Summary: We seem to fixate on what we can NOT do and skip right over God's blessings on us with the things we CAN do. In Gen 2:16, God 'commanded" the man that he could eat of every tree in the garden... telling him how to live there.
"Thou mayest freely eat, but… "
This one rule God passed along to Adam ends up being the demise of the entire human race… so far. God made all the earth… all the plants… all the animals… even all the atmosphere… “and saw that it was good”. That fateful Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil seems as though it was an unnecessary item to put on this planet.
God made man in His image, so it does seem quirkie that He would set a boundary for his living on this planet. Now… review back through all the creation God was making and recognize that NONE of the other items ‘were made from the dust of the earth’… man was the only thing that was made from the earth. All other items were made ‘from thin air’, as it were.
'And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. ' Genesis 2:7
That seems significant… and maybe insignificant. Sure, it cannot be both, but consider how all the things God made (besides man) behave in this world. None of them needed a rule to survive… none of them needed extra “or else you will die” guidance… they all seem to behave ‘naturally’.
Man needs boundaries, though… man needs to be reminded that his higher being (free will) includes a limitation, a restriction, some would say a confinement. Now… man has proven over and over again, we are not capable of self-guidance… of restraint… of behaving as God originally intended.
Still… of all the beauty in that garden or in the world as a whole, why God would also put ‘things that can destroy us’ here too is quite baffling. Well… on the surface it seems baffling. Sure, we must always face the choice to behave… we must always have that twinge of a challenge to obey, to follow God’s leading, to even surrender our will and our reasoning. These are things plants, trees, animals even the weather don’t have.
Sure… animals can come and go as they need… they ‘think’, they even make decisions. But, they don’t have this higher intelligence… this higher ‘world awareness’… this higher sense of life that man has. We are battling Wall Street, or other countries, or even natural disasters (floods, fire, drought, etc), but we have never battled for domination with anything else beside other humans.
We were given full reign of the world… we were even responsible for naming all the animals. This one rule is all we needed to obey. Left alone, we quite probably would have obeyed it, too. You may recall that it was a discussion with the beguiling serpent that even introduced and questioned the intent, purpose, and results of that infamous rule.
Please note… once we begin to ‘reason’ over God’s leading… once we begin to debate, rationalize, and even attempt to discover some underlying and hidden intent for God’s leading… we have begun the fall all over again. Trusting in His leading doesn’t include an “OK… but…” response. It doesn’t include any fact-checking research… any rationalization… even any checks-n-balances approach to making sense of it. Sure, we don’t blindly dive onto a path or ‘close our eyes and hope for the best’, as it were.
There is a delicate balance between faith/trust and hope/dreams… a little trait we need in our lives is the wisdom to know the difference. See… Proverbs 3:5 reminds us, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Trusting is not easy. One way to know the difference between trusting and understanding is this; “if you can touch it, you don’t need to trust it”. Here this… “Seeing” is not believing… it is understanding… and there is a big difference. The wisdom from the Lord is a fabulous guide for trusting His leading.
Limitations from God help establish the basic rules and guidelines for life itself. As humans, we enjoy the free-will aspect of our being and our world. The natural world has its own limitations, too. Consider how our bodies breath oxygen. It is a built-in and natural part of our lives… even for most of the animal kingdom, too. Our bodies just inhale/exhale without our intervention… without us being aware it is even occurring… even when we are deep in sleep, or in a coma. In fact, we can try not to breathe (holding our breath) until we pass out… and at that point, our bodies take back control and begin breathing, again. Without this ‘rule’ or limitation, we would surely spend a greater portion of our time and energy ‘catching our breath’, as it were.
We can even consider a football field and it’s limitations. The grid, the goal-line, the boundaries, even the yard-markers are all there to establish the rules of the game… to establish the area in which the players can freely move… to establish the limitations of success or failure. Those limitations help establish fairness, consistency, and especially help to ensure the players are following the originally intended purpose.