Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” - Genesis 3:22b
As we get ready to celebrate a new beginning with the coming of Emmanuel among us, it might be a good idea to go all the way back to the very beginning and revisit a bit of Genesis.
Not getting into the whole thing about who exactly God is talking to (“...like one of us:” who’s us?), let’s instead remember that Adam and Eve are invited and encouraged to enjoy the entirety of Eden, including the Tree of Life. What they are told they can’t do is eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
Who in their right mind would tell a child not to touch or do something and not think that only increases their curiosity and temptation to do exactly what they’re told not to? I think God knew this, and that’s why they’re told not to eat it; to see if they will. I also think God knows full well that they will; and perhaps they’re supposed to all along.
Yes, they get kicked out of Paradise, but don’t we all? Life is a grand playground when we’re innocent children like Adam and Eve were. But then we grow older, we learn more about what’s Right and what’s Wrong. We are given free will, and with that free will comes our ability to make choices. Sometimes we choose wisely, sometimes we fall flat on our faces with our poor decisions. But, that’s what it is to learn and grow in wisdom. Ignorance may be bliss, but it’s still ignorance. We never grow in ignorance.
That same free will is given to those who will encounter Emmanuel. People will have the freedom to choose whether they embrace him as Messiah or not. People will have the choice to answer when he says “Follow me” or not. They will have the choice to betray him or not, be with him in his dying hours or not, believe he is alive again or not, and to live as he taught them or not.
That choice is still ours all these centuries later. Let’s choose wisely.
God Of All Knowledge, thank you for granting us the free will to make our own choices. Guide us in the making of our decisions so we might fulfill your will in our lives.