The tree therefore signifies the insurmountable limit for man and for any creature, however perfect. The creature is always merely a creature, and not God. Certainly he cannot claim to be "like God," to "know good and evil" like God. God alone is the source of all being, God alone is absolute Truth and Goodness, according to which good and evil are measured and from which they receive their distinction. God alone is the eternal legislator, from whom every law in the created world derives, and in particular the law of human nature. As a rational creature, man knows this law and should let himself be guided by it in his own conduct. He himself cannot pretend to establish the moral law, to decide himself what is good and what is bad, independently of the Creator, even against the Creator. Neither man nor any other creature can set himself in the place of God, claiming for himself the mastery of the moral order. This is contrary to creation's own ontological constitution which is reflected in the psychological-ethical sphere by the fundamental imperatives of conscience and therefore human conduct.
There is a wall that separates us from God, and an impassable abyss that keeps us from the fountain of life. The result of this is death. "For the wage paid by sin is death." It is losing and missing the only true Life. Man and woman scorned and rejected the tree of life and preferred the nourishment of the tree of knowledge. They did not want God's guidance and elected to walk alone with their own strengths and to build their own lives. They felt autonomous and rejected all dependence on God, believing themselves to be the only creator and author of their own destiny.
From the beginning, humanity rejected God's love and lost all interest of being in communion with Him. Man chose to build a kingdom without God, and instead of worshipping the true God he worshipped idols - the things of this world, his own handiwork - and in fact, he worshipped himself.
Consequently, fear, shame, hate, violence, and death entered the world. Humans are profoundly divided within themselves. Their individual and collective lives portray the dramatic battle between good and evil and light and darkness. By taking a deeper look at the human heart and contemplating his/her life, we can see that they find themselves not only disposed toward evil but truly submerged within a multitude of evils. Mankind feels chained.
Evil progressed more and more after man's initial sin. The sin of the world generates multiple and serious consequences in all areas.
In the body: suffering all kinds of afflictions, disease and illness, minor or severe, slight or incurable. There are deteriorating cells, diseased organs and impeded bodily functions; in all, an organic equilibrium that is torn and dysfunctional. In the mind and the mind's behavior, there are all kinds of maladjustments, breakdowns and imbalances. Within ourselves, with others and with all creation we find disorder and lack of harmony. There are addictions and bondage, anguish, fear, shame, restlessness, anger, stress, sadness and depression, and life without meaning.
Interpersonal relationships are either nonexistent or false. They are in conflict or sick. Married and family lives are maladjusted and dysfunctional and their serious wounds last a lifetime. We are unable to love in a healthy and constructive way. We cannot express love. Emotional, physical and sexual abuse of children and adolescents is commonplace. Sex is dehumanized and depersonalized. Aggressiveness is manifested in words and actions. Relationships turn deceitful, selfish, and possessive There are addictions and codependency, distrust and loneliness. " Social relationships in groups and nations: corruption, oppression, exploitation of the weak, injustice, violence, slavery, colonialism, imperialism, the search for power and dominion, racial conflicts and wars, segregation and marginalization, misery and hunger, manipulation of the mass media and factual information.
The earth is seriously damaged: The air, springs, rivers, lakes, and oceans are contaminated. Forests are being razed. Animal species are becoming extinct and our natural resources are being abused and destroyed.
VAIN SOLUTIONS SOUGHT BY MANKIND
God is not responsible for all of this. He neither wants it nor sends it. Humanity itself, having rejected God, created the havoc and the chaos, the imbalance, the illness and the death. Humanity itself is responsible. Man stubbornly returns to the origin and cause of all the evils and problems - the tree of knowledge. He searches and pretends to find the solutions to all his problems in his own science and wisdom. Man trusts his OWN strengths. Man's solutions, however, are all deceiving and false. And even though some of them seem legitimate, they prove to be only partial, superficial, and temporary.
Totally false: Satanism, occultism and esotericism. Magic, witchcraft, sorcery, quackery, spiritism and invocation of the dead, fortunetelling, trying to know the occult and the future, and all superstitious objects and beliefs, such as charms and talismans. Futile and highly dangerous: Include the search for and the promotion of mental powers and extrasensory faculties, mind control and transcendental meditation, etc.
Deceptive scheme of this world: Rationalism without faith, humanism without God; materialism without transcendence; political ideologies without principles and economic systems without truth that seem to offer a better world.
Legitimate in principle: Solutions offered by science and technology. But since they do not respect ethical and religious values, only having material, economic, and temporal interests, they fail to give real solutions. Therefore, they are only partial, superficial, and temporary.
God is not responsible for any of this; He doesn't want it, and He doesn't order it. Mankind is guilty of all the disorder. Mankind has become a slave to disordered tendencies. In interpersonal relationships, man and women have become addicted and they have been oppressed by all kinds of social dependencies: Cultural, economic, and political. We are enslaved by things of which we should be master. For example: Work should creatively actualize humans, but it has become a heavy burden and has unjustly subdued them. Where then can the solution be found?
The Scriptures and tradition tell us far more of restoration and redemption than of original integrity and original sin. "However great the number of sins committed, grace was even greater" (Romans 5:20). In the story of Noah, for example, the rainbow becomes a sign of God's promise of restoration (Genesis 9).
Whatever else is true of man, man is not what he was meant to be. Chesterton's remark reflects our own experience. We seem to have all the ingredients for happiness. But the power of evil within us and outside us seems to triumph. Our hearts are restless, sometimes broken. "Our hearts were made for you, O God, and they will know no rest until they rest in you" was how Saint Augustine put it.
Unhappiness and evil in the world are definite problems. If the world was created by God who is infinitely good, how did evil come to reign so powerfully? Our question was asked and answered under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by the writer of Genesis. The story of Adam and Eve and how they fell from God's grace is familiar to us all. But as we have seen, the Church has to answer the question: "What did the writer of the story intend to convey to the people of his own day?" And the Church, of course, enjoys the assistance of the same Holy Spirit who inspired the writer.
In spite of God's design and desire for mankind to live in the harmonious and abundant life relationship with Himself and all creation... the sinful choices of mankind result in separation from God as a consequence. Seeing the chaos in His creation and more directly, our lives, God offers a single, complete and radical solution — His Only Son Jesus.
The Great Deceiver
And he is cunning – crafty – and our minds are no match for his schemes. That is why we need God’s Word – to intake it, practice it, to preach it, to teach it, to progress in it – to do what the Psalmist says: “Thy words have I hid in my heart that I may not sin against thee.” The shortest question in the Bible is, remarkably, God's first question. It is a question asked in Genesis 3:9. Adam and Eve had just eaten some fruit from the forbidden tree and, sensing God's presence in the Garden of Eden, they hid among the trees. While they were hiding, God asked Adam a one-word question “Where are you?" It is a really great and short question, but in order to apprehend its greatness we must first get beyond the initial and justified reaction that this is a simple question. How, we have every right to ask, is it that the omniscient Lord of the universe, the One who spoke and the world came into being, the One who set the stars in their places and the sun in its course, the One who said to the ocean, this shall be your boundary, the God of all vision-how could it be that such a God had to ask Adam where he was?
To begin looking into this, we need to go all the way back to Genesis 1:26-28.
Isaiah 43:7 very bluntly states why Israel was created. It says, "Everyone who is called by my name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom, I have made." We were created for God's glory. You were created for His glory. I was created for His glory. Bible declares that Men and women are created in God's image and likeness, to be like Him. Genesis 5:3 says that the first man Adam later "begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth." So God was essentially reproducing Himself through humanity. Hence “We are the offspring of God." Therefore God’s purpose goes far beyond the creation of mortal, perishable human beings. He is in the process of fashioning and forming "a new creation" fathering His own spiritual children—immortal and incorruptible children instilled with His very nature and character. The more we understand just what that means, the more spellbound we will become—at not only the majesty of God's purpose but at what this bring about for each of us personally.
"He has built in us a restless yearning for the kind of perfect world that can only be found in a perfect rule. He has given us a glimpse of the perfection of his creation. But it is only a glimpse; we cannot see into the future or comprehend everything. So we must trust Him now and do his work on earth." Therefore the key to excellence of life is to be centered on God’s principles. We’re not in control; God is in control. We’re arrogant when we think we are in control. Yes, we may control our actions, but not the consequences of our actions. Those are controlled by God’s eternal laws. You can make your own choice, because God has given you free will. But He has also given you a specific, custom-fitted plan for your lives. His plan for your life is different than His plan for mine. In this exciting journey, you will learn to see life from a different perspective. No matter what your circumstances, God can gather up the broken pieces and random elements of your life and form them into a beautiful mosaic—making you a useful vessel for His glory.
Without God we are “like troubled sea. When it cannot rest. Whose water cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20)There can be no peace until all of life- mind, body, and spirit- are coordinated by the One who made us and understands us. He is not only master of the world but knows your life and mine from the beginning to the end. He was thinking of us when He came into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:79) As the Prince of Peace, He invites you to come to Him. “Come unto me, all ye that labbour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). When you come to Him, you will find relief and relaxation in the freedom He gives. Your peace will be as a river. (Isaiash 48:18)- an active, sparkling peace that is refreshing and strong, a peace that passeth all understanding (Philippians $:7). Will you come to jesus, casting your burden upon Him? He says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.. Let not you heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”(john 14:27).
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 peter 2:24).
Why did Jesus die?
John 17:4 says, "I glorified Thee on earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do." The life of Christ brought great glory to God because He lived a perfect love of obedience through love to God.And it is Christ's love for the Father that led Him to the cross. When Jesus contemplated His upcoming death, He was filled with great sorrow. John 12:27-28 says, "Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Thy name." There came therefore a voice out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
In His time of sorrow, Jesus' one request was that God would glorify His name. And when He prepared Himself to go to the cross, it wasn't His love for people that helped Him overcome, it was His love for God manifested in the joy of knowing God is glorified. "...for the joy set before Him [He] endured the cross..." (He 12:2). Jesus knew that His death would bring great glory to God because through His death, the righteousness of God is fully manifested.
"...Christ Jesus,; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:25-26).
The tension between God's love for His glory and God's love for sinners who have profaned His glory are reconciled at the cross of Christ. God's justice and God's mercy come together. Before the cross someone could look at the wicked prospering and ask whether God is just. For how can a just God possibly let all of this sin go unpunished? In the cross we see God's justice beautifully displayed and at the same time, His love shines forth. Therefore, the righteousness of God is clearly demonstrated in the death of Christ.
God's acts of salvation are motivated by His love for His glory. In Isaiah 48 and Ezekial 36, have shown that God save His people, Israel, not for their sake, but for His. And Christ also died to save His people because of His love for the glory of God. What about the salvation of individuals? Why does God forgive us? For our sake of for His?
"Although our iniquities testify against us, O Lord, act for Thy name's sake!" (Je 14:7). "Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy name, and deliver us, and forgive our sins, for Thy name's sake" (Psalm 79:9).
And David said in Psalm 25:11, "For Thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great."
Just as David was full of sin, we too, are full of sin. We cannot save ourselves and our sin deserves an eternity of conscious torment in hell. Our only hope is to throw ourselves at the foot of the cross, crying out for mercy. We must cry out with David, "For Thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great." It is not for our sake that God forgives, but for His name's sake!"I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake" (1 Jn 2:12).
Jesus appeared to take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. ( 1 Jn. 3:5).
How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? There are at least two reasons you might neglect something. One is that it is not really great, and so you neglect it and spend your time and energy on something that you think is really great. The other is that, even though it might be really great, you may not have access to sufficient evidence that it really is great. In the first case, you may know the salvation, but you don't think it is so great. In the second case, you neglect it because you don't know the salvation. How many people do you know who give serious, sustained attention to the salvation accomplished by Christ—who love it, and think about it, and meditate on it, and marvel at it, and feel continual gratitude for it, and commend it to others as valuable, and weave it into all the lesser things of their lives, and set their hopes on it? Do you live this way? Is there a sense of greatness in your mind about your salvation? To neglect our great salvation is to come into judgment and there will be no escape.