Growing Pains

Genesis 3:4, 5 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

Experience is certainly an able teacher, and with it we can claim a unique authority about the subject.  Still, it is much better to have only theoretical knowledge about many things—prostitution, cancer, divorce, bankruptcy, the taste of siphoned gasoline.  God, being absolute in knowledge, knows all these things perfectly without the need of personal experience—he even knows how each feels.  The first couple could only imagine evil until they took of the fruit.  They did not know its bitterness, remorse, corruption, irreversibility, pain and sorrow until that bite.  Their eyes were opened to the essence of evil by participating in it, letting it into their souls where it metastasized. 

Adam and Eve, you have perfect knowledge of good, why do you want knowledge of evil as well?  You know satiety, why would you wish to know hunger?  You know health, why would you want to feel sickness?  Why would you choose heartache and loss, grief and fear, weakness and death?  What strange creatures we are that we can be so easily fooled into making destructive choices with a bit of shiny fruit.  And we have all done it—a silly risk, a quick flash of temper, a shrug of neglect which led to years of regret.  We are poor estimators of our own future happiness, and we repeatedly fall for the same scams, the seeming good that dissolves in our hands.

The world we have inherited is now stuffed with evil, and the good path, the healing path, the way out of evil is often the most painful and difficult.  The destination seems such a long way off and the intervening benefits seem so meager.  We have little but faith to keep us going.  But we sometimes glimpse the good we will one day inherit, the freedom and health and growing maturity that we discover slowly gaining ground in our lives.  They are beacons of hope to keep us moving towards the light.  May we find fellow travelers to keep up our courage and strength through the dark.

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