Summary: We can fall victim to evil very easily. Through our faith we can find the grace and forgiveness we need.
During his fighting prime, it is said Muhammad Ali once boarded an airplane on his way to his next flight. As the plane began to move toward the runway the flight crew went through their usual pre-flight instructions and checks. One of the flight attendants, while checking to ensure all the passengers were prepared for the flight, noticed Ali had not fastened his seat belt. She looked straight at the brash champ and kindly requested he fasten his seat belt. With his then characteristic cockiness he snapped back, “Lady, Superman don’t need no seat belt!” Without missing a beat the flight attendant said, “Yes sir, you are right. But, Superman don’t need no airplane either… so buckle up!”
Many of us think we can just do whatever we want and completely forget about the consequences. It could be argued in many ways we want to play God. We want to be like God. And, as a result some folks come up with some pretty wild ideas.
Iowa State University math professor, Alexander Abian, proposed such a wacky idea. If we followed his suggestion there is no question we would be playing God. He proposed we blow up the moon using nuclear warheads so the earths tilt would be reduced by a fairly significant amount. Abian said he believed it would greatly improve both climate change and the current global climate.
That whole idea is just plain nuts. Well, at least that is what I think. I guess Dr. Abian thinks he can improve on God’s creation. I also guess he has forgotten to think about the fallout of such an idea, no pun intended. If nothing else was a problem in this idea, there would be radioactive moon rocks floating in outer space. Not to mention there would be no moon to give us beautiful moonrises and moonsets and our light at night. I also wonder if Dr. Abian has taken into account the havoc his idea would cause on the tides. I think we might be able to safely assume this man wants to be like God, he wants to play God. Maybe if Dr. Abian wants a more agreeable climate he should move from Ames Iowa to some place more tropical. Cuba is nice this time of year.
The human race has been fooled like their Biblical parents, Adam and Eve. We have been fooled at the seriousness of battling the evil one. At times we are almost gently, quietly lulled into a false sense of security. We are lured into a web of deceit and destruction. We are made to think we are better, more important than we really are. We begin to think we are more powerful than we really are. Humanity since the dawn of time, has been battling a spiritual force, a deadly enemy. We are fighting for our eternal lives. We are at war with the master of sin and manipulation. Our task as people of faith is to resist this evil and flee to the loving arms of God.
Our lesson this morning is a story familiar to most of us. It is the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God has given them specific instructions. They can eat the fruit of any tree in the garden with the lone exception of the tree in the center of the garden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
We parents are well aware of many of our kids’ tendency to do exactly what we just told them not to do. It is original sin at work. Original sin is an historic doctrine of the Church. Because of the next actions of Adam and Eve, we have fallen from grace and all have original sin in our lives. We exercise original sin when we practice free will in a manner other than which God would have us do. Original sin, rebellion, is a very real part of being a human creature.
Perhaps in Adam and Eve’s case there was a little help. Had it not been for the serpent they might not have tried the forbidden fruit. The serpent, however, presented them with a temptation they just couldn’t resist. “The only reason, the snake says, “God doesn’t want you to try the fruit is because when you do your eyes will be open and you will be like God.” They listened to the line and they ate the fruit. To put it quite simply, they made the decision to disobey God.
So, what can we learn from that story? We could say we learn we should never disobey God. That would be a really good answer. In reality, however, that is far easier said than done. We will always fall short. We will miss the mark. It is called sin. And, as I already said, we come by it naturally. It will always be a part of our lives. But, I believe there are several lessons we can learn from this text to apply to our own lives. There are far more than we can talk about today. I want to share just a few with you this morning.