“And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31
Was the Garden of Eden and the world as You created it, created without sin? I guess to understand that, I need to understand what sin is. Where did sin come from? Can I create something, can any man create something that You haven’t already established? When everything was good, what does that really mean?
The Hebrew word for good here, “tob”, from it’s definition, makes me think of something that brings delight and joy. It’s something that brings pleasure in the experience. So, what I know about all the things that You created, from the creation of matter itself to the creation of man and woman, is that when You sat back and examined the work of Your hands, it brought You joy, and delight, and pleasure, every bit of it. And things that bring You joy and delight and pleasure bring joy and delight and pleasure for everyone else in the path.
So what if goodness is this absolute potential for pleasure, joy, and delight, to bring those things to God, to You, and to live in that pleasure, joy, and delight with You? What if it’s all about this invitation to experience the full potential of Your joy in Your handiwork, to experience joy and delight in You? That invitation is going to be a really important thing here.
And what about Your goodness God? I’ve always just thought that part of Your goodness had to do with the absence of sin. But now I’m wondering where that idea came from. Psalm 100:5 says, “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations.” If I kept on reading about your goodness, what would the emphasis be upon? I think I would find that the emphasis is upon Your glorious, delightful characteristics. And the more I think about it, the more that Your goodness becomes the neverending potential that is You that is absolute pleasure, joy, and delight. It includes things like Your mercy, Your truth, Your teaching of Yourself, Your confidence, Your strength, Your lovingkindness, Your presence, Your trust, Your works, Your protection, Your grace, Your glory, the delights that flow from You that we discover newly every morning; all these things and an endless amount more are the pleasures that exist and emit from You. This is what You are, who You are, and what You are all about. You are just bubbling over with this wonderfulness. You are just bubbling over with wanting to share this wonderfulness of You. This is Your goodness and it is like no other.
And all of creation was created with this potential to bask in Your goodness. But I suppose that one can’t realize the real extent of goodness without having a choice to experience that which is not good. And here is where my question comes to fruition. How could man create sin? How can man create anything? Is sin man’s fault, or is sin man’s opportunity to appreciate and choose true Delight?
For me, it’s important to understand the origin of sin. I don’t want to give myself or any man, including Adam or Eve, more credit than is due. So, I’m going to propose that God created a world with the potential for sin from the start. Oh, how terrible to say!? Really? Well, my God knows what He needs to put in my life to bring me to my full potential that He has created me for. And my God can do that any way He wants and He’ll always do it the right way.
Here’s His right way. Didn’t God create the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Did Adam or Eve create that tree? I don’t know that Adam and Eve’s goodness in the beginning is because they had this wonderful nature. I think they were created with the same nature I have. I don’t think it changed with their decision. God created them with the potential to delight in Him and His delights. God created them to be delighted in by Him. It’s the same for each of us. That’s our purpose, to be His delight and to reciprocate that. We’re not special. He is. And that’s what makes us special, being in this glorious God.
So Adam and Eve, they didn’t create that tree. They didn’t decide that all men would need to make a choice. They didn’t decide that men and women, boys and girls of all time, would be given a free will to decide what they would choose as good. God did. God set the potential for sin right there in the middle of the garden. And in His goodness, He warned Adam and Eve. And in His goodness He warns each of us. “Delight in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
Imagine that! You, Lord, set the potential for sin right there in the garden. The potential for sin. What is that? I think it’s simply choosing by our own free will not to delight in You. We’ve made it all about obedience and about anything where we disobey You by not doing what You say or by doing what You say not to do. But I think that sin goes deeper than that. If creation and it’s goodness and Your goodness is all about delighting in You and You delighting in Your handiwork, then that’s what I ought to be about to. And that’s what Adam and Eve ought to have been all about.
It’s what You are all about. You are this amazing God who chooses to delight in something that You have created, in something that is so much less delightful than You. And You invite this little something to know and experience and partake in the delight of You. This is good. THIS IS REALLY GOOD. This takes all the preasure off of me. This gives me the A+ in You without me even having to do anything but enjoy You. But here’s the thing. I can’t realize the extent to how much I delight in You if it’s just something I take for granted. I must make a choice.
You knew that. You didn’t want clones. We have to realize the extent of the gift that is You. You had to set the potential for sin right there in the garden. It was there on the tree, but it was also resting in the heart of man. It was not easier or harder a choice for Adam and Eve in a world of so many good things than it is for us today in a world with so many bad choices. Because it all boils down to one choice. Do I want the pleasure of my own free will or do I desire more the pleasure of living in Your will, in Your presence, in the Delight that is only found in You? Adam and Eve didn’t ruin it for us. I would have made some choice like that myself. Heck, I have made more selfish choices than that already in my life. But I’ve also been given the opportunity, just as Adam and Eve were, to realize the treasure that is You. Nothing, absolutely nothing, brings delight and is filled with delight and delights like You.
Yeah, by one man sin entered the world. But it could have been me. It only takes one person’s self will to destroy true delight. It only takes one decision to doubt You, Lord, to think that there is anything better. One choice of my free will can remove me from life in the presence and delight of You, Lord. It wasn’t because of Adam; it was because of Adam’s choice. And it’s because of our choices and we’re all going to choose one way or another. But the gift that delights Your heart is that You gave a way to correct our offence. Now that I know what I’m missing, You want to give it back to me, You want to bring me back. One choice can ruin everything not just for me, but for all those influenced by that choice. But in Your goodness, in that super delight that abounds in You, You offer grace to receive us back and that grace is found in one man, the “last Adam,” Jesus Christ.
In Jesus, You offer each of us the opportunity to return into the delight of You. It’s changed my life, my thinking, my purpose, my heart, the way I look at things, and so much more. I don’t know how to explain it all in words. All I know is that I delight in delighting in You but it’s all because You delighted in delighting in me first, even in the midst of my disobedience. Now that is love and faithfulness that even when I decided things against You, You still pursued me for the joy set before You. I can’t help thinking about something from Hook, the Peter Pan movie with Robin Williams. The lost boys could fly because of their happy thoughts. Peter’s had become his son. One of the other boy’s happy thought was his marbles. But there is one happy thought that surpasses all. You. You are my happy thought because now I know that I, even in my frailty and brokenness, am Your happy thought and that is a life changing truth.