It’s ok to wonder about things, right? Some of us, the older we get, find ourselves wondering about things in deeper or new ways unlike any other time in our lives. Some of us. Not all of us. Maybe that comes with age along with the events of our lives and if we give ourselves time to ponder the things of life. It’s ok to wonder about things in the bible too, right? Maybe even admit to ourselves that some things don’t make sense. Is that ok? Can you relate? You would think at my age after being a pastor for 25 years I’d have everything nailed down and tightly held together. Right? The other day I heard a sermon which mentioned sin and the origin of sin. That’s one of those things I wonder about.
The preacher brought up the Adam and Eve story which is where it all began. Sin. I got to wondering about something I can’t ever recall wondering about before in all my years. How did that crafty serpent find himself able to be present in a supposedly perfect world, a perfect garden with the original perfect couple? If God is all powerful and all good at the same time, how did it ever come to be that this personification of evil was squirming around in God’s supposed perfect creation in the first place? How did he get in?! Did God Himself choose to plant imperfection and evil within the realm of the perfect world from the beginning? Otherwise, this harbinger of no good snuck in behind God’s back and God didn’t catch him coming in the back door. Perhaps if God’s warning to not eat of the tree of good and evil stood on its own merit alone maybe things might have turned out OK? But alas, there had to be more, a tempter. And a delicious, desirous temptation.
No doubt, this wondering has been around through the ages, and we’ve settled on the belief that God had to find a way to test his man and woman and to give them the ability to choose. Otherwise, we are in essence created “robots.” So the storyline goes. We had to have options: choose God, or otherwise. And as we have been taught ad nauseum, to choose otherwise is sin. Makes me wonder if propensity to sin was already hardwired into the first humans. Do you have to have a sin nature in order to sin in the first place even if for the very first time?
We’ve also been taught from the bible that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Perhaps from before the beginning all were going to sin, all did sin, all do sin, all will always sin. Jesus said several times to individuals, “go and sin no more.” Did they really? Sin no more? Impossible! No doubt sinning less is better than sinning more and knowing God as love certainly gives us a foundation for living a life of sinning less and loving more. That’s a good thing. A God thing.
I wonder too about that other tree with nice fruit we don’t hear too much about. The tree of life. I don’t recall ever hearing there was a warning to not eat from the tree of life (correct me if I’m wrong). What was it about the tree of good and evil that made the tree of life take a back seat? Eat from the tree of life, right? Sadly, after making their choice, our once perfect couple was banned from the garden for fear they might then take and eat from the tree of life and live forever. Too late. I wonder too, if Adam and Eve, when warned about the fate of eating from the tree of good and evil even understood what it meant to literally die. They never saw death before. Didn’t know much about it. I guess they could have been aware enough to be fearful of dying if they knew something about it that would give rise to fear. Warnings in a perfect world? Interesting.
All this to say, I wonder. That’s all. Some might wonder if God made a miscalculation in creating mankind with the ability to choose. I don’t think so. If God is all powerful and all good, then I must believe God knew beforehand that his creation was going to turn out like it did. He certainly didn’t say to himself, “Dang!” when Eve, feeling the desire within her created self to have wisdom and knowledge, reached out to take hold of it. I wonder if the story of Adam and Eve simply shows that God created mankind knowing that all would sin, and this story tells of how it all played out from the beginning. The Adam and Eve story illustrates that God is all powerful and good, yet a human life is all about choices. Choices that reflect the nature of God lead to a meaningful life of love. Choices that are contrary to the nature and virtues of God lead to a life of far less joy and meaning than God ever intended.
At my age, I’m ok to wonder more than to know more or have all the answers. I do know God is love and his love for us is the one constant we can count on! One other thing I wonder about. I wonder, wonder who… who wrote the book of love. Sorry. Had to throw that in!