HOW GOD STAYS IN TOUCH WITH MAN: III

In Genesis, chapter two, the Lord God made a man by a special act. And the Lord God made for man a mate, via a special act. The Lord God installed in man the ability to choose. Then, the Lord God made for man a garden, a park, or a paradise called Eden. Adam and Eve did not have the park to themselves. The Lord God also was present in Eden and He watched over the couple. And what the Lord God saw broke His Heart! His special creatures were flirting with Satan’s emissary, the serpent. The Lord God had made it very clear that to eat and to obey anyone, that questioned and to disregarded the Lord God’s Commandment, chooses death over life. Death meant the separation from the Lord God. And it also separated the soul and spirit from the physical body. Genesis, chapter three, gives the reader an idea what it was like to live in the “Presence of the Lord God.” There absolute was harmony and peace between man and the animals before Satan’s agent duped Eve into transgressing and bringing disaster on everything and everyone in paradise. Adam and Eve turned the “First Christmas” into ruins. At least, that is the way most of us are led to believe. I wish to take issue with that concept. And I shall deal with the question, “What would life be without the human experience?” Would we like to live robotic lives like Adam and Eve did in Eden? The author of Genesis did not share my view:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked;so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will returns.”

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3).

ADAM’S CHOICE TURNED INTO A HUMAN EXPERIENCE

In a few months, I am going to be eighty-eight years old. And all my life, I have been influenced with the idea that Adam was the reason why the world is in such a bad condition, and why man has become such a sinner. All of this is contrary to Genesis 1:31; namely, that God made everything good! The man in Genesis, chapter two, even lived in a perfect world where he had to do almost nothing because the Lord God supplied all his needs. Adam lived, as if he was a puppet or a robot in paradise with no will of his own, and with no human experience that he could share. This man was also isolated from real humans, where Cain found a wife. Adam and Eve were forbidden to enter a new experience. And they had no idea how it would feel when they decided to taste that “mysterious secret.” At that time, although man was created in the image and likeness of God, man had not experienced what it entailed for him to make choices, as human. The experience made man into a being like God and gave man the knowledge of “good and evil.” There was no other way to grow up into a human being where trials and errors could lead to a full and successful life.  

I was twenty-one when in an accident fire deprived me of my appearance and of my ability to resume my manual profession. It took twenty surgeries and more than two years before I began to look somewhat presentable. During this time, and then eight years after, I was plagued by the idea that no one would want to love me; or even to be loved by me, to have children that we could play with, and build a future together, and leave some legacy in the world. My fear was unfounded! A very lovely and attractive young lady did not mind looking at my scars and she was willing to join me in a joint human experience. Now, for over fifty-eight years we have had our ups and downs, joys and sorrows, success and failures together. We have made good and bad decisions; nevertheless, we always landed back on our feet, as human beings are supposed to do. We did not let bad choices defeat us! But we turned bad choices into positive lessons for the next choice we had to make. Thus, we developed the knowledge how to deal with good and evil. We are more fortunate than Adam and Eve because we have their example and the moral teachings of the Bible to guide us. We feel indebted to Adam and Eve for using their free will and their right to choose a life they wanted to live. They took their destiny in their own hands.

WHAT ROLE DID GOD PLAY WITH ADAM AND WITH MAN?

The Lord God did let Adam and Eve choose how they wanted to live. God allowed the couple to wake up from their slumber and let their conscience become their “guide.” Hereinafter, they had to decide by their own will, and not by God’s Will, how to structure their lives and how to make ends meet. In this life and here on earth, man became the captain of his own ship; and man, at his own will, could sail anywhere in the world. Man had and man has full liberty to do as he pleases, but at the same time, man must weigh the evidence whether what he intends to do is beneficial. Man has to employ that ability which helps him to choose between what is right and what is questionable. Man may have to muddle through a huge area of grey, which is neither good nor bad, white, or black. Not all lawful things are beneficial! And it is man’s responsibility to examine the influence or the product that may appeal to his senses (I Corinthians 6:12; I John 4:1).

Adam and Eve saw themselves as being naked and guilty. They experienced the use of their free will, God had placed within them. What appeared to be a mistake may have been God’s intention to break man’s dependence on a provider that babied man. Adam and Eve began the tendency to want the Lord God to be with them. These two human beings, and many that followed, believed that God had a place on earth where He resided and where God was accessible to them. Adam and Eve did not seem anxious to leave Eden and assume the responsibility of God’s first charge to man:

God blessed them (man and woman) and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1:28).

Adam’s hesitation to leave Eden was similar to Jesus’ disciples. The disciples were commanded by their Lord to go into the world and win it back for God, but they hesitated to leave Jerusalem, where they believed that God had his residence on earth (Matthew 28:19-20). It was King Herod who drove the disciples out of Jerusalem by executing James, the brother of John Zebedee, and he also threatened to end Peter’s life (Act 12). Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden by the Lord God, Himself (Genesis 3:23-24). They were forced to go into the world and become responsible for themselves and to others. It should not be ruled out that Adam and Eve were the first missionaries, made by the Lord God to win the world back to God. However, instead the brothers Cain and Abel competed for the love of God. Cain, who felt less loved, killed his own brother. Cain left the “Presence of God,” married a Nod, built a godless city, and his descendants enticed their godly Sethites with their attractive women (Genesis 6:1-7). There was a time between Adam and Noah when people did turn to God led by Enosh, an offspring of Adam- Seth (Genesis 4:26). Two more men believed in the Lord God and warned the people of the consequences sin would impose on the transgressors. This was the godly Enoch, whom God took away (Genesis 5:24). It can also mean that he died at the hands of the ungodly; perhaps the first man who died for his faith to save his fellow man, similar to what Jesus our Lord did. The other man was Noah who lived among people who mocked the idea of a God who could punish them for their unbelief and for their wickedness (Genesis 6-7). Noah’s generation could have been saved, if they only had believed and if they had chosen to built boats. Yes, salvation comes to those who believe in what the Lord commands they must do. Faith can move mountains! That is, if man takes hold of a shovel and a wheelbarrow, but not when he keeps looking at it and hopes that the mountain will disappear on its own.

MAN WAS GIVEN THE CHOICE TO DETERMINE HIS OWN DESTINY BEFORE HE WAS FORCED TO DO IT

The law of nature demands that when a male reaches maturity, he must leave his nest and tend for himself and build his own nest for his offspring. Adam, himself, knew it and said when he married:

“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame (Genesis 2:23-25).

The call of nature is not satisfied until a man and a woman find each other and carve out a life and a nest for themselves. Adam and Eve were paired by the Creator, but they were not willing to leave their Creator’s nest and they had to be evicted. Eviction was not a bad idea. Particularly in our time, far too many children live in the nests their parents built, and their own contributions are lost to the world. Far too many abuse their parent’s nests. And they become burdens to society because they have not learned to cope with the human experience necessary to survive. I, myself, have run away from home three times. And I had to return because I was unprepared to cope with myself in the world. The fourth time, I had matured enough to face handicaps and hurdles thousands of miles from home. I equipped myself with the tools, which I needed to survive in this world. And I did find a wife with whom I could have a wonderful life together; we have raised three sons, who found their own soul-mates and they in turn built their own nests. Two of the sons lost their their mansions, not just homes, but they continue to nest together. That, in essence, is the law of nature and the foundation of the human experience ordained by the Creator, necessary to sustain the family, the community, and the nation.

Christmas is the time that the Lord God joined the family of Joseph and Mary. God reaffirmed “His Promise” by giving them His Son Jesus the Christ while He was a baby. The Baby Jesus, the Christ, also had to learn the human experience. Jesus was obedient to his parents and He grew up in their nest (Luke 2:51-52).