knows (Gen 3:4).

Well, honestly who wouldn't want more wisdom? And, who wouldn't want to eat something that would make them more like God?

Eve examines the fruit and decides to eat it. After she takes a bite, she turns to Adam and says, "Eat it or you're not getting any tonight." Of course, the poor guy is left with no choice, so he also takes a bite. Next thing they know, they're both naked (Gen 3:6-7). ~;-)

As we've talked about before, Adam and Eve were currently in a powerful bodily form that could withstand the presence of God. I believe they had coverings of light (or the glory of God covering them) and I talk more about this in one of my previous posts. They had to have a physical make-up that would never die or fade (a heavenly form). So, it's quite obvious they wouldn't fall over dead if they ate the fruit. The serpent knew this too. How? Because the fruit didn't have the power to kill. That wasn't its function. Also, the fruit didn't have the power to alter their current state of being. It was only created to be the knowledge of good and evil. And, it did its job well.

Also, once Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they did, in fact, gain more knowledge. Even though they were like God already (and God saw fit that they were good), they did not know the difference between good and evil (Gen 1:26-31). They were "naked" and didn't know (or even care) about what they appeared to be. They were blissful and ignorant while living in a stress-free, work-less paradise. And, this is the way God originally intended it to be.
The Tree of Life is what you should cling to.

God wanted his special possession to simply enjoy life (1 Pet 2:9). He wanted all of us to live in complete comfort as we spent quality time with him and shared each other's heart's desires.

The real issue is not sin, but that we gained the knowledge of good and evil. It was this awareness that caused Adam and Eve to believe something was wrong with them, when there wasn't. They thought they weren't good enough. However, God didn't see it that way (Gen 3:11). He thought they were glorious, beautiful, and perfect. Once they ate the fruit, its wisdom caused them to see each other differently. They stopped viewing themselves the way God intended.

There's one thing I want you to understand. It doesn't matter what the knowledge of good and evil says. All that matters is you have a newer, even better awareness - Jesus died and forgave you of every sin. And, the only way to eternal life is to eat of this tree.

The knowledge of good and evil is pretty much the devil. It's why God chose to drive us out of Eden. He didn't want us to live forever with this understanding (Gen 3:22-24). It will always make you think you're not good enough. And, it will always trick you into believing you must do something to make things right (Gen 3:7-8). This sounds good and appears delicious, but this way of life only leads to death.

Ask God to reveal to you what this knowledge of good and evil looks like. Don't let it rule you and focus on the tree that gives life.

You are what you eat. Now, it's time you enjoy the fruit of God's labor (John 6:53-59).


Psych You Out said...

I'm not sure if you're getting less harsh or if I'm getting harsher, but this one seems about as non controversial as I've seen you. :)

Dathan Ellis said...

Yeah, I'm slacking on my harshness in this one, but not really. You may just be getting used to hearing the truth and it not be so in your face. I needed to weed out some people for awhile and say what needed to be said.

lifewithin said...

Hey .. Just a thought.. I wonder if He (God) ever made the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He gives instructions not to partake of it and later when the serpent is talking to Eve, she does not name the tree by it's real name but says they are not to touch nor eat from the tree in the "midst" (center) of the garden. God never said they couldn't touch it and He never stated that it was in the center of this garden. So where did this tree really come from?

lifewithin said...

Whatever the case... I'm glad He made the tree of life and protected it after what occurred in the garden. He loves us so much!!

Dathan Ellis said...

I used to think that the tree was planted by someone else (Satan). However, when I read in Gen 1 and Gen 2:8-10 I see that God actually made all the trees. Very interesting. Also, I never thought about Eve not calling it by it's name. Hmmm. Something I overlooked. Adam's job was naming so I wonder if he didn't give it a name or if these means something more. Good catch there! I'm so glad he made the tree of life too...and that he protected it from religious people who can't see.