As a Christian, I’ve grown up hearing about the necessity of spiritual growth and going through the process, but there’s been times that I’ve wished God worked a bit more ‘magical’ than this. If we’re all honest with ourselves, we all want to either avoid the process, or want God to do things instantaneously. We hear preachers and teachers encourage us and talk about why there’s a process, yet when we’re in the midst of it we get antsy.
I feel that this feeling is most apparent when it comes to Adam and Eve. As we toil and struggle through a sin-cursed world, we wish that God didn’t command Adam and Eve to not eat from the tree of good and evil. We see the death and suffering that happens to our precious babies and other loved ones, or we think about the millions of people that’ll enter an eternity without God and His goodness to enjoy because they rejected Him, and we wonder why things aren’t easier.
What I have to say isn’t meant to serve as an end-all-be-all answer to these issues, but to help bring home the value that God sees in relationships, and that the way we view Him has a lot to do with how we face these questions. The Bible says mankind is created in the image and likeness of God, and when He created humanity, He created them at the start of a process. The nature of God is triune, which basically makes God a community within Himself. He purposed within Himself to create community in mankind since man and woman together are the image of Himself.
So when God gave Adam the commandment to not eat of that particular tree, He did it intentionally to create a foundation of trust based on His word which will never fail. If you notice, when God made all of creation, He called it very good. This very good creation included the very tree of good and evil that God prohibited Adam and Eve from eating. Recently, my pastor highlighted that the tree represented wisdom, and with that this helped me to see God’s purpose even more than I used to. The battle that has raged since sin entered the world is whether we’ll trust in the wisdom that comes from God, or try to get it our own way.
How does this relate to the growth I mentioned in the beginning? This means that what God was doing from the beginning was establishing our experiences in life on His wisdom and our ability to trust in Him. There is knowledge that is gained by experience, and there isn’t any relationship that can grow without the choice to love and trust. Of course it gets more complicated when we think about how God is all-knowing, which means He would know about the choice to reject Him beforehand, but we still had the ability to choose between life and death.
God could’ve just destroyed everything once they sinned, but to be honest, these are just hypotheticals. Since another human being could’ve chosen the same way Adam and Eve did, and if God kept destroying and recreating, then it would really feel like He was playing a game and entertaining Himself. Yet this is not a game, but is in fact real life, and He chose to enter into His creation to bring restoration.
I encourage you, don’t be afraid to ask these kinds of questions and don’t think that you’re not a real Christian for thinking about these things. God designed us to learn and to grow, and a part of growth is dealing with what’s uncomfortable. Sometimes these questions about God’s will and purpose will cause discomfort, yet He has shown us that we can trust Him.