I got to thinking the other day about how things must have been for Adam in the garden. How simple God made life for man. God gave to Adam the entire physical creation with carte blanche to dress and keep it as he saw fit. As God created Adam in His image (Gen 1:27), Adam could, in his turn, make the garden into what he saw fit. All things displaying the Glory of Creator God. Of course we know God presented Adam with but a single rule and that Adam broke said rule.
I was thinking about this in comparison to the seeming endless complexity of life as it appears in this “modern age”. Endless numbers of tech gadgets, sports ball games, careers, movies, the ever present TV always there to distract us. It’s rare that people go out into nature any longer to sit quietly and simply allow it to “declare the glory of God” to them. When was the last time you watched several hummingbirds at a feeder or butterflies feeding at wildflowers? Simply amazing! (Do any of us saved look at one another that way… do we see, in amazement, the glory of Christ in one another (Col 1:26-27)? Ouch.) Add the myriad religions to the mix, hundreds of so called “Christian” denominations alone and it’s a wonder indeed to consider Adams most basic human situation.
Death itself was not an issue for our greatest grandfather. He was presented the ability never to experience its final grip. The tree of life was in the garden along with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and Adam could have chosen to eat freely of it as God had provided, rather than submitting to his own self will and eating from the tree he believed would make him wise like God.
Yet, with all that said, I don’t think he and I had it all that different. With all the noise and confusion of today’s world constantly bearing down on each and every one of us, in comparison to the seeming simplicity of Adam’s situation, we each have a remarkably similar choice to make. Let’s explore…!
What choice exactly did Adam have in front of him? God placed two very important trees in the garden with Adam. One would provide knowledge that Adam clearly did not possess, the knowledge of good and evil and the other, life in eternal fellowship with his Creator (and, by default, the knowledge that would bring). Notice that the one contained BOTH the knowledge of good AND evil. One tree… knowledge of both aspects of human thought and action. That tree also brought death itself into the world. Knowledge of good and evil then equates to sin and death. Yikes…
Clearly, throughout the Bible, God instructs people to “do good”, to be fruitful unto “good works”; why then was the knowledge of “good” paired on the same tree and “forbidden” along with the knowledge of evil? Did God somehow not want Adam to “know good” that he might “do good” and not evil? It is easy to understand how and why God would not want Adam to know evil but a far less oft asked question is why God did not want Adam to know “good” as well.
Unless of course you and I are not understanding clearly what God means by “good and evil” which is the far more likely case. Is it possible that what you and I commonly consider to be “good and evil” are only so because of our particular and individual (read, selfish) human perspectives? After all, isn’t it so that “Christians = good” and “Muslims = bad” from one perspective; AND that “Muslims = good” and “Christians = bad” from another? (I’m speaking here hypothetically of course.)
Another question… how did Adam benefit from obtaining the knowledge of good and evil? Is knowledge, even knowledge of “good”, such a beneficial thing when death was the inevitable and spoken result?
Romans 3:12… “They are all gone out of the way, they are all together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
Romans 3:23… “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Romans 6:23… “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Perhaps the answer is found, as it usually is, in our own arrogant selves, thinking we know more, in this case about the nature of good and evil, than we actually do.
Isaiah 55:9… “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
In Adams very basic, very good (Gen 1:31) situation, God simply wanted Adams trust placed in Himself rather than in Adams “self”. It was never about what Adam did or did not “do” as, had Adam NOT eaten from the tree of knowledge, sin and death (the curse) would NOT have come into the world and Adam would have retained his innocence. His actions, without the effect of sin on them, would have been inherently PURE. (I deliberately hesitate to use the word “good” right there.) Adam instead chose to listen to the counsel of his deceived wife (and thus the great deceiver) eventually placing more trust in himself than in the God who created him. Adam chose worldly knowledge over heavenly (Godly) knowledge, falling for the prideful temptation that he would be “like” the “gods” (Gen 3:1-5). A lot of good such worldly wisdom has gotten mankind, no?
1 Corinthians 1:19-20… “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”
Yes, He has. Just read His book rightly divided and you will understand that such is abundantly accurate!
So, taking a step back, what then might Adam, living simply in the “very good” garden of Eden, and me (we) have in common? What is the take away here?
It is that we both (all of us) face the same simple choice Adam faced. There was no “law” then as that was given thousands of years later to the nation Israel. Each and every human being born since Christ revealed the dispensation of grace to Paul (thus removing the curse of the law (Gal 3:10-13) from humanities midst) shares in the identical choice Adam faced. If the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was “worldly” or “human” knowledge, then the tree of life was heavenly or Godly knowledge. The tree of worldly knowledge brought death into the world, the tree of life (had Adam eaten of it) would have brought eternal life and Godly knowledge. A man today is in the same position. He can either choose himself as Adam did (mans default position – we are in Adams image – Gen 5:3) following his own conscience, doing whatever he wishes and face certain death, or he can choose God, not in the form of a tree but in the form of the person of Christ and live eternally with his Creator.
Swapping pronouns, I can either trust in me or I can trust in Thee. As God simply asked for Adams voluntary trust (choose life or death) He asks the same of me today. Christ is the tree of life; I am the tree of worldly knowledge. My choice is THAT simple! God did not ask Adam to “do” a thing. He simply placed two trees in the garden and gave him a choice. In today’s world, God does not ask a man to “do” a thing; indeed, “works” for salvation are forbidden (Rom 4:1-5)! He asks that we choose life by choosing Christ. That by grace through faith in Christ’s Work alone we, by choice, alter our default position as that choice is available to every man (Titus 2:11). Christ fulfilled the curse of the law. He paid its ultimate price. Sin and the law are not the issue today as it was (and will be yet again) for Israel. Thus the mystery revealed to Paul. He sent His Son to “do” it all and asks only that we trust in Him and not ourselves. Adam’s choice was the same. God or self.
Ephesians 1:13… “In whom ye also TRUSTED, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”
God gave Adam a single warning…
Genesis 2:16-17… “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
In those words is the essence of free will. May the doctrine of Calvinism be forever damned. Of EVERY tree of the garden could Adam FREELY eat. God gave him ample warning NOT to eat of the one, but certainly did not prevent Adam from so doing. As sin had not yet come into existence, so too has God dealt with sin for us today. Today, where sin abounds, grace that much more abounds (Rom 5:20). Thank God sin is not our issue! God, having made Christ to BE sin for us (2 Cor 5:19-21) has put the sin issue completely aside, as if it never even existed, just as in the garden, so that a mans sole decision need only be to eat of the tree of life (Christ)… or not. The issue is so stunningly simple yet it is buried under an avalanche of worldly religious confusion and outright deception.
God gives us the same simple warning He gave Adam… choose one tree or the other, choose life or choose death.
1 Cor 15:22… “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
If a man is found in Adam’s likeness (by choosing himself and his own “good” works for salvation) he will die. If the same man is found in Christ’s likeness (by believing the gospel of his salvation – 1 Cor 15:1-4) he will live as Adam would have IF Adam had chosen the tree of life… eternally with his Creator as the Creator originally intended.
King Solomon had the sum of worldly wisdom and knowledge and used it for both good and evil during his life. (Justin Johnson just completed an amazing verse by verse study of the book of Ecclesiastes that I highly recommend listening to.) How does Solomon conclude all the teachings he would convey to his own son; what did he ultimately learn from the totality of worldly wisdom?
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14… “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
“Follow the law.” Best to trust God, in Solomon’s case by following the law, and not yourself. Solomon however had no idea what God was going to do with the Apostle Paul. It was a mystery not yet revealed, he couldn’t have. All the worldly wisdom extant plus the wealth and power to wield it and Solomon could only conclude that the law must be followed. The law which can only condemn and ultimately kill. Vanity indeed Solomon…
1 Corinthians 15:56… “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.”
Romans 3:20… “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Romans 8:2… “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
The wisest man to have ever lived had zero heavenly knowledge of what God in Christ was going to do for mankind. How much more has God given us in the totality of His Word? How much more able are we to know of heavenly things than Solomon was? How thankful ought we to be that God sent Paul, the Apostle of grace and peace, with the message that would change us from the image of Adam we are born into, back into the image of Christ as was originally intended. Adam was free to choose. We are free to choose. Eternal life is a free gift!
Romans 5:18-19… “Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
Adam knew, likely very suddenly, that a perfect and eternal life awaited him and all creation IF he had only chosen God over self. Prideful human nature stepped in though and instead Adam and Eve stood naked and ashamed before their Holy Creator. So too do we stand naked before Him when we study His book and IT READS US…
Hebrews 4:12-13… “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
A perfect and eternal life awaits the man who makes the correct choice today. Let not pride get in the way. Become a (little “s”) son of God, as God someday will change this world back into its intended perfected form. All of creation will once again be made perfect and it is Gods desire that we join Him in eternity!
Romans 8:18-23… “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
Our very bodies will be redeemed (exchanged) for eternal bodies as Adam would have had; as God originally intended. The risen and glorified Christ today IS the tree of life presented to us as it was to our greatest grandfather, Adam. Christ gives the Adam in us a second chance to choose life! The garden shall return… universal! Adam the first begotten man, Christ the second. The saved are His body on earth and forever.
We might be “earthy” now, physically “in Adam”, but we too will be physically “heavenly” in the future. The saved “in Christ” will be physically changed. Hopefully soon!
1 Cor 15:45-53… “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
God gave Adam the same simple choice He gives us today. One tree or the other; life or death. No strings attached (we’re too stupid for strings…)
May the Adam in us all choose wisely.
2 Corinthians 11:3… “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
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