This is a response to some concerns posed about my previous post, I Asked for This Suffering. My friend said that he was wondering about what I said about God being sort of proud of Adam and Eve for eating of the tree. He added that “it would seem too much like “an evil game or ploy” for God to tell them not to eat of the tree but hoping that they would disobey Him and eat it so that they would acquire the knowledge of good and evil.”
I follow what he is saying about how what I present sounds like God is setting them up; that would have been an evil game or ploy. What I am seeing is slightly different.
There were two special trees in the garden: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. I’m using the Jerusalem Bible and in Gen 2:16-18 or so,
Yahweh God gave the man this admonishment, “You may eat indeed of all the trees in the garden. Nevertheless of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat, for on the day you eat of it you shall most surely die.”
It was not a commandment or a law but an admonishment (caution, warning, or advice). Also, what does God mean by “die?” Die to their one-ness with Him? Die to the ‘old man’ and taking on the new? That isn’t clear.
Furthermore, I’m not implying God set up a trap or an intentional inducement or a ‘trickster’ play. But I will point out that the serpent was created by God, just like the man and the woman. All the Jerusalem Bible says is that the serpent was “the most subtle of all the wild beasts.” Does that mean the serpent was evil or that his purpose ran counter to God’s plan? And here’s a real reach: could it be that this pivotal event in the garden took place a long time after the admonishment? that after a while, God decided it was time to advance man’s career and cued the serpent to enter the stage?
The reason I suspect that these rules of the arbor were either originally meant to be temporary or amended later on, is that (around Gen 3:22)
“Yahweh God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, with his knowledge of good and evil. He must not be allowed to stretch his hand out next and pick from the tree of life also, and eat some and live forever.'”
God expelled them from the garden and set up guards at the gate. It looks like it was meant to be a permanent lock out, right?
Jesus came and that rule changed, too. Because through Jesus, we are allowed through the gate and allowed to eat of the tree of life (His body and blood) and live forever.
Man, God’s precious human creation whom He loves with fierce tenderness, did not heed God’s warning, ate the fruit, so God changed the plan. This is not accusing God of being fallible or less than perfect but rather clear evidence that God is living, dynamic, constantly creating, and actively working WITH us, whom He created, and in whom He delights as we continue to develop, evolve, and mirror His creative nature back to Him.
Is this not an important message that we get from the Old Testament stories, that God repeatedly promises to disown Israel…but never does…and repeatedly changes the rules, accordingly. God’s love and interaction with us is real-time. Relationship between man and God is alive and dynamic. Creation is ongoing.
I think it’s flippin awesome!
Oh, and the part about God being proud: I can imagine God being proud of man’s evolution and growth…if not also man’s conscious curiosity. Again, who’s to say how long it was between the time man was placed in the garden, admonished, and the serpent slithered forth. The Bible doesn’t say.
(Yes, I borrowed the image from the internet. I’m ’bout ready to give it back, too.)