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To begin I would like to list a few things we know about Adam from what the word of God says. And afterward show what these mean in regard to the question asked by those at Rome who Paul wrote to. Is God the author of sin for grace to abound? Or the author of free will?
1. Contrary to popular belief Paul said Adam was not a spiritual being when God made him. He was natural. 1Cor.15:45-48.
2. Paul also says that the natural man can not perceive the things of the Spirit of God. 1Cor.2:14.
3. God said he had no knowledge of good and evil until after he ate the fruit. Gen.3:22.
4. And again contrary to popular belief Paul said there was no law in the garden. Rom.5:13.
5. His sin was not imputed to him or anyone else because there was no law. Rom.5:12-14.
6. Because Adam had no knowledge of good and evil he had no concept of what death was. And he had never seen it.
7. When Adam saw Eve eat the fruit nothing visible happened to her as a result.
With this in mind I will now ask the question that is the purpose of this message, was it God’s intention that Adam would sin? Was this God’s purpose when He placed Adam in the garden? Was it God’s plan for Adam to sin? It could be misconstrued to be that way if one does not know God or from James’ letter that God can not be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt any man. Because God did place man in a garden without any knowledge of good and evil. And God did place trees in the garden from which man could eat with one from which he was told not to eat lest he die. God also allowed a serpent to be in this garden that would tempt the man who had no knowledge of good and evil to eat from the fruit God instructed him not to. But, without any knowledge of good and evil how could the man know it was bad to eat of this fruit? He couldn’t. But, does this mean that God set Adam up to sin? Does this mean that it was God’s will that Adam would sin? Of course not.
Think about what would happen if you placed your 3 year old in a room with all kinds of treats he could eat. But, you told him that there was a certain one of these treats he could not eat lest he die. Then you allow someone else in the room to tempt him to eat from the one treat you told him would bring his death if he ate it. Then you give him a very special friend to live in the room with him that actually eats from it. And when he sees the friend eat from it nothing happens. Then the friend hands him the fruit to eat. While telling you that it’s pleasant to look at, and good for food, and good to make you wise.
Isn’t this what happened in the garden? Of course it is. Like the child Adam had no knowledge of good and evil. And like the child he had no way of knowing what death was. And like the child he saw the one who was in the garden with him eat and nothing happened to her.
But, does this make God the author of sin? Does this mean that God wanted Adam to sin? No. God did not want Adam to sin. He wanted Adam to choose. Because it is in the choosing that we can either learn to love as God does. Or how not to. To say He wanted Adam to sin would be like those in Rom.6 who were saying to Paul, “Shall we sin that grace might abound.” To which Paul replied, “God forbid.” God is not the author of sin. He simply placed Adam in these circumstances to reveal to him his need for God by giving him a real choice.
God’s intention was that Adam would make a free will choice. God made man the way He did so that man could have the freedom to make choices as he saw fit. Because by doing so the fact would be established that man was in need of God for the life and joy and peace that only God’s presence brings. On his own mankind would come to know that he can not live in a way that is best for them without God.
This is why God made man without the knowledge of good and evil. And without the law or the ability to be led of the Holy Spirit. So that when he made his free will choices without being forced or coerced one way or the other he would come to realize his need for God. While at the same time not being punished by God for a wrong choice. This would serve to prove to man that the whole purpose in God making him was because He wanted to have fellowship with us. And that this fellowship would be as much our choice as it is God’s. Because real love must be freely given and freely received.
God wanted man to choose to have fellowship with Him. So it was not God’s intention that man would sin. It was God’s intention that without coercion or force against his will that man would come to realize his need for Him as Rom.3:23 says. And that when we realize our need for God, and after receiving the knowledge of good and evil and the instruction of the Holy Spirit with our free will entirely intact, we choose. One way or the other. Whether to have fellowship with Him or not by the free will God gave us from the beginning. Not robots. Not automatons. But, made in the image of God with free will to have the same capability God has to choose to love or to choose not to love.
So it is for this purpose that God placed man in the garden. And placed a tree in it from which would he would receive the knowledge of good and evil. And allowed the serpent to be there to tempt them to eat from the tree that God instructed them not to eat. Proving that God is not the author of sin. He is the author of life. A life that can only be had when chosen by free will by those who God made for it. A life that is knowing Him in a way that was not possible while man remained natural and not spiritual in or out of the garden. A life that is not possible while man has no knowledge of good and evil. A life that is only possible when men realize their need for God and choose to love Him in return for His love by their own free will.
So this was the plan of God from before the world was made. Not that man would sin. But, that man would realize their need for Him. And would choose. Choose to love Him by his free will decision based on the knowledge that he needs God. Shown to him through the instructions and admonitions seen throughout the scriptures in God’s dealings with mankind.
This is what Peter was saying in 1Peter1 when he wrote, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”
This is why Paul said that men who had no knowledge of good and evil, or the instruction from the law, would never have their sins imputed to them. Because to do so would be unjust because they were not equipped to make choices of consequence. Because those choices require more than just free will. They also require the knowledge of good and evil and the law or the leading of the Holy Spirit.
This is why Ezekiel said that sons shall never bear the iniquity for the sins of their fathers. Because it was God’s plan to use these circumstances to show man their need for Him. Not to condemn them because they had that need. This was the purpose for all of these situations and circumstances that we read about in the Old Testament as God deals with the people of old. For our instruction. For our admonition. So that we could come to know Him in a way that was only made possible by God coming as a man. To join with us in our mortality. So that we could join with Him in immortality by the resurrection from the dead.
The application for us today is that we must not be deceived by the naughty/nice paradigm that most think of when they think of these events. That mindset has no place in the believer’s thinking. It is a distraction from the truth that God was in Christ 2,000 years ago not imputing trespasses to them. And that this is the ministry of reconciliation God wants all men to know. The ministry of reconciliation that God wants us as His ambassadors to preach to the world. He does not condemn you. He loves you and wants you to have the immortality that Jesus came to provide for us. An immortality that no man had before Jesus came. Immortality that has only been made possible by His resurrection from the dead.
Won’t you trust in Him for that immortality today? Trust in Jesus and you will have eternal life. Tell Him you trust in Him. Tell Him you are thankful that He died and rose again for you. Thank Him for the life He has given to you. And then I will see you there or in the air!
By Edward O’Hara
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