So in my studies for this book I wanted to take a closer look at sin. What is sin? Where did it all start? Is this thing our fault? Did God trick us or did the devil? What is the consequence of sin? How does God decide how to punish us? Is it really fair? So this is the beginning of my journey to hopefully answer these questions.
Where to start? At the beginning? NO. Let's start with Jesus. Jesus led a perfectly pure life. How do we know this? Well because Jesus is God in human form. And God is pure and holy without blemish. See our God is not like the gods of other religions. He isn't half good and half bad. He is ALL good ALL the time.
When looking up the word sin on "Blue Letter Bible" in the original Greek and Hebrew; I came across the Greek word "anamartetos". It is a Greek word for sin used in the new testament only ONE time. So it must be pretty special right? It is a familiar story of a woman about to be stoned to death. Jesus steps in and says "Ye without sin cast the first stone..." John 8:7. Now in the original Greek the word for "sin" is "anamartetos" which means " he who has not sinned". Jesus was talking about Himself. "let he who has not sinned cast the first stone..." In other words, let me be the Judge. Now this is our PERFECT God.
Now as discussed in prior blogs Satan was an angel that God created. I think he was created prior to the creation of the earth. Job 38:4-7 basically says the the angels rejoiced when God laid the foundations of the earth. I also think that angels were created with a freewill. Why? Because it is the only way for a creator God to create something out of love. And also because Satan was the first sinner. Ahhhh...isn't that a nice load off your chest; to finally know that man wasn't responsible for screwing everything up! Well...hold that thought.
"Your heart became proud on account of your beauty and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth..." Ez 28:17 So Satan's sin was that he thought he could be higher than God. The result of his sin was eternal separation from God. Pretty harsh? Not really. First Satan choose to leave by sinning. The separation is just the result of his sin, not the punishment of God. Also the extremity is due to how much wisdom Satan had of God. You know the old saying "the more knowledge...the more responsibility". Satan KNEW God! He was there when the earth was created. He was in God's heavenly kingdom. It says in Ez 28:14 that God anointed him as the guardian angel of heaven. So Satan was not only an angel in the presence of God, he was an angel with special responsibility and power! So when he sinned it had HUGE consequences. The result was eternal (since angels don't die) separation from God. Several of the other angels decide to go with Satan. "And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandon their own home..." Jude 6. Now their sin has separated them eternally from God as well.
Now I believe that this separation took place in Gen. 1:4 "God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from darkness." Genesis continues with God creating the whole earth. God affirms with each day that what He has created is good. Next God creates man. He creates man in His own image. He creates man out of love and with the ability to choose. Free will. God never controls His creation that is not love. To man he gives dominion and rulership over the whole earth. To me this implies that this earth will operate differently than heaven. God is still sovereign but with this creation He is allowing us to rule as humans via our own choices. The first example of this is God allowing Adam to name all the animals. (Gen 2:19-20). God could have named the animals but He didn't. He wanted us to be in charge of this new creation. He wanted us to use our intelligence and take ownership. God is not insecure. He his confident enough in His sovereignty that He was willing to sacrifice some power out of love for His creation and man. There was only one rule! Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.
Now if we read Gen 2:9 "God made all kinds of trees grow out the ground; trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." What do these trees mean? And who put them there? Well in Rev. 22:2 it says that the leaves of the tree of life are "healing for all nations". So the tree of life is really just how it sounds. It is God's perfection and life eternal. Notice God never tells Adam that he can not eat from this tree. He does however tell him not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If he does he will die, the Hebrew word here means "doomed to die". Simple as that.
So what is this tree all about? Well lets not forget about Satan. Remember at this point he has chosen separation from the goodness and perfection of God. This in turn has made him a sinner and evil- not by God's judgement but simply as a result of rejecting God. Now I PERSONALLY believe(and this is new to my brain as of the last week or so studying) that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the "tree of the knowledge of the battle between good and evil". In other words knowledge of the battle between God and Satan that at this point was in full swing!
Let me explain. Satan has left God of his own free will. Satan is allowed in the garden via his freewill. Satan is pissed at God. Satan wants to be God. Satan is seeking dominion. Satan sees his opportunity to have dominion over the earth through man and for man to worship him instead of God. We know that Satan has degree of power via being created by God as an angelic being. Satan has the power to create evil. He does this by twisting or manipulating the perfection God created. Therefore I believe that Satan took a tree that God had created and twisted or manipulated it for his own purpose. The tree of the knowledge of the battle between good and evil was in the garden because of the devil not because of God. God put the tree of life, the devil put the tree of death. Now this does not mean that God didn't want to have knowledge. Our totally intricate, intellectual brain is NOT a result of sin. God made us that way from the beginning. The knowledge of this tree was simply the knowledge that the devil existed and there was a battle.
Now where in the world did I come up with something like that!?! Well let me point out a few things that I have come across in my study for the last couple of weeks. This is new to me too. So stick with me...
Remember God says that he created "all kinds of trees that are pleasing to the eye and good for food". But He also makes it very clear NOT to eat of the tree of knowledge or you will die. So the tree of knowledge is NOT good for food. The trees God created were. Therefore He did not create this tree! Remember that God can not sin, there is no evil in him. So he can not create evil. Still having a hard time swallowing this? Well let's move on to Eve.
Eve is created by God out of the same love and with the ability to choose. Eve is the second part of the equation of Adam or humankind. She is for relationship, co-rulership and gives Adam the ability to multiply. In other words have sex. Oh my! See God could have decided to populate the entire earth Himself, but he didn't. He made it that man and woman would create something together out of love in God's image. All babies are the image of God when born. Whether they decide to keep that image is a different story.
So there were Adam and Eve naked before the Lord with no shame because they were without sin and fear. They were in the perfection and protection of God because they were in the secure, loving presence of God. God walked with them.
Then who screws it all up? Ah the devil! We forgot about the devil! Wouldn't it be nice if we could pretend that the devil didn't exist? Well he does. And a spiritual battle has been going on ever since he sinned.
So the devil comes to Eve and tempts her with the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of the battle between good and evil. Now the fact that this fruit is "tempting" is further confirmation the the devil put the tree there and NOT God. God will never temp you. James 1:13-14 says "When tempted, no one should say 'God is tempting me'. For God cannot be tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed." It goes on to say that the result of sin is death, and that every GOOD gift is from God...not evil. This is exactly what happened in the garden.
The devil by his own free will created this tree to tempt man. He wanted dominion over the earth. We saw us as his meal ticket and blood lust ensued. If he could get us to trust him and not God he gains worship of God's creation and dominion over the earth via man's free will.
Now what is interesting are the original Hebrew words used to describe the fruit. Remember God says that the trees HE created were "pleasing to the eye and good for food". Now in Gen 3:6 it says "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 too some and ate it." The Hebrew word for "pleasing" when God is describing the fruit He created is "chamad" which means desire, precious, to take delight in, beauty. The Hebrew word that is used to describe the "pleasing" fruit Eve takes a bite from is "ta'avah" which means desire, lust, covet. "Ta'avah" is from the root word "avah" meaning crave, be greedy or prefer. So God would NOT create something that would make us covet or lust. This is the fruit he told us not to eat! So why was the tree there? Because Satan put it there via his freewill.
God would have never created something that would have tempted us to sin. That would NOT be a loving, good god. And our God is. God intended perfection for us without sin and death. This sin caused Adam and Eve to step out of the perfection of God. Sin is injecting imperfectness(if that is a word) into the perfection of God. So what was once perfect is now tarnished. This was NEVER God's plan for you...it was Satan's.
Now what are the first words out of God's mouth after this event with the fruit? Continued in Part Two...