Archive for February 7th, 2008

Eating from the Tree

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Today’s Scripture: Genesis 3:1-7 (NRSV) (The Message)
As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Tyler Connoley):

Most of us probably think we know this story. God says, “Don’t eat the apple.” Adam and Eve disobey God and eat the apple. And sin comes into the world. The story has appeared in so many paintings and children’s books, that it’s become part of our subconscious. We know this story even if we weren’t raised in the church, and never opened a Bible in our lives. However, I’d like us to look at it and try to read it with fresh eyes.

If you haven’t yet, click on the link and read the passage, looking to see if there’s anything new you haven’t noticed.

Before I go any farther I should probably say something about myth, which is the type of story this is. Being a myth doesn’t tell us anything about a story’s factuality, but it does mean that the people who first told it thought it was true of every human. This is a story that happened, that happens, and that will always happen. As a myth, this passage says as much about us today as it does about Adam and Eve. Just like those earliest humans, each of us has eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Reading the story carefully, what are the consequences of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? God says if we eat of it we will surely die. The serpent says we will be like God, knowing good from evil. I believe both God and the serpent told the truth.

Unlike other of God’s creations, humans have the ability to know moral good from moral bad. We usually begin to gain this knowledge around the age of four. At that same age, we first realize that we will one day die. So, eating from the Tree of Knowledge means that each of us is like God in our ability to know good from evil, and it also means that we all know we will die. This causes two profound problems for us.

The first problem is that, while we know good from evil, we don’t always do good. Although we’re “like God” in our ability to differentiate good from evil, we don’t have God’s perspective, so even when we think we’re doing good, we make mistakes. This can paralyze us when we need to make decisions about what to do.

The second problem is that we fear death. The fear is not always strong, but the fact of our mortality is always with us, just under the surface. Sometimes the realization that we are mortal can paralyze us. We’re afraid to do things we know we should, because we don’t want to risk death.

I believe Jesus helps us get over these two problems. Tomorrow and the next day, we’ll look at how Jesus counteracts the affects of eating from the Tree.

Thought for the day: I know good from evil, and I know I will die. Just like Adam and Eve, I have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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