Kicked Out or Freed?
“Then the Lord God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:22
In the initial story of happiness, choices and paradise lost, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden. They didn’t have to work or worry about what to wear. Everything was available to them. God only asked for one thing: “Do not eat this one fruit in the garden. It is the fruit of knowledge.”
If somebody says to you, “Do not think about pink elephants,” what are you going to think about? We’re all picturing pink elephants right now. “Do not even think about eating that one fruit.” Okay, now we’re all thinking about eating that one fruit.
God did not have to put the apple tree in the Garden of Eden. God could have left out the tree. But instead God decided to give human beings a choice, and we chose to choose. That choice gave Adam and Eve the knowledge of good and evil. Apparently, you don’t understand the difference between good and evil until you have dipped into both.
God could have created us like little house cats, where God would deliver a little bowl of water, a little bit of food and a garden full of cat nip. We wouldn’t ever get outside but we’d be brushed, babied and loved.
Instead, God put this little cat flap on the garden’s door and said, “I dare you.” Adam and Eve took the dare. Next thing you know, they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. But were they kicked out? Or freed?
Escaping through the cat flap of good and evil, they made their break for freedom. And the human race was born, complete with challenge, choice and curiosity.
Thank you, God, for curiously creating us, as curious creatures.
Lillian Daniel is the Senior Minister of First Congregational United Church of Christ, Dubuque, Iowa, and the author of When “Spiritual But Not Religious” is Not Enough.