Whose Standard of Good & Evil?
It’s the same dilemma facing humans to this day.
Jumping back into the story thus far, the Creator has fashioned all things, even as we understand them today. And he’s made two unique races of beings, “stars” and humans. Everything is looking good, literally. Just take a quick glance through Gen. 1 & 2 again. Noticing anything? Up to this point, only one character thus far reveals the ability to determine good and consequently evil, precisely God. Keep that in mind.
God takes humanity, made up of male and female, and gives them the opportunity to live out being his image-bearer. Sweet deal, right? They’ve been given a space to work out being like God, which up to this point we can see is generous creativity and will. They look free. They are free. But as we’ll shortly see, there’s a boundary God gives that’s meant to maintain freedom.
See, humans are like their Creator; they are not the Creator. And to be made in the Creator’s image means humans too can make choices. But ultimately they aren’t the source of determining if a choice is good or not. That’s God’s domain as Creator.
The boundary given in the text is that first, trees that have seed-bearing fruit are for the humans to enjoy (Gen 1:29), then every tree in the garden of Eden can be eaten (Gen 2:16), but then one is off-limits (Gen 2:17). That tree represents a path of fellowship with God or enmity; good or evil. Humans are free to choose anything, yet those choices can only safely be worked out following what God determines. In other words, to work out what it means to be human, we have to trust God. But shortly after this edict in the story, disaster strikes.
When the two races meet
A snake appears… a talking snake at that! This is our clue that what’s meeting the humans at this point in the story isn’t a mere animal. There’s nothing to suggest that it’s normal for animals to use human language then or now. And the creature does something that will unleash catastrophe into this world—it draws out rebellion in the human heart.
The snake speaks contrary to what the Creator has said and challenged whether or not the humans should trust him (Gen 3:4-5). Its suggestion is subtle and deadly. It suggests that God has lied in order to protect his own interests and that the humans wouldn’t die, but that they would be like God and assume control. But they were already like God. And because of their own lust, they were deceived.
What was revealed in that situation is that humans desired to possess the knowledge of good and evil—to determine those definitions based on their own will; how they see a situation for themselves. By the time God appears on he scene again, the damage is done. Humans and “stars” have betrayed him. They didn’t accept God’s ability to determine good and evil. They didn’t find him worth trusting. They severed trust and died to Life.
Next time we’ll look into what the Creator will do with his back-stabbing creation that doesn’t want to walk alongside him.