Days like this only come along once in a while. On this sun-drenched morning there’s a cool, crisp breeze and the air is clear. Every dancing shadow is sharp-etched, every leaf is suffused with a deeper meaning, every branch lifts a multitude of tiny twigs in praise. The world seems fair and unspoiled, as if it was made new this morning just for me.
It’s a small taste of how Adam and Eve must have seen creation, in all its shining newness, when they walked with God in the morning of the world and discovered its beauties for the first time, through eyes unmarred by sin, doubt and sorrow.
So why did they give it up? Why exchange this fantastic beauty, this tender intimacy, this joyous walk with God, for a world filled with despair, misery, decay, confusion, pain, conflict and death? It’s not much of a deal, is it?
Of course, that’s not how the choice was presented to them. Satan painted the way of sin in bright and glowing colors: “God didn’t really say you would die! He’s trying to keep from you the greatest secret of all: the knowledge of good and evil.” (Gen 3:4-5) When they chose to decide good and evil for themselves, they had little idea of the desolation that would result.
Is it any different for us? We hear the taunting words of the Deceiver as he whispers in our ears, accusing us, challenging us, and giving us false promises of happiness. “You can’t expect God to forgive you, you’ve been struggling with this sin for years!” “You don’t really believe the Bible, no intelligent person takes it seriously any more.” “Maybe if you give in to temptation just this once, you’ll feel happier.”
Like Adam and Eve, we’re tempted by the promise of something better, wiser, more plausible. We don’t remember that we’re giving up all that really matters, all that is joyful, meaningful and true, for a lie that leaves only bitterness and despair in its wake. We forget that if this world can sometimes be so heart-breakingly lovely, it’s only a small foretaste of heaven. Now there’s a promise worth believing.