In this season of self-control, we do well to understand some of the tricks the tempter uses to lead us away from the grace and goodness of our Father. In today’s passage, what does he do to lead our first parents astray?
To start, he misrepresents God’s words. The divine command was grounded in freedom: “ALL of the trees are yours to eat from, FREELY.” There was only one exception, one simple restriction. Through the guidance of the Serpent, Eve didn’t focus on the freedom, the provision, the opportunity that flowed from God’s loving words. She saw the apparent benefits of what she could not rightfully have. She piled up the reasons for why she should have it, rooted in her desire for pleasure. She blocked out all the other trees that were also good for food, were also a delight to the eyes, all the other ways that God Himself had worked to make her wise. Having put on such blinders, she chose.
Adam and Eve had within them the knowledge that God and His commands were good, and that He had commanded them not to do what they were choosing to do. They turned away from that knowledge in order to grasp at a “wisdom” that Love did not give them.
God’s commands are a form of grace. In our now-fallen world, still rocked by the consequences of our first parents’ willfully blind choices, God does not promise we will always escape evil. But with every temptation we are promised “a way of escape,” a way to reject the temptation, to choose what is right. God has freely provided for us, as He did Adam and Eve, in a multitude of ways. Our opportunity is to obey our Father, the One who is Love, not because we understand and foresee all the consequences of our choices, but because we trust the One who does.