Portals of Progress (Part 2)

         Hesiod’s story of Pandora’s Box was an obvious take on the Genesis account.

         Pandora had been granted authority.

         She possessed the freedom to choose.

         Freedom allows for the making of evil choices.

         Eve discovered evil in exactly this manner.

         Evil gives clear perspective to goodness.

         Before people know evil, however, they are only vaguely aware of evil in an abstract sense.

         This is how God presented evil to Adam—in the abstract. He never taught Adam about evil directly, because Adam could not possibly have known what He was talking about.

         There he was—fresh from creation—Adam! Bright and pure and strong, perfectly innocent, with large open eyes and a big smile. He was astounded by the beauty around him and most especially by the majesty of the Lord before him, his Creator.

         The Lord and Adam were very close, a very loving Father and son. Though Adam was made of earthly elements in the physical realm, he was filled with the Spirit of God. The very life and presence of God lived within Adam. He was a true son of his Father, and as his Father, the Lord did all possible to teach Adam properly and protect him.

         Regarding evil though, the only option God had was a commandment:

         The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” [Genesis 2:16-17]

         Commandments are just that—they are commands. The reason commands regarding evil must be presented as commands is because the recipient of the command has no understanding of the far-reaching consequences of its violation.

         In this, Adam had to learn obedience, and in that He had to trust God.

         And this is what faith is.

         Of course, Adam had no reason whatsoever to doubt God. He did not blindly obey, either. He knew He was loved. God created him and gave him a great place to live and work.

         Adam chose to obey God. He loved his Father.

         He must have also understood that his Father should and must be respected, and that his Father knew a whole lot more than he did. He knew the command he received against evil was for his own benefit and protection, though he had no understanding of what those things—evil and death—were. As in the hearts of innocent children, evil and death were only abstractions to him.

         In Genesis 2, God reveals Adam’s initial purpose:

         Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. [Genesis 2:15] [1]

         Adam obeyed the Lord regarding his purpose also. He took good care of the garden in which he lived. As a result of his work, the garden was very fruitful. It grew. It produced.

         As Adam continued on he saw the good consequences of his choices, that good things happened as a result, and he saw good fruit come forth that he had never previously seen. It was all new—astoundingly and wonderfully new—and abundant.

         But Adam also had to grow. He had to progress. And he did. He became more knowledgeable though remaining in a state of perfect innocence.

         There were often times he had to do things, however, that he had never done before. He had to choose. It was always a new portal for him, one in which there was the usual trepidation. Like any of us, he had to figure things out. He put two and two together. He no doubt sometimes learned by trial and error, error being not an evil thing but simply an unfruitful thing. In academic terms, it is referred to as gaining knowledge empirically.

         Without making correct decisions, there is no possibility of progress.

         He discovered that as long as he kept choosing correctly, good stuff kept happening. In time, he became somewhat less concerned about walking through such new portals, and even began to approach apparent risk with much fervor. He was, after all, obeying God.

         Through obedience, faithfulness, personal experience, hard work, dedication, and seeing the fruitful results of planting good seed, he learned that life kept producing good fruit as long as he stayed true to the Lord in his heart and in his work. He saw how fruitful the garden was, and was thankful that every tree was acceptable and good, except one.

         And because he trusted his Father, he refused to go down that path.

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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Posted on November 16, 2014, in Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. We fear the storm and want the calm waters when more often it is the storm that brings the most reward! God bless you my friend!

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    • Thanks Patricia. Storms can certainly present the opportunity for teachable moments. The following happened within the Lord’s will:

      Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they launched out. But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?” [Luke 8:22-25]

      It was by the Lord’s direction that they were on the Sea of Galilee at that time. Of course, storms were always arising on that body of water, and such storms often happened very fast and without warning. Because of His faith, the Lord was able to relax enough to sleep even though He was well aware of the lake’s reputation. And because of His faith and spiritual power, He had the ability to rebuke any storm that might arise. Whatever little faith the disciples may have had vanished in the storm. Their fear overcame their faith.

      It is interesting that they were amazed by the Lord’s ability to rebuke the storm and calm the wind and waves, but they were also afraid enough to wake Him. What did they think He would do? At least they did the right thing by eventually going to God for help. As they advanced in their discipleship, and because of such teachable “stormy” events, they grew in faith, gained spiritual power, and were later able to perform as their Lord and Master did.

      It must be the same for all real Christians. It is what distinguishes them from the pretenders.

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  2. Exactly! We don’t necessarily need to embrace the turmoil, but use it to build our faith recognizing that when it comes to faith, we have a choice. Often our choice leads us deeper in God’s love, yearning for more! If we never face adversity or challenge we simply remain stagnant and that very stagnation leads to corrosion. If we don’t polish our armor and build our faith we risk it failing when we need it most!

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  3. Such an important theme. Thanks for addressing this issue.

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  4. I’ve never heard it explained in quite that way, but that’s the way I’ve come to think of the “garden experience;” it was always choice, not etched in granite… that Adam would make a bad and fatal choice. Just as it is with us. Everything we do, day in and day out, is a matter of choosing. Thank the Lord Jesus Christ, He has given us the means by His Spirit to make better choices.

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    • Thanks Scarlett. Very well said. Everyone has a garden granted by God and a purpose within it. We must search for it until we find it, and then commence with our purpose and responsibility. I certainly believe in a plan, but carrying it out and achieving the objective demands making choices, especially in light of living in a fallen world of sin and dealing with temptation. Giving our lives to the Lord is the wisest and best choice, of course. It all begins there.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Planting Potatoes

    Good read – so much beyond what I learned in Sunday school. Can you imagine a world with no evil in it? Sounds a bit like heaven doesn’t it? 🙂 God bless.

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    • Thanks. The ultimate hope of mankind, I think.

      It is sad that so many miss, walk past, neglect, reject, and do not recognize the Door. The Lord Jesus is much more real than most of us had been taught, and He brought heaven to earth. Choosing Him makes our choice against evil and temptation not only much easier, but doable. I praise Him all the more for being the Door that hungry and honest hearts seek, to find the salvation and goodness they long for. Be blessed today.

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