By: Feston Konzani
“Did God really tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?” Genesis 3:1 (Good News Bible)
A seemingly simple add on to what was already perfect, caused the greatest perversion of the greatest truth. Man was created to be truly independent. Such independence came at no cost to him and his habitation. It was freely given and freely received. He made no contribution of ideas, plans, struggle or purpose for its existence. Everything needed for that existence had already been put in place. His responsibility was to simply enter in and enjoy the provisions.
During an encounter between God’s greatest achievement and His greatest adversary, an idea of an alternative lifestyle was introduced into the human psyche. The idea was that of self-dependency, self-governing and self-satisfaction.
However, what man did not realise was that he had a package that contained all the above in full measure. The package was so complete that it took the enemy’s cunningness to deceive man in order for him to be under the enemy’s control. The adversary’s perversion of this great truth was designed to steal away man’s greatest gift – Freedom “For a thief cometh but to steal, kill and destroy”, as it is written.
It is said that freedom is not free. But this freedom was wholly, truly and totally free. However, ever since then, freedom, elusive as it is now, has never been free because that which was totally free had been sold at a price far too high for anyone to pay. Sadly, that continues to be the case. But what was the greatest truth that was perverted that brought about this greatest tragedy?
Comparing Genesis 3:1 and Genesis 2:15-17 reveals the perversion. In the latter, man is told to freely eat of all of the fruits of any tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This exception was so because he was truly and richly blessed and so was everything around him. God wanted to keep man and his habitation that way. His thoughts and plans for them were for good and not for evil or harm.
The enemy knowing the goodness of God towards man and that which He created, the perversion was to rob his creation the ability to enjoy it. Deceived by the enemy through the idea of self-independence and possessing knowledge equal to God, led man to believe the greatest lie ever told. Man was already independent. He had the ability to exercise power and authority over all of God’s creation. He had freedom in its entirety to rule and govern all of the affairs of his habitation and its inhabitants except over another man.
He had no mandate to rule or exercise authority over another but rather over all of creation. What more could have been lacking? For if there was anything good that was missing or lacking, then man’s obedience to the lie and perversion could not have resulted in such a catastrophic end.
Instead of possessing knowledge equal to God, as the serpent claimed, man was thrown out the Garden of Eden and death followed. Proverbs 14:12 says “There is a way which may seem right to a man, but the wages of which are DEATH.” Man lost his right to dwell under God’s abundance in the garden and now had to grope in the darkness of his own understanding to try to find a way of solving his own problems.
Death and destruction invaded the serenity of his habitation. After that day,
man knew and experienced something he never had before. He knew death because life turned out to be nothing but existence. Sufficiency became lack and everything was perverted and inverted. A lie is the truth perverted or inverted. A single brick is not a building any more than a single tree is a forest. It takes more than a brick to be a building and more than a single tree to make a forest.
In this and many other equally important laws of nature, we see more positive binding exceptions. Therefore, when God made the exception of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He simply wanted to bind and preserve the entire creation in perfect unity and harmony of purpose according to his will. In and of itself, the exception meant nothing any more than a single drop can be a sea. It was the power and the foreknowledge behind him who spoke that made the exception a unique one. His word could not have returned to him void.
God watches over His word to perform it. No cruelty was intended in the spoken word and restriction was not the intended purpose. It was to stop man from being engulfed and interrupted by meaningless pursuits. God is the God of principles. His nature and purpose for man was to delegate divine authority to enable man to rule over His (God’s) entire creation.
Independence is nothing if the independent is unable to exercise authority. So great were God’s thoughts and plans for man and it was this that the adversary came to steal, kill and destroy. He came for the sole purpose of stealing, killing and destroying God’s sole purpose for man so that man could not enjoy the fullness of God’s goodness.
The enemy could have had no reason to pervert the great truth if it had nothing to bring as a result. The cunning nature of the adversary meant that he had to use the very weapon that God valued over and above everything – His Spoken Word. He simply had to twist the same by inversion or perversion and the result was that the greatest truth became the greatest lie. But God cannot be mocked. Nothing He declares changes tough He has enough power to change what He has decreed.
The deceived man realized this having believed the enemy’s lie. Although heaven and earth shall pass away, God’s word remains forever, for He has exalted His Word above His Name. Sadly, this realization came a moment too late for the decision to be reversed. The free gift had already been sold at a price too high for man to pay in order to buy it back.
Through the one man, sin came into the world and death was the result of the sin of unbelief and disobedience. Man was now bankrupt and he could not redeem himself either by works or otherwise BUT by the PRECIOUS BLOOD OF THE LAMB.
Man had lost all divine authority to rule because he wilfully handed it over to the enemy just as Esau wilfully sold his birth rite to Jacob for soup. God, therefore, sent His own begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). The Lord Jesus Christ
purchased man’s freedom with the blood that ran red at Calvary; the precious blood of The Lamb that was slain from the foundations of the earth to restore into The Kingdom of God. All men by choice, full of faith and through the abundance of God’s grace, not by default are re-united with the Creator.
That is why it is called the Gospel meaning Good News. What is this Good News? It is the Lord Jesus Christ coming down from heaven in fullness of His glory, born of the Holy Spirit, and crucified at Calvary to cleanse the sins of this world. When the enemy thought he had completely conquered man, God raised up a standard that can never be matched throughout eternity. The devil was defeated when Christ rose from the dead.
In and through the One, God’s justice and mercy embraced. Time and eternity kissed, infinity became finite and heaven and earth were re-united. Through Christ’s obedience to that dreadful cross, we have received the forgiveness of sins and grace upon grace for it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
The sinful, deceived, fallen and hell-bound man can stand justified by faith in Christ alone. The price was paid in full and death has lost its sting. Because of Christ’s saving grace, we have been made more than conquerors. He did much more than was required to buy and redeem the fallen man from the jaws of a cruel master. Christ has lifted us from the miry clay and brought us into the abundance of God the Father, where we shall dwell with Him forever.
Now, man can say, “See what way of love that the Father has lavished on me so much so that I can be called a Child of the Most High God”. To Him Immortal, Invisible, the only Wise God and father, be glory, dominion and power now and forever more -Amen