Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

After hearing the story of creation and the Garden of Eden, youngsters at Vacation Bible School posed numerous questions including these two. Let’s start with the second. Sin is everything that is in opposition to God.

God, creator of the universe is the embodiment of love, justice and all that is good. Therefore, that which is unlovely, unjust and bad, qualifies as sin. But sin is more than that. Whenever we choose to put anything—job, possessions, family, wealth, career, personal aggrandizement, etc.—ahead of God, we are turning our back on God and therefore are sinning. God has proclaimed that this sinning separates us from God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

When we lose our ability to hear God and to know how to behave according to his standards, we experience a form of spiritual death. This separation from God carries over into the afterlife where that death is forever, and heartache, torment and pain becomes an eternal punishment.

Why, then, did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? This answer is simple. God loved Adam and Eve just as much as he loves each of us. He loved us so much that he says that he made men and women in his image. (Genesis 2:1-25) He gave humans the capacity to think rationally, to communicate with one another and with God, and to love.

Everyone who has loved or been loved understands that love is a choice. God didn’t force man to love him, he offered him a choice. He created a paradise devoid of sin where Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect fellowship with God. They loved him because God love them so much that he provided for all of their needs. Unfortunately, the risk God took in giving humans free will (to love him or not) was that they might choose to reject his guidance as they did when tempted in the garden.

Listening to Satan and choosing to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree was the first act of sin and resulted in death coming to the first man. (Genesis 3:1-24) Spiritual death came first as man was separated from God and driven out of the garden. Physical death followed for Adam and Eve and everyone thereafter.

However, God didn’t give up on man. His love never stopped. In fact, he loved humans so much that he provided a way to restore fellowship with them. The death that came because sin had to be reconciled. Therefore, God performed an ultimate act of love. He sent his own son, Jesus, to take the punishment for the sins of you and me and everyone who has ever lived and everyone who is yet to be born. All he asks is that each of us who want to have a forever relationship with God, acknowledge that we are sinners in need of redemption and accept the gift of life he has to offer. To learn more about how to obtain this gift of live and turn your back on sin, we encourage you to  read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

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Who was Satan and how did he get into the Garden of Eden?

Who was Satan and how did he get into the Garden of Eden?

At Vacation Bible School a youngster asked: Who was Satan? Another asked: How did he get into the Garden of Eden. The teacher who passed these questions along to us said that these triggered a floodgate of follow-up questions like: Why did Satan get kicked out of heaven? and Why did he look like a snake?

These questions may have been asked by 5th graders, but they have also been pondered by people of all ages for millennia. We don’t know all the answers, but the Bible provides lots of clues–even as it leaves us asking more questions.

Let’s begin by answering the first question: Who was Satan? In Revelation, the last book of the Bible, we read about Satan leading a rebellion in heaven and losing.

Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Revelation 12:7-9

From what we read here, God created heavenly beings before he created man, but like man, these beings had free will. They exercised this free will by defying their creator. Led by Satan, they were deceived into thinking that they could be as powerful as God. When they lost a battle against angels who served God, they were hurled to the earth. When did this happen? Why earth and not a billion other places in the universe? These are questions for which we don’t have answers. But, unfortunately, this crafty, cunning former angel was given some level of power while on earth.

It may seem strange to think that God created a being as evil as Satan, but not if one understands evil. God is pure goodness. When one, even an angel like Satan, turns his back to God, he turns his back on goodness. From that point on he becomes evil. When he places anything ahead of God–even things that seem to be good–he loses God’s favor. Without God and the guidelines for living He has laid down, men become self-centered. Every evil in the world can be traced to that self-centered nature because evil is a rejection of God.

It seems strange then to think that evil was allowed into the Garden of Eden, but God had cast Satan to earth where eventually he indwelled a serpent, the most crafty of creatures. That serpent was likely brought into the garden by God along with all the other wild beasts and posed no threat to humankind…until Satan entered it.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

Genesis 3:15-20

Satan cannot abide anything that reflects God’s goodness, so it is not surprising that he had his designs on man, God’s greatest creation. If man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) then Satan had to try and destroy man–to make him turn his back on his creator. What better way to do that than to indwell a serpent.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:1-5

Since neither the man, Adam, nor the woman, Eve, knew anything other than goodness as they communed with God in the garden, they would not have reason to cringe at the sight of any beast or even a serpent. So Satan chose that creature to be his voice, tempting Eve with an idea that seemed not only very rational but very good as well–to be like God!

Once men and women turned their backs on God, their punishment was death–eternal separation from God. That’s why God set in motion a plan of redemption that would culminate with the death of God’s own son, Jesus, on a Roman cross, and his subsequent resurrection and triumph over death.

If you would like to know more about what this redemption means for you, I encourage you to read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

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What Can a Person do to have a Clean Heart?

What Can a Person do to have a Clean Heart?

There is a familiar quote that says,” Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” We know from life experiences that when something or someone becomes soiled a bath or a cleaning up is required. We wash clothes, dishes, cars and of course our bodies to keep them clean and get the dirt out. In our supermarkets, whole aisles are dedicated to cleaning supplies and a like amount of space is filled with hundreds of products that promise to clean and refresh our bodies hair and teeth. As with people in most cultures, outward appearances are considered important.

 Unfortunately, what most people fail to recognize is that while ‘man’ looks at the outside God looks and sees the inside He’s more interested in the condition of the human heart. God’s standard of clean is perfection because He is Holy. In this context, we are not referring to the beating physical heart but to the very essence of a person’s being, or the real self that resides within the human eternal soul. The word ‘heart’ is used to define an individual’s personality and character. In other words, the real you is on full display to God at all times.  

 A person cannot achieve a clean heart on his or her own efforts. A clean heart is only possible by the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit through a life-transforming personal relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. So, therein lies the answer. While there is absolutely nothing a person can do to achieve a clean heart, God can and wants to do just that for everyone because all human beings are created in His image.

It becomes a matter of personal choice and a decision of the will. In Psalm 51:1-2 we read King David’s prayer,” Have mercy on me O God…cleanse me from my sin…create in me a pure clean heart.” David is pleading with God to make his heart new, forgive his sin and receive the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit to keep it pure so he can have a restored loving relationship with God in the present and for all eternity. God is waiting to cleanse your heart today. All you need to do is ask. It’s that simple. Why wait? No one is assured of tomorrow. If you’d like to learn more about how God can give you a clean heart, check out our post:  How does one become a Christian?

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What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

The simple answer is, Jesus! Why? Because he alone saves.

When Jesus was comforting his disciples, he explained:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

Only Christianity offers absolute assurance of eternal life as it is a gift of God’s grace for all who by faith trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. (Ephesians 2:8). Christianity is about Jesus, the Cross (forgiveness of sins) and his Resurrection and Ascension, and his second coming.

The founders of all other religions are dead. They have offered some sound platitudes for living a moral life, but no hope for eternity based on solid evidence.They are religions of good works and self sacrifice to gain a pardon for the worshiper’s sins.

Where did Moses get his information on creation and people like Noah and Abraham?

Where did Moses get his information on creation and people like Noah and Abraham?

We don’t know for sure, but biblical scholars and theologians, both Jewish and Christian, agree that Moses wrote Genesis. Moses was educated in the Pharaoh’s court In Egypt, was multi-lingual, and no doubt learned the Egyptian account of creation. But he was also raised as a youngster by his Hebrew mother and there, most likely, learned a great deal about the patriarchs that preceded him.

After 40 years in Egypt, Moses spent another 40 years in Midian, in what is today the northwest corner of Saudi Arabia. There with his father-in-law he would have learned a new language, in addition to Hebrew and Egyptian, and probably also learned more about creation, the great flood, and about a family headed by Abraham, who arrived in neighboring Canaan and prospered before being taken into captivity.

However, what Moses recorded in what is now called the Torah, or books of the Law, was given to Moses directly from God. When Moses led the Hebrew people, known as Israelites, out of Egypt, they refused to conquer the land God promised them and ended up wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. During that time God punished a whole generation who did not trust him to lead them to victory over the inhabitants of what is today known as Israel.

Also during that time, God met with Moses frequently in the ‘tent of meeting’. There, we believe, God told Moses the true story of creation, the history of mankind and the calling of Abraham to begin a nation of God’s chosen people. Those people, the Israelites, were supposed to show the world who God was and what he was all about–the all-powerful God of love and mercy. They were to live lives set apart from others, worshiping God alone, and following a strict code of ethics.

Unfortunately, despite Moses’ warnings and the law given to the people from God through Moses, the people turned their back on God. They disobeyed God’s commands, worshiped idols, lost God’s blessings and were set aside as a nation. One day in the future however, Israel will regain the prominence they had during the reigns of kings David and Solomon and finally Jesus will become their King and Messiah.



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What is Truth?

What is Truth?

Welcome to an elite group of thinkers,” the sages of the ages;” Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, and many other philosophers who have been seeking the answer to this very question. It wasn’t until Jesus Christ came to earth that it was answered clearly and directly.
 
Jesus said, “I am the truth.” (John 14:6) He is the embodiment of truth about all of creation and life’s really important and significant matters; life and death, heaven and hell, sin and righteousness, creation and evolution, good and evil and so many more including even the little things in life.
 
Webster defines truth as, “that which is true; that which conforms to fact or reality.” Jesus’ life is a fact and He is the ultimate reality. In order to know the truth one needs to know Jesus, not  just know about Him.
A few of Jesus’ profound truth statements for you to carefully consider are;

  • “You must be born-again to gain eternal life.” (John 3:3)
  • “No one comes to the Father (heaven) except through Me.” (John 14:6)
  • “The Father and I are one.” (John 10:30)
  • “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born I Am.” (In this statement Jesus confirmed He was God, I Am, and eternal, i.e., He existed before Abraham in eternity past.) (John 8:58)

Remember, truth is always truth. Two plus two is always four. Jesus’ words are truth although many choose to believe otherwise at their own peril.
 
One final thought on truth. It is a truth that every human being ever created that does not repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior when they die they will face God as Judge on Judgment Day. That’s a sobering truth that needs to be remembered and considered seriously. It’s a truth that should be a life changer. The ‘Good News’ is that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Examine the Gospel of John to discover more of Jesus’ surprising truth statements. You won’t be disappointed.