Hi, I’m BJ. I have a question. Why would God allow satan to tempt Eve knowing she would fall?
@BJ_Hernandez Terrific question I think there is even a more fundamental question—why did God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden at all? I think it helps us to consider exactly how God went about the process and how the serpent deceived Eve if we want to understand this question. Let’s consider the sequence of events:
- God places the tree in the Garden
- God specifically commands Adam not to eat from this tree, or else he will die
- the serpent questions God’s Word - “Did God really say?”
- the serpent makes God look stingy by changing God’s Word - “Did God really say you can’t eat from any tree in the Garden?”
- after eroding Eve’s trust in God and His Word, the serpent tempts Eve by appealing to the beauty and opportunity the tree represent
It is clear from this sequence of events that God was giving Adam / Eve an opportunity to trust Him in the face of doubt and temptation and that the serpent targeted both God’s Word and His character in an attempt to break this trust.
What I think is important, as Delitch points out in below article, is that as free creatures we must freely choose God in the face of temptation in order to grow into who we were created to be… God created us to rule the world—to be kings and queens—and part of that is standing up for righteousness in the face of evil. We see throughout Scripture that God tests people’s hearts, so that we can learn to know and trust Him. God allows us to be tested / suffer so that we can grow in character, perseverance, and hope, but He never allows us to be tempted beyond what we can endure. He always provides a way out.
I believe Adam and Eve could have obeyed and I also believe God has a purpose in allowing us to be tested. I don’t claim to know all of God’s reasons for allowing evil / temptation in the world, but I do believe that part of the goal is so that we can grow in faith, hope, and love.
1 Cor 10:13 - No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Romans 5:3-5 - Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
James 1:2-4 - Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Why put the tree in the Garden in the first place?
“Concretely, the tree represented for Adam the choice between submitting to God’s law or pursuing moral autonomy : Fearing the Lord (the beginning of wisdom), or judging for himself what good and evil are. Learning obedience would result in greater wisdom, maturity, and freedom. That is what the serpent tempted Adam and Eve with: “You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). That is, you shall judge for yourselves. You will no be in the position of children, having good and evil dictated to you. The serpent tempted Adam and Eve with the prerogatives of autonomous, mature adulthood, before they had learned submission to God—and he tempted them to achieve this by way of disobedience . But it is important to understand that it could have been achieved with obedience as well , without the consequences of sin—and that is the tragedy. Adam and Eve were indeed destined to rule creation. Becoming like gods was not a bad thing or a bad desire. But this was to be achieved in the same way the rule of Jesus was achieved—by submission to God (Philippians 2:8-9).”
“The tree of knowledge was to lead man to the knowledge of good and evil; and, according to the divine intention, this was to be attained through his not eating of its fruit. This end was to be accomplished, not only by his discerning in the limit imposed by the prohibition the difference between that which accorded with the will of God and that which opposed it, but also by his coming eventually, through obedience to the prohibition, to recognize the fact that all that is opposed to the will of God is an evil to be avoided, and through voluntary resistance to such evil, to the full development of the freedom of choice originally imparted to him into the actual freedom of a deliberate and self-conscious choice of good. By obedience to the divine will he would have attained to a godlike knowledge of good and evil, i.e. to one in accordance with his own likeness to God. He would have detected the evil in the approaching tempter; but instead of yielding to it, he would have resisted it, and thus have made good his own property acquired with consciousness and of his won free-will, and in this way by proper self-determination would gradually have advanced to the possession of the truest liberty.” - Franz Delitch
I found this commentary on the verse in 1Timothy 2:14 to be helpful. I do not know if Adam ate of the fruit for the reason they say, namely out of love for his wife, but I would agree with the rest. IME, I would say Adam ate of the forbidden fruit to be like God. I am thinking here that Adam was trying to distiguish what the truth was from the serpent and latched on to the idea that the true part in what it said was that he would be like God. Adam probably knew full well that he shouldn’t eat of the forbidden fruit, but he did because he wanted to be equivalent to God. Same sin as Satan - pride. They both wanted to be equal with God.
Hi @BJ_Hernandez. @SeanO has given you a lot of good material to consider. Your question, which so many ask one way or another, implies God set Eve up to fail, but Jesus and the Apostle Paul have a perspective about testing that I think helps to address this apparent difficulty.
Jesus introduces us in a parable to two men who have a very different approach than us to buying (Luke 14:15-24). One buys a field, the other buys a yoke of oxen and both excuse themselves from a banquet so they can go “prove” their purchases. They buy, then test. Who would buy a car without test driving it first? In our world, we test and then buy, but they bought first and took the risk of being proved foolish.
The word for “test” may explain their thinking. The word means to examine with the expectation of approval. They expected, upon inspection, that the land and oxen would prove to be worthwhile investments. It seems they believed they were savvy consumers and the purchases would validate the wisdom of their decisions. In other words, both the purchases and their decision-making would bear up under scrutiny.
The word Jesus used for “proving” in this parable is the same as when Paul tells the Thessalonians that “we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel” (1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NKJV)). Paul seems to have in mind that, just as the buyers in the parable bought, then tested, likewise God chose and called him to be an apostle and then approved him. God didn’t put Paul through the paces first and then send him because he passed the test; Paul was “approved by God” as he endured sufferings, trials and temptations that became something of an exam room, a place to prove the worthiness and wisdom of God’s action.
Applying this to Eve, I think we can ask your question another way: Was God wise to create Eve, or anything, for that matter? If the men in the parable were savvy buyers, how much wiser is our Creator? But how can God “prove” his wisdom? Like the men in the parable, and also with Eve and Paul, God acted, then tested. He himself knew the creation was “very good,” and expected testing would prove his assessment. By his pronouncement, God blessed the creation and now the creation, upon examination, could bless him.
We know the results, of course. Satan failed and man failed, and now God looks foolish, open to all sorts of second-guessing and criticism. But we cannot overlook that God, in another mysterious display of wisdom, allows himself to look foolish. For example, God let Pharaoh think he was bewildered when he ordered Moses and the Israelites to backtrack and become trapped between the Egyptians and the Red Sea (Exodus 14:1-3). Pharaoh bought it, thinking he had outsmarted God.
Another example is the cross, which Paul says is “foolishness to those who are perishing” and yet it is “the power of God unto salvation.” God tells us our ways are not his ways, and he supports it by contrasting his wisdom that “made foolish the wisdom of this world” (1 Corinthians 1:20).
We can hope the land and cows in Jesus’ parable proved the men wise, but we know that the devil and mankind bring into question the actions of God. Either he is not really all-knowing and all-wise, or the temptation was a set-up, and therefore God is cruel.
When we consider God’s ways, I think we will land in the same place as Paul, when he exclaimed “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33). Not only is God wise in the design and execution of creation, but he is all-wise in knowing how to redeem a creation that has made him look foolish.
This is a long post, but I hope the ideas help strengthen your faith.
That answer did have me thinking and it gave me more faith. Thanks for that response Dennis.
I’ve had similar thoughts about God’s way of proving, testing and approving. And beyond that…
It appears that God is not only willing to look foolish in the eyes of those who would doubt him, but it almost seems like he often utilizes that very thing to accomplish His divine purposes. When His integrity or justice or goodness has been put the test… where the onlookers dare to criticize his silence or disdain his reply, or when they laugh him to scorn, It seems God prefers this… and almost even provokes it. It seems like he’d rather see the true manifestations of unbelief come forth and show its true colors before he stretches forth His hand and turns the tables. On top of this, it seems he not only works in spite of evil, but rather he takes the evil that’s been done and somehow orchestrates it according to his purposes. Haman was hung in his own gallows. Joseph promoted from jail. Jesus brought victory from sin by his own death. killed by sinners who conspired against him; even Job knew in the midst of his trial, that in the end, God’s purpose was being fulfilled, and God would eventually vindicate himself. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy (James 5:11)
… In the case of the fall of Adam and Eve: their disobedience sent a deathly ripple of sin and disorder into God’s perfect paradise… For a moment, God might have seemed to have been the fool who should have never trusted them with that forbidden tree in the midst of the garden… But wait. Could it be that just like Joseph, Just like the Crucifixion, Just like Moses: “what Satan meant for evil, God meant for good”. Could it be that God’s omnipotent wisdom was setting the stage to accommodate a much more amazing and meaningful story?
Could it be that God knew He would utilize this world of death and conflict and sin and suffering to be a more suitable stage… a training ground (or testing ground) for the development of mankind’s character? Could it be that God inadvertently in his omniscience “chose” this fallen world for the purpose of strengthening and testing man’s faith rather than the paradise God gave man to begin with? I mean, not to say, that God exactly “chose it” but that he understood things would fall out that way, and knew the falling out, would accomplish His purposes better than the uninterrupted paradise that would have otherwise remained in the garden.
The fact that man’s sin interrupted God’s paradise certainly allowed God to demonstrate things which mankind could never have known within the garden-paradise-continuum. The moral training ground and testing ground would be an extreme advent of trials, temptations and resistance, but in the fullness of suffering and evil it would would also enable essential opportunities to grow, to know God deeply, to mature, and to establish the qualities in man which are of greatest fulfillment to God. (I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 1:4)
Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing
… Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.(James 1)
@timotto Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Here is another post in the forum where I responded in ways that I think complement your response here. We seem to be on the same page. When bad things happen to good people
This is an interesting question. Mr. Sean has covered most everything. He is very thorough that way! So following him is a bit redundant.
However, what I find interesting, in the scripture, is none of creation was given a choice. Nature is given instruction. Genesis 1:22 ’ be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters of the seas, and let the birds multiply on earth,. ‘Only Man was given a comandment with the option to break… All of nature is told… this is what you do! But only man was given an alternative… an option, and this defines, ’ Free will. " Genesis 2 :17 in which he told Adam before His helper arrived, ’ but you shall not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil; for in the day you eat it, you will surely die’
Our Father gave us free will. I am not making a separate statement, but only hoping I add a teeny bit to Mr. Seans most informative explanation.