Sunday, March 31, 2013

If Adam Was Perfect, How Could He Sin?

Index of Blog Articles

Part 1: Perfection And Creation. How Does the Bible Use The Word "Perfect"?
Part 3: Was Adam Perfect and Does That Mean He Would Have Lived Forever?

(This is Part 2)
Most parents, even today, would not intentionally raise their children to hate them. Most parents want to see their children succeed. A recent article I read asked the question, “Given the choice, would you raise your children to be exact replicas of you, to be totally opposite of you, or would you want to raise them to blossom into responsible adults, nurturing their individual talents, able to express their individuality and make wise decisions?” Most parents would agree that we don’t want our children to be automatons, then again a loving parent would not want to raise a child that grows up hating them. The best we can try for, is to give them solid moral, emotional and practical training. Hopefully, if they are appreciative, they will likewise grow into responsible adults.

In like manner, God also does not want automatons of his human creation. Thus He gave us the ability to reason, to have a sense of right and wrong (conscience), to appreciate loyalty, love and honesty. He also gave us the choice to decide for ourselves what we would do with these powers and freedoms. That is the essence of free will. In Adam’s case, he was given the opportunity to demonstrate appreciation by following the simple directions given him: 1) cultivate the ground, 2) have oversight of the animals, 3) reproduce, and 4) of all the fruit-bearing vegetation available to him, he could eat it all except the fruit of one specific tree. This last directive allowed God to see how much appreciation Adam had for his Father’s authority to set limits. Would Adam be willing to leave that one tree alone, no matter how appealing it may look; no matter how sweet it may smell? It was not a hard test, it was not a confusingly difficult test. It definitely was not overly restrictive--it was just one tree out of many others. It was simple and straightforward.

I gained an appreciation of this simple test early in my life. At the time I was living with my aunt and uncle. It was a temporary solution while mom’s health improved. My uncle had a fruit tree in the back yard that was his favorite fruit. The yield was very small so he “commanded” us (me and my cousins) that we were not to even touch the fruit. Well, needless to say, I did and was punished. But the hardest thing to face was my uncle’s disappointment. Yes, he was upset at my blatant disobedience, but more than that, he was hurt by my lack of love. Here he had taken me in, housed me, fed me, clothed me. He thought I loved him. I did, but apparently not enough to respect his wishes.

Likewise, Adam showed great disrespect for his Creator. One simple restriction, and he wouldn't obey it. The difference with Adam was that he wasn't plagued with the moral imperfections, the tendency toward wrongdoing that we are today. In that God had already warned him that disobedience would result in death, that warning demonstrates that, as far as God was concerned, Adam was fully capable of being obedient. As in our definition of “perfect” in the first installment, Adam was made completely capable of carrying out everything God told him to do. Adam chose disobedience, not because he was somehow deficient morally or mentally (thus imperfect), but because of misusing his free will to make a selfish choice. (Again, reflect on Deuteronomy 32:4, which, in part, states God is not unjust. For those that want to believe Adam was made imperfect, they would also have to believe that, contrary to this scripture, God is unjust--because if Adam were somehow defective or deficient then the death penalty would have been unfair. From what I've learned and experienced in my life, I am 100% confident that God is just & more merciful than we deserve.)

Again, the matter over which Adam was to demonstrate his obedience was not rocket science, it was a simple test. Just as we raise our children to hopefully become responsible, well-adjusted and loving adults, God gave Adam all the right circumstances, all the right instruction and the best of conditions. But just as even rich kids born with the proverbial “silver spoons” in their mouths can turn out to be rotten, just so Adam chose to intentionally reject that one restriction. Being perfect does not preclude the ability to consider and act on a wrong choice. (I did not include Eve’s role in this because the focus is addressing Adam’s actions--would he listen to his Father’s voice and live, or would he listen to his wife’s voice and disobey?)

But what about Adam dying regardless of whether he proved loyal or not? I’ll address that question in part 3 this article.

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