"But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." - Genesis 2:17
Adam and Eve had a choice to make. They could stay in Paradise, in the garden of Eden, as long as they did not eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge.
Which would you pick? A rent-free existence with no worries about what to wear to work every morning? Or a piece of fruit? Well, they choose the fruit.
By giving them a choice, God was allowing them to think. God didn't have to put that tree in the middle of the garden. God didn't have to tell them what it was and get them thinking about it constantly. And I think the key word here is "thinking."
If I tell you not to think about pink elephants, what is the first thing you are going to think about? Pink elephants. It's just the way the human mind works.
But if I tell my cats not to think about pink elephants, my cats will actually not think about pink elephants. That is because my cats cannot speak English. Or Chinese for that matter. As much as I try, I cannot convince them in any language to think, or not think, about anything.
God could have raised Adam and Eve and the rest of humanity like house cats, with a water dish, a food dish and no exotic menu choices. Instead God gave them a big garden and a bigger world outside that garden. God gave them brains, options and choices. And then God gave them consequences.
Creator God, on hard days when a housecat's life looks pretty good, remind us that you created us for bigger adventures of choices, consequences and the ability to learn from both.
Lillian Daniel, author of When "Spiritual But Not Religious" is Not Enough, has a chapter in the upcoming anthology, What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most. Follow her on twitter @lillianfdaniel.