I find Eve’s conversation with the serpent fascinating. Horrifying, but fascinating. So many human doubts and insecurities summed up in a few devastating sentences.
Today it was Genesis 3:4 that caught my attention. The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
Whoa, doggies! For the most part she was right on, but if God said that bit about not touching the fruit, it isn’t recorded in scripture. Avoiding the fruit is a good idea, of course, but Eve is adding her own rules to God’s.
We humans do this a lot. (Maybe it’s genetic!) It’s okay to have our own rules, since we all need some sense of boundaries in our lives. But when we start attributing our rules to God, we create HUGE problems for ourselves and others.
Seriously. I can’t tell you how many of my friends have walked away from the faith because they couldn’t adhere to the rules, traditions, and philosophies they were raised with–traditions that are not central to following Jesus, but WERE central to being accepted in their church. They failed their church’s flimsy litmus test of faith, and weren’t willing to fake it. It called everything into question.
I wonder if this is what happened to Eve. She had to touch the fruit before she took a bite. What was going through her mind as she cupped the fruit in her palm, feeling its smooth, plump flesh? She didn’t die, as she had believed she would–or at least, as she professed that she believed. Did it call all her other beliefs into question?
Man-made rules can protect us, but they can also cause immeasureable harm, especially when we put them on par with God’s. Let’s be careful how we weild them.