by Kristen C. Strocchia
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:15-17
God never intended His Creation to be robotic. Nowhere is that more obvious than here when we see that God gives Adam both freedom and responsibility in his new home.
Adam was responsible to take care of the garden where he now lived. God made us to work for our own good pleasure. Adam had no family [at first], no house, no need for our basic necessities–i.e. clothes and shelter–and nothing to protect himself from. There was no money to earn, no schoolwork to be done, no scholarships to earn, no jobs to be had and advanced in–nothing but God, Adam himself and the whole of Creation [and God said that this arrangement was very good!]
God knew that there was blessing to be had from the work of one’s own hands. There were also lessons to be learned. Man had work to do to find satisfaction in the gifts that God had given him. Much like a child today who enjoys and takes better care of something that they’ve had to earn for themselves, rather than the same item if it was just handed to them.
And Adam was free to eat from all but one tree. Interestingly, there were two trees that most of us would’ve felt tempted to eat from–the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil [Genesis 2:9]…a.k.a. the tree of certain death. But it is also interesting that God only forbade Adam to eat from one of these–the one that would hurt Adam. Nothing else in the Creation would hurt him. He needed no other warnings or rules to protect himself. And he was allowed to eat freely from the tree of life which would sustain his life for eternity.
But Adam never did [Genesis 3:22].
Because Adam also had choice and the freewill to choose. Would he work the garden as God asked? What would happen if he didn’t work the garden? Did he even want to work the garden or do the things that God asked? Could he find satisfaction in the work and food God had prepared for him? Would he obey the command not to eat from the tree of certain death–but whose name sounded much more appealing?
And God did not interfere with Adam’s choice, even though he’d warned him of the dire consequence. That is the essence of freewill.
Our choice today is exactly the same as Adam’s. The world has been destroyed and continues to decay under the weight of sin. The work has become a curse. And there are a fount of manmade diversions separating our hearts from God. But He has warned us in His Word not to eat from the proverbial tree of the knowledge of good and evil–that is, not to desire what the world desires [1 John 2:15-17]. And He has provided us unlimited free access to the tree of life, Jesus Christ [John 14:6].
Which tree are you choosing each day–life or death?