Very special guest blog entry by my indomitable brother Kevan Chandler.
“But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” – Genesis 3:4-5 (ESV)
The serpent, that is the tempter, Satan, was a crafty devil and he was set on saying and doing whatever it took to make a mess of God’s creation. After all, they didn’t get along very well and God had kicked the little bugger out of Heaven on account of him trying to mess things up there first. So, if he couldn’t take Heaven down with him, might as well aim for Earth instead. And how does he do this? With deception, but only the craftiest kind – half-truths, twisted facts.
They say hindsight is 20/20, but that’s not always the case in our reading of Scripture; often times we fall for the same tricks as our forefathers when reading about their shortcomings. Here, we read the serpent’s smooth wording; “… God knows that when you eat of [the fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” And while the previous line – “You will not surely die” – is an easy catch, since we see death every day, this second piece is just as packed with falsehood. What strikes me the most is the promise that “you will be like God.” This is an interesting claim of Satan, seeing as how we were already like God. Scripture says we are made in the image of God, sharing in specific qualities and nuances. To name a few, we are made with a creative intellect to make and form things from what He has made and form; we are also made with emotions galore, some of which were expounded upon after the fall; and most of all, we were made for relationship, to be in communion with God and one another.
So, how can we become like God if we already are? Still, while we were made in His image, we are not actually God and so there are aspects of Him of which we were not made to share. One of these, the greatest that we know of perhaps, is His knowledge of good and evil. He is God Almighty, greater than any force or concept, and Creator of all things. He is King and He has the unending power to know these dichotomies – good and evil – and rule over them in sovereignty and truth. We, on the other hand, cannot. Our souls were not made to wrestle with sin and death; our minds were not made to weigh the scales of justice and mercy; and our hearts were not made to stand fast in darkness and overcome it (as John says of Christ in his gospel account). We were created to delight in the Lord, to worship Him, to be in communion with Him. So, why would we need the knowledge of good and evil in this scenario? Because, despite all of this, we were made with a choice embedded deep within. It is the choice to fulfill our purpose, that is to live in communion with the Lord, or to rebel and try making it on our own. It is the choice to either let God be God or to reject this and play god ourselves. These are the only options because someone has to be in charge and calling the shots. We weren’t created to do that but we were welcomed to try our best. So Eve considered the words of the serpent and decided she wasn’t enough like God already. And she ate of the fruit and Adam went along with it; and they quickly found out it was all a bad idea, because knowing good and evil means experiencing good and evil and they just didn’t know what to do with that. Their innocence was suddenly gone, not that anything was changed except their perspective, and they freaked out. They realized they were naked and hid in shame, even though they had always been naked and it had never been an issue before.
But here is the grace of God, for He is, as we said, sovereign and above these things. For when He saw that they hid in shame, He knew they had rebelled. They had chosen to try to make it on their own and hadn’t lasted five minutes. So seeing this, He stepped into the garden, as He had done a hundred times before to walk and laugh and talk with them, but this time He made for them clothes. He killed a beast of His perfect creation and He used the skins to cover Adam and Eve in their shame. He gave them a sad smile and said, “It’ll never be the same, but it’ll be okay. I’m still here.” And in time, He sent His perfect son, much like that beast in the garden; Jesus Christ suffered and died to cover our eternal shame. And He also sent the Holy Spirit to give us the strength and power to survive this knowledge of good and evil that is now a part of our being. He did these things in order that we might be once again in true communion with Him, as we were created to be because He loves us beyond our understanding.
Read more of Kevan’s blog entries at Half-Broken Busy