"And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.’” (Genesis 2:16-17)
Have you ever wondered why God put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden in the first place? He could have precluded this whole sin thing just by not planting those trees there. There would have been no temptation. There would have been no disobedience. There would have been no need for the cross. Wouldn’t it have been much simpler to leave those trees out of the equation and just say to Adam and Eve, “Eat to your heart’s content from everything in the garden.”? Simpler? Yes. But what would you really have then?
If there was no possibility of temptation or disobedience, what you would have had, in effect, was basically a prison. You would have only a restricted freedom, not real freedom. Genuine freedom of the will must carry the potential for temptation and disobedience.
So what we have in these two trees is a test of relationship. The man and the woman were created in God’s image, which at least includes a genuine freedom. Those two trees represented a choice. The choice was total fellowship with the Creator, or death by disobedience. It would seem to be a no-brainer, but the fact of our freedom carries with it the appeal to self-will and the desire to grow and become. That was the essence of the temptation from Satan. He appealed to their desire to become “more.” Also, there is something in us that cannot conceive of our actually not being alive, so the death thing is a little difficult for them to grasp psychologically.
What the man and woman failed to understand was that relating to God positively has exponential possibilities of becoming more, of expressing freedom, compared to relating to Him negatively, which immediately creates limitations and actual self-imprisonment. Self becomes our dictator. Disobedience dominates. And Satan smiles.
Lord, Guide us by Your Spirit into full fellowship with You and wipe the smile off of Satan’s face. Amen.