When God creates us he gives us the will to choose. In the garden, God gave mankind a choice in the form of a tree. The temptation to ‘know it all’ was strong. I have listened to this voice too. I have a curious nature. Eve and I want to know it all. Just taste the fruit…
There are consequences for every action. As I kid, I tasted everything, until the vanilla incident. I loved vanilla. Mom put it in her cookies. It should taste good right? I climbed up on the counter one afternoon and took the little brown bottle from the cabinet. Uncapping it I put the bottle to my lips and took a swig. Blah! Yuk! I capped the bottle and put it away. How does something used in cookies taste so awful? I wondered as I swished water in my mouth and spit it out in the sink. My sneaky action left a bad taste in my mouth! On that day, I learned the value of “a little goes a long way!”
I’ve heard over the years, “For the wages of sin is death… ” [Romans 6:23] But death is not the only consequence of sin. In my study on pain, God takes me back to His creation. Back to where it all began. In Genesis 3:16-17* I found God telling Adam and Eve one consequence of their actions.
“16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.””
Because of sin, pain is introduced into life. We find the garden described in similar ways as the Bible describes heaven. There is plenty of food, no shame, and no pain [See Revelation 21:4]. The part I love is God walked in the garden [See Genesis 3:8]. Can you imagine walking with God Almighty as a friend?
Walking with Jesus? Yes, I can see him walking on our earth teaching, healing, forgiving, and loving. What about the Holy Spirit? Oh yes! I walk with the Spirit every day. His presence is my comfort. But walking with God Almighty? The King of kings? Just writing about it makes me tremble.
I remind myself, God is three in one… A Holy Mystery… He is Jesus, He sent his Spirit, and He is the King. He walked into the garden one day looking for his friends. He found them hiding because for the first time they felt shame.
How painful the shame must have been for Adam and Eve. Shame makes me want to hide. And how painful is it for God, when his creation hid from him? His role changed from Friend to Father.
This is where parenting gets hard. As a parent, you see the remorse in your child’s quivering lip and tears. You want to enfold them in your arms and tell them it will be all right. But to learn, the child needs to know the consequences of their decision. It may be a time-out, a lecture, an apology, or restitution. Like a parent, God the Father had a dilemma.
It is God’s nature to forgive. He wants to wipe away our tears. Jesus is proof of this. And Jesus is God. He gave us His Holy Spirit because that is who He is, comfort and peace. This sin was so serious it introduced pain into His creation. I am convinced this was not God’s dream for us.
In eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve released the knowledge (Genesis 2:9). I cannot return knowledge nor can it be put it away and forget it. If I throw a stone into a still pond I cannot stop the ripples. Knowledge is like that stone. Once exposed it ripples throughout the world. We lose our innocence. Do we use our knowledge for good, or for evil? We have free will. It is up to us to decide.
I have no training in theology. This is what I’ve found in my little study on pain. What Genesis 3:16-17 tells me is pain is a part of everyone’s life while we are here. Even God is in pain as we struggle to learn. He can only move in our lives if we invite Him into the struggle.
We still live with the consequences of original sin and our own sin. We can’t stop those around us from making their own choices. Focusing on our choices we decide between good or evil. Let’s make the best choices we can and enjoy our walk with the Father.
P. S: I didn’t even get to write about what I found in Job chapters 2 & 3! It’s another beginning. I’ll save it for my next post!
*New International Version (NIV). I used the NIV version because it uses the actual word “pain” for both Adam and Eve. It was important to me to emphasize no one goes through life without some pain! Other versions use “toil” or “sorrow” with pain or “sorrow” by itself. God Bless.