The Limit Of Love

Wednesday, February 26, 1997

Genesis 3:1 – Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not…'"

How did the Serpent, the crafty one, get the human to even consider eating?

First, it accosted Eve where she was vulnerable. It simply got Eve to consider questioning God. All it did was ask a subtle question. "Did God really say…?" That little question caused Eve to step outside of God's protective care to question God's command. Eve began to judge the Almighty Judge. Doubt was planted in her heart like quack grass sown in a wheat field. Then distortion. "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" I can almost hear Eve respond, "Of course not. How absurd! God didn't say that, you silly snake. God only said we're not to touch or eat the one in the middle of the garden." But God didn't say, "Don't touch!" God only said (my paraphrase), "You are free to eat of any tree, except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If you do, you'll surely die." Obedience equals freedom. Disobedience equals death. But naive Eve accepts the sniveling of a snake over the Word of Almighty God.

At the tree, let's watch Eve for a bit. She saunters around the tree seeing it with new eyes. Did she think? "It looks okay to eat." Did she contemplate picking the fruit? Did she think, "Should I touch it? What was it God said? Was it don't touch, or just don't eat? The fruit smells good. See how it glistens. How beautiful it is! And the serpent said it will make one wise, to boot! Maybe, just one bite won't hurt. Mmm. Delicious. Wow, the snake was right! I didn't die — whatever that means." Then did she call out, "Hey, Adam, have some! It's delicious. Really sweet." And Adam, apparently without a struggle, ate. Then they heard the sound of God rustling on the garden breeze. Horror filled them for the first time — ever. Suddenly they knew the serpent was right about one thing. At that moment they knew good and evil, and they shuddered at the knowledge. Much later when their son Cain murdered their son Abel, they would know death; but not until then.

For Adam and Eve, the whole garden of God's love had been theirs; but they traded it for thorns and toil. Love gave Adam and Eve the whole garden — except for one tree. The tree and its fruit were just the limit — the limit of love. Love which desired life and not death for Adam and Eve — for you and for me. Obedience freely given meant life, and disobedience meant death. Obedience was the centre. Obedience, freely given, was what God wanted. All they had to do was obey. It's what Jesus did do.

Prayer: Almighty God, We come to You acknowledging that our choices have often been wrong. We would choose life instead of death. For Jesus' sake, forgive us, free us and remake us according to Your original image for us. Amen.

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Cassandra Wessel <>
Tionesta, Pennsylvania, USA

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