And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:16-17 NIV
Here’s my disclaimer since this is a more biblical post than I usually write and I’m not a Bible scholar: This post is simply my opinion about something I’ve pondered a lot, but understand only a little.
The forbidden tree, the one referred to in Genesis, is long gone. However, what the tree stood for then, it stands for today.
I didn’t connect us with the tree of knowledge until I noticed how we shrug off things that go on around us unless God’s to blame. That’s when we expect an explanation. We tolerate badness in our personal lives and publicly, but we interrogate God and His goodness. We make exceptions for family and friends, but none for Him.
We don’t demand answers from our leadership, but we do from our Lord. If we don’t like His answers, we take our apples and we go home. We’d rather live with evil than to not understand why it happens.
Even though He already told us why – sin.
Why’d He allow sin? To allow us free will.
Why’d He allow free will? To allow us the privilege of choosing Him.
Just like in the garden, we’re treading on thin ice when we put God on trial in His own courtroom.
Don Stewart, in study notes at Blue Letter Bible (an online study Bible titled after its blue hyperlinks), answered the question, “Why did God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden in the first place?”
Stewart explained the tree represents our free will. It also represents how God tests our free will. The tree gave Adam and Eve (and us) “an opportunity to choose obedience to God over anything else,” which is the most beautiful choosing we’ll ever do.
Before it’s beautiful, though, it means choosing obedience above our own understanding and above our arrogance of thinking we should understand.
God meant for us to read the Bible, as well as study and question it. He meant for us to discuss it. He intended for us to pray over it. And to listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to us through it.
What He didn’t intend were arguments between us, judgment upon each other, and holier than Him attitudes, all because we don’t understand.
We get to choose whether our Sunday school classes, Bible studies, and spiritual conversations stay godly or we gaum up our teachable moments playing God.
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29 NIV
I have family and friends who’ve walked away from their Bibles, their churches, and from God Himself because they didn’t understand something, so they decided they didn’t want anything to do with it. They didn’t honor God’s right to be God and to keep some things secret.
If He didn’t, we wouldn’t need faith and we wouldn’t need Him. We’d be our own Gods..
When our need to know everything is bigger than our need to know Him, we’re right back in the garden and eating from the forbidden tree … again.
Eternity is way too long to spend in hell just because we didn’t understand everything here on earth. Amen? Amen.
In This Together,