Sunday: From Adam to Noah
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In one sense, we can speak of a church of Christ only since the New Testament era, when believers first testified to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. However, we can see Christ’s church in a broader context. The Greek term for church is ekklesia. Borrowed from the secular world, it refers to those who have been called out. In every generation God has called out a people to reflect His will by lives of faithfulness, trust, love, and obedience.

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

Read Genesis 2:16-3:7. What test was given to Adam and Eve? Why would such a test be needed for perfect beings?

In order to be able to love, Adam and Eve had to be created as morally free agents. They had to have the ability and the freedom to do wrong, even if they had no valid reason to do so. The test at the tree was a moral test: In what way would they use their God-given moral freedom?

We know the answer.

At the center of morality is law, God’s law, which defines good and evil for us (note that the tree is called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). What’s the purpose of a law that forbids lying, stealing, and killing if these beings were incapable of doing any of those things to begin with? The law itself would be meaninglessness in a universe of automaton beings able to do only the good. That’s not, however, how God chose to create us. He couldn’t, not if He wanted beings who could truly love.

Though after the Fall Adam and Eve were to pass the baton to the next generation, humanity’s moral spiral downward was quick and dirty. Of their first two sons, only Abel chose to join God’s church, while Cain became possessed by the spirit of covetousness, lying, murder, and parental disrespect. Things went from bad to worse until evil overshadowed the good, and by the time of the Flood only Noah and his family could truly claim to be members of Christ’s church.

How many times in the past 24 hours have you made moral choices, using the freedom given to us from Eden? What were those choices, and how much were they in harmony with God’s moral law?

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Sunday: From Adam to Noah — 12 Comments

  1. I believe that this test, also proves to us that God is a far God by giving us free will, it also proves that God was just when Satin was cast out of heaven. We can chose to love Him or reject His will for us. I pray that we chose to be on God's side.

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  2. The goodness of God has been seen through out time in history. A good God who always has been giving the freedom of choice to his own creation. It did not stop at Adam and Eve but up to this age we are still given that power to choose. What matters is that our choices should always put God first as our creator. In so doing we shall live a happy life

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  3. Certainly, freedom was at the center of things in the Garden of Eden. Even though I can’t really put myself in God’s place, from my very narrow view of what happened in the garden I can see at least one reason why God did things the way He did.

    Suppose there was no tree of good and evil and Satan was allowed to constantly badger Adam and Eve no matter where they were. Would that have been fair to His two newly created beings? Yet, in all fairness He couldn’t totally deny Satan access to them, could He?

    To me what the tree did was to restrict Satan’s activities to the proximity of the tree while it gave him opportunity should they become interested and get too close to the forbidden tree. Adam and Eve could choose to forget the warning God gave and decide to play with fire so to speak or they could believe God and not have to worry about getting burnt. It was their choice and there was only one place where they had to make that choice.

    I think we need to realize that God was not arbitrarily putting temptation before them any more than parents tempt their children with a busy road in front of their house of which they give warning not to play out in it. It was the circumstances of the great controversy that forced the situation, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:13-14 NKJV). Besides, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13 NKJV).

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    • Amen brother. If we say God put it there TO test us than we get the wrong picture of God. What do you think about the test for Abraham? I think God had faith that he would pass or He wouldn't even have asked.

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  4. To the questions in the lesson: What test was given to Adam and Eve? Why would such a test be needed for perfect beings? These are vital questions.

    The test is not the same as freedom of choice, though it necessarily includes the ability to choose. To be capable of love created beings must always retain freedom of choice. The ‘tree’ test was a temporary implementation during the period in which mankind, represented by Adam, was placed on probation. This was necessary because of the Great Controversy started in Heaven by Lucifer’s rebellion. Satan’s (formerly Lucifer) charges against God had to be countered, and this was the human family’s first opportunity to make a statement to the on-looking universe.

    It was the Creator’s intent that the Controversy on Earth would end in the Garden of Eden. Success in the test of loyalty would result in humans being made equal to angels (Mark 12:25), who already faced probation, and one third failed, yielding to Satan’s deception. Unfortunately human failure necessitated a second probation, in which the Creator – Christ - the Second Adam took the test on our behalf, and passed (1 Corinthians 15:45-47). The Controversy would now extend for thousands of years, with hope deferred.

    Still there is a final test of loyalty for mankind in the Great Controversy, which includes the Sabbath, in a similar way to the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Although we prefer to view the Sabbath as the Creator’s prime time with us, it is more. It is also a test and the remnant people are tasked with the mission to alert/warn the world, as Noah was to warn the antediluvian world in their test with a strange looking Ark.

    More than good feeling doctrines the Three Angels Messages contain both hope and solemn warning.

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      • Sister Inge,
        Freedom of choice obtains where there are alternatives and free moral agents or intelligent beings capable of reason. That there is a government (which implies rule or law) and subjects with a will means there is freedom of choice, without need for a specific test.

        There is no indication that Lucifer was given a specific test. Yet he had freedom of choice and exercised it to his own detriment. Mankind will have freedom of choice after probation closes (no special ongoing test). To love one must have the ability not to love. Otherwise we have a pre-programmed response, as with a robot. It is not the test that gives freedom of choice. Mankind was invested with freedom of choice. The test proves it.

        Apparently the Lord intended to make a point (s) with the particular 'tree' test. God knows best and probably should not be second guessed concerning a better or 'less dangerous' way to achieve His particular purpose. Even if a 'less dangerous' way might be found it likely would not be better, all divine things considered.

        Please pardon me if I have misunderstood or underestimated the question, and as a result provided an oversimplified response.

        Like(4)
  5. just because the tree was a test doesn't mean thats what the purpose was. the tree tested them but wasnt made to test them. I think God placed it in the center of the garden cause He trusred them, otherwise it'd be in the corner somewhere. He was allowing Satan to campaign so that they could elect their own president so to speak fair and square.

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  6. Similarly, if I have a hot stove cooking in the kitchen and I have small children in the home. As a parent, what is my responsibility? Should I turn off the stove while I am cooking to go and answer the phone? Should I walk with the stove or destroy it if I leave to go in the yard, or answer the door bell? Isn't it a parent responsibility to warn the child of impending danger? but what if the child does not listen? Adam and Eve were tested-failed. Job was tested-passed. Then what made the difference?

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  7. The infamous tree was at least in part meant to answer spurious charges in the Great Controversy, among which was the idea that free moral agents would not willingly (out of love) and loyally obey the Law of the Most High. Failure there meant that the answer had to come from another tree on a hill called Calvary. And what a response was provided on the Old Rugged Cross!

    Since then redeeming love has been our theme, and will be throughout eternity. O how glorious!

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  8. Thank you brethren, i have learnt a lot from your contributions, i would also like to affirm that: Freedom of choice with an already given warning is an expression of an already given love. Suppose God kept silent without giving a warning to Adam, then that would act as a trap, which is not the case here. Also we note from the mystery of iniquity in Ezekiel 28:15 ("Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee"), that there must have been a law in heaven. For how did God determine iniquity if there was no law. Therefore the law of God applied to heavenly beings before creation, is applicable to human beings on Earth and will apply to eternity.

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  9. I understood that there was Law in Heaven before creation as quoted above. But Adam and Eve... did our first parents know the Law simply represented by that tree in the Garden of Eden or they had already learned the content of the Ten Commandments ?

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