People are quick to blame God when things go bad, even faulting him for having the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden because, being omniscient, he knew full well what would happen.
The reality is that the tree gave us freedom – defined as “the power to determine action without restraint.”
I often keep my granddaughter at my place.She says she loves being here with me. Why? She has lots of creative activities at her disposal, and because the items for the activities are already stored in her play space, she doesn’t have to wait on me to give permission or resources.
She has the freedom to chose if she wants to make “soups” or “cakes” from the ingredients in her kitchen cabinet, paint pictures, string jewelry, play with her dolls, get a snack or piece of candy from the pantry without asking my permission every time, go into any room or the patio outside on her own. All the time having Nana to talk to, feel loved by, get help from, feel secure with.
I love our rapport. Neither one of us demands that we always get our own way, we dialogue. We respect each other rights and needs. She’s responsible in her actions adhering to my values because I’m her provider and supporter.
Without this mutual respect, one or both of us become victims of the other’s tyranny, and the shared space becomes a place of torment or either or both of us.
Can you apply that to a relationship between God and humans?
- Freedom is not being able to do whatever you want but acting within shared boundaries with your partner(s).
- Freedom is being able not to do actions being forced on you.
Freedom is not being oppressed by evil either from an outside force or an inner uncontrollable drive to use drugs, overeat, or self harm in any way.
Without the opportunity to choose, provided by just one fruit tree, humans would have been drones, always under the control of our Creator. But God isn’t a control freak. In contrast to the bad guys, he doesn’t force anyone to submit to his control.
We make choices because of the intended desired consequences.
Separation from Creator God’s authority – not only from oneself but from his authority over others who have malevolent intentions towards us – is plainly the unavoidable consequence of being one’s own authority.
God clearly stated this consequence when he introduced Adam to the tree.
“And the LORD God formed [hu]man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath / spirit of life, and [hu]man became a living being…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it surely you shall die / become separated from the source of life .” (Genesis 2)
Not only does the same passage that defines life as God breathing life / his spirit into a human allow us to logically induce that death is God taking the breath / his spirit out of a human, this is frankly stated elsewhere.
“Remember now thy Creator…man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets…Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit / breath shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7)
In other words, the Singularity Creator formed our ancestor and brought him-her to life with his own spirit. Then he gave mankind the opportunity to choose.
- Stay linked in to his power and authority
- Or disconnect.
We can deduce from this primary premise that both desired and undesired consequences can result from choices we make. In Adam’s case, it was discovering that
- humans are in fact powerless to sustain life by ourselves, and that
- we don’t know enough to be our own authority, but
- our only real choice is deciding which higher authority we will trust.
Knowing and following spiritual laws that define the right way vs the wrong way to act, like knowing and following the laws of physics that define stable vs unstable processes, prevents chaos and saves lives.
We understand this is auto mechanics – to keep the car running we must replenish the gas in the tank, oil in the engine, air in the tires. The same idea is expressed in business, social work, ecology, politics, etc. as Systems Theory.
In systems theory, it is argued that the only way to fully understand something is to understand the parts in relation to the whole. Systems thinking concerns an understanding of a system by examining the linkages and interactions between the elements that compose the entire system. By taking the overall system as well as its parts into account this paradigm offers us fresh insight that is not accessible through the more traditional reductionist approach.
The opposite of Systems Theory is Chaos Theory.
What about you? Do you like having a good life, being productive, meeting your goals and having your plans come to fruition?
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love / identify with, unite with the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
There is always the most basic toggle option to every decision we face:
- align our plans with the Creator’s / Author’s system design by doing things right – i.e. be right-eous,
- or not.
“if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve…the [old] gods which your fathers served…or the [new] gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: ” (Joshua 24:14-15)
Of all the choices we make in this life, the one that matters most is this one.
- I am going to acknowledge the fact of an ultimate powerful immortal Supreme Source of Life through
- the evidence provided in his creation,
- the provenance provided in his written word if I have it
- the witnesses of his physical manifestation and resurrection if I have them
- and submit to his authority in my life thereby placing myself under his protection now and in the hereafter as best I know how through the conscience given to every human being.”
Or I am going to buy into the lie of the Adversary who will seduce me with a temporary taste of power he has stolen from another victim, until I become the latest of his serial victims.
It’s that simple.