One of the existential questions I have fought within my lifetime is “why were we born?”
I did battle with this thought many times because I could not fathom the justification that I was born without my consent and now, I had to make good decisions in order to make heaven.
Needless to say, decision-making tires me out. The struggle was not about making good decisions but that I was forced into this position by no choice of mine.
Today, I think God has been gracious enough to reveal answers I think might come in handy for anyone in a similar predicament as I was.
I would like to present this answer in the same way I got it chronologically and hopefully, it will make as much sense to you as it did to me.
First, we start with the concept of original sin. The book of Genesis opens us to God’s revelation to Moses on how the world we currently live in began. It points out many fascinating ideas that I would like to dabble in but for the sake of this discussion, I would stick to specific verses that would be useful.
And the LORD God commanded him, “You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die” (Genesis 2: 16-17).
Here we see God provide the instruction our forebears were eventually going to disobey. I used to look at this instruction in very literal terms, but a new light shone on it when I considered the fact that the book of Genesis was a vision to Moses and he was probably trying to interpret heavenly mysteries in human terms.
This meant that the significance of the instruction was more worthy of note than what type of fruit was being referred to. Thinking in this line, I believe that God gave Adam a choice between letting God decide what was good for him as opposed to gaining that knowledge for himself and doing the decision-making by himself.
In effect, God was telling Adam, if you take on decision-making, you are going to be killing yourself.
This understanding built my first step towards an answer and I believe it has credence to it because the stress of decision-making is why I got into this predicament. If we take our focus off me for a moment, we find quite glaringly that humanity on its own proves that we are not great at making decisions.
Many of the sorrows we suffer on earth are the direct or indirect implications of our decisions.
It is important to note that our good intentions do not make this any better because, the flaw in our capacity to make good decisions comes from our inability to operate as God – having all the information of past, present and future.
This would then mean that our best option was and always have been to allow God to do the deciding for us. Adam and Eve should have known better.
Now, riding on that revelation, I feel I would like to have words with Eve and Adam when we get to heaven. I was inclined to think this was their entire fault, making me the innocent recipient of someone’s mistakes. I did not think God was fair to let their problem become my destiny alongside all the millions of babies born every day. For this, God provided a thought process that I would like to share with you.
Consider the language from Genesis 1: 20 – 31. A recurring phrase you would find is “…after its kind” followed by the instruction to reproduce.
Dr. Myles Munroe does a great job of explaining this phenomenon by pointing out that God put the future of the plant within it in seed form. The same he did with animals and also with man. Thus, when you hold a mango in your hand, the fact is it is just a mango, but the truth is that you are holding a potential forest.
This reasoning can then be applied to humanity and we can make the conclusion that when Adam and Eve made the wrong decision, we all did it together because we were already in them… just in seed form.
Now comes the good part:
Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” (Genesis 3:22).
I know it is odd that I am romanticising the separation of man and God, but I have recently come to an understanding that makes this a bittersweet beginning to the human dilemma.
According to the vision, Adam and Eve have sinned, God has doled out the punishments (which when we study closely, is in the favour of man) and the last thing he does is create a rift between himself and man.
This rift may look like a move of anger, but the verse clearly states why it was necessary and even a move of love – if man in this state (filled with the knowledge of good and evil) were to remain in the garden, he would have access to eternal life. On the surface, it doesn’t look like much of a problem until you consider the possibility of life as we know it existing forever. If that doesn’t scare you, it scares me.
Humanity and world systems have failed too many times to prove that we are not great at this decision-making thing. We do have our moments but overall, we are barely getting by. So, it is grace – that God keeps us from eternity, for a while. This is what I believe time to be – a enclosed moment in eternity to live out the mallady of self-will.
Here is an analogy to help with this. Imagine a father warns his son to not play by the roadside. The son does not adhere and in a freak accident hurts his ankle and falls on the road in such a way that he could be killed by oncoming traffic. The father’s first reaction would be to yank his son as quickly as possible to safety first before tending to his hurt ankle. I now believe this was what God did.
Sin was a minor problem, but eternity would have been worse off so he yanks us off the road and places us in a capsule called time. While we are there, he tends to our wounds by offering payment for our sin that we don’t deserve and a power to overcome sin in a way that is beyond human. Then, he would eventually round up time and take us back to eternity. Only that this time, we would not receive eternal life in our failed nature but in a resurrected nature, insured by God himself.
I hope this answers some questions and hopefully raises new ones. In the end, God’s love is consistent through the scriptures and in our experiences when we let him. The key is to honestly approach him first as Saviour and then as Lord. It does make sense when you wholly experience it.
As for me, I am so glad God cares enough to provide answers to the ramblings of my mind.