The perfect fellowship between God and man was based upon a condition, a condition that God explains very clearly to Adam. Later we will see why it is important to realize and understand that God explains this only to Adam.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:
for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
We must understand the reason and purpose for this condition upon man. Some may think this condition is placed upon man to trap him or to trick him. Some may think this condition is present because God gives both good and evil and this was the only way He could show man both sides. But any who think these things are wrong. This condition is given so that man may truly have freedom of will.
God desires fellowship but He wants this fellowship to be out of our freedom of will. God could have very easily formed, made, and created robots if He so desired. But then, God would not have had fellowship, any more so than you or I can fellowship with our machines in use today. Our computers, cars, televisions obey our commands as we spend time with them. Push a button on your remote and the television will change channels. Use the “enter” key on your computer and it will obey your command. Yet no one would ever call the time spent with these devices to be a time of fellowship.
Freedom of will is very important in a love relationship. Freedom of will is very relevant to God. He wanted man to desire, to choose to be with Him. God never desired a mind controlled robot. God has such a great desire for fellowship, based upon love and desire, that He even gave freedom of will to the angels.
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation,
in the sides of the north:
This verse is speaking about an angel whose name was Lucifer, more commonly known today as the Devil. Look at all of the “I will’s” in this verse. The Bible never explains if this freedom of will, by the angels, is a continuous state. In any case, we know angels did have freedom of will at some point in their existence. And Lucifer, by the freedom of his will, choose to walk away from God. Lucifer made the freewill decision to exalt himself above God and try to overthrow the position of God.
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear,
I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will,
but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
This is Jesus Christ speaking. Jesus Christ very clearly states that he had a choice. Either he could do his own will or the will of his Father, who had sent him. Many times people read statements like these and then fail to consider the full ramifications.
Jesus Christ did not have an automatic pilot switch he turned on while he walked through life without committing sin. Jesus Christ had freedom of will. Jesus Christ could have chosen to do his own will rather than God’s will, just as Adam used his freewill to disobey God, just as Lucifer exercised his freewill to rebel against God.
If Jesus Christ had decided to disobey God he would have failed to redeem mankind. If Jesus Christ had followed in the steps of Adam mankind would still be lost in sin. The chasm, separating God and man, would still exist to this day.
In light of our redemption, the free will decision of Jesus Christ is of the greatest importance. Understanding the decision Jesus Christ made gives a much greater depth to the statements, “...he who knew no sin became sin (sin offering) for us”, and “...he was sacrificed for sin”. Jesus Christ freely became this sacrifice for us. It was God’s plan but it was the decision of Jesus Christ to carry out the will of God.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.
Even today, man has freedom of will. It is the decision of each individual what he or she will do in their life and in their walk with God. The individual will present himself. The individual will conform or transform. This ability to choose is freedom of will.
Freewill is the ability to choose one’s own direction.
Adam also had freedom of will. The conditions set forth by God concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil demonstrate Adam had freedom of will. Freedom of will demands that each individual has the ability to choose what direction he will follow, what course he will obey. Adam’s decision was to eat when God had said, do not eat. Adam exercised his freewill to walk away from perfection and to embrace corruption.
It is not uncommon today to hear some explain the reason for evil by saying without hot we could not understand cold; without evil we could not understand good. This is as logical as saying I could not understand the need to eat until I have starved. Or I could not understand life until I have died. Guess what? Once I’m dead it is a little late to understand life!
Good can, and did, and will exist without evil. God does not present Adam with evil, He simple tells him not to eat from this one tree. Adam understands “good” and is asked to choose to obey the will of God by not eating from this one tree.
The record of Adam’s freewill decision is recorded in Genesis chapter 3.
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 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. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
In verse one the Devil asks Eve a question.
He is not asking this question because he wants to know the answer. Rather he is questioning the integrity of God’s Word. Did God really say that you could not eat this fruit? Has Adam been totally honest with you? Why would Adam be a part of the Devil’s question?
If we remember the condition placed upon man in Genesis 2:16-17, we realize God gave the condition to Adam only. There never is a record in the Word of God that shows God giving this condition to Eve. But there are two records of God giving this command to Adam. There is the record in Genesis 2 and another record in Genesis chapter 3.
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife,
and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying,
Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake;
in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Adam alone received the directions concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, the Devil is really trying to get Eve to question Adam and what Adam communicated to her. Did God really tell Adam that you could not do this thing? Did Adam fully understand what God had said? Perhaps, Adam is holding out on you, keeping something back for himself? Eve, if this was truly the will of God wouldn’t He have told you also?
This makes much more sense in light of the fellowship Eve had with God. She would have had no reason to question the words of God. She would have had no reason to doubt the truthfulness of God’s words. Eve stood in the presence of God without any feelings of disappointment or disgrace. Eve had a tremendous relationship with God and never would have felt He had lied to her. However, here is one thing God shared with Adam, that He did not tell Eve. The Devil is trying to trick Eve into disobeying the words of God by questioning the integrity of Adam’s words.
Yes, Eve’s fellowship with Adam was as positive and peaceful and honest as the relationship she had experienced with God. But we have no record of any other thing God said to only Adam. Further, if you are willing to consider that either God or Adam has not been fully open and honest would you question the Creator or that which was created?
The Devil still uses this same trick today. He will not approach people questioning the truthfulness of God, nor the love of God, nor the integrity of God. The Devil will get people to disobey the words of God by attacking the people who communicate those words. It is like the old “bait and switch” con game. While you think you are only asking questions about people, you end up questioning the integrity of God.
Even the person who completely disregards the Bible did not begin by questioning the honesty or integrity of the heart of God. The attack comes at the men who did the writing. These men came from cultures that placed less value on females than males. How could their words hold any validity in our enlightened age?
The point that is by passed is that the Bible is the Word of God. God inspired these men to write what He wanted written. These are not the bedtime stories or the clan history passed down from one generation to the other as they all sat around the camp fire.
2 Peter 1:20-21
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:
but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
“Knowing this first” not second, third or not at all! The Bible did not come by the “will of man”. Man did not decide to sit down one day and start writing the “Word of God”. Rather these men spoke and wrote as God moved, or inspired, them to write. But the Devil wants to remove God from the equation and get people to concentrate on men.
Today we see this in our country as some “talk about” the Constitution. Some continue to outline faults in the character of the founders of our country. The words and heart of the Constitution are attacked by attacks on the writers.
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal...” These words stand on their own and are an awesome foundation for any nation. Yet we attack the document that spells out our liberties by saying these writers still allowed slavery and still did not allow women to have a vote.
Did our country allow slavery? Did our country treat women as second rate citizens? Now should we simply acknowledge that men are imperfect and do our best to hold to the awesome document that these imperfect men produced as our national standard or do we assume we are perfect and endeavor to write our own “awesome document?”
Did David commit murder? Yes, when he had Uriah killed rather than let everyone know what happened between himself and Uriah’s wife. Did Moses commit murder? Yes, when he killed the Egyptian who was beating an Israeli slave. Did the apostle Paul commit murder? Yes, when he went on a seek and destroy mission for the High Priest against those who were called Christians.
People are people and they will always be imperfect. Imperfection has been a part of man’s nature since his fall in the Garden. Adam sinned in the Garden and man has carried imperfection ever since that time. The difference however, between our Constitution and the Bible is evident. Our Constitution was written by men and man’s words will always reflect our imperfections. Our country’s founders happened to write a document that is still unsurpassed among human efforts at laying out a foundation of freedom and equality for a nation. The Bible however, while penned by men, is the Word of God. God is the Author, the One who has inspired the words. God is not hampered by our human failings and imperfections. God is perfect!
If you say that God is incapable of inspiring a person to write the words He wants written, then your God is not worthy of being called God! It is very sad when a person can accept an executive telling his secretary what words to write in a business letter but, that same person, cannot accept that God Almighty could tell a man what words to write in His letter of love to all of mankind.
The foolishness of man can sometimes be overwhelming. We limit God greatly when we apply our own intellectual ignorance to His character and abilities.
Christians need to be sharper with this con game by holding their thoughts to the words of God that they know. But how can we know what God has said to mankind? What words are the words of God and what words are the words from man?
Am I telling you that you should believe everything a man or a woman says to you simply because they say they represent God? The answer to that question is NO! Never is another man or a woman the standard of God. All men and women who speak for God are only people. One day they can be accurate and the next day they can be completely wrong. On one subject, the love of God, they may be very sharp while on another subject, the grace of God, they may be ignorant.
The standard for truth must always be the words of God. How you can determine if a person is speaking the accuracy of God’s Word is by going to the Bible and reading the words for yourself. We know how to study the literature of the day. We can study and learn from the textbooks of our day and time. Why is it then that we are so willing to think that no one can study or understand the words of God? We think this way because this is what some have wanted us to think and therefore, this is what we have been taught.
You can start from nothing, open a textbook and learn about quantum physics. But somehow the textbook God gave to us is too complicated for the normal person to read and understand. Parents communicate and deal with all of their children. They receive these little human packages that know utterly nothing. Then, through the years, parents teach their children how to do everything from speak a language to handle the tasks of daily living. Yet we somehow think that God will work with only one or two of His children. We think God is incapable of teaching all of His children or that all but a few of God’s children are incapable of learning from Him. Can all of God’s children really learn from God Himself and actually walk and talk with their Heavenly Father?
1 Corinthians 2:11-12
For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him?
even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God;
that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
God has given holy spirit, His gift to His children, so that each of His children might know the things that He has freely given to His them. Can you know for yourself? Can the child of God learn from God Himself? YES! YES! YES!
When someone teaches us from the words of God we need to go back to the textbook and see it for ourselves. We need to study it and work it. If we have questions then we should ask. Learning the words of God is like anything else we would study, it takes time and effort. We have to put forth an effort to come to an understanding of what God has declared in His Word. And like a new born child, it takes time to digest and assimilate all of the knowledge God has made available in His Word.
1 Peter 2:2
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
The word used here for grow is auxano; a natural growth that takes place as long as the proper environment is provided. The body that God formed for man experiences auxano growth because it is the nature of the body to grow. A plant experiences auxano growth because it is the nature of a plant to grow. Children of God will experience auxano growth spiritually because it is our nature. God designed us to grow when He gave us holy spirit.
Growth of the body, a plant’s growth, and spiritual growth can never be forced. What is required for auxano growth is proper nourishment. A child needs food for the body and instruction for the mind to facilitate its natural growth. A plant needs light, water, and nutrients from the soil. God’s children need to desire the words of God like newborn babes, desire milk, to promote their spiritual growth. The word desire in 1 Peter 2:2 means to earnestly desire a thing, too long for a thing . The thing in this case is the Word of God.
Have you ever seen a newborn baby when he becomes hungry? Nothing will satisfy that baby short of the milk he desires. He will cry and scream until his desire has been met. A baby will do whatever it takes to get his milk, luckily for parents “whatever it takes” is limited to crying for a baby. Yet that is how strong a desire a baby has to receive his milk and that is how strong of a desire we need to have for the words of God.
If we provide the proper environment, the desire to receive, God’s Word can be known and understood by all of His children. However, I am not simply speaking about holding God’s Word in your hands. Holding the Bible in your hands will do no more for the Christian that holding a bottle of milk will satisfy the appetite of the newborn.
We can memorize the dialogue of “Romeo and Juliet” but if we want to come to an understanding of what is happening in the play, we must read the words, understand them in light of the idioms of the day, keep them in their proper context and see their relationship to the other parts of the play. All this and more is a part of studying a subject to arrive at an understanding.
If we spend our time listening to those who say Shakespeare is too hard or difficult to understand then we will never try and thus, we will never see or know the heart of “Romeo and Juliet”. If we spend all of our time discussing the opinions of people who have studied Shakespeare then we never get to the words of Shakespeare and we still lack the heart and understanding we desire. All of these things are what the Devil has done to man’s mind when it comes to the words of God.
In Genesis, chapter 3, the Devil wants Eve to consider whether or not God really told Adam not to eat a certain fruit. The focus is placed on Adam and not on the words of God. This question, that the Devil asks Eve, is a figure of speech, called Erotesis or interrogation . When this figure is used, the person asking the question is not looking for an answer. Generally, a question is asked to gather information. Here there is no attempt to gather information with this question. This figure shows you that the question is really a direct statement, which is attacking the integrity of the Word of God by way of attacking the integrity of Adam.
As a student of the Bible, you can never allow anyone to question the integrity of the Word of God. Neither can you allow yourself to be brought into a conversation whereby you are defending God’s Word. The Word of God stands on its own. It requires no defense by any man. If another person has a problem with God and His Word then let that person take his complaint to the one in charge. Let that person complain to God.
I was sitting in the commons at the University of Alaska one day when a man came up to me and asked if I had some time to talk with him about the Bible. I told him I always had time for the Bible and would be glad to speak with him. Immediately this gentleman started asking me questions about a person he knew I had studied under in the past.
Did I know where this other man had gotten his information? Who had taught him what he was now teaching others? Was I really aware of some questionable things in his past?
I interrupted the man and asked him when we were going to talk about the Bible? But he proceeded with his one sided inquisition and his verbal assault against this other man. This person was never interested in discussing the words of God; he was only interested in attacking someone he didn’t like. He never asked a question to receive information, but like the Devil with Eve, he asked questions to make a statement.
As children of God, we never allow the integrity of God’s Word to be challenged in our own hearts and minds. It’s as simple as God said it, and that is the end of it. Whether we believe God’s Word or not will never change the reality that it is God’s Word.
We can find fault with Peter and Paul and every other man or woman in the Word of God, as well as anyone who has ever taught the Word of God, for they are only people. People even found fault with Jesus Christ, the perfect man with the perfect walk! But the bottom line will always be to know the heart of God, according to His words? This is the question we must seek to answer and understand in all situations and areas of our lives.
Eve makes a grave mistake by entering into a conversation with the Devil after he has questioned the integrity of God’s Word. In order to enter into a conversation with someone you must first consider what that person has said to you. You cannot even enter into a conversation about the weather without first considering what the other person has said to you. Johnny says, “It’s a beautiful day today.” Before you can answer Johnny, you must consider whether or not it is a beautiful day in your opinion. Eve considered what the Devil had said to her.
Then she made another mistake by responding to the Devil’s statement. The more she spoke with the Devil, the more mistakes she made. First, she omits a word that God used in His statement. God said, “...thou mayest freely eat:” Eve said, “‘We may eat...” Eve skipped the word freely. Next, she added a word to what God had said. Eve said, “...neither shall ye touch it,..” God never made any statement about touching the tree or its fruit. And finally, Eve changed what God had said for God told Adam, “For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” This is very emphatic. Eve changed this to a possibility when she said, “...lest ye die.”
Eve did everything wrong here that she could have done, including turning and giving the fruit unto her husband. But even with all of the mistakes Eve has made here, it is Adam that costs mankind a perfect relationship with God.
Eve was deceived by the Devil. She was tricked. But Adam knew full well what was going on and he went ahead and ate anyway. Adam could have stopped this whole downfall of mankind, but he simply made the freewill decision to disobey God. Adam made the freewill choice to stand with and to embrace imperfection.
1 Tim. 2:14
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
This word deceived, in reference to Eve, means thoroughly deceived or trapped as by bait . Eve had no idea what was happening in Genesis 3. However, Timothy says she was still part of the transgression. Transgression is to step along side of something , in this case, Eve stepped along side of the Word of God.
Some have ignorantly taught that women need to have no position of responsibility within a Church or a fellowship because, like Eve, they will be easily tricked. First, the Bible never says that it was easy for Lucifer to trick Eve. And second, if it was bad for Eve to be deceived, how wrong is Adam for not being deceived but to be disobedient anyway? By this logic, if women are unfit to teach the words of God, due to Eve, then men are more unfit because of the actions of Adam. This doctrine, of women being unfit to teach the words of God, are simply man-made rules that negate the greatness of what God has accomplished for all of mankind. This doctrine will never accomplish anything for the children of God except ignorance and lack.
Let’s stop for a few minutes and take a look at the actions of Adam, understanding exactly what Adam did when he walked away from God and perfection.
But though we, or an angel from heaven,
preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you,
let him be accursed.
God declares, in Galatians, that He wants no other gospel laid along side of His gospel. Gospel simply means good news. And the Greek word for “other” is para. Para means to lay something along side of another thing. In this case, God is stating, do not lay any other good news along side of the good news that He has given.
Now let’s look at Romans, chapter 5. It is in this chapter that God lays out the steps in Adam’s decision and downfall.
For as by one man’s [Adam’s] disobedience [parakoee] many were made sinners,
so by the obedience of one [Jesus Christ] shall many be made righteous.
We have already seen para means to lay something along side of; parakoee means to hear something along side of. That is exactly what happened with Adam! He heard words that were along side of God’s words.
Now this, in and of itself, is not a problem. Anyone who knows the Bible realizes that every day things are spoken that are in contrast to the Word of God. If simply hearing something contrary to the Word of God was sin, then we could not even hear the nightly news programs. We would not be able to read our newspapers nor speak to many of the people in our daily lives, including other Christians!
Every individual has a choice once something is heard. Will you hold to the Word of God or will you move with the words of another? This is the freedom of will God has given to every man. You cannot stop thoughts from coming to your ears and mind. However, you can choose not to hold or entertain thoughts that are against the Will of God. That is the individual’s freedom of will. Each of us must constantly decide to conform to this world or to be transformed by the renewing of the mind, as God said in Romans 12. If Eve had been unsure of God’s will, she could have asked God since there was no written words of God for her to check out the statements of Lucifer.
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses,
even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression [parabasis],
who is the figure of him that was to come.
The word for transgression here is, parabasis. And it means to step along side of. After having heard words that were laid along side of God’s Word, Adam stepped along side of God’s Word. He acted on the words he had heard from the other source. Remember, this has nothing to do with being deceived, Adam knows exactly what he is doing. Adam is fully aware that he is disobeying the Word of God. He acts on the words of Eve; he eats of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve takes this fruit and eats and gives it also unto Adam. At this point, Adam should have turned to Eve and said, this is wrong; this is against the will of God. But Adam did not correct Eve he simply took the fruit and ate also.
However, that is not the end of the story God lays out for us in Romans chapter 5. There is one more step in Adam’s fall and that is in verse 17.
For if by one man’s [Adam’s] offence [paraptoma] death reigned by one;
much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
Once more we have the prefix para. In this verse the word offence is the Greek word paraptoma, and means to fall along side of. After hearing words along side of God’s words, and then acting on those words, Adam fell along side of God’s Word.
The only one who always backs up His words is God. The Bible says all men are liars. What man has to say may or may not come to pass? But the Word of God lives and abides forever. That is because God is the One who backs up His Word, God is the Faithful One.
Once a person acts along side of the words of God, the end will always be failure and defeat. You will always fall along side of what God has said when you reject His words. The only solid ground is the ground that God has provided for mankind. To walk on any other ground is no better than walking in quicksand.
Adam is fully aware of his disobedience to God, yet he acts anyway. That is the freedom of will that God had given to Adam and Eve. What we do with our freedom of will is of the utmost importance to our lives.
Somewhere within each person
there is the desire to be the best,
yet the greatness that is claimed
is merely pounding on the breast.
Somewhere within each person
there is the hope of being rich,
but then the eye is blinded,
too often gold will bewitch.
Somewhere within each person
there are dreams that touch the sky,
dreams that seem all good
except they center around I.
Somewhere within each person
there is peace and love abounding,
but pride and fear in the heart
often prove confounding.
Somewhere within each person
there is a sweet and comforting smile,
a look that shows your joy,
a look that gives you style.
Somewhere within each person
there is a dream of God above.
A dream of truly sharing
with the original source of love.
Somewhere within each person
there is power to receive,
all the joy and blessings
your mind can conceive.
Somewhere within each person
there is the belief to record,
very splendid and blessed times
walking with the Lord.
Somewhere within each person
there is the gift of freewill,
whereby each may choose
what his life will fulfill.
Adam exercised his freedom of will to walk away from God. We need to be sharper than Adam. As Christians we never want to exercise our freedom of will to stop, or cut off, our fellowship with God. We will not receive the exact results of Adam, for the moment Adam acts contrary to the Word of God, the Paradise Administration comes to an end. Our actions will not terminate our current administration but our actions can still stop our personal fellowship with God.
In Genesis 3:6, when Adam sins, Paradise is over. Yet the next administration, which is the Patriarchal Administration, does not begin until Genesis chapter 4. From Genesis 3:7 to Genesis 3:24 is a period of transition from one administration to the other.
Due to Adam’s act of disobedience man has moved from walking and living in the Kingdom of God to slavery in the kingdom of the Devil. God’s under ruler of the earth is now under the bondage of God’s enemy. God’s children have walked away from Him to embrace the one who hates Him. Now there is a vast chasm between God and man. The results of Adam’s disobedience are more than man can bear or correct on his own.