Universal Truths

Read: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-24

Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden”? (3:1)

I remember almost dropping the Christian faith years ago because I thought its explanation for the existence of every sort of evil, disaster, and suffering was “Adam ate a piece of fruit he wasn’t supposed to.” I have come to see that was an unfair burden to place on this story.

The serpent presents the universal temptation: to assert ourselves in God’s place. When we elevate ourselves to the place of God, God’s wise, good prohibitions are seen as options. We make our personal declarations of independence, and very, very bad things happen when laws, designed to protect us, become optional. The serpent prodded, but Adam and Eve (and every person since) walked through the door.

Then something remarkable happened: Adam and Eve were not given the punishment they deserved. They were told they would die if they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:17). But that did not happen immediately. Instead, they were sent from the garden after God made clothes for them. This story is also about God’s loving response to wayward people. We do not know why evil exists, but it does. We do not know why we sin, but we do. We do not know why God loves us and showers us with goodness and grace which we do not deserve, but God does. —Jeff Munroe

As you pray, thank God for his grace.

About the Author

Jeffrey Munroe is the Executive Vice President of Western Theological Seminary and, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.

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