Calamity in the Garden
any thousands of years ago the Lord God created a beautiful garden. He placed this beautiful and luxuriant garden in the area which later became known as Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilisation (the approximate area of modern-day Iraq).
Into this wonderful garden, the Lord God placed Adam and Eve, the first man and first woman.
Of course, we all know the story of Adam and Eve and it is pointless for me to rehearse that story here, but are we entirely clear about exactly what happened at the 'incident of the two trees'? I raise the question because of hearing this question being discussed by two very sweet and sincere elderly ladies not very long ago. Although the two ladies had been Christians for many years they had obviously never heard the circumstances and vital meaning of the 'Fall of Man' properly expounded. I thought that a pity.
Today our "scientific age" has bought into the schema that experimental theory is far more important to Mankind than revealed truth; it is easy to trace this reasoning back to the 'enlightenment' but, in fact, it goes much further back than that, indeed, the preference for the 'experimental' approach over revealed truth goes back to the Garden of Eden itself.
The Lord God had told the first couple that they could eat freely from the 'Tree of Life' (representing a close walk with their Creator in which they would learn of His perfect ways), but that they should not touch 'The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.' Now please note that God did not deny that people would be able to accumulate a form of knowledge entirely apart from Him, but it is clear that that particular form of knowledge would not lead to true spiritual life! It is also clear that this human knowledge which purposely left God out of the picture (an important part of 'enlightenment' tactics), would quickly - and necessarily - have a moral and ethical dimension ('good and evil'). In other words, Mankind should never deceive itself that its own form of materialistic learning would be wholly concerned with physical/chemical/non-spiritual matters - morality and ethics necessarily become involved where God is rejected.
For many centuries people of many cultures had at least some working knowledge of the serious mistake which Adam and Eve had made. But the (so-called) 'enlightenment' which started to place human experimental 'knowledge' on a pedestal, gave intellectual respectability to the 'Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.' This is despite the fact that such human wisdom rejected the whole concept of a Garden of Eden. So that tree represented humanly-acquired knowledge - apart from God and (as the name implies), this 'knowledge' would include godless men and women deciding for themselves just what 'good and evil' is. An irony then in the fact that this human intellectualism which scorned the whole concept of a Garden of Eden actually vividly highlighted the results of Adam and Eve's decision in that garden.
Okay, let us just briefly rehearse Genesis 3:
'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.....' (Genesis 3: 1-7, NIV).
Now here is the first ever scientific experiment - held because of doubt concerning the Word of God! God said one thing, but (under the influence of Satan), Eve decided to experiment. Of course, Satan had not wholly lied - just not told the whole and entire truth! - and indeed, the inspired text says that the first couple did indeed have their eyes opened (verse 7) following their anti-God experiment. They now discovered human knowledge - apart from the revelation of God! And mankind has continued on this path. The truth about God was rejected by the first couple and replaced by a theoretical and experimental 'scientific' approach: so, the very first satanic lying theory was:
God cannot necessarily be trusted, best to test and experiment for yourself!
Whether knowingly or unknowingly, the first couple rejected truth and the opportunity to have a personal relationship with God in favour of the experimental/theoretical approach to life. And throughout the pages of the Old Testament (and indeed throughout human history) we see the acceptance of this principle in action: God might be there, but who is to say what His will is, and who will He accept? Best to test things for ourselves!
Thankfully, God later performed a rescue mission through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him - and through Him alone - men and women can again have a relationship with God and - even now - they can have their flawed 'spiritual eyesight' corrected, again being able to 'tap into' the true spiritual knowledge which had been available in the first Garden but had been rejected. So today true believers find themselves looking at modern problems through what one might call 'divine spectacles' - we now see the true spiritual dimension behind every real - and imagined - problem on this planet. we see the 'big picture' that the rejection of God is the cause of ALL human problems, whereas most people see thousands of problems without any solution. But at the same time, we ourselves become a mystery to others!
The apostle Paul perfectly expressed this amazing difference which restored divine knowledge makes to the true believer:
'For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.' (1 Corinthians 1:19-21)
'For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.' (Verses 25-27).
And in chapter two Paul shows the effects of God's decision to show divine wisdom to the unfamous and unlearned according to human standards:
'The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment.' (1 Corinthians 2: 14-15).
Robin A. Brace, 2006.
WITNESS TO THE WORD