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.
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?