It would probably be a good thing at this point to attempt a further exploration of some of the reasons behind why challenge, adversity, and even suffering are integral components of God-composed adventures of faith:
“A truly great high school football coach who cares about his players will work them hard during the late summer two-a-day conditioning drills.
The football team that is heading toward a successful season can be heard groaning and complaining about the coach’s tough training methods and seemingly impossible standards for the entire six to eight weeks leading up to the first game of the regular season.
It is only after the team takes the field and discovers that they are well prepared to play high-quality football that they can look back at their coach’s emphasis on physical conditioning and the constant repetition of the same basic plays over and over again until they finally got them right.
The character lessons these players learned from their coach, about how to approach a particular challenge with intensity of purpose, hard work, and a will to never quit, often last them throughout their lifetimes, long after they stop playing football.
A God who asks little of us cannot have much of an impact upon our lives and can never be considered great.”
This describes the universally understood concept of “no pain, no gain,” but it does not go deep enough to address some of the underlying reasons behind why challenge and adversity are often necessary components of our adventure of faith.
In the Garden of Eden before the fall, God knows in advance that Adam and Eve will eat of the forbidden fruit. This involves the mysterious and unfathomable depths of the blend between a God who exists in a timeless reality of foreknowledge, and humans on earth living within the limited dimensions of space and time.
The fruit on the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil” is within easy reach of Adam and Eve, and the serpent has convenient access to the garden and can converse with the man and the woman without the presence of God on the scene.
Revelation 13:8 describes Jesus as the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, which implies that God had foreknowledge of the future need for a Savior for mankind.
The Garden of Eden is set up for a possible free-will choice to disobey the commandment of God…otherwise God would have purposely placed this tree in an inaccessible location in the garden, and banned the access of Satan in the spiritualized apparition of a talking serpent…into the garden and from any possible encounter with Adam and Eve.
A conjectural interpretation of the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, entirely on my part, is that it displays a commendable desire for perfection, albeit used in a wrong-headed way, which is part of our innate, in-built capacity that confirms in an indirect and round-about way…that we are created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27).
A fundamental fault in this opening scenario…critical to mankind’s eternal future, besides disobeying the clear directive of God…is that Adam and Eve impulsively jumped at this seemingly beneficial short-cut to a knowledge of good and evil without patiently waiting to speak with God directly about the pros and cons of such an action.
God told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil located in the center of the garden.
If Adam and Eve had been mature, savvy moral beings as a result of having personally experienced the ill-effects of sin, darkness, and despair in our broken world…if they were seasoned veterans of life …they might have responded of their own accord to the audacious speech of the serpent:
“What you say sounds appealing on the surface, but we will discuss this with God and then get back to you in the near future. In this matter that you speak of, there is no hurry. We will think it over. And by the way, we know God well enough by now to know He would never withhold something good from us without a sound reason.”
Adam and Eve, without understanding all of the future issues involved, are in essence going along with the false idea of obtaining the knowledge of good and evil…on the cheap.
A knowledge of good and evil cannot be gotten on the cheap.
A quick and easy, “one-click” on the computer keyboard option to a full knowledge of good and evil is not feasible.
It is like the impossibility of a square circle, married bachelors, describing colors in terms of their shapes, or drawing with a pencil on paper a one-ended stick. God knows this.
If God wants to create non-divine people…yet made in His image, with free-will choice and the intellectual capacity for moral reasoning…that God can have a loving relationship with over the long expanse of eternity…then those people must have an encounter with the mystery of evil in all its subtle forms…and reject it.
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