Sunday, June 18, 2006

why the tree?

A question has turned up on several blogs that I visit and it sounds like this: "Why did God put that tree there?"

Why was there a tree that gave man a chance to choose to disobey God? Why did God not choose to avoid the fall of man?

I have a suspicion that part of the reason is that He wanted us to know the side of Him that is called Grace. Would we ever have known without that tree?

I'm planning to read Philip Yancey's book "What's so amazing about grace?" after "Where is God when it hurts?". I've had both books for a long, long time and I hope I won't get an overdose if I read them one after the other. An overdose of good stuff to ponder, that is. I'll let you know...

In the mean time, if anyone has an idea of why that tree had to be in the garden, do let me know!

17 comments:

Luke said...

Well, even though I recommended reading "where's God when it hurts" I haven't finished reading it yet myself. (c: I DID read "what's so amazing about grace" and that is a fantastic book. Well, the first half is anyway. I thought the second half lagged (if I recall correctly). Or.. maybe I'm remembering a different book. It was while the ship was in Dry Dock in Montenegro. What a truly blessed time that was.

bibab said...

if you ask the question about the tree... why not go further and ask why did God allow Satan to live, and did not destroy him when he turned away?
can it be that he wanted people to have all the choises in the world, and still choose him amids all these options?

hmmmm
m

annegreet said...

Hey girl,
Nice to see you here...good question too. I guess it's fair enough to go further. I'm sure Him wanting us to have a choice is part of the answer. Does the Bible literally say this anywhere?

maxplanck said...

Before Satan even did turn away (if we can see it in our time context) there was not such thing as evil. There was nothing wrong. How could Satan than become wrong/evil. I really don't understand. How can somebody (if Satan is somebody) chose between what is and what not is.

Difficult.

I'll start to study now, much easier. :)

Zonnevlokje said...

ik citeer eventjes een stukje uit een een stukje tekst wat mss wel een antwoord kan bieden :)

perhaps God wanted us to live him, even though we didn't have to? Think about it, could there be such a thing as obedience without the choice to disobey? Is it possible to truly worshipk, without the option of disrespect and disregard? Could God's placement of the second tree actually have been an act of his belief and respect of us. Allowing us the power to choose Him over ourselves?

Zonnevlokje said...

*love
*worship

:)

annegreet said...

God's belief and respect of us...I'm not sure what to think of that. That He loves me...ok, I'll accept that. That He, God of the universe, would respect me...that's a whole lot more difficult. We talk about the love of God, but His respect for His creation..? I've not thought of that before. And yet in human relationships it's hard to separate love and respect. Have to think this over a bit more...thanks ZV!

sarahm said...

nice that you started this topic here :) Together we'll find answers! I'm curious about the book...

bibab said...

We need to be carefull not to make God a fluffy toy and think He just wants to be our friend and love us... He is still God...

annegreet said...

I've read you saying this before and you are right. And yet He wants to be loved by us. But this is also why I'm not so sure about calling what He has for us "respect". He sure doesn't owe us any of that. I don't think He needs us to love Him, but He wants us to.

Luke said...

Well, I was sitting down to eat my cold-chinese-food dinner and my mind wandered to 'the question' which you have here on you blog. Why the tree? Why sin or the option of sin in the first place? Well, I don't think it's all that hard of a question, but what is more difficult in my mind is a question which I'll end with (which might just be a re-statement of what the original question is). Ahem. Well, it's all for God's glory. God was, and already was in full character before time, but the demonstration of His character brings Him glory. So the story of our universe begins with Him being displayed as multi-faceted God (triune), and creative. He creates, then sets boundaries, order. He's ordered (not chaotic). Angels and humans are beings made to comprehend (in a small way) just how awesome His character is, that's why they have minds, and a will (so they can concieve of something aside from the absolute righteousness of God). I think that is a key point, because it is a comparison between God's magnificent will, and that which isn't (i.e. sin, falleness, self, ... ultimately destruction). So the tree was created in the garden to be THE alternative to God's will, so that the comparison could be made of sin vs. the righteous character of God could be understood. Even in Adam and Eve's sin (going apart from God), He has been magnified by the demonstration of another glorious aspect of His character, namely: Grace (rooted in love). So the tree was there to be a pathway for comparison of God's holiness (i.e. there is a way apart from God which is death/seperation from God), and also as a way to a new revelation of His character as Gracious (and inversely: Just).

The difficulty for me is the question, "Was it God's plan/will for Adam and Eve to sin? If so, then how could it be sinful?" I believe the way I wrote it above doesn't embrace that difficulty.

Wow, long comment. I'd like to know what you all think of this!

Luke said...

heh. I just realized that I just gave substance to your suspicion. You've already gone over the train of thought I've covered, eh?

maxplanck said...

Luke,
You've posted a good comment here: good thoughts and well-written sentences. Thanks.
But indeed the last questions is the big thing. You see, when sin is only there to glorify God, it's a difficult thing to say this to people who are starving (I know it's a weird sentence, but my English is not very good). It's also difficult to call sin wrong then.

And my main question is still in my head I think: how could God 'invent' sin as a thing of making his character be understood, as there was not such thing as sin, which is the absolute antagonism for God.

To make a comparison: in a world full of water, no-one thinks of fire, let stand (this is a pure Dutch grammatical construction: I'm sorry) there would be anything like fire.

I hope I don't ask too difficult questions, or anoye people... Otherwise: I'm sorry.

Ciao,
Max.

Luke said...

Well, in something of an answer to your question as to the 'creation of evil', Max, I'd like to form a new comparison. That of light and dark. Darkness is merely the absence of light. You can shine darkness, you can cancel out light. You can move away from a light source though, and that is going into darkness.

A comparison of God as light can be made here. You can either stay close to the light, or move away. As light, can you say.. well.. darkness must be a creation as well, right? Not really, darkness is an absence. Sin is an absence, a lack, deficiency. Just as darkness is a loss of light. Sin does glorify God, but in a terrible way, that is: Justice. In a way, it is it's own punishment. You leave the light and you will be in darkness. You leave God (reject the light) and you will be apart from Him (hell/damnation). The question you are asking is how is it concievable for a person to move away from God (the light) and I think it is totally reasonable to say, "of course one can move away from the light!" But who would want to? Someone who wants their own way, to be their own light, or maybe someone who simply wants to embrace the darkness.

The beginning of the book of John makes the same comparison and here's what I consider to be a pointed verse: "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God." (jn 3:19-21).

How does this sound to you?

Luke said...

ahem, quick mistake correction, i meant to say "you can't shine darkness, not "you can shine darkness" heh.

Lucas said...

I think somehow through this topic the following question has raised itself:
"what is sin?" Personally I think one of the main factors of sin is that of 'excluding God'. This is when we start to sin. As we exclude God we go our own selfish path, thus sin. This is how sin was born; by Satan not wanting to submit to God... he wanted power for himself, exclude God and consequently exalt himself rather than God!
Ok, I am in fact rather tired as it is 02:00 so perhaps it doesn't all add up!? I'll look into the matter further, perhaps I will comment a bit "deeper" on the topic next time. These are interesting topics, but don't get too caught up trying to understand mysteries which God will only reveal in the end of days, because you may miss some other much more relevant things...
Kind regards,
~Lucas~ *from the little rock ;)

bibab said...

why is it (and i don't mean to bash you lucas) but why is it that when we come accros things in the Bible that doesn't make sence, or we can't figure out, the easy answer is... some things we are not ment to know... or it will stay a mistery till we get to heaven... isn't it just an easy way out of a sticky situation? i know faith is believing in things that we can't see... and who am i to question the way God reveals Himself... but when do we back down because God said its enough... and when to be back down because we are fearfull of what me might find out?? does this question make sence?