Gone Rogue

 

What if i told you …

…that I am the best footballer in the world, and that there will not be anyone like me?

What would you say to me in response to that statement?

I had never played a match, never scored a goal, and never won a trophy. Yet, I still insist that I am the best because I have all it takes to be the best in terms of physical features, heart and lung strength, and mindset.

Adam was created in God’s image, with “true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24). In other words, Adam was created to be righteous, and at the same time the propensity to sin. But being created righteous and with the ability to be righteous means nothing if Adam was never able to make a choice between right and wrong. For this reason, God gave them a simple command: not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. (The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is not evil. It was part of God’s creation that was “very good”.) The command was an opportunity for Adam to be who he was created to be. It was a test God knew Adam could pass.

This is the difference between the temptation of Satan and the testing of God. Satan tempts you to bring you down, to make you believe that you are not good or not good enough. But God’s testing is to bring you up, to show you that he was right about you from the start.

The serpent’s lie

Out of the bushes a serpent emerges. It isn’t just any serpent, but one that could speak. Did the spirit of Satan overtake and possess a poor unwitting snake? Or was the snake a physical form that Satan took on, different and apparently appealing; a form willed by his own doing in order to be visible and so that he might communicate with Adam and Eve? Those who bother to read the Story to the end will learn that this “old serpent” is indeed Satan himself (Rev 20:2). In the Garden, he walked erect, for this is necessarily implied in his punishment – “on your belly (i.e., on all fours) you shall go” (Gen 3:14).

This serpent was being compared to “all the wild animals that the Lord had made” because he (Satan) too was a created being. But he was most cunning because, unlike the animals, he had ambition: to be like God.

Satan came onto the scene in the Biblical narrative with one clear goal in mind, and that was to cause the man and the woman to sin against God. How was he going to do it?

Most assume that serpent deceived the woman by lying to her. However, if we examine the incident carefully, as Jeff Benner did, we would find that the serpent didn’t lie, in fact, he told the complete truth. In the following video, Jeff Benner, from the Ancient Hebrew Research Center, will explain how the serpent did not deceive the woman with lies, but instead deceived the woman with the truth.

The serpent was applying Strain Theory, which asserts that we are socialized to seek rewards, and when he rewards are blocked strain is created that can be relieved by law breaking (Henderson & Simon, 1994). This is one of the reasons people commit crimes. In addition to that , Eve did a risk/reward analysis in her mind. Knowing that consequences (of eating the fruit) will be delayed – that she will eventually die but not immediately – she was emboldened to eat the fruit. The rewards, even though will be short-lived, outweighed the risks.

Satan was right. Eve did not fall down dead when she ate the fruit. And when Adam saw that, the fence of prohibition vanished and he ate it consciously.

What rewards did Eve perceive she would obtain by eating the fruit?

Satan told her that by eating the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, she will be “like god, knowing good and evil”. Once again he was telling the truth. God himself would later confirm this, saying, “Behold the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:22). In what way will Eve be like god? Wasn’t Adam and Eve created in God’s image already?

In this case, being like god means to be able to sit in judgement because of one’s possession of the knowledge of good and evil. It is pretty much like someone who has been trained in law and possesses a law degree. He is now able to practice law and, if he is good, he could become a judge one day.

Earlier I said that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is not something bad. God does not tempt anyone with evil (Jas 1:13-15). I believe that God will allow Adam and Eve to eat of it fruit one day, just not today because they were not ready. Having the knowledge of the law does not necessarily make one a good lawyer or judge. He must have both a head and a heart (empathy and compassion).

In Psalm 82, the Psalmist writes about God sitting in judgement among the “gods”, who, we are told later, are the “sons of the Most High” (verse 6). These “gods”, unfortunately, did not judge justly. They showed “partiality to the wicked” (verse 2) instead of giving “justice to the weak and the fatherless”, maintaining “the right of the afflicted and the destitute”, rescuing “the weak and the needy, and delivering them “from the hand of the wicked” (verse 3-4). 

We are not told how old Adam and Eve were when they became a living soul. They could have been 30 or 13. In any case, they had quite bit of growing up to do, emotionally and socially. Mind you, they were living in a world where there were no other human beings besides themselves. They were, you can say, suffering from “the only child syndrome. The only child syndrome is a label given to people who do not have any siblings, or who were raised without any siblings. Some of the claimed only child syndrome characteristics include selfishness, an inability to share and difficulty making friends. (However, in spite of the numerous studies done on this subject, no clear conclusion could be arrived at that the only child syndrome is true.)

Eve learned that by eating the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil will give her the wisdom to be a judge. This proposition was one she could not refuse. So she ate it and gave some to her husband who was with her.

Categories of Temptation

Here, I want to compare Genesis 3:6 with 1 John 2:16.

Genesis 3:6
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

The temptation of Eve took place at 3 levels that corresponds with John’s definition of “the world”. The same could be seen in the Temptation of Jesus in the Judean Wilderness.

Temptation of Eve 1 John 2:16 Temptation of Jesus
Eve say that the tree was good for food lust of the flesh Matt 4;3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
that it was a delight to the eyes lust of the eyes Matt 4:5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,
and that the tree was desirable to make one wise pride of life Matt 4:8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;

Satan was an expert marketer and salesman in the Garden. His goal was to get Eve to buy the product, which was the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The way he went about it was first to cause Eve to focus on a need. Marketers are experts in making something that wasn’t a need become just that.

Adam and Eve were happy and contented until the serpent came along to tell them they can be like god, knowing good and evil. This stirred up a desire within them, prematurely. Price is never an obstacle for an ambitious salesman. He will assure you that you don’t have pay for it immediately if you can’t afford it. You can pay for it later, in parts.

Are all forms of knowledge and wisdom bad? Are we to shun them like a plague? Certainly not. After all, didn’t the Lord, through the prophet Hosea, say, “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). He was speaking of the priests who had rejected the Torah. Regarding wisdom, Solomon also calls it the “principle thing” and that we should get it even if it costs us everything (Prov 4:7). True wisdom begins with the fear of God (Prov 1:7).

The difference between Eve and Jesus is, obviously, that Jesus abided by the Word of God and did not succumb to the temptation, whereas Eve did not abide by the singular command of God and gave in to her own desires. By John’s definition in 1 John 2:16, Eve loved the world and the things in it, and therefore the love for God was not in her.

Genesis of Self-consciousness

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. (Gen 3:7)

Adam and Eve had vision before this. They were not blind. Adam could see Eve when they were introduced to one another. But as a result of eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they gain a different perspective. They became self-consciousness, especially of their own shortcomings. For the first time, and hereon, they became familiar with feelings such as shame (they were ashamed of their naked and sewed fig leaves to cover themselves), fear (they hid themselves from the presence of God), and anxiety (a feeling of guilt and anticipation of punishment).

Self-consciousness, taken to one extreme will result in self-absorption.Dictionaries (e.g., Dictionary.com/Random House/Collins English Dictionary) define self-absorption unappealingly as “preoccupied with oneself or one’s own affairs,” frequently adding that it’s “to the exclusion of others or the outside world.” That is, self-absorbed individuals typically don’t show much concern about anyone or anything outside their (narrow) self-interest (Psychology Today). The antidote for self-absorption which Paul the apostle prescribes is humility as demonstrated through not thinking about yourself more highly than you ought (Rom 12:3) and valuing “others above yourselves” (Phil 2:3 NIV).

The people of the earth displayed self-absorption and self-preservation when they built a city and a tower that reaches to the heavens “to make a name for themselves lest we be dispersed over the face of the earth” (Gen 11:4).

If left unchecked, “people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim 3:2-4).

The Hiding

As in days past, since their creation, the man and the woman were expecting God to come visit; to walk and talk with them in the Garden. His actual presence was announced by the sound of his footsteps. Sensing that God was among the trees of the Garden, the man and the woman “hid themselves” out of guilt and shame. Their conscience was bearing witness against them and their thoughts accusing them (Rom 2:15). Their behaviour typifies that of sinners. Assuredly, there is no quest for God in fallen man.

Where were Adam and Eve hiding? Behind some trees? Under some bushes? Did they seriously think that they could actually escape the Omnipresence and Omniscience of God?

“Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD. Jer 23:24

The Psalmist, King David, tried in vain to hide his sin from God. His personal experience led him to the following conclusion:

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
aIf I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall blead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
Psalm 139:7-11

‘The soul has many hiding-places. There are: (1) The hiding-place of self-complacent propriety; (2) the hiding-place of the reasoner; (3) the hiding-place of theological dogmas. But the true hiding-place for the soul is Jesus.’ [1]

[1] Nisbet, James. “Commentary on Genesis 3:1”. Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

 

This is an example of what members of the Torah Club will learn. Contact me if you wish the Torah Club today.

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