There was a couple named Ramon and Rose who were planning to be married and like many couples, they agreed to meet with a marriage counselor to confirm that they were on the road towards happily ever after. After returning for a follow up session, the counselor asked if they had completed the assignment he had given them the week before. Ramon responded with excitement that they were ready to be married but Rose expressed a bit of concern.
“He keeps pushing me to sell my car and work from home.” The counselor was surprised and nudged her to continue. “I enjoy the company of my co-workers, but he doesn’t seem to understand that. Plus, my car is paid for, and I don’t see the logic in downsizing to a one car household.”
The counselor sat back in his chair and invited Ramon to chime in. Ramon explained: “Since she’s going to be my wife, I don’t want her getting attention from the guys in her office. In regard to her selling her car, I think it’s best if we drive everywhere as a couple; if she isn’t going with me, I don’t see a need for her to be driving anywhere alone. If she’s going to be my wife, then I’m going to give her all the attention she needs and help eliminate any opportunity for her to be tempted by other men.”
There is a question that agitates the minds of some people regarding the subject of temptation. That question is: ‘why does God allow it?’ In Genesis we are told “…You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Gen.2:16,17. What was the purpose of the tree with the danger sign in front of it in an environment where everything was made by divine design and pleasing to the natural senses?
Adam and Eve were created physically perfect. Every member of their bodies functioned just as God had intended. Genesis 1:31 says “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good…” According to the above verse even the forbidden tree was good but it served a different purpose.
Although God gave Adam and Eve perfect bodies and sound minds there was one thing He chose not to create for them, righteous characters. Moses declared to the Israelites during his time in leadership: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you, life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live”. Deut.30:19.
The Israelites were given ample evidence of God’s goodness and they were also aware of the bitterness of the consequences of sin. The memories of Egyptian bondage, mental anguish and the loss of spiritual identity was still fresh in their memories. Also fresh in their minds was the miraculous delivery through the red sea, the sweet bread that fell from the sky and the water that flowed from the rock while thirsty in the wilderness. Having had knowledge of the path of love and the path of fear, they were left to decide which road they were going to travel; they were invited to choose which master they would serve.
In the Garden of Eden, instructions regarding the consequences and outcome of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil were made known to the innocent pair. Despite God’s desire for them to choose life, He decided to leave the choice for them to make. The forbidden tree therefore represented the opportunity to choose. Unlike Ramon in our opening story, God does not restrict our ability to decide because options are necessary for love to be developed. For Adam and Eve to know what it meant to love they needed to be allowed the chance to reason through their choices. Otherwise, they would’ve been forced to follow the path of life, but it would not have been much of a life at all.
Humans were made in the image and likeness of God. The most dominate distinction between us and animals is our ability to reason. If we are to reflect the image of our Creator, it must be because we have chosen to despite the temptations we encounter that lead us otherwise. Love allows liberty, it does not force, and God is love. 1 John 4:8.
Each day we are allowed opportunities to develop our characters through the choices we make. There are trees around us that are good for our development and there are trees with fruit that lead us to premature decay. Jesus resisted temptation by choosing to obey the leading of His Father when He responded to Satan with “It is written.” Matt.4:1-11. If we will avoid the path of death and experience life, then we must learn to do the same.