God and Reality
“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” --Genesis 3:5
Is reality the same for us as it is for God? From one point of view, Eve’s reaction to the temptation of the devil depended upon her answer to this question.
Satan, of course, wanted Eve to think that God looked at reality the same way she did. Satan wanted Eve in her mind to close the gap between herself and God, to think that she could understand the same way God does. If Satan were able to achieve this, then Eve would think that she did not need to take God’s interpretation of reality, but could figure it out for herself. Knowledge, then, would not carry any moral dimension, but would become abstract and impersonal.
But Eve’s knowledge of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil could never become impersonal. This is true for the following reasons:
and The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Because He is the Creator, God has determined the nature of everything that He has made. Eve was in the Image of God, and the Tree was placed in the Garden as a test for Adam and Eve, to see if they would obey the voice of the Lord their God. The Tree was God’s Tree, and Eve was God’s possession. Any pretence of neutrality would be rebellion and sin. This the devil knew. “God doth know,” he said. But HOW did God know? Because he was an observer of the Tree, or because He had made the Tree? The Bible account is succinct: “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:9
Because He is the Creator, God is not Simply an Observer of Events,
but the Sustainer and Director of All Things.
“In Him we live and move and have our being,” is the way Paul put it (Acts 17:27). God knows all things because He sustains and upholds all things. He knows the future because He has decreed all things, and nothing can come to pass without His power and will, for nothing, not even the Devil, has an independent existence. Man cannot blaspheme God without out using their God-created brains to form the ideas, God’s air to form the words, and God’s strength to pronounce the words.
Satan is the Ruler and Director of Nothing.
Satan never created anything, not even himself. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil did not belong to the Devil, but to God. Satan is a liar and a perverter. He is a destroyer and a corrupter, not a creator or life-giver. Only God can create from nothing. It is precisely because God has created all things that He has the right to command and receive worship and praise. In his hatred and enmity toward God, Satan slandered God and corrupted Eve’s view of God, in order to plant the idea that she had something of her own, that was independent of God. This was the root of her sin and Adam’s sin.
Alienation from God Was the Result of the Sin of Adam and Eve,
And the Cause of Man’s Sin and Misery Today.
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” --Ephesians 4:17,18. There is no greater disaster for the image of God than to be alienated from the life of God. Alienation from the life of God results in a darkening of the understanding, ignorance, and spiritual blindness.
God Determines Reality, He Is Not an Observer.
God is without limits. There are no secret places in which to hide from Him (Ps. 139). Everywhere He is, He is there in power, will, and righteousness. Hence, His creatures have no neutral ground, even in their minds. Jesus put it this way, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” --Matthew 12:30
This Means that God is Both Transcendent and Immanent.
God is not in the flow of history (He is transcendent), but neither is He ever absent from history, for He brings to pass all things after the counsel of His own will (He is immanent. See Ephesians 1:11). God was not immersed in the history of Adam and Eve, the devil, and the Tree in the midst of the Garden. He stood over the history as judge, but neither was He simply an observer, for He created all things and upholds all things by His power. All things had come from nothing, and without Him, all things would have reverted to nothing. Because of this, Adam and Eve could find no place to stand in independence of Him. They were therefore without excuse, just as we are. Because He is a transcendent, He can judge the world; because He is immanent, men are without excuse, for only their sinful rebellion separates them from Him.
The Mystery of the Incarnation.
The greatest wonder of history is the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. He was the eternal Word of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. As Jesus Christ, He was God in the flesh, the greatest mystery in the history of the world. As a true man he was born of the Virgin Mary, he lived as a man among us, he ate and drank, he was tired and hungry. He was subject to the things that all other men are subject to. But He was also the Son of God. When he touched the eyes of the blind man, his human finger actually touched the blind eyes, but He was also God who could not be touched by man, and as God His power went forth and the blind eyes were made whole.
He called men to come to him, and they actually came, gathered around him, and heard his words with their human ears. But He was more than a man who spoke to their physical sense. As God He spoke to their souls, and their souls heard the word of life.
They looked on him with their physical eyes; they touched him; they saw him as the Son of Mary. They saw him after he had risen from the dead. But there was much more than that. “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father,” He said (John 14). Not that God has a body and can be seen with the eyes of the flesh, but that in Jesus Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead, bodily, as Paul tells us.
He who cannot be contained in all the universe, slept in a boat, but when roused from his sleep by the prayers of the disciples, He spoke words of Almighty Power, and stilled the storm, “Peace, be still.”
The Eternal, Self-Existent I AM, who could not die, suffered and bore our sins in his own body on the Cross, that we being dead to sin might live unto righteousness.
He who created the heavens and the earth out of nothing, who breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life, did not have a grave for his own, but had to use the tomb of a friend. He upholds all things by the word of His power and all things live and move and have their being in Him, yet he lay in the grave under the power of death. On the third day He arose from the dead and many who saw Him bore witness that it was the same Jesus who had lived and walked among them.
He who is without beginning and end will come again at the end of the world to judge the living and the dead. He who is the Author and Finisher of our faith became and man and lived by faith in obedience to the will of his Heavenly Father.
Eve listened to the voice of the serpent and tried to close the gap between her and God by the imagination of her own heart. “God is like you, He just knows something about the Tree that He is trying to keep from you,” whispered the serpent in her ear. The words and the imaginations were words and imaginations of death.
The gap between man and God would be closed, but it would be closed only by the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other way to come to God. He became like us only in the womb of the Virgin Mary, that incredible humbling and emptying of Himself. Praise be to God for his unspeakable gift! (2 Cor. 9:15)